We’ve previously shared tips on how to show support for upcoming authors for free here and here, and for cheap here. With those ideas being provided, we’d be remiss to acknowledge the struggle within the writing community to support each other. What we’ve seen more times than we can count, is authors who are so laser-focused on selling a single copy of their own book, that they miss the opportunity to support the larger writing community in a way that could offer long-term benefit. There is a focus to sell books at all costs, without recognizing that not every reader is their target demographic. It almost seems like there is a competitive approach, as in, let’s see who can sell the most books. Sure, generally, that’s the end goal. But when you’re still finding your place in the writing world, it would be beneficial to ally yourself with other authors who can work with each other and help the collective group.
Social media has provided countless groups for this very thing. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to the writing community, especially compared to how difficult and limited the resources and options were just twenty years ago (pre-internet). While it’s fun to surround yourself with other writers that you share interests with, it might be more beneficial to find a well-rounded group, ranging from various writing styles, multiple genres, and differing experience levels. That way when you meet a new reader, and you ask them what they like to read, you can give them fitting choices when you make a recommendation. Sure, that recommendation might lead that reader to a different author, but the other authors in your group would ideally be doing the same thing and pointing identified readers in your direction as well. That’s a win-win for everyone involved. Not only that, but it also helps the reader find something that they will enjoy. They can then focus more support on a new favorite author, instead of getting annoyed and/or burned out from having books pushed on them that they aren’t interested in.
Unfortunately, what we’ve seen time and again, are author’s who seem to have the impression that there aren’t enough readers to go around, and that their book should be in everyone’s hands, even if that reader isn’t interested in their genre, topic, style, etc. While it’s true that there is a limited amount of money for readers to spend on books, wouldn’t it be better served if it was used for the benefit of the community, instead of trying to gobble up every reader whether they like your genre or not, $12 at a time?
Additionally, beyond selfish sales approaches, we’ve noticed that authors don’t always practice what they preach. Writers are always asking for book reviews, however, they aren’t the most reliable group to offer reviews to other authors. As previously noted, it doesn’t have to be a full-on, multiple paragraph essay-type book review. A simple “fun read” or “interesting book” work just fine. If you have a blog and want to do a complete book review, then even better. Not only are you letting readers know about a particular book, you’re generating easy content for your site. How can you go wrong with that?
Lastly, also discussed previously, most authors have fanpages on social media, and every author craves likes, shares, and comments. Although, you can have a whole friends list of writers, and will still struggle to receive the kind of attention that’s desired. It can be very defeating to offer support to others, and not have it reciprocated, and the logic behind it is baffling. The golden rule seems quite fitting here, doesn’t it? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Unfortunately, a lot of time, it comes down to do unto others when it benefits you. Or do unto others after they’ve done unto you.
Are you an author that finds themselves in this group of guilty offenders? Well, the good news is it’s never too late to start supporting the writing community!