My family watched a nature show recently that showed the reciprocal relationship of a certain, tiny bird and elephants on the savanna. The tiny birds fly along just in front of the elephants. As the elephants step and rustle the tall grass, bugs fly out.
Gulp! The birds catch the insects one by one, getting their fill. What could be seen as an insurmountable task is made easier by the work of the elephant.
So, what does this have to do with authors and readers?
While the analogy isn't perfect, let's go with it. Readers (the birds) like what the elephants are dishing out. They get their hunger satisfied. They have their basic needs taken care of. However, the elephants (authors) get something from this partnership too. They get rid of the pesky bugs which might otherwise fly up their trunks or worse, land in their eyes.
How Authors Help Readers
Authors help readers by providing them with excellent stories, of course, but they do more than that. Authors help readers to forget about the problems that they're struggling with even if only for a little while. Books provide an escape and we often leave a reading session feeling grateful. Even though we're struggling with Problem X, at least we aren't dealing with the enormous Problems Y and Z that the main character in this book is.
How Readers Help Authors
One of the most important ways that readers help authors is by telling someone else about his or her books. Think about it this way: if there was a new coffee shop in town that you ADORED, would you make it a point to tell friends and family that you know also enjoy coffee? Of course you would!
Readers have perhaps more power and influence now than ever before because of the internet.
They can tell other people on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat about the awesome book they just read. They could mention it in their real-life or online reader's group. They can leave a review so that other readers who maybe haven't read anything by a particular author, can get a feel for the book before they try it.
Help Your Favorite Author Out
Here is one quick thing you can do that will likely make your favorite author's day. Leave a review of the last book of his/her's that you read. You can do it easily on Amazon (you don't have to have purchased the book there), on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Barnes and Noble or wherever else you like to read reviews.
I just left two reviews for books I've read recently and it took literally two minutes. Remember, authors need readers just as much as readers need authors. :)
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