Tuesday 23 August 2016

A Rough Guide To Supporting Authors When You're Broke

There's a lot of great books out there. So many, in fact, that you could easily splash the cash on numerous volumes of lovely paperbacks, hardcovers, and e-books... if you actually had the cash.

If, like me, you don't have that much money and have already sold your soul several times over (whoever collects first gets the prize! My bet is on Goodreads - I think I owe them about 3 souls,) then you can still support authors and the wider publishing/bookish industry my nerdlets!

...You just have to be a bit more inventive about it.

Firstly, there is nothing better for books than a good ol' fashioned library.

Sit down and let me explain how libraries help not hurt the publishing industry:

  • Libraries actually have to buy the books they lend out (true story,) which means if an author proves popular (i.e. is borrowed a lot,) then the library is more likely to buy copies of that author's books in the future.

  • You can 'try before you buy' - some books I just wouldn't've bought if I didn't already know that I like the book/author because I've borrowed their work from the library.

  • Libraries are free marketing! - nothing works better than word of mouth, and covers on display. Never underestimate the power of copies on shelves - books can reach a wider and wider audience if there are people actually reading them.

  • Libraries make readers happen - get that child in there asap!

That's all well and good, but how else can we support authors when we're broke?

Let me tell you some things that can help, my nerdlets, listen...

  • You can yell at your friends and family to READ THE BOOK.

  • You can ask friends and family for the book for birthdays, Christmases, or as ransom payment other occasions.

  • You can follow your favouritest authors on social media/RT, like, re-blog, share, and generally spread the word about the author and their work.

  • You can write reviews on your own blog, Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever, and promote your review on social media. Talking about books is awesome, and does half the work. The more people are interested, the more people will buy books.

  • You can add the book to your TBR, or your 'read' list, on Goodreads - this means your friends on there will see that you've added it, and might check it out themselves.

When you do have money (*laughs hysterically at the thought of having spare cash*) think about what book you're actually going to buy.

Will that £5.00 for a back-list title mean more, to a smaller publisher, than the £15.00 price tag of the new bestseller does, to a bigger one? (Obviously, substitute your own currency where necessary.)

That doesn't mean you can't buy your favourites, it just means that it's good to think every now and then about where your money is going.

If you can borrow the bestseller from the library, but can only find the smaller title in an online store, then you have the chance to do the option that supports more books and saves you money on top.

This is especially important when supporting diverse books and authors, and supporting independent authors and publishers.

Money talks in this world my friends (sigh) so use your purchasing power wisely.

J. K. Rowling's new book is always going to sell millions of copies - if you want her new book (man, I want Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!) then ask for it for your birthday.

A debut novelist at a small or niche publisher? Far less likely to sell. So every copy counts. Buy that copy while you have the cash in hand.

But don't let people make you feel bad for not supporting the industry enough. You know how much you can afford - they don't.

If it wasn't for review copies, library books, and second-hand stores, I honestly don't think I'd be able to draw attention to so many books, and help other readers find the books they'll enjoy.

I don't blog for the books (I didn't even know there were review copies when I started - little na├»ve creature that I was,) but I'm firmly of the opinion that if publishers want the publicity that bloggers can bring, then they need to understand that we can't afford to buy every book vying for our attention.

But even if you're not a blogger, you can do your part.

I'm not asking for much - in fact, if you want to get your paws on all those books, I've probably just saved you some cash.

Just think about how you spend your money, and if you find a good book, don't be afraid to talk about it! (But if you don't want to, then meh - do your own thing!)

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  1. I always wondered if libraries were actually beneficial to the author so that's good to know! I use the library a whole lot lol.

    1. I think Canada was one of the countries with an author-payment scheme, so you're all good! (Plus the other reasons I mentioned, ofc!) XD

  2. I am so disconnected from my city's library :( I used to go almost every day when I was a teenager because it was right across my book and I would sometimes spend hours after school reading. Those were magical times.
    Now I just buy my books because I like directly supporting authors and the publishing industry with my own money. But you're so right that libraries are so important!!! If I weren't obsessed with collecting and owning books, I'd borrow more of them. Also, You will never see me downplaying libraries' role in society. :D

    1. If I could afford to buy more then I would... but I'd probably still go to the library too ;) Like I said, the great thing about the UK is we have a scheme which means that authors get paid whenever you borrow a book - and the books are still free as long as you return them on time.

      Unfortunately we are seeing more and more libraries closing, because they're run by the local councils which don't have that much money at the moment - they do such an important job here though. They run the local job club, and the librarians help people to use the computers to apply for jobs, benefits, their pensions, to pay bills... they do so much! And in the summer there are always kids upstairs (where the kids section is) - for some of them it's pretty much the only place to go because their parents are at work and childcare's expensive.

  3. You know, I never really knew how libraries actually worked, and I always wondered why they would exist when they would probably losing the author money. But I guess they are still earning so that works! I'm actually really happy to know how it works and I love the sound of sharing reviews. I mean, not biased or anything but BEST WAY TO SUPPORT WHILE BROKE EVAR.

  4. I love the library, and you're so right that spreading the word about books is a huge help to authors. You make a good point about supporting smaller presses when you can, too.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. In my country (Croatia) we unfortunately don't have the same library system as UK, so here you support authors and publisher ONLY if you buy their book. I don't know how that goes for e-libraries (here those two are separated institutions).
    I've seen there were discussions about it but tbh I don't think that anything's gonna happen about it any time soon.
    But here you can still suport the author even if you borrow the book and write a review for it online.
    I really like this article so I'll retweet it. :)

    1. Unfortunately not all countries have this system - but they'll still buy copies of the book in order to lend, meaning that the more popular an author, the more books of theirs they will buy.

      And yes - reviewing and talking about books on line is a great way to support authors when you're broke; it doesn't cost anything and encourages others to give the author/book a try. :)

      And thank you very much for the tweet, much appreciated! :)


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