November 1st is National Authors Day!
Do you have an author in your life? I don’t necessarily mean one you know personally (though this applies also in that situation), but any author you’ve ever read and thought, “wow, what a story.” Someone you’ve wanted to thank because your life or perspective shifted or grew or improved for the time spent in their pages. Anyone who has ever read even a handful of books, probably knows what I am talking about.
If so, here’s a friendly, public service announcement: they could use a little appreciation.
Blood, sweat, and ink
I’ve written about the writing life before, but in case you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the authorial calling, it’s not easy.
Here are a few things you might not know about what’s involved in bringing books to print:
- It usually takes several hundred hours to conceive, write, edit, and publish a single book
- The average novel sells less than 200 copies
- Most authors make less than $10,000 a year
- Writing involves lots of sacrifice: time away from family and friends, back strain, giving up hobbies and free time
- Independent authors have to pay for editors, cover design, and promotion or they have to spend time and energy doing it themselves
If you factor in the hours put in vs. the profit received, even full-time, “successful” authors would probably make more working at other jobs. Many authors, including Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Frost had to have second jobs to make ends meet.
Share the treasure
The value of a good book is hard to quantify, but it’s safe to say, most of us don’t put much thought into how much work goes into making them. It’s raining books. Books are everywhere. We can pick ’em up for a song at used bookstores, or even better, download them for free at Amazon or check them out at the library. We have an embarrassment of riches.
And yet many books, even if they are bought, don’t get read. Or if they are read, get filed away on a shelf or on a digital device and never thought about again.
Oh, dear reader, this should not be so.
Books are more than just another option for entertainment, just so much pulp and pen. They are ideas, experiences, and imagination captured and preserved in the amber of literature for all time an eternity.
If you have sailed across an ocean of pages and met a memorable, poignant, or brilliant story, you should not be silent. You should stand up, share, and shout it to the world!
And if you do, not only will it help others to discover the same treasures you have, it will encourage that author in ways you cannot imagine.
ABC’s of Author Appreciation
So, assuming you’ve already bought and read their books, what are some of the best ways to show an author (and the world) how much their work has meant to you?
Here are the ABC’s of author appreciation.
“A” is for Acclaim
One of the quickest, easiest ways to show an author some literary love is to write a review. If you do just one thing to show your appreciation for an author, do this one.
Not only does it help them get more visibility on whatever online store you leave the review at, it will encourage others who see your review or the high rating to read that book as well.
If you lock up when it comes to the idea of writing a review, don’t stress about it. You don’t have too write a masterpiece. All it takes is a quick sentence. Here’s a review I got recently for The Last Motley which is a perfect example of that.
See how easy that was? You can (and should) totally do this!
If you don’t know how to leave a review, click the following link to find out how to leave one on Amazon.
“B” is for Bestow
This one’s a bit more work, but if you already have the book, why not loan out your copy to someone else to read? If you can’t bear to part with it, just buy them a copy!
Christmas is coming up soon. Why not give everyone books this year?
After all, a book is a present you can open again and again.
Honestly, there are few gifts better than the gift of a good story.
“C” is for Communicate
The last one is the easiest of all. Tell people about the books you love! Tell your grandpa, your mom, the cashier in the line at Walmart (they need something to read when things get slow, you know).
My friend, Deborah O’Carroll, is probably the best person this side of the moon at this. Seriously, if there was a Presidential Medal for Author Appreciation, she would win it.
She started up a blog to show her author appreciation. If you don’t have a one, why not start? Okay, I know it’s a lot of work, but Pro Tip: it’s actually a way to get free books! Seriously, if you have a blog, let me know, I’d be happy to send you a book in exchange for a review.
If that’s a bit much, you probably have a social media account (or ten). How about sharing over there? From what I hear, those places could use a few good book discussions to improve the mood up a little.
Or how about just sending an author an email?
Or you could visit their website and leave a comment or feedback. Seriously, we love hearing from readers. It even says so right above the comment form on this page!
Letting an author know their book made an impact is one of the best gifts you can give an author.
So, how about it? Share the gift of a good story. Leave a review or write a note. Go out and make an author’s day!