I'll stop you before you accuse me of whining. I'm not. For me (and many of my wordgeek friends), writing stories is probably the single-most-amazing thing one can do with a keyboard. Unless you're one of those people who knows how to recreate the Mona Lisa using only binary code or something. Then, yeah, you win.
Anyhow, I love writing. I love thinking of crazy stuff and actually putting it into words, sharing it, then having someone tell me that my words made them laugh. Or that they listened to their children giggling together while reading one of my stories. Writing isn't world peace, and it sure isn't the answer to world hunger, but all of that has to start somewhere. A smile. A laugh. Sharing.
As a writer, there are a few different ways to share. This book publishing thing is new to me, so I'm experimenting with ALLLLLLLLL of the ways there are to share, just to see what happens while I'm sharing and afterwards.
A couple of weeks ago, I ran a free promotion on Amazon for my Children's/Middle Grade book, Daniel the Draw-er. Earlier in the month, I also offered "Daniel" for free. Over the span of the month of June, 1,000 people downloaded my book. For free.
To the average person, this doesn't make much business sense. I gave away 1,000 copies of a book, or x amount of royalties from actual purchases. The money I didn't earn in those "lost" royalties could have paid my house payment or a car note, or, heck, bought me a new pony if I so desired (I don't. I know, I don't believe it, either). But, between you and me, those 1,000 people aren't buying my book. Those 1,000 people don't know who I am from the other millions of authors currently published on Amazon. I don't have a PR firm paving the way for my success. The only way those people will hear of me is from me. And you, oh fantastical reader. Did I lose sales from someone who likely would have eventually bought my book? Absolutely. It's okay, though. Because something important happened. A small percentage of those 1,000 people who actually opened my eBook and read my words now know that I mean business. They might have smiled and laughed with their kids at bedtime, or from a hospital bed, or on that long plane flight or car trip. They might even look for my name next time they go to buy another book. And maybe, just maybe, they might even trust me.
Authors share with other authors, too.
I'm not known for my speedy reading unless it's one of those rare un-put-downable books. Most of my friends on GoodReads know that I've been trying to read "The Book Thief" for over seven months, and that I keep starting and putting aside Lauren Oliver's Delerium. Committing to read a book is a really big thing for me, but the writing world is a community, just like any other. Authors, especially indie authors, rely on networking with other writers. If we don't support each other, few will. There is absolutely zero benefit in holing yourself up in your house with only a cellar full of booze to keep you company (although, admit it, we've all dreamed about that at least once). Cutting down another writer, even someone you see as your competition, does NOTHING. It just makes you look like a big, prententious jerkface. A jerkface in a bathrobe with lotsa liquor, but a jerkface, nonetheless.
So, guess what? In order to make my community of writers successful, I'm on a mission to not be a gigantic jerkface. My game plan:
- I'm reading (True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager; Worth the Effort by Kai Strand; Turning Home by Stephanie Nelson; Madness Behind the Throne, by J. R. Simmons; currently I'm working on Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake, Book I by R. W. Foster). I've downloaded a few more to work on soon (Past the Fields, Where All Is Golden by Ann T. Bugg; Curdled Dream by Rasheed Rambler).
- I'm writing reviews. They're short reviews, but if I've learned anything during my short publishing/marketing stint, it's that reviews are gold. They can make or break a book, a reputation, a day. Friends, if you never remember another thing I say, remember this: Take five seconds to write a review for a book you enjoy, especially for writers who don't have the good fortune of calling themselves J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, or James Patterson. Love it? Review it. Pleaseandthankyou.
- I've written a book blurb (recommendation which will be featured on its cover) for a book I've read, which will be featured on their book covers (Madness Behind the Throne, Book Five of the Gates of Atlantis series. Each book features a different author--this one was written by J. R. Simmons). That's kind of cool because my name will be on J. R. Simmons' book, so without even trying, J. R. will be helping me out, too. That's the funny and beautiful thing about helping each other. When you do, you usually find yourself on the receiving end of some kind of blessing, too.
If people, not just those of us in the writing and publishing world, would take the time to ask how we can help instead of focusing on "Me! Me! Me!", things could be better. Still not world peace, but, gosh, wouldn't it be a great first step?
What about you? Is there a need you have that someone in this community can help you with?