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by Hope Clark Originally Published on Funds for Writers Blog on April 27, 2018

Y'all ever read Suite T, the blog for Southern Writers Magazine? It's pretty good, and this past week, Terry Whalin posted 4 Ways to Support Writers.

I want to take this a step further and not state HOW a reader can help a writer, but WHY they have a responsibility to do so.

When a reader picks up a book to read, they expect to invest hours into the entertainment. The author and publisher on the other end are waiting with fingers crossed to hear how the reader liked it. They need feedback to better understand how to proceed with subsequent works.

Any type of industry needs feedback. Are they doing it right? Are they creating the right product? Publishers, agents, and bookstores hang on public feedback to determine whether an author is worth fooling with. Silence is deadly.

So, if a reader likes a story, or an author, they need to speak up. Otherwise they risk losing a good story, or worse, a good author.

Let's talk about a reader's responsibility when they read a book:

1) Buy the book. An occasional freebie is fine, especially when test-driving an author. However, authors, publishers, agents, cover designers, etc. depend on income to eat and put a roof over their head. Buy a book.

2) Write a review. Do you want more stories like the one you just read? Then post a review. Otherwise, how is anyone supposed to know that this type of writing needs to continue? Call it a thank-you to the people who fought hard to put that book in your hands. They cannot read your mind.

3) Reply to blog posts. Blogs are free, frequently used to sell books or an author's prowess. Don't read a post and silently blow away. At least thank the writer or blog host. Yes, you're busy, but so are they. What if you did a job and nobody told you whether it was good or bad? Again, the silence is a killer.

4) Take responsibility for your social media. Don't just read. Don't just rant about politics or the neighbor's noise next door. Don't just take and not give back. When you see a book promoted, and you like it or the author, then retweet or share. It's a button, people.

5) Use your word-of-mouth. If you do not relay to others about a good book, and everyone else remains just as silent, that good book disappears along with the subsequent books after it from that author.

Many an author has withered away due to lack of feedback, because feedback equates to sales, which equates to contracts and/or earning a living. I've seen good writers think they were no good...all because readers remained quiet.

Oh, and if you're a writer? Magnify that responsibility by ten.