All the Ways You Can Support Writers
After I wrote a snarky response to James Patterson’s bullshit about reverse racism, some people reached out and asked what they can do to help.
To start, I recommend tracking the diversity in your own reading. I started tracking how many woman authors I read several years ago. After I crossed the 50% mark there, I started tracking how many POC and LGBT authors I was reading. I don’t have any rules for this, but it’s good for me to keep a finger on the pulse of my own habits. I seek out voices that are different from mine, and different from the old-white-straight-christian/christian-adjacent man establishment.
In addition to looking at your own reading habits, there are some things you can do publicly to support authors. If you want to support diversity in publishing, or just publishing in general, here are all the ways I know of to support authors:
- Buy books — This sometimes feels like a “No, duh” moment, but every purchase helps. Yes, sales put money in an author’s pocket, but they also shape the possibilities of future book contracts. No sales? No contracts. Buy books as gifts, buy them and donate them to shelters or schools, buy them and read them, buy them and display them as a collection. Just buy them!
- Ask your library to order books — Can’t afford to buy every beautiful book you want to read? Neither can I! Your library surely has a request system (ask a librarian or check their website); my library automatically puts me at the front of the line to receive a book when I place an order request. Authors still get paid, circulation numbers get reported back to publishers, and more readers are found.
- Talk about books — Word of mouth recommendations are still the #1 way people find new books and how books are sold. Join book clubs, ask people what they’ve read recently, talk about your favorite authors.
- Post about books — Online word of mouth counts as word of mouth. Even if you aren’t on Goodreads (or any similar site), you can still post about what you’re reading. Tip: Do it during any time of year EXCEPT the last week of December, when everyone’s feeds are full of recommendation lists.