How to Help a Writer Without Spending a Dime

by Dan Stout

If you have a writer or artist you'd like to support, the best option is usually to buy their work. Everyone likes money, right?

Well, true. But not everyone is able to help out with a purchase. if you're in a spot where you can't afford to shell out your hard-earned cash, the good news is that there's no shortage of ways to support your favorite creator without spending a dime. 


Note: this list is about how to help writers, but most apply in one way or another to any artist or creator.  Also, the sample links are to my stuff, because self promotion is essential to a writer’s survival.

Ask Your Library to Order a Copy

Man, this one is so important! First off, libraries are awesome-- they help create new readers and provide millions of users with access to tons of vital resources. But for writers, requesting a book is a win-win. We get paid for the library's copy, and we also get tons of potential new readers, each one of whom might go on to buy a copy to keep. It's easy, it's free, and it makes you a better person!

If you use a library app like Libby or Overdrive to access digital copies, you can request through there as well. Overdrive even has a simple how-to article on requesting library copies.

Recommend to Friends/Family/Strangers

Do you know someone who loves book? Someone who likes books? Someone you just met at the bus stop who looks like they may have read a book? They you’re primed to help spread the good word about your favorite author.

One easy way to promote a book is to be seen with it. Stopping somewhere for lunch? Have it on the table. You’d be surprised by how many book people will ask what you’re reading.

Goodreads Lists

Did you know there’s this thing called GoodReads? It’s like a giant list of books and recommendations for book lovers. If you check out your favorite author, chances are they have an author page. Add their latest book to your To-Read list or leave a review.

Goodreads also has something called Listopia, which lets readers create and vote on lists, like “Top Hopeful Fantasies” or “Most Anticipated Books of 2019”. This is a great way to help get the word out about a title. Unfortunately, the Goodreads interface is a bit hard to manage, so your best bet is to drill down to the “Other Lists with This Book” option from the book’s page.

Amazon Reviews

You don’t have to buy an item on Amazon in order to leave a review. If you’ve read a copy of a book from any source, you’re free to leave a review and let people know how why you love this book so much. If you’re looking for a book to start with, I’d recommend…. maybe this one?

Here's a list of other sites where you can leave a review or recommendation. 

Barnes and Noble




Social Media

You may wonder why social media is lower on this list that review sites. It's because a tweet is a fleeting thing, but a review will stay with that book until the end of time. (Or until Amazon goes out of business.)

But hey, social media is fun! So hop on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or your favorite platform and let people know about the work you love. You might make some new friends, and you'll definitely help build the buzz for your favorite artists. (Tip: use hashtags to help spread the word beyond your immediate circle of friends.)


And that’s it! Basically, it all boils down to letting people know about the book and artwork you love. Whether you’re shouting about it to strangers, leaving on-line reviews, or just making a show of carrying a book in public, there’s nothing like a personal recommendation to spread the word.

by Dan Stout