February 27, 2014

Writers Supporting Writers

by Toni Leland

Writing a book takes more than skill and a good idea. The process is time-consuming – actually, all-consuming – filling whatever time we have with not only actually putting the words on the page, but the research, the critiques, the brainstorming, the wringing of hands and, of course, the weeks or months of editing and polishing for publication. Then there's the promotion and marketing.

Time. Such a precious commodity to a writer – a facet of our life that we guard with a passion.

And then, someone asks for a favor. For a cover blurb, or critique, or review of their book.

It's easy to think we don't have the time, that this commitment will somehow keep us from our own goals. But wait! How did all this work out for us as we started on the author's journey? Someone, somewhere helped out, gave advice, steered us wrong or right, but took the time to mentor.

I recently read my monthly newsletter from Sisters in Crime and, interestingly, one of the articles was about what we authors can and should do for our colleagues. Author Laura DiSilverio graciously gave permission to print her excellent list of suggestions for those of us who would like to offer a supportive hand or shoulder to other writers.

“...No matter where you are on the writing/publishing continuum, from thinking you might want to write a novel to becoming a multi-pubbed, New York Times best-selling author, why not commit to an act of kindness (anonymous or not) towards another writer. Need ideas? Glad you asked.

  • Buy a debut author’s book.
  • Recommend a book you enjoyed to friends and family; better yet, buy it and give it to them.
  • Write a good review on Amazon, Goodreads, or any of the sites where readers hang out.
  • Offer a blurb to an author who just landed a contract. Don’t wait for them to ask. Offer. And do it.
  • Suggest sharing a signing with a new author if your name carries some clout.
  • Write an email to an author explaining what you think she did brilliantly in her last book.
  • Turn that email into a blog and distribute it widely.
  • Request that your library buy a particular book.
  • Re-tweet.
  • Post a positive review from a professional outlet about a book that’s not yours on your FB page.
  • Offer two hours of baby sitting to your writing buddy who has to squeeze in writing time around squalling kids.
  • Hook up (in the old-fashioned sense, not the twenty-something sense) with a writer new to your fave convention/conference and introduce him to three other people.”

This act of reaching out could be the best thing for a writer's brain – New York Times best-seller list excepted, of course!

Don't be too busy or too successful to help another writer on the path to realizing his or her dream. 

My thanks to Laura DiSilverio for sharing and caring.

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