Four Ways to Support Your Favorite Authors This Holiday Season

Four Ways to Support Your Favorite Authors This Holiday Season

If you read my blog, odds are you’re a book lover. And like most book lovers, we all have our favorite writers—folks whose next book we’re eagerly awaiting, authors we reference to exhaustion, and people whose books we’ve read over and over and over. (As of today, for me, that’s Daniel Price’s final chapter in his Silvers trilogy, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and all of China Miéville Bas-Lag books.) The holiday season is the perfect time to continue to support your favorite creators. Below I’ve listed four ways to further support your favorite storyteller (and only one costs money.)

Buy Their Books as Gifts1. Buy Their Books as Gifts

You already own the book yourself, and you probably don’t need two copies on your shelf. But, if you love a book, chances are someone else will as well! Why not gift your friends and family the work of your favorite author? It’s a great way to help influence the growth of an author’s audience, and the added sales will look great when they pitch their next novel to publishers.

Leave Reviews2. Leave Reviews

Reviews are vital to the author/reader relationship. But reviews aren’t for the writer, reviews are for other readers. Your honest thoughts and opinions can convince other readers to pick up the work of your favorite author, and in turn, it can help grow a fanbase. More reviews also unlock opportunities for authors to connect with new markets. They don’t have to be long detailed book reports; a quick review of a few sentences works as well as a long one. (As a reader, I actually prefer them.) So fire up Goodreads or pop over to the ol’ Amazon and let the world know how you felt about your favorite books.

Share Their Work Online3. Share Their Work Online

Most people are active on social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, or perhaps you run a blog like this one. No matter your follower count, you can help out the creators you admire by share their work with others. Talk about your favorite books over the years. Share a passage you love. Draw fan art! Do interviews! Like reviews, sharing can help expand an author’s audience.

Request Their Books at Your Local Library4. Request Their Books at Your Local Library

Libraries want books people want to read! If your favorite author isn’t there, why not ask the library to stock their books? Many people rely on libraries for discovering new work, and you can help widen your favorite author’s reach with a simple request. Your library will appreciate the effort, and so will your fellow readers.


That’s it! If you’re looking for a way to continue to support your favorite author this holiday season, why not try one of these simple tips? Three of them don’t even cost money, they take very little time, and all of them can have a significant impact on an author’s success. This holiday season, take time to support the creators you appreciate.

❄️🎄❄️


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Farewell Facebook, One Year Later

Farewell Facebook, One Year Later

One year ago today, I deleted my Facebook account. (I laid out my reasoning in this post.) I haven’t gone back, and I’ve had little temptation to return. Since it’s been a full year, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on my decision and share what I’ve learned over my last year without Facebook.

I’m still in the ecosystem—much like Amazon or Google, it’s hard to remove yourself from Facebooks grasping tentacles completely. Instagram (from Facebook™) is still in my life, and I share work there frequently. I also use WhatsApp to connect with friends outside of the US. But, if alternatives rose up or if these apps no longer brought me value, I’d consider leaving either of them. Instagram, in particular, hasn’t gotten better.

Much of my suspicions from a year ago were proven correct, and I’m in a better headspace because I’ve left. I don’t have to read cruel, insipid, bigoted, or racist diatribes that were disappointingly common. I’m no longer marketed products I don’t want. My work isn’t walled off in strange little corners. I don’t have Facebook hounding my wallet in a vain attempt to “boost” posts for my “audience.” I don’t have to worry about my private information being stolen or sold. (Not just a Facebook problem, I realize.) Succinctly: I no longer have to engage with nothing for the sake of nothing.


“I no longer have to engage with nothing for the sake of nothing.”


The wicked trick of social media is convincing you that it’s essential. That you’ll lose contact with friends, colleagues, and loved ones if it’s removed from your life. That you’re somehow missing out if you’re not engaged. It sows FOMO to encouraging engagement. Reality couldn’t be further from Facebook’s “truth.” If anything I found the opposite is true. Facebook isn’t essential. This has been the best year on my blog since I started doing this eight years ago. My audience is still here, and I don’t have to wonder if my readers see what I share. It’s all visible. Nothing is hidden. Likewise, I’ve made time for the important things. I’ve stayed connected with relationships that matter. My interests have expanded.

