Dear Writer, How Can I Help?
I tell people I’m a writer, and more accurately when I tell them I’m self-publishing, I receive a range of responses that I group into a few categories:
by Rebeca Sarray
Polite bemusement – These people have never thought about what I do with the 24 hours in my day (to be fair, I’ve probably never considered what they do when the kids are in bed either), so when I tell them I’m a writer, I’ve just stomped all over their notions of me. They freeze like deer in the headlights and smile, knowing there’s an expected response, but not sure what it is. It’s okay, let’s talk about our favorite shows on HBO instead.
- Wistful admiration – Some people confess to me that they thought about writing a book too. I recall a survey that half of all American women dream of writing a novel one day. This was me for a long time, picking up writing books, occasionally writing a couple of pages, then wandering off for another month. Eventually I met someone where I had the thought that if she could do it, I could do it too. I hope that maybe I can inspire someone else like that. If Tracy can do this, how hard could it really be? xD
- Cynical suspicion – These people act like I have a communicable disease. Maybe it’s the idea that all writers are crazy and/0r depressed. Maybe it’s my audacity to self-publish instead of waiting for traditional publishers to knock on my door. Maybe it’s the science fiction and fantasy thing, like I’m an adult and should have put down the comic books and picked up some James Joyce. Meh.
- Eager helpfulness – Usually these people are “in the know.” They know a writer, are a writer, or have heard about the crazy numbers about writers making a living through self-publishing. They ask the questions like “What do you write?”, “Where can I buy it?”, or even more awesomely, “How can I tell my friends about it?”
also by Rebeca Sarray
That’s been the most awkward thing I have been facing lately. I’ve gotten used to calling myself a writer, I have found a wonderful group of writers/beta readers/support group/friends, but it still seems awkward when I tell people “Yeah, I have an anthology and a book out on Amazon. Please go check them out.”
So, how can you help your fellow self-publishing friends when you meet them?
- First, shake their hand, tell them that is interesting and awesome. Ask them what they are currently working on.
- Offer them some coffee, a brownie, or maybe a quiet space to take a nap.
- If you are dreaming of becoming a writer too, don’t be shy in asking the how they got started. Ask them if they are in a critique group. Most productive writers I know surround themselves with other writers.
And how can you support their publishing efforts?
- Ask what name they publish under, check it out on Amazon, buy and read it if is strikes your interest.
- If you do read it and enjoy it, please leave a review for them. Getting review when authors are starting out is hard.
- If you blog, tweet, FB, or instagram, take a moment to mention your friend’s book through social media. I think we should all use our online resources more to support each other in general, not just about this book thing. I really should tell more people how amazing my friends are.
So, like I mentioned before, I did a crazy thing and got a story published in a science fiction and fantasy anthology. The editor of the anthology I’m in is doing a Thunderclap media blitz for the book, which is like a social media Kickstarter. You pledge to post about the book through Thunderclap (no money, just posts), and if enough people agree, then Thunderclap does a huge media blitz for the book.
If you want to support me, take a look and pledge. More buzz would be awesome, thanks!! (Also, Friday is the last day to help support us in the Thunderclap, so don’t wait if you’re reading this today.)