Thursday 11 September 2014

Support an author when you have no money to buy books

I am a single mum with two kids and I love books. As much as would love to buy all the books my writing friends publish, I just can't afford it (and I'm rapidly running out of shelf space!). I know I'm not the only one out there in this situation.

There are a lot of authors talking about the only way you can support them is to buy their books. There are other ways.

Here are some tips to support your fellow authors if you have no money:

Request the book at your library - I am a member of my local library and have become good friends with the librarians. If there is a book I want to read, or my kids want to read, we request the book at the library and they purchase it for us. There is a program by the government called "Lending Rights" so authors who are registered don't miss out on royalties and the books are available for other library members to read.

There have been a couple of times I've suggested the library get in books that I have purchased and loved. Because I know the librarians, I usually drop them an email with the details of the book so I don't have to reserve it, and they often get these books in.

Buy a gift - I know that even if I have no money, I do have money set aside for gifts. I've been known to buy books from my author friends as gifts for friends and with either read the book before I give it, or give the gift with a request to read the book after they have read it! This still gives the author a sale and I get to read the book.

Add to your wish list - my birthday is coming up in October and already I'm getting family asking what I want as a gift. I'm prepared with a list of books I would love to read and own. This is one of the easiest ways to get a new book and support some of your favourite authors - ask people to give them to you as gifts for your birthday, Christmas, or other gift giving occasion.

Spread the word - If you've heard good things about your friends books and you don't have the money to buy a copy, you can still shout it from the rooftops that there is a new book out there. You can participate in blog tours, interview authors or characters on your blog, share the links through your social media channels, and simply talk about the books and authors.

These are just a few ways to support authors and their books when you have no money. Do you have any ideas you can add to this list?

Melissa Gijsbers is a Melbourne based author and the mother of two boys. She has had flash fiction stories published in anthologies and her first children's book, Swallow Me, NOW! is due for publication in October 2014.
Follow her writing journey at and visit her website at


  1. Thanks Melissa. That post was a breath of fresh air. I think a lot of people are in that boat, so you've given some great suggestions of how to support authors when you don't have much money. I've already let a few people know about books I'd like for my birthday :) I've also found that my local library is happy to purchase most of the books I've recommended.

    One thing I would add to your list is that it's helpful to review books on the Goodreads, Amazon and Koorong sites. There are also some sites like Net Galley where you can obtain free electronic copies of books for review (

    Thanks for your suggestions.

  2. Thanks Melissa for a great post with some solid ideas :) Buying the books when they are on special might be another idea. Sometimes authors have promos where you can download the e-book for free or minimal price (e.g. 1.99 or less). If you don't have a Kindle or other e-reader you can download a kindle ap for free on your computer or phone. Spreading the word about these promos would also help the author. And I second Nola's suggestion about reviewing books.

  3. Thanks for your very practical ideas, Melissa, re supporting other authors. Re your word of mouth point, I have mentioned other Aussie Christian authors and suggested their books when speaking somewhere or book signing or selling my books just to let people know there are a few of us around. At times, I sell others' book on my book table as well. And another way we can support authors that has definitely been helpful to me at times is that we can suggest them as speakers for groups at our churches or various community or book clubs we are part of etc.

  4. Good post Melissa. I don't have the funds for many books and I also am not reading much. We have a church library and I have donated a lot of my books there (im librarian) Some I don't have the whole series and I know of people who have then gone out and bought the missing book in the series and also others because of this. I try to help by promoting authors and books on my blog it gets the word out. Also as you said blog tours. I don't know if I can say it here if I cant delete the comment but ACRBA has started a new program friends of ACRBA where if you don't blog that much or haven't the time to review you can just post the html we provide for the tour and it helps spread the news about a book even more. Our goal is to let people know about books.

  5. Great post Melissa. Thank you. I am in the same boat as you. I don't have any 'spending money' although I do have a very generous husband. I've been trying to get a job for years and lost the only one I did this year after a brief stint of earning a little. So I too indulge in some of those points you mentioned.

    I guess a lot of us are in a similar boat so thank you for sharing. Some good points shared! Bless you.

  6. Excellent ideas Melissa. As an author, I really appreciate your post. All the best for your book coming out next month :)

  7. Great post! We can even request the books online at the Gold Coast library... one of my favourite pastimes :D Thanks for the reminder.. there's a few more that have just been released that I can order in :D and you are so right about gifts. Books make the best gifts. xx

  8. Great suggestions Melissa, especially about libraries. I'm a librarian and receive very few book suggestions so the ones I do are more likely to be purchased.

  9. Hi Melissa,
    I'm sure many of us can relate indeed. I must admit, I've dipped into a few of the books I've bought for gifts this way first, making sure the spine doesn't have the cracked, 'read' look to it.

    1. Thanks for confessing Paula....kinda thought I was the only one doing this!! (insert BIG smiley face here x)

  10. Great post's my birthday soon and suddenly I have a long list of ideas for people to get me :-)
    I didn't know you could request books at the local Library and they would actually consider purchasing the book on your request.....thanks for the tips!

  11. Good suggestions to show support when money is an issue, Melissa. The one about libraries is particularly good as it brings the book to attention of lots more readers once it is on library shelves. Have to say I have done all of those at varying times.