Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
JA Motherfucking Huss is the NYT bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestsellers list eighteen times. She writes dark shit that isn’t for everyone but once in a while she gets a joke in her that comes out as a romantic comedy. She’s a workaholic who lives on a ranch in Colorado. (This is her blog, BTW, so her links are all over the goddamned place so I’m not gonna post one here.)
Today I’d like to talk about giving back to the author community and put a little idea in your mind about what that means and how you can do it at ANY level of your career. Most people feel satisfaction when they help others. I’m sure there’s people out there who don’t. Some people actually feel satisfaction when they bring others down. Fuck those people. But I’m betting most of you are the former and not the latter, so let’s talk about how to GIVE instead of TAKE. This is the holiday season, after all, right?
Are you a giver? Or a taker?
BE A GIVER
Anyone, at any point in their career, can be a giver. When you have nothing to give, you’re dead, OK? Everyone has something to give. You can give an emoji smile, a high-five, a pat on the pack, a listening ear. You can take a phone call in the middle of your writing day and let your friend complain for three hours about how her career is falling apart. You can actually give something tangible. Like a few bucks to a homeless person. Or you can give your time at a charity.
Everyone has something to give. If you go through life waiting until you have “enough” to give back, you’ll wake up one day and realize you’ll never have enough.
GET RID OF YOUR TAKERS
I once made a comment to a friend a while back about this whole giving back to the author community thing. And she said to me, “You don’t give back. What are you talking about?”
To be fair, this was before I did the free marketing stuff. But still, I just kinda stared at the phone and said, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
And she told me, “Well, you never help promote other authors. You never join in their giveaways or newsletter promos. You never give out cover quotes or read their books. You never want to hang out with people at events. You’re anti-social as fuck.”
She’s right about that last part. I am anti-social. But the rest of it… I had a book blog for two years. I spent two hours every night blogging FOR OTHER AUTHORS on that blog. I wrote reviews, I read their books, I promoted them in giveaways I PAID FOR MYSELF. For TWO YEARS. Every single day. And you know what I figured out at the end of that two years? I don’t want to READ romance anymore. I like science fiction. I still WRITE romance, but I don’t read it unless it’s YA SF. So how the fuck can I write a cover quote for a book I didn’t read?
She wanted me to read her book and I said no.
We’re no longer friends. Get rid of your takers.
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE
I don’t care if you live in a van and keep your clothes in a garbage bag. You have something to be thankful for. If you’re always thinking about what you don’t have you’re not living in the moment. Yes, we all want success. We all want people to love our work. We all want to make money writing books. But we’re not all going to achieve the same level of success. Define your goals, make them achievable, and when you reach one, make sure you appreciate it. Even if it’s small. You sold your first book. Appreciate that. Some people never sell a book. You landed an agent. Stop and say good job. Pat yourself on the back. You make a bestseller’s list on Amazon. Go you. Great job.
HELP SOMEONE ELSE DO THE SAME THING
You don’t have to share with everyone like I do. But share it with someone. Even if it’s just one person. Pass what you learned along. And give it freely. I know it’s the trend these days to charge for information, but I don’t like it. And I used to do it. I used to write non-fiction science courses for a living and I sure as hell charged for those. But that was my business. I was a scientist writing science books for kids. I’m not a writing coach. Or a marketing coach. I’m a fucking fiction writer. So I make money writing fiction. So when I give you something, I give it freely. If I didn’t want to give it freely (and that’s always an option, but not my option) I’d shut my mouth and say nothing.
HOARDING YOUR MOST PRECIOUS SECRETS IS OK TOO
There’s nothing wrong with keeping things to yourself. If you think I hand out every trick I have on this blog, you’re insane. 🙂 I don’t think I say anything particularly ground-breaking anymore. I did, when I first started doing this, but then people wrote it down, and I saw it other places, and who cares. It’s all basic shit to me. Stuff I perfected and mastered long time ago. To them, it was a revelation. And I gave it away freely. With no expectation to get anything in return at all. I didn’t even ask for an email, ya know? I don’t want your email. I don’t really care about emails. So that’s why my blog, and all the posts on it, is public. Just stop on by. Take what you can use, leave the rest for someone else. And hey, maybe you tell a friend about it. That’s a cool way to give back to two people. Me and them.