How do you support your fellow authors? It seems that we don’t have enough time and energy these days to do all that we feel we must, let alone be able to offer anything much to others. I think that busy authors are especially lacking in the support department.
Authorship is so all-consuming that we find ourselves overwhelmed by our own obligations and responsibilities. It takes practically everything we have to hold our own in the competitive publishing arena. The tasks involved in being a successful author take so much out of us that we have little left over.
Additionally, as writers, we’re accustomed to working in solitude—to handling every detail related to the writing, publishing and promotion aspects of our books alone. And we sometimes forget the value in reaching out to ask or to help.
I maintain, however, that reaching out and supporting other authors shouldn’t be viewed as losing something. So often a giving gesture fosters gifts for everyone involved. We know that. But we still withhold from others. What could we be doing better? What could we be doing more of? Here are some ideas:
• Read other authors’ books and post reviews at Amazon and other appropriate places. Not only will this please the other author, it will give you some added exposure and, perhaps, motivate the author to reciprocate in some way.
• Offer resources and help to fellow authors and struggling authors through your online and real-time networking groups.
• Provide articles/stories for newsletters related to your book’s genre/theme. You want to build a rapport with publishers and editors of these periodicals while reaching your book’s audience. (Not all newsletter editors depend on outside submissions, but many do.)
• If you become aware of a good resource or information you believe another author could use, let him or her know about it. I think most authors just bypass information with this thought, “So and so might be interested in this, but he may already know it or maybe he saw this article.” We quickly talk ourselves out of sharing the information because of assumptions.
• Read your colleague’s blog posts or newsletters at least occasionally and make comments. You know how much it means to know that someone is reading what you write and that they care enough to comment.
• Attend author signings and other events as a show of support. Others will follow suit.
• Recommend the books of others and let them know when you have done so.
Adopt a more altruistic demeanor with regard to your fellow authors—including those writing within your field or genre—and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the domino effect of your genuine efforts.