The minute I say this, I know the first question will be, ‘Do writers need to be supported?’ Oh yes, all writers need support of different kinds. The families of writers provide the immediate kind of support. They are the ones who understand her need for space and time. They learn patience and perfect the art of hand holding, the technique of always saying the right thing to comfort the writer, distraught over a rejection, a story not going the way she wants it to or just the flatness that comes from feeling unappreciated. My son once wrote me an email, offering me a fabulous amount of money to write a story, concluding it with the assurance that the world loved my stories and was waiting for them. This, when he was sitting at the table next to mine!
Is there anything else that friends and distant family, neighbours and acquaintances and readers can do to help a writer? Of course there is! Much like you would support an independent book store or a small business started by a friend, you can support a writer by buying her books. Make sure to talk about her and her work. Since writers lead terribly private lives, most people would never know that they had one living in their midst. You can make sure people do know of this.
You can do this on social media too by congratulating her on having a new book out, or tagging her in appropriate discussions. You can also try and get the local libraries or schools to invite the writer or engage her in literary activities that will bring her into the public eye. In addition, you can make sure that the writer is paid for her time and effort each time she engages in an interaction.
You can also buy her books as a way of supporting her. If this is not something you wish to do, there is something easier that you can do. You can simply review a writer’s books on Amazon, Goodreads and any other site you can find. Most people go by reviews and the ratings when buying books and your write up will certainly help a writer.
These are seemingly silly things but they will help the writer feel loved and appreciated. And surely that’s a very small thing to do for someone whose books have brought joy into your lives!