It doesn't take much to put a smile on an author's face. Believe me. It's the small things that we authors live for that keeps us motivated and willing to rise from our beds and sit our butts back down at the computer each and every day (basically, it consists of someone--anyone--letting us know that what we've created wasn't a big ol' waste of time and effort).
So if you want to put a smile on an author's face, then do one of these three things, or better yet, do all three (an author's face just might break from continual grinning. So go on...break an author's face).
#1: Buy their book. So simple and yet, so very effective. Authors are obsessive souls. We know when our books sale (we can watch our seller rankings) and we know when our books don't (so sad). For most authors, we dream of selling kabillions of books, but the reality is that for most authors that will never happen. So selling one book or two books or maybe even ten books here and there is a VERY BIG deal. It's the only tangible thing an author has to hang onto. So if a book looks great then download a sample from Amazon, give it a chance to draw you in, and if it does...then click BUY IT. Did you know that every time a book is bought an angel gets their wings? Okay, that's not true, but it does make an author's day and that is no lie.
#2: Review their book. The percentage of people who buy books and read them is something like 87.56% of the world's population. The percentage of readers who will leave a review, even for a book they absolutely love, on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble is roughly .000567% (percentages are completely made-up, but for the purposes of this argument, it doesn't matter. Just go with it). So as you can see, many people read but very few leave reviews.
But did you know that reviews, even the bad ones, are just like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the creamy peanut butter center in the middle of a candy bar, or the prize in a box of unhealthy (though, oh so delicious) cereal, or your significant other letting you know that THEY will make dinner tonight. Reviews are awesome. Reviews are necessary. And the more the merrier. Readers base a lot of their decisions on whether to buy a book or not on the reviews left by other customers, so their importance is crucial. Authors love reading reviews--even the bad ones. It's instant feedback to let them know if what they are doing is working or not. The biggest reason that so many readers don't leave a review of any kind is the fear that they will not write a "good enough" review, or that they simply don't even know HOW to leave a review.
As far as being good enough, don't worry about it. Just be yourself and be honest. I'm telling you, as an author, those are some of my most favorite reviews. They are pure and they are genuine. You don't have to dissect the story or use elaborate words to describe your feelings for the book--just be you. I promise that being you is perfect.
Now for not knowing how to leave a review, it's actually pretty simple. Most sights such as Amazon and Goodreads will require you to set up an account. Then just search out the book you'd read, near the top will have a button for leaving a review, click it, title it, and then write about what you liked and didn't like about the book. It doesn't have to be long. Even just a sentence or two will do the trick. Pretty simple. For more information on How to Leave a Review, click here.
#3: TELL EVERYONE. If you read a book you love, then tell your friends! Heck, tell your enemies, too. Authors don't mind. The biggest thing an author has going for them is word or mouth. It's more powerful than any marketing plan will ever be. Imagine for a moment, if you will, having read a book you loved and then letting your friend know about it, "Oh my gosh! I just read this amazing book about zombies and cowboys! It was so cool, and Trace is SOO hot! You gotta read it!" (Shameless plug here).
Now think about it, your friend is more likely to read the book because a) she/he has built a relationship with you based on trust and b) she/he secretly wants to be you and reading a book that you just read gets them one step closer (kinda creepy, huh?).
An author can promote and market and talk about their book all they want, but you're more likely to try a new book based on the recommendation of a friend you trust and who's opinion you value. Word of mouth has the ability to spread like wild fire. Did you know that in nearly half of all product purchases (books included) was done based on word of mouth alone? (This is a true fact. Not made up like the above statistics. Click here or here if you're not quite wanting to believe me based on previous misleadings). If you tell one friend and then that friend tells a friend, and so on and so on...then imagine the possibilities. It would be a dream come true for an author. An author's face will break for certain from all the smiling they would do. Read a book and then help spread the word.
So as you can see, readers can do A LOT to help and support their favorite authors and they're not even all that hard to do. The power to break faces is yours. Go out and see how many author faces you can break today :)
What other things can readers do to help support an author?