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Friday, July 3, 2015

Supporting Authors

There are about twelve hundred blog posts in the netverse telling you how to support authors. Everything from buying books to leaving reviews to suggestions of what pens to buy authors for their birthdays. Those are all really sweet, and totally appropriate for reader-level support.

This post is about supporting authors who you know personally, because there's a lot more to supporting an author than buying books.

First and foremost, when someone you love announces they want to be a career writer (writing with the intent to publish rather than writing just for friends) you need to realize they aren't asking for your approval, they are warning you that they have are starting a new job. It might be a second job that they do after their paycheck-earning job, it might be their sole job that they do between classes, parenting, or while sipping virgin daiquiris at the beach. Whatever the case, they have a job and if you support them it means respecting the demands of the job.

A vast majority of authors work from home which proves very confusing for some people. When an author sits down to write, plot, market, ect they are AT WORK. I know, they are physically sitting at home, possibly in pajamas, but they are working. Interrupting them while they are working is no different than calling a person at their office job and interrupting their day. Support the author by letting them work.

Second, when the author is someone you know personally you support them in their highs and lows. That means you don't ask when they'll get a real job, suggest they take up another "hobby" (because the author working for publication is no longer a hobbyist, they are a career writer), or asking them to skip their work time to do something with you. Support the author by respecting their work, encouraging them in the face of rejection, and celebrating the milestones with them.

Third, get to know the industry. If your spouse/bestie/sibling/parent/neighbor worked in pharmaceuticals you'd probably discuss it with them at your monthly lunch date. If the person you carpool with is an airplane pilot you'd be comfortable talking about airports, weather systems, and those funny hats. Support your author by learning the terms of publishing and how they affect your author's life. This isn't some secret, kinky cult where outsiders aren't allowed to know what a publishing contract is. Go ahead and Google it, there's plenty of information there that will allow you to have an intelligent conversation.

Fourth, if your author signs a contract don't treat it like an agreement to meet at the park for a picnic. This is a legally binding contract, often with money on the line, and it's not something the author can blow off lightly. Telling them that deadlines can be skipped isn't supportive.

- Letting a writing author write.
- Encourage the author on the bad days and celebrate the good days.
- Learn about writing and publishing.
- Respect the time commitment. 

Buying the books, talking about them with friends and on social media, and leaving reviews are great ways to support an author after the book is done. You should do those too.

- Liana

P.S. AUTHORS - feel free to print this and tape to the office door/read to the kids/mail to your roommate/give to your significant other. There's no need to be subtle. Guard your writing time ferociously.


  1. This is why my writing has never gone any where. Every time I started writing I'd get interrupted. Just because I was visible and no one else seemed to know how to do things or find anything *rolls eyes*

    I wrote a similar notice for a couple of artist friends who were having trouble with extended family treating them like they were not working. Or thinking that doing art is not hard work or a "real" job.

  2. Thanks for writing this! Now to figure out a way to get several people in my life to read this without suggesting they've been inconsiderate up to now...

    1. "Oh, look at what my friend Liana just posted! Isn't it awful that people say that to her? Can you imagine why she had to even write this? It's terrible. Just look!"

      Then shove it in their face. It's okay. My family can take the smear campaign.

  3. Disclaimer: My family is usually pretty good about letting me write and respecting my working time. My husband and kids have been fully supportive, and for the most part the extended family is supportive even if they think the publishing industry is crazy (they aren't wrong). But everyone had their bad days and there are times where I have to yell, "Mommy is working! Entertain yourselves!", throw candy at the kids, and lock the study door.