by Brian Andrews

As the year draws to a close, it’s the perfect time for reflection and to count blessings. Reflecting on our accomplishments and struggles over the past twelve months helps us identify opportunities to grow and change for the better and also reminds us of the people who matter in our lives.

In this week’s post, I wanted to express how grateful I am to be a member of the global Writing Community of talented authors, novelists, screenwriters, and poets. If you’re reading this post, then that likely means you’re familiar with this blog and the Career Authors contributors. Every post you read here was written without compensation or renumeration and with the singular purpose of giving back to the Writing Community we love. It’s one way that we, the Career Authors, express our gratitude and try to give back.

Whether you’re an aspiring author, a mid-lister, or a bestseller, let’s reflect on ways we can give back and pay it forward in the coming year in the Writing Community to help lift up our fellow authors.

(1) Read Your Peers Published Work

This might sound like an odd way to give back, but it might be the most important. As authors, we all want our voices to be heard and having our voice heard by the very people who can most appreciate the travails of writing and publishing is a special gift. There’s no greater compliment (IMHO) then when someone you admire in the industry tells you they’ve read your book and take the time to talk about it with you. We’re all busy all the time, and so giving the gift of your time to a contemporary is the ultimate compliment.

(2) Write An Unsolicited Endorsement

If you’ve taken the time to do #1 on the list, then #2 is a logical follow-on step that most authors don’t think to do. As a published author, writing multiple books a year, I can personally attest that I’ve long since run out of “blurb capital.” With every new book an author writes, the publishers want fresh endorsements. And even if you’re a social butterfly extraordinaire with lots of author friends and contacts, eventually you run out of people to ask to blurb your next book. Imagine waking up and checking your inbox with an unsolicited endorsement from a published author! Talk about Christmas in June…

(3) Posts on Social Media to Support Other Authors

If you’ve done #1 and #2, then #3 is (insert your favorite idiom here) icing on the cake. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Getting the word out about an author’s work is arguably the greatest challenge in publishing. And every author knows the cringy feeling as you type your fifth “look at me” post on Twitter during pub week as you try to show your publisher how dedicated and social media savvy your are (when you wish you could be writing instead). As creatives, self-promotion doesn’t come natural to most of us. Most authors are introverts and chose a career in writing instead of sales for a reason. So, imagine your delight to find that Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jessica Strawser, or Paula Munier posted unsolicited about your latest book on Social Media. What a gift when another author lifts the burden of self-promotion off your back, even if only for a single tweet.

(4) Talk-up other Authors

Sometimes we forget in this brave new world of social media, that talking to people the “old-fashioned way” is still a thing. The publishing industry is actually a smaller community than most people realize. Word-of-mouth has to start somewhere, so why not get the ball rolling with the people who move needles and make dreams come true. If you’ve read a great book, tell people about it—fellow authors, your agent, your editor, your publicist, etcetera. People change jobs all the time in this industry and who knows how a compliment you paid today might help make someone’s career tomorrow.

(5) Write a Review

Being an author doesn’t preclude you from being a reader. And as a reader, you’re entitled to write reviews. Amazon has algorithms in place to prevent authors from reviewing their own books, but it’s entirely fine for authors to review other authors books. If you’ve already done items 1, 2, 3, and 4 on this list then go the final mile and publish a review.

If you’ve told the author, told social media, and told your professional contacts how much you think of said book, then the last thing left to do is tell the potential buyers and readers why they should spend their money and buy a fellow author’s book. Popping a 5 star review early during pub week can literally change the narrative for how a new book is presented to potential buyers on Amazon and Audible. That top review can either drive or derail sails for a book, so in the new year, be a saint and write a review for another author’s book on their pub day!

(6) Other Wonderful Things You Can Do…

Other ideas for giving back are:

  • Introducing a fellow author to podcasters, influencers, and/or book-bloggers.
  • Connecting an aspiring author who you think has publication potential with an agent you know.
  • Joining a writer’s group and provide constructive to aspiring authors to help them hone their craft.
  • Reaching out to blogs like this one and asking to contribute insightful content to spread knowledge.
  • Recognizing authors who’ve helped you in the Acknowledgements Section of your next book
  • Joining a community of authors like ITW, MWA, or others and becoming a mentor
  • Telling your local librarians and bookstore owners about new authors and encouraging them to stock new voices

Happy Holidays my fellow scribes in the Writing Community! I’m grateful to be one of you on this amazing journey we call storytelling.

Do you have more ideas how to pay it forward and give back? Great! Please share them on our Facebook page.