3 Ways to Support Local Authors

Print Note: This blog post is sponsored by Grammarly. (Thanks, Grammarly!) I use Grammarly for free proofreading because I edit all day long, and my eyes get tired. So, so tired. The software doesn’t replace proofreading from a living, breathing human, but it’s great for the first round.

Last night, I had the honor of hosting the Top Idaho Author and Book Awards, an event that supports and recognizes books written by Idaho authors or produced by Idaho publishers.
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2013 Top Idaho Author and Book Awards winners | Photo by Nichole MacDowell
What a splendid evening! After four plus months of planning, stressing, and obsessing, I can’t explain how thrilled I am at how it turned out. The food was perfection, the venue was elegant, and the authors shined. I left feeling inspired, encouraged, and so darn proud of the Idaho publishing scene. Unlike some groups in bigger areas like New York and LA, Idahoans are so…well, nice. We work together, support each other, and share in each other’s successes. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare. Evenings like last night remind me of the importance of supporting local publishing efforts. Amazon.com and other stores can be so convenient—hello, Amazon Prime!—and it’s true that authors do make money off of book sales. But with big retailers taking cuts around 40 percent (!), they’re not always the best options for purchasing books. If you’d like to support local authors, or even independent authors in other states, here are three ways you can do so: — Share on social media—and everywhere else, too! Do you know an author? Share her success! Today’s authors also get to wear the hat of “book marketing extraordinaire,” even if they aren’t extraordinary at book marketing, which means they do a lot of work to get the word out about their books. Something as simple as sharing a link to the author’s website or book can have an incredible impact. A friend of mine endorsed my book when it was first published, resulting in one of my very first sales. That was a big deal to me, and I’m still thankful to him. So, share away. Word of mouth can be huge, too, so don’t be shy in building your author friend up if the occasion arises. Buy direct. Instead of buying from Amazon.com or Barnes&Nobles, purchase directly from the publisher (assuming it’s a small press) or author. Self-published authors will receive 100 percent of the profits from direct sales, while authors who published through small presses will receive a set royalty amount, which is usually higher when the book is purchased directly from the publisher. My publisher, Night Owls Press, built an author-distributor clause into my contract that allows me to sell my book directly to readers with a much higher percentage than I would receive through any other retailer. Local bookstores are also great places to spend your dollars because they tend to carry local books and host events supporting local authors. Do keep in mind, though, that authors appreciate your purchase, no matter where you buy their books from! Write a(n honest) review. I have been so grateful to the readers who have taken the time to write a review of my book. Some of them have even posted reviews on their blogs. Key places to post reviews are sites like BN.com, Amazon.com and Goodreads.com. Yes, I know I just told you to buy direct, but the truth is that most buyers will go to these sites, so a review is incredibly helpful. — I know I’m just skimming the surface, and there are many more ways to support authors. What would you add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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