You, my amazing readers, asked me to throw this post together, so we can help my daughter, who makes all my book covers and is a graphic design student in California, recover what was stolen while she was in Seattle, visiting me and her dad. She just called me, curiously very composed, and informed me that their apartment (she shares it with several roommates) had been broken into, turned upside down, and many things are gone. Whoever did this, took my daughter's art supplies, ALL OF HER SHOES, clothes, her Xbox, her roommates' 2 TVs, and, worst of all, both of her passports, American and Russian.Read More
It's been a while since I wrote a marketing post, and I've never actually touched on the subject of writers supporting other writers when it comes to marketing books, AND to encourage other writers to keep writing. Because if a writer won't support another writer, who will? Of course, there is the reader's base, the fans, but when you're only starting out, who is there to support you? Other writers. They know what it's like, they've been there, they're the only ones who will sympathize with how it feels, getting your book out into the world and sitting on a rock, waiting, biting your nails. Before I dive any deeper, I must make a confession. You are welcome to brandish admonitory fingers at me, use the most outrageous profanities, and otherwise display hostility. I'm okay with it, because I've tried, I failed, I decided to be okay with being who I am after all. Being an indie writer myself, I don't read many indie books. Well, not anymore. I tried, I honestly did, and I simply couldn't. There are so many that are... well, not MY books, and that don't speak to me, don't inspire me to write, that I retreated back to classics and to big names, although I brave an indie book once in a while. In light of this, I support writers by other means, tweeting to them, about them, or posting on my Facebook wall, or writing blog posts for them, on the topics they ask me to, or simply talking about things that relate to writing and not just blasting stuff about my books constantly. There are a gazillion ways of doing it. Here is why you should do it too.
If you give, people will give back a thousandfold. We have this interesting notion (no fucking clue where we got it) that the world operates by GETTING STUFF. Perhaps this is what our parents taught us when we were little, or the neighbor kid who took our bike, by force, and we decided this is how things get done. In any case, especially when we were little - you know, toddlers in the sandbox - we got things by GETTING them. Remember? Just take that shovel from that kid, and presto! If he cries, hit him on the head. Or, better, douse him with sand. We've all done this, we might not remember this, but we did. With luck, we had mom or dad or nanny or whoever tell us, hey, that's not nice, don't do it like this, do it like that, ask first. But some of us didn't have that education, so we go around life, GETTING things. This is not how the world operates. The world operates on GIVING. It is a much scarier prospect, of course. Just try explaining this concept to an ad agency, for example. They will think you mad. What? No way. You shove things under people's faces. The more you shove, the more you GET. The return is fast, immediate, and here are numbers to report to bosses, so the bosses are happy. GIVING is a much longer road. You have to give, and give, and give. But the thing is, once people get it that you have no hidden agenda, THEY WILL GIVE BACK 10 TIMES MORE. Because we love to help, it's in our nature, but we got so scared after being burned multiple times, that we're very cautious, especially writers, who are very sensitive people. Let go of your fear. Try it. GIVE. You will see what I mean.
All a writer needs sometimes is an encouraging word from another writer. This is not so much related to marketing books, but it can be, in a way. No matter what a writer does, writes a novel for the first time, self-publishes a book for the first time, it's scary. There are so many things to do, all of them sound so complicated, that it's easy to give up. Again, remember, we are sensitive emotional folk, we're often tempted to skulk, or hide, or throw our hands in the air and quit it. I mean, our worst horror is the blank page! There are friends, of course, who can encourage us, and family. But oddly enough, sometimes they simply don't understand what the big deal is. Only another writer will understand it. Some people call it karma, I simply call it love. When you give love to people, it makes you happy. It's how we were designed by nature (yeah, well, we won't go into THAT discussion right now). Try it. Give another writer some love. Support them with an encouraging word. That said writer will be first shocked (I get a lot of this), but then so grateful, that you will be astounded. One positive word can carry a writer through a week of hell. It totally can. And it's so easy to do it, for you, but it can literally mean quitting or keeping writing for that someone else.
Support writing to make the world a happier place. Many writers are vary of competition. They are very jealous of their work, they are afraid someone might steal their ideas, they copyright and protect everything they write. Yes, there are cases, but for the most part, trust me, a writer writes something because a writer is passionate about the subject. So it's impossible to steal that passion. And writing is not really about making big bucks or becoming famous. Yes, it does happen, but most of us don't focus on that. It simply makes us happy. Think of it this way. If you like to knit, do you knit because you hope to win the World Knitting Cup? Nope. You knit because it makes you feel good, it's fun, even if all you managed was an ugly scarf that your friend politely called "lovely". Who cares? What matters is that it gave you good mood, it made you smile. Same with writing. Will all of us win a Nobel Prize? Or Pulitzer? Or become the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling? Nope. Is that why we write? Nope. We write because we can't NOT write. We love it. It makes us happy. Now, think about it. How wonderful it would've been if everyone in this world was happy? It would be awesome, wouldn't it? Perhaps we would never have wars, or abuse, or murder. Wouldn't that be swell? Well then, my dream is for this world TO BE FLOODED WITH INDIE BOOKS. That's right. it doesn't really matter if anyone reads them. What matters is the people who wrote them became a notch happier. We will all benefit from this. How to do this? ENCOURAGE OTHER WRITERS, OF COURSE!
If you're reading this, doubting if you should give it a try, do it. Giving is such an awesome feeling, giving without expecting anything back. I give as much as I can. I tweet every day about writing and reading, and I try to respond to as many people as I can, encouraging as many people as I can (I do get into dark places sometimes and fail to encourage others, sorry). I try to answer every email and do everything I physically possibly can to help. There is only me, though, and there are only 24 hours in a day, and I do need to sleep and eat, and love my family, to keep myself writing. So please, help me. Help me encourage other writers, together we can do so much more. Together we can change the world.