This post goes along with this vlog I posted today. I’ve basically duplicated the vlog content and expanded on the things. Please add your own ideas via comments!
You probably know that I’ve got my first book, Peace Fire, coming out in less than a week (11 October! Squee!), so this seemed like a good time to talk about how to support artists you like, even if you’re broke. Even if they aren’t me. I’ve made sure to include a section, right up top, on free and easy ways to show your love. You can scroll down to find new info, including a bulleted list of ideas if you’ve already watched the vlog.
Now, I know it’s cheesy, but acronyms help us remember things, so…Quickly, here’s how you can be a STAR fan. If that’s too cheesy, I guess you could scramble it up to be RATS or add some other way I don’t mention and somehow make yourself TRASH…But most of you already know I’m a fan of stars and I think you’re better than rats (however cute) or trash, so…
S is for social media.
Following your artist on social media is great (do it!), but we’d also love you to interact with us. We enjoy it, but also, for sites like Facebook and Instagram that don’t show everything to everyone who follows an artist, your likes and comments and shares help us be seen.
T is for tell the world.
Talk about our stuff when you get a chance, recommend us to other people, post about your love online, link to us on your own web site, use something to do with us as your user pic or banner, wear our merch outside your house, read our books in public, put our songs on playlists or play them when other people are around…Basically, be the cool friend that, someday, your other friend credits for introducing them to the book or song or whatever that they love. I know those people in my life are the best!
A is for art or act on inspiration.
If our stuff inspires you to create—whether original stuff or straight up fan art—that stuff is so great. We love it when you feel inspired by us and when you share what you made with us. I mean, obviously, please don’t plagiarise or try to make pennies off of someone else’s copyright, but we’re pretty sure that most of you are just excited and want to share your love.
R is for reviews.
This might be the last letter, but it’s definitely not the least of ways to support artists. Sites that let you review our stuff usually use your reviews to determine whether other people get to see our stuff. For instance, last I heard, Amazon is way, waaaaaay more likely to let someone find a book after it gets 50 reviews. You don’t have to be eloquent or witty. Even just “I liked it!” counts. Plus, we get happy tingles when you leave 5 star reviews.
Bonus Thoughts and Bullet Points
Before I give you a list of all the ways I can think of to be supportive (already mentioned in this post and otherwise), I want to include a personal thought for people who are family and friends of artists. You can support us in ways that strangers can’t.
You can keep checking out new projects or even most recent works. Really, anyone can do that, but friends and family are most likely to know about early drafts or past projects. We promise we are trying to be better than the story or song we wrote when we were 12. It’s very normal for artists to evolve and change over time. We do different things and/or we get better. You might be pleasantly surprised, and we’ll be super grateful.
Also, being understanding about the time we have to spend alone to make this stuff is awesome. Most artists I know or know about need solitude to work their magic. Even if they’re in a band (which means they also need time with just their bandmates), there’s still work to be done in solitude. Hours of it. (For instance, a novel is at least 40,000 words long. Peace Fire is around 120,000. 1,000 words an hour is a pretty healthy writing speed. So, there’s at least 40 hours alone for a novel in general, 120 for Peace Fire. Throw in at least as many hours for even one edit—but expect more edits—and the time to work out the plot, do any research, and ponder details…You get the idea.)
Now, here are some bullets, some action items, in case you’d rather skim and get right to the point. Though, obviously, I’m also going to second the stuff Ed Yong suggested for how to support his book. Totally do this with mine. Just let me know where to find my ziggurat…
Things that cost no money
- Leave reviews of our stuff on web sites. Really important. (This can be free if you borrowed our stuff from a friend or the library.)
- Follow us on social media.
- Interact with us on social media (comment, share, like, re-blog, re-tweet, etc).
- Make art if our stuff inspires you (original or fan art) and share it.
- Talk about our stuff when you get a chance.
- Recommend us to other people.
- Hook us up with any connections you might have.
- Post about your love for our stuff online.
- Link to us from your own web site.
- Use something to do with us as your user pic or banner.
- Request our stuff at the appropriate place (radio stations, book stores, etc).
- Bring your friends to our events. (Technically, if they pay for themselves, this isn’t costing you money, right?)
- Come to free events (readings, signings, etc).
- Indicate your interest when possible. For example, with my book, you could go to my Goodreads page and indicate simply that you want to read my book. That easy act can make a positive difference in how people perceive the things we make.
Things that are free after you’ve already spent money on other things
- Read our books in public. (This could be free if you borrow it from a friend or library.)
- Put our songs on playlists or play them when other people are around.
- Related: If your friend asks about the song, don’t play cool; enthuse!
- Wear our merch in public.
- Post pictures online of you enjoying what we do or wearing our merch.
- Stand up front and interact at events. (If we do music, you dancing and singing is magic!)
- If you get pics or video of our events, share those online and/or with your artist friend (so they can share them on their social media pages).
Things that cost money
- Buy our creations (e.g. albums, books, paintings, etc).
- Buy our merch (e.g. t-shirts, stickers, badges/buttons, etc).
- Come to our paid events (e.g. shows, non-free readings, conventions, etc).
- Give our stuff as gifts (creations or merch or entrance to events).
- Support our crowdfunding efforts.
- Buy us gear, studio time, and other things that let us do our art better.
Go be a STAR fan to an artist you love, okay?
Peace Fire is out 11 October!
Pre-order your Kindle edition here.
Sale price until 10 October