In today’s publishing world, more and more writers are taking the leap into the online world. We blog, we Tweet, we participate in chats and bloghops and tribes and Google+ and a thousand other venues for GETTING KNOWN.
Because that’s what it’s all about, right?*
Well…not exactly. I mean yes, as authors we do need to get our names out there, but if we focus solely on what the Internet can do for us, we’re missing the point. Newsgroups, Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest (did I miss any?) enable writers and readers to connect. These platforms provide places for us to engage with one another and, ultimately, develop relationships.
And online relationships, like most relationships, benefit from the age-old attitude that “it’s better to give than receive.”
If you want to be heard, stop thinking about how to shout louder. Think about what you have to offer.
In my opinion, the biggest thing you can offer other writers is simply your support. And here are ten great places for you to start!
- Read: If you’re a writer, you are reading other writers’ books, right? Buy their books or pick them up at the library (because libraries do keep track of how often books are checked out). Make sure that you’re counting as a consumer.
- Share a review: If you *like* that book, consider giving it a review on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, or another book-selling venue. Share a review or give it a rating on GoodReads. If you don’t like it…well, I personally don’t see the point in giving public negative reviews, but others certainly disagree. Maybe that’s because I don’t usually end up finishing books I don’t like, and how can I review a book I haven’t finished? IMHO, (honest) positive reviews are the most helpful because they point me toward books I might like to read.
- Recommend books to friends: Word-of-mouth recommendations count more than you’d think. People tend to trust the opinions of their friends, and if you influence a few to read a great book, they might influence a few of their friends, and so on, creating the proverbial snowball. Give it a try!
- Help create some bloggish buzz: If you blog, use it to help others broaden their reach. Post an author interview or book review. Participate in a blog hop. Encourage guest posting. Use your online influence, however much that may be, to help connect writers with readers who may love them and vice versa.
- Get in touch: Did you like a book? Let the author know. Be specific. Did you enjoy someone’s blog post? Leave an appreciative comment.
- Tweet the good news: One of the things I love about writing in community is that I can share so many others’ writing victories. Hear a bit of good news? Help spread the cheer!
- Linkish love: Find a blog post you love? Create a weekly list of favorite links such as those collected by Patrick Ross on The Artist’s Road. Share them on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you hang out online.
- Engage in conversation: Wherever you exist online, make sure you listen and respond more than you spout variations of ME-ME-ME! Join in others’ conversations. Bounce ideas off one another. This is how relationships evolve.
- Offer encouragement: When you listen to other writers online, sooner or later you will hear someone who sounds discouraged, depressed, or overwhelmed. Do you have a bit of encouragement to offer? Sometimes a kind word is enough to change the course of another’s day.
- Be generous: The way I see it, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the generous writers who encouraged me, critiqued my first books, shared their knowledge for free online, and mentored me when I needed it most. I’m a firm believer in giving whatever I have the resources to give. Sometimes that’s only a little bit; sometimes more. It’s my shout-out of thank you to the world, I guess. What do you have to share?
How do you support other writers? Have I missed anything?
* I mean, besides the Hokey Pokey. We all know that’s what it’s really all about.