Literary citizenship goes beyond just wanting a literary career. It’s about being an active, supportive participant in the writing community.
Don’t worry! You don’t have to have a big budget to be a great literary citizen. In fact, most of us cannot run to our favorite bookstores every week (or every month!) to buy the latest book we're excited about. Fortunately, there are many free ways to partake in serving as a stellar literary citizen. That's right! No matter your background or socioeconomic situation ★ you belong to this community ★ and you can engage. Here is a list of both big-budget, budget-crunching, and free ways to participate. Find what fits for you!
1. Check out and review books from your library
2. Read, read, read!
3. Request that your library purchase a book for their collection. Most libraries have a “purchase request” or “suggest a purchase” form for members to fill out. All you need to do is google is your library’s name along with the words, “suggest a purchase.” Here’s more advice from EverydayReading.4. Shop indie! Indie bookstores and your local Barnes and Noble are packed with employees who love reading and will guide you to your next great book. Frommers created this fun list of indiebookstores across America. Bookstores I particularly love include TheWandering Jellyfish in Niwot, Colorado; Boulder Bookstore in Boulder, Colorado, BookBar Denver, Tattered Cover, and Second Star to the Right in Denver, Colorado, and Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. Please support indies by telling me about your favorite bookstore in the comment section below! 5.
Attend a book launch party, reading, or signing! Your bookstore probably has a monthly list featuring author events. Even if you can’t buy a book, please consider attending the launch party. You’d be surprised how often I’ve seen award-winning, best-selling authors speak to a room of only five people. Please fill those seats, say hello to the author, and then go to your library and request the book!
Celebrate authors and illustrators on their awards,
lists, launches, book-birthdays and/or good news! If you have Twitter,
Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or any other social media account please help
celebrate and spread the word!
7. Subscribe to free blog sites. In September 2021, Writer’s Digest published their 101 Best Websites for Writers8. Talk to event organizers about hosting inclusive events with diverse representation, perhaps even serve as an event volunteer!
9. Ask your local school and library to host an author or illustrator presentation. There are public and private funds for such purposes—don’t let them go unused!
11. Share articles or Op-eds written by your favorite authors. For example, last Sunday Meg Medina had an Op-ed in The Los Angeles Times titled: Want to shape your bicultural child’s sense of self before society does? Lead them to books
12. Join a critiquing group
13. Write a Goodreads review
14. Give Books as Gifts!
15. Post an Amazon review
And remember to stay informed, stay active, and READ READ READ!