When in doubt buy the artI attended an Author Event at a local library this week. Twelve local authors represented their books, and all twelve have the same publisher (not mine), so I was on the other side of the table for this one. I entered the cramped room and took a chair in the back of the audience. As the authors stood up and talked about their books and why they wrote them, I sat back, happy to relax and listen–and a bit grateful that I didn’t have to stand up and speak for a change.

One author, Chip Bell, I had read about in the newspaper and felt a little familiar with his work before I arrived, stood up and described the feeling when his first book went number one on Amazon downloads for 70+ hours. Of all the authors and all their stories, some funny and some very, very poignant, Mr. Bell’s story of the 70+ hours is what made me tear up. Others around me nodded and smiled at Mr. Bell’s accomplishment in a good for you way, and I nearly jumped out of my chair and shouted, “That is so hard to do!! Your first book? That’s amazing!”

Somehow I managed to stay in my seat and not make a scene. But it took effort. And when they all had finished speaking and the Q&A had ended, they opened the floor for audience members to purchase books and have the authors sign them. At this, I did not hold back.

At events like these, often you can pay less than the retail price for books, and the authors are happy to sign and personalize them for you. I gathered a stack of books, some for myself and some as gifts, and carried them from author to author to have them all signed.

When buying books from authors, like art from craft shows and music from someone playing at a restaurant, you not only give a nod to a local artist that you enjoy their work, you also start to ensure that the artist has the funds to keep practicing and keep producing more art. To someone pouring heart and soul into work without the [for better or worse] benefit or security of an employer, these purchases are not only encouragement but a lifeline.

This gift-giving season and always, remember that art is a gift that keeps on giving.

Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see JodyBrown.com/writing.