Close your eyes for a moment and imagine you are inside a bookstore. It doesn’t matter which one, a big chain or a quaint little shop lined wall-to-wall with literature.

Books come in all sizes and shapes – some have pictures, others maps. Unless they are identical copies, each one is different from others in countless ways … except one. The common thread that links books is that a person took the time to write them.

Now, take a minute to let that soak in. All those people took the time to write thousands of words – to share their story with the world. What’s even crazier is there are thousands more that never see the inside of a bookstore. If you haven’t tried books written by self-published authors, you are missing out on a whole new world of reading.

Writing is a truly amazing thing and something that, far too often, is taken for granted. Think what the world would be like without literature: children would grow up without bedtime stories, there would be no superheroes fighting off evil to act as role models, none of the great works would stimulate our minds and imaginations, love poems meant to unite soul mates would never exist, and how many who achieved greatness would never have been inspired to do so?

It doesn’t matter what the title is, or who the author is, hundreds of hours were spent putting each and every publication together. These are real people who have all worked hard, laughed, cried, rejoiced and doubted themselves – all to share something special with an audience, the likes of whom they will never meet and never hear from. For that, they deserve applause and recognition.

If you’d like to say thank you to an author, here’s my list of top ten things you can do:

  1. Read their book(s). This seems like a silly thing to include as number one on the list, but there is nothing better for an author than knowing their work is being read.
  2. Leave a review. This isn’t something the average person thinks about. When a person buys a book from a local bookstore, the last thing on their mind is leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or other websites. It isn’t much different for online buyers. While reviews may not make a big difference in ranks and sales, they are important if an author wants to run a promotion and for credibility. Overall, though, I think the most important aspect of a review is the self-confidence boost it gives. One short line from a reader is powerful enough to inspire new worlds and adventures that might not have otherwise been born. 
  3. Share social media posts. If you like a book, tell the world – let people know – make recommendations. Word of mouth will always be the best promotion an author can have.
  4. Ask a local library or bookstore to carry a copy. It only takes a moment of your time. Libraries and bookstores want to have books people are looking for on their shelves. The more people ask for a certain publication, the better the chance of one day finding it on a shelf. While you are there, make a suggestion to any local book clubs as well.
  5. Finding mistakes. No one is perfect, authors and editors aren’t any different. If you find a mistake in a book, be kind and send a private message to the author. We live in an age where books are corrected and new editions published with ease. Do yourself a favor, if you own a physical copy with a mistake, keep it. Being discovered is a game of chance and older versions are the ones that end up being worth the most money if it goes viral.
  6. Celebrate new books. Every author has some sort of build-up to releasing a new novel. Whether it is a facebook take-over or a celebration party, join in. The more people, the merrier.
  7. Tell the truth. If you find something that isn’t quite right, or that is disturbing, find a way to be nice, but let the author know. Try to use private messaging or emails whenever possible.
  8. Did you love the cover? Why not share it around so other people can see it too? Start discussions about what you like, by doing so you will be generating interest and new readers.
  9. Make predictions. This one is my favourite. Do you think you know everything about the series, including what happens in future books? Let people know what you think and what you would like to see happen. If you enjoy writing, take it one step further and start some fan-fiction.
  10. Let the author know you’d like to see the movie. This is the ultimate compliment.

Now you have a list, why not make an author smile today? Join me next week for another edition of “The Write Information.”