What one chooses in regards to their social media presence is personal. My path might not be right for you. If Facebook brings you joy, then stay on Facebook. But if it doesn’t, then why are you wasting your time? As for me, I’m glad I left. Happy even. It was a big step in decoupling the behaviors built into social media. (Something I wrote about a few weeks ago.) Now, when I sit down to work, the old muscle memory isn’t betraying me by sending me into a path of wasted time and squandered emotional energy.

As I said a year ago: things can always change. Perhaps with a shift in leadership Facebook could turn itself around. Companies change, ten years from now, it’ll be different than it is today. Who knows what the future holds? I have no regrets in leaving, and honestly, I wish I had taken this step sooner. It’s been a good year.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

A Little Experiment

A Little Experiment

In the last month, I’ve conducted a little experiment. Namely, when I feel the desire to write a tweet/post/comment in reaction to some bit of news or an event—I don’t. Instead, I’ve begun to write any of my thoughts in a separate document for myself. I get them out of my head, but I keep them private. It’s been personally freeing and creatively invigorating. I expend the emotion, but I don’t need to double down on knee-jerk hot takes. This has allowed me to process better. Now, I find myself reflecting rather than just reacting.

One of the great sins of social media has been its empowerment of inanity. We’ve convinced everyone that every little thought matters and that every emotion is somehow sincere and deserves the world’s attention. That’s just not true. Every little thought doesn’t matter, and emotions lie. But, social media encourages this behavior. It removes critical thought and nuance and often leads to chaos and cruelty. It’s a never-ending cycle, the ouroboros eating itself. One that doesn’t leave the world a better place. Instead, it reinforces tribalism and disregards compromise, consideration, and compassion.

This isn’t to say I’ve cut out social media altogether—I haven’t. I’ve just shifted my focus. Lately, most of my posts have either been the promotion of something I’ve made or written—things I put more thought, research, and effort into than an off-the-cuff post or tweet—or I’ve used my little soapbox to promote someone else. Mentally, it’s put me in a good place. I think it makes for a better web. It’s gotten me to become more action-oriented. It’s removed the performative aspects that are commonplace (and encouraged) in social media. And, I’ve decoupled from the perpetual train of instant opinion. In doing so, I’ve found that I’ve become more thoughtful and empathic in my day to day interactions. I hope, ultimately, this makes me a kinder person.

That’s all a net positive for me. If it sounds interesting to you, I would encourage you to give it a shot. As far as experiments go, I’d say this has been a successful one.

Learning to Say "No"

Learning to Say ‘No’

Distraction is one of my biggest struggles; something I grapple with on a daily basis. A few days ago, I posted how we as creatives need to choose to make time for our craft. I referred to time as the “currency for creation.” But there’s another metaphor that works just as well: time is the medium from which we craft our creative work. Without time we cannot produce—everything else: charcoal, oil paint, clay, wood, words, everything, is secondary to time. Yet, in an ever-connected world finding those moments can often feel difficult and overwhelming. When we do find the time it’s often fleeting, and we’re bogged down by distraction.

Those called to creation understand this on a very personal level. Obligations already eat away at the narrow slivers of time from which we hone our craft. And the siren call of distraction is always there to lure us away. Occupying oneself into idleness is easy. At the end of the day, the week, the month, the year one looks back and find themselves unfulfilled and wonders: what happened?


In the struggle of creation, eventually, the creator must learn to say ‘no.’


In the struggle of creation, eventually, the creator must learn to say ‘no.’ At first, it’s terrifying. In our culture of ‘yes’ a word like ‘no’ sounds final. (It’s not, but that doesn’t matter.) Your friends won’t get it. The family won’t understand. Entertainment and Social Media hate hearing ‘no,’ they feed off distraction. Our phones are abuzz with alerts demanding attention. The 24-hour news cycle wants you to believe everything is a crisis. Click ‘yes’ to receive alerts for this random website. It’s endless. Empathy for the creator—when it exists at all—is ephemeral. Dreams and drives get brushed aside as frivolous whims. Oh, that. That’s just a hobby. Nothing will come of that. Do that instead. Watch this. Come here. Go there. Play this. Guilt and shame are wielded with selfish abandon. But it’s for you! They say when really it’s for them.


It was so dumb I had to do it.

