How To Care For Your Author
So you’ve had a writer for a while now and you’ve learnt that writers need an unlimited supply of tea or coffee and plenty of snacks. You know that if a writer is head down, tapping furiously on a laptop then not to disturb them. And no, there is no exception to this rule. You know to ask interested questions and let them cry on you if there’s a nasty rejection. This is life being friends with a writer.
But things have changed. Your writer has become An Author. They are going to have to leave their nice, safe writing cave and enter The Big Wide World. This is a considerable change for your writer. Writers are usually introverts, and your writer is no different. They manage social situations fine, as long as there’s plenty of quiet writing time in between, but this change will mean more time interacting with people and less time alone. You worry: how will your writer cope?
You love your writer. You’ve seen how many years of crying at a laptop it’s taken to become An Author and you want to do all you can to help them. But what can you do to make that transition easier, to help your writer be happy?
Believe in them. Keep believing even if they stop.
Continue to let them cry on you. Some of the reasons will be different (reviews mainly, and no one turning up to signings) but the tears are the same.
Pre-order their book. Tell people that you’ve pre-ordered their book. Imply that they should too. (This helps bookshops decide whether to stock it or not. Bookshops stocking your writer’s book will make your writer happy – they love shelfies)
Read their book. Tell your writer the bits you especially loved (please note, if you did not enjoy it – DO NOT TELL THEM. This is very important. This will crush your writer and make them cry more)
Leave reviews online. Tell people that you loved it. Gift their book. People have enough wine and chocolate and socks. People rarely have enough books.
Put them in touch with friendly librarians, teachers and independent bookshops. These are your writer’s tribe. They know how your writer is feeling and can do things to help your writer feel happy talking about their book away from home. Same goes for book bloggers and bookstagramers.
If you ARE a friendly librarian, teacher, independent bookshop or book blogger tell everyone about your writer’s amazing book. Invite your writer to come and talk about their book. Tell your friends about their great event. Maybe they want to book your writer for an event too?
Keep telling your writer that they’re doing fine. Think you’ve done that enough? You haven’t. Tell them again. Set reminders on your phone if you have to.
Go to your writer’s events. Take lots of photos so they don’t have to. Post them online to show everyone how cool your writer is.
If you’re into social media, spot opportunities to big up your writer’s book. Mention what you like about it, who would enjoy reading it – enthuse and over-emote.
Pop into bookshops and libraries and ask about your writer’s book. Say you’ve heard good things about it. Perhaps don’t mention that your writer is your spouse/offspring/best mate.
Find unusual ways to spread the word of your writer’s awesomeness: write their book title on restaurant receipts, randomly mention it when on the phone to utility companies, have you mentioned it to your postman, grocery delivery guy, neighbours? Writers crave word of mouth recommendations and you are the right person to start this off. What are you waiting for? Spread that booky joy.
For hard core supporters: go rogue. This is not for the fainthearted. Don dark glasses and go undercover into bookshops. Carefully rearrange the books. Make your writer’s book more visible – face the cover outwards, and if you’re feeling super-stealthy, move it to The Table.
NEVER do these things:
Don’t ask them how much they earn. It’s not much (roughly 40-50p per copy, much less if the book is discounted – you do the maths)
Don’t compare them to JK Rowling/David Walliams/anyone else. They are not JK Rowling/David Walliams/anyone else. They are themselves.
Don’t point out typos in a published book. They will already know. This is another one of the new reasons they cry.
Remember, authors are for life, not just for launch day. If you take care of your author, they will repay you with love, effusive thanks in their acknowledgements and advance reader copies of their next book.