What's the secret to being a better writer? Read a lot. Now, you've got to figure out how to fund your book habit without going broke.
Easier Reading Isn't Always Cheaper
Ereaders like the Kindle have put hundreds of books in every reader's hands, but the easy availability of ebooks doesn't automatically equal cheaper reading. Even if you set a spending limit, buying books adds up quickly. Suppose you never spend more than $5 on a book. Read three books a week, and you're $15 in the hole before you get your next paycheck.
It starts to add up. There are ways to fund your book habit, however, and get your reading material...and no, I'm not going to tell you to go to the library.
- Swap: Visit Paperbackswap to list the books you're willing to trade, and get the books you want in return. The website connects book lovers who want to swap, and makes it easy for you to keep yourself in fresh reading material.
- Review: Start reviewing books on your blog (oh, and start a blog) and ask for review copies outright. If you advertise a review policy on your site, you will get requests. You can also look for books you might like on Goodreads and contact the authors directly about getting a review copy. Stick to indies and lesser-known authors to make it easier to get those free books. You will have to follow through, however, by writing an honest and thorough review.
- Trade among friends: Start your own trading circle among your friends and associates, and swap books to get your hands on new stories. Arrange a get together once a month and trade out books. It's kind of a fun way to visit with friends, and you may enjoy exploring their reading material.
- Kindle lending: You can trade ebooks with friends, too. Authors who have opted into the lending program allow you to send their books to your friends' Kindles. They get to keep the book for about 30 days. Start a reading circle with your friends and keep track of all your Kindle books to create your own lending library.
Find your own creative ways to fund your book habit (and despite the hidden tone of that, I'm not advocating theft!), and keep on reading. What they say is true. Reading more can make you a better writer, even if you're reading something bad. Read books in your own genre, and read other indie authors, and keep improving your craft.