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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Barnfather

Local Literary Love

Updated: Feb 17

As an independant author (and one who self-publishes) I can't begin to express my gratitude for the individuals and organizations who helped me in the first two years of my career. The support I received from friends and family, along with the kindly people I connected with nationally and internationally, were crucial in launching Barnfather Books.

Graciously giving, receiving and sharing support is an important part of being an indie artist. In a highly competitive and brutal industry, you need to tell your readers, friends and arts colleagues you care.

Since February is the month of love (right?), the Five Love Languages helped me shape this blog. Read on to learn how & why sharing smooches with your supporters is a gift you must keep giving. Kiss kiss heart.


"Positive words or phrases used to uplift someone."

-- Very Well Mind

In any relationship, verbal appreciation can clearly communicate that you care -- and if you're a writer who's been supported by others in the community, language is a powerful tool.

Words for Readers and Non-Creatives

  • old-fashioned notes: I give cards to my beta readers, specifically stating how their feedback shaped my final product -- take the time to purchase and handwrite a message

  • emails: if my international family members read my book, I always reach out with a 'thank you'

  • in-person or virtual convos: if you're good with spoken words, brew a pot of tea and get ready to gush -- and watch your supporters blush

  • questions: ask your people how they like to be loved -- not everyone receives care verbally, but they might like a nice bundt cake

  • reply to comments on social media: this one can be time-consuming if you talk with a lot of people, but when somebody says something kind on your account, try to acknowledge it -- a like or emoji can be enough, but a verbal response is better

Words for Authors and Artists

  • reviews: support other authors by leaving a kind review -- you can be honest (aka share your opinion) over coffee, in their DMs, or on your blog

  • tags: share your friends' work and tell them when you do -- it could make their day (aka year)

  • content conversations: talk to your writing buddies about their books -- every author I know loves to hear why you like their stories so much

  • questions: ask artists about their projects -- you might learn something in the process, or become inspired

  • encouragement: everybody needs support sometimes -- tell creatives you believe in them

  • appropriate credit: if you use an author's idea or quote them in your work, cite the source -- name and material, svp


"Actions speak louder than words."

-- Created with Love

Yeah. Buy your friends tacos.

Actions for Readers and Non-Creatives

  • information sharing (bonus content, shelved pieces, behind-the-scenes pics, progress reports): my friends love seeing what happens off the pages -- this gives people the chance to feel like they're part of the magic

  • return the favour: nobody has to read your work, no matter how much they like you -- so if your supporters are in a bind (need a sitter, need to talk, need dinner), lend them a hand

  • attend a book fair: put in the effort to travel to a fair and perform all the required hoopla -- your readers might want to participate

Actions for Authors and Artists

  • share information (how-tos, whys, blogs): help other aspiring creatives follow in your footsteps [or learn from your mistakes] -- providing free tutorials or access to education is a powerful service you can perform

  • connections: do you know a guy who knows a girl who knows a person that can help out your author friend? -- set them up!

  • creative meetings: host a brainstorming session or writing club -- and serve cookies, please

  • social media likes and selling platform star-ratings: don't be stingy with the public displays of affection -- LIKE LOVE RATE

  • read their work (incl. marketing content, info shares and posts): engage in your friends' creations -- seriously, they are amazing [and when the industry thrives, you thrive]

  • feedback: if a writer needs help, and all you have to do is read their story and share your thoughts, do it -- just be sure to remind them that they don't have to use your thoughts


"...the act of giving a gift serves as a gesture of affection and care because it shows the person was thinking about you while you weren't around and wanted to find a way to make you smile."

-- Mind Body Green Relationships

This one can be tricky because, often, people assume you have to spend money to give a gift -- and some humans are terrifically picky, so gift giving can backfire. But! -- if you know your supporters like tangible displays of affection, get them something.

Gifts for Readers and Non-Creatives

  • give them your next book: this may seem scammy (ha! they have to read the thing that you love), but you'd be surprised how many people appreciate a freebie from your collection

  • donations: give your book to libraries, free-reading organizations, used book stores, and charities

  • gift cards: do your betas and buddies like food from Timmy Hos? -- a ten dollar GC can buy a lot of donuts

  • homemade presents: scarves, goodies, trinkets -- cater to the preferences of your people

  • autographs: readers like your messy scrawl on their stuff, so give it away like it's candy -- but don't charge (that's just mean)

Gifts for Authors and Artists

  • give their books to your supporters: do it -- do it, now

  • share share share (on social media): retweet, quote tweet, repost, send to stories, void scream, yada yada yada

  • accept when an author offers you a free copy of their book: I am TERRIBLE at this -- I like paying for creatives' projects, but it's insulting to decline a gift (seriously, you're rejecting affection)


"...people who communicate in this love language never lose sight of the fact that time is a finite resource and that every minute is irreplaceable."

-- Blinkist Magazine

This is a biggie for me. If I do anything for you -- ANYTHING -- that takes up my time (which I never have enough of) it means I like you very very very much and think you are "worthy" of my offerings -- and I can be picky about whom I deem "worthy" [omg, I'm such a snob, bleh]. In today's day and age, time is a valuable resource. Most people I know are constantly busy or in a state of overwhelm, so if they deign to text me or acknowledge my existence, it's a big deal. Don't squander time, kids.

Time for Readers and Non-Creatives

  • giving back to the broader community, and/or communicating when you can't: be present and participate in local or online events (any event) -- and if you can't, tell your friends when/if you'll be available

  • sit and chill: not sexy-time chill, hang chill -- have dinner with your people, grab a coffee, go for a walk, watch a movie, play a game, go to a club, GIVE THEM ATTENTION

Time for Authors and Artists

  • interviews: invite them to speak on your podcast, or offer to do a write-up in your magazine or on your platform

  • in-depth reviews: short reviews are great (yay!) but nothing says 'you're great' like five paragraphs on GoodReads that gushes in explicit detail

  • check in with your author friends: DM, text, email or call to ask how they're doing -- they might not be okay, given how stressful managing an independant career can be

  • comment on your friends' socials: if they share, participate in the conversation -- it's a great way to show you value their posts

  • respect their time: indie writers are BUSY -- if they tell you they can't hang out because they're writing, editing, proofreading, designing their book cover, crying in a corner, building media, marketing, selling selling selling, LEAVE THEM BE

  • ARCs: be an ARC reader -- it's fun


“'When we experience physical touch, we release certain hormones and neurotransmitters such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine,' says Pataky. And these hormones make us feel good. Like, good good."

-- Women's Health Magazine

Touch isn't just sex -- it's any type of physical affection that's performed meaningfully.

  • hug your friends

  • give virtual kisses to your followers

  • high five the Amazon delivery human

  • put physical copies of books in an in-person platform (bar, store, sharing shelf, therapist's office)

  • connect with your local bookstores, book clubs, and libraries and give a hearty handshake to the proprietor


DO NOT VISIT or STALK or TOUCH WITHOUT CONSENT. No means no, especially with physical touch. Crossing this particular boundary can result in a whole host of problems (like making people feel uncomfortable instead of happy they helped you out). I always ask before I touch someone for the first time; and I bite the hands that presume too much.

I hope you found this helpful! Pick and choose which tips you could feasibly manage and discard the rest. Remember, YOU OWE PEOPLE NOTHING (and they owe you nothing) but gratitude is classy. Do you want to be an author who's only remembered for your work, or for being a human who actually gives a shit about the bigger picture. People are the bigger picture, kids. Be nice to your people, especially if they're nice to you.

Have a great day!

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