The first #IReadCanadian Day is coming up on February 19, 2020. The event encourages readers across the county to read a Canadian book for 15 minutes, and then talk about it within their community. But how can you continue to champion Canadian creators after #IReadCanadian Day is over?
Keep reading to learn more about the purpose of #IReadCanadian Day, plus six ways to support your favourite author after you’ve finished their book!
Why #IReadCanadian Day Was Created
- Only 15% of Canadian book purchases are books by a Canadian author.
- Independent Canadian publishers’ sales have decreased by 44% over the last decade.
- Canadians want to read Canadian-authored books, but they can’t easily find them.
There are other revelations in the report, but these three problems are things that all Canadians can help solve. #IReadCanadian Day is one of the ways you can help, but there are other things you can do all year round.
Six Ways to Support Canadian Authors and Creators
1. Be an Engaged Fan
Subscribe to authors’ enewsletters, follow them on social media, and let them know how much you love their work! This one is super easy, and has the added benefit of letting you know when your favourite author is going to be at an event or releasing a new book. The cat photos are just a cute bonus.
2. Contribute to or Create Their Wikipedia Page
This is one that might be a bit harder to execute, but pays off huge dividends in the long run. Wikipedia is one of the most-visited websites worldwide. Because of this, when someone googles your favourite author, their Wikipedia page is likely to appear in the top three results. A Wikipedia page will help new readers discover your favourite authors and find out more about them quickly.
If you’re interested in contributing to Wikipedia, be sure to read their guidelines first.
3. Leave Reviews
Reviews = sales for many authors, especially when 72% of Canadian readers read book reviews. When you finish a book, make a point of leaving a review on sites such as 49th Shelf, Goodreads, or Amazon Canada. Even just a star rating is better than nothing, although I’d encourage you to write about what you liked and disliked, too.
4. Attend Author Events
Book launches, readings, writers’ festivals, comic cons, book club meetings–the options are endless. More people at these events makes it more likely that organizers will invite the author back later.
Unfortunately, authors are often asked to do events for little or no pay, so be sure to ask questions if it seems like that may be the case. With author earnings increasingly in decline, asking creators to work for “exposure” doesn’t take into consideration the time and energy asked of them. They may even take time off from their day job to attend the event.
If you’re worried about costs for an author event, try contacting your local arts council or public library. There may be funding available to help pay the author a fair fee.
5. Buy Canadian Books—Or Borrow Them From a Library
This one should go without saying, but a significant source of income for authors is the royalties from the sale of their books. Typically, with every book sold, a percentage of the cover price makes it back to the author. Downloading books for free (pirating) isn’t free. It takes money out of authors’ pockets, and makes it even harder for them to earn a living. That means fewer books for you in the long run.
If you don’t want to buy your own copy of a book, visit your local library instead. Even if the book isn’t on their shelves they can likely request it for you from another library. Library borrowing benefits the author through Public Lending Rights payments, as well as through library programming around popular titles (like displays and author visits).
6. Encourage Fair Copyright Practices
Changes to Canadian copyright law in 2012 had a huge impact on Canadian creators’ income. These laws are currently under review, and the results will have a ripple effect for years to come. I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to learn about this issue, and maybe even send a letter to your local politicians if you’re comfortable doing so.
These are just some of the ways we can help promote the work of Canadian authors and help new readers find them.
How do you support your favourite authors? And what books are you planning to read for #IReadCanadian Day? Let me know in the comments!
Laura McKay is a speculative fiction writer whose work leaves you wondering and your mind wandering. Inspired by the Dresden Files, her current work-in-progress brings fast-paced, thought-provoking mystery and magic to the streets of Winnipeg.
Laura is also an Assistant Editor at Portage & Main Press and freelances on various writing and editing projects.