Facing those pressures is difficult. We’ve all crumbled and given in, and those slivers of time are lost forever. You don’t get them back. Hence, the lesson of ‘no.’ Learning to say ‘no’ allows us to set boundaries. It establishes what is important and it set priorities. It’s the first step in building a routine, making the work habitual, and living in the moment.

To be effective ‘no’ is something every creator has to master. Shut out the distractions. No, Twitter isn’t important. No, you don’t need to watch that latest reboot on Netflix. No, you don’t need to make that phone call. No, brunch isn’t necessary this weekend. Face the pressure head on, stand your ground, and make the choices for what matters to you. It’s important for our mental health. It’s important for the work. It’s important for creation. ‘No’ lets us carve out moments in time, and after all, time is the true medium.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. Alexander

Want to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Farewell Facebook

Farewell Facebook

Today, I clicked delete on my Facebook account. It was a long time coming, and I’m not sad to see it go. Facebook has become a behemoth in the last decade, an irresponsible behemoth that created unethical systems used to prey on its users. Participation felt like a taciturn approval, and I didn’t want to validate that sort of behavior any longer.

For creators, Facebook has changed. A once vibrant landscape has slowly walled creators off onto Pages where our projects and content was no longer seen by the very people who were interested. It began to urge us to “boost posts”—five dollars here or a ten spot there. But boosted posts rarely returned worthwhile engagement. Promoting Pages often yielded poor results—likes and shares from shell accounts generated by click farms. Practices Facebook claims don’t exist, but the evidence says otherwise. I’ve watched friends with thousands and thousands of followers grow frustrated as engagement slipped away and the site became a meaningless money pit.

It was also a distraction. Yet one more place to waste time doing nothing. Over the last few years, I’ve shifted away from social media and doubled down on blogging. I love this blog. Here I control my content. If anyone wants to see what I am working on they just have to visit. I share newsphotos, thoughts, and opinions all the time. I get traffic. I get emails from readers. It’s not hidden by algorithms or walled off on some buried Page. It’s all accessible, and that’s glorious. It’s the old web, sure, but it’s reliable.

Things can always change. Microsoft isn’t the same company it was in the 90s. Apple isn’t the same company it was in the late-80s. Facebook ten years from now will be different than it is today. Under new leadership perhaps Facebook could turn things around quickly, but in the meantime, I’m not holding my breath, and I’m not wasting my time. I got books to write.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Our Autobiography

Monuments to Ourselves

Which is the truth, the biography or the autobiography? Certainly, one could argue that both are true, but both are often quite contradictory of the other. Two people can experience the same event and come away with a different understanding. The same goes for how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. One’s own perception isn’t necessarily truth. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and few see themselves as a villain. We build monuments to ourselves, not acknowledging that our sole perspective on what is right, just, and correct is tainted by our own personal history, experience, and emotion.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the concept of personal and external perception within the age of social media. The curated life has become commonplace. We architect a presence online as an extension of our personal brand. We mold it to present ourselves a certain way. It’s not just artists, personalities, and celebrities: everyone does it. Are our lives always the brightly lit brunch photos, snarky tweets, smile-filled vacation pictures, reshared articles, and moody black-and-white urban landscape? We curate reality, sculpting ourselves as we would like to be seen—we write an online autobiography in posts, tweets, snaps, grams, and selfies—but is that the truth?

Often we’ll hide blemishes and strive to present ourselves without scars. We’ll argue, insult, defend, mock, pressure, praise, congratulate, and compliment, all in an attempt to manipulate reality for our comfort. It is the defense of our truth, our castle doctrine of individuality. Given a chance, we’ll dictate others perceptions. I’m not that way, I’m this way. See? Look here. Look how happy I am, we’ll say. Look how sophisticated. Look how woke. Look how outrageous. Look how indifferent. Look how successful. Look how offensive or offended. Look how cool and chill. Look how thoughtful and considerate. Look. Look. Look.

What if someone’s perception differs? What if they look but see something else? What if they reject our perceptions? What if they see something other than our desired presentation? What if the monument is cracked and tarnished? What if the biography tells a different story from the autobiography? Does that make it any less correct? Does that make it any less true?


📷 Photo credit: Mobilus In Mobili via Flickr


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →