Christmas fast approaches and the malls are doubtless packed with people desperately trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone on their list. For once I am not there, for which I am grateful. I am here to help you, should you have any writers on your list that you don’t know what to get. I’m pretty sure I know what they might like. (This advice is probably reasonably portable to artists in general) Perhaps even better, you won’t have to go to the mall!
1) If you’ve read something by a writer whose work you’d like to support, write a review for it on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever else you’re comfortable with. New writers in particular may be finding it hard to get attention on their work, and reviews will help. Amazon in particular has algorithms that are based on the number of reviews a book has received, but reviews anywhere will help boost the visibility of a book, for which any author will be very grateful. People really do read these things, as well, and your good opinion can carry a lot of weight.
2) Along those lines (and maybe even simpler), if you’ve read a book and liked it, tell a friend. No-one would expect you to push it on everyone you know, but if you’ve read something and know someone who you think might enjoy it, just let them know about the book you read and why you thought it was good. There are few greater compliments you can pay a writer than to suggest their work to someone else.
3) Finally, if you’ve read a book and liked it, tell the writer! Writing is often a very solitary pursuit and although some writers are invincibly confident, many are not. It can be hard to know if what you’ve been working on is worthwhile at times, and so hearing from someone that they read your stuff and liked it can be such a valuable boost. In my own case, I had entirely abandoned The King in Darkness until someone read the manuscript and told me they really enjoyed it. That gave me enough of a boost to get it ready for publication and eventually bring the work to print. Since then, hearing from readers who liked it and tell me they’re looking forward to another story about Adam Godwinson has been really important, some days, for keeping me inspired to keep working on the sequel. (It’s going ok) I think everyone likes a pat on the head sometimes, and if you tell a writer that you liked something they wrote, I promise you’ll make their day.
Those may all seem like very simple ideas, but I promise any writer will be grateful if you do some or all of them, probably more than they might be for a chocolate orange or pair of socks. For myself, I have already received a wonderful gift this year of having my writing in print, and I’m immensely grateful for that, and all the exciting stuff that came as a result of it.
Writing is a tremendous gift to have in my life, all on its own, and I’m as grateful as I could be to have it as part of my life.
I’m also grateful for everyone who has taken some time out of their lives to read this blog. It’s great having you all. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, however you’re spending it.
Go read something!