One of the things I like so much about the writing community is that so many are willing to help others. The ladies in my local critique group are a great example, but I’ve also been given countless words of encouragement and wisdom from authors who don’t know me from Eve. Thank you to all of you, and I sincerely hope we get to meet some day when we’re all wildly successful.
I am a sincere believer in the concept of karma, at least in this life, and I think this attitude of giving helps the giver as much as it does the receiver. Other than the warm glow that comes from the feeling of helping someone else, the results aren’t always readily apparent. However, things usually seem to work out in the end for the “good guys.” (Am I just in a good mood today, or have I been reading too many happily ever after stories?)
If you’re looking for that warm glow or a way to interject a little karma into your writing career, here are some things you can do:
1. Write a glowing review. I like to follow the advice of, “if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” I don’t think I’ve ever written a bad review in my life. However, if I like a book, I tend to tell the world. I wish I had more time to write reviews – it would mean I had more time to get through all the books I want to read!
2. Retweet. I mentioned this in my recent 8 Twitter Tips for Writers post. If someone has a launch or a successful review, retweet it. You will be making their day, especially if they are a new author wondering if anyone cares.
3. Thank people for following you. I really don’t like autofollows. Most of them try to sound friendly but seem so self-serving. I try my best to send a thank you to everyone who follows me, usually in groups of five or six. However, when I do get a follow, I also check out their tweet stream to see if there is anything worth retweeting.
4. Do a giveaway. This has a self-serving component to it, obviously, but a giveaway is also a way of saying thank you to the reader community.
5. Comment on blogs. If you don’t have a blog, you’d be amazed at how hard it is to crack the ice on comments. Those of you who do know what I am talking about. I get a satisfying number of visitors to this site, but as of today, I’ve only received one comment. (hint, hint!) If you want to do something nice for an author you’ve recently discovered, write a comment on his or her blog.
6. Like facebook fan pages. I can tell you personally that a “like” on a fan page, even if it comes from my critique partners, is like a shot of B vitamins.
7. Become a fan on Goodreads. I just discovered Goodreads a couple of months ago. (I know. Was I living in a cave or what?) I’ve been adding books to my shelves so fast that I haven’t had time to go back in and become of fan of some of the authors who have provided so much inspiration and enjoyment. I think that will be my “to do” as soon as I post this.
Finally, it goes without saying, that you should thank your publisher. Even if you aren’t crazy about everything they do, these people have tough jobs and have to deal with prima donnas all day long. Not that any of you are in that category!