Recently my dear friend, Robyn Mundy, who is also a brilliant author and all-round lovely person wrote a brilliant blog post about why you should support authors, publishers and readers (that’s you – in fact, that’s all of us) by buying a book rather than borrowing it from someone else (pause here and go and read her post, if you haven’t already).
When I read this post I thought ‘Bravo young Robyn! I agree totally!’ (Which is pretty common because when Robyn says something it is well considered and very clever)
But then I had a thought. What if you can’t afford to buy the book and don’t have access to a library? Or what if you find a book left behind as part of Bookcrossing? Or what if you are holiday with your bestest friend and s/he says, drying her eye as she finishes the last page: “You have got to read this book, NOW.” Or what if…well, you get the picture. There are times when borrowing or passing on a book might be a good idea.
So then I thought ‘well, what can the reader who has borrowed (or found) the book do to show the author some love (which is lovey) or some support (ie sales, which equals money which equals being able to pay the bills and write some more)’? SO, as I sat on an airplane yesterday, I brainstormed some ways that you (and me – cos I’m a reader too) could show support for the author of that free book you’ve read.
- Blog. Write a blog post about it! Could be a lengthy review, could be a short review, could just be a ravey post (which is really a review anyway). Include the cover image so people knows what the book is about, and a link to the author’s website and even figure out where it can be purchased.
- Tweet. Haven’t got time to blog? Use Twitter. You can say a lot in 140 characters. Say something ravey, tag the author or publisher and watch it get retweeted very enthusiastically.
- Instagram. Take a photo of the book and pop in on Instagram. Even less words required. Could be just a photo of the book, or a selfie of yourself showing it some love, or a styled shot of book and relevant props.
- Goodreads. Pop over to Goodreads and give the book a good rating. If you’ve got time, add a review (could be one you’ve written elsewhere). Chat with other fans if they’re there.
- Amazon (and other Bookstores). Head to Amazon, find the book’s listing and, again, rate and review it. Other bookstores that have rating systems include Fishpond
- Tell a Friend. Haven’t got a blog, social media account? Just tell a friend about the book next time you see them – or ring them up to tell them. This is just another way of reviewing the book – but what a wonderful way! And a great conversation starter.
- Tell a stranger. Kind of the same as 6 (except I don’t recommend ringing a stranger to recommend a book). Strike up a conversation in the supermarket queue or at a party or while you’re browsing in a bookstore. Seriously, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
- Respond creatively. If you’re a fellow writer, write a poem/story/whatever responding to the book or its issues or one of the characters viewpoints, or whatever. If you’re a visual artist, respond with a piece of art. If you’re a photographer, or musician or installation artist or whatever – be inspired by the book. Then, when people stop to admire your work, or read it on your blog or whatever, tell them about the book that inspired you.
- Pinterest. Create a Pinterest page dedicated to the book and pin the cover, pictures of the author, photos of places mentioned in the book, links to reviews etc. Or just have one pinterest page called ‘Great Books I Have Read’.
- Give It as gift. Not the copy you scored for free – a brand new copy. We all have trouble thinking up gifts for friends/frenemies, Great Aunt Ethel/Bob next door/whoever. If you have loved a book, buy it for someone who you love. They will thank you for it.
The Australian book community is facing massive challenges at the moment, and is in the midst of a battle for survival. If you love a book (especially an Australian book, and whether or not you bought it or borrowed it), show it (and its creator) some love. Today.