Top 5 Tips Giving Back by JA Huss

Posted December 12, 2017 by Julie in Marketing Tip Monday, Top 5 Tips, Writing Tip Wednesday / 23 Comments

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?


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.


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.


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.

And then…


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.



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.

Today’s topic was gonna be about covers. I might fit that in somewhere else this month, I might not. The reason it’s not about covers was because someone was kinda bitchy to me and one of my friends in an author group yesterday about this series. She said it was too basic for her.

Her opinion, of course. But she’s wrong. And I told her that if she’s doing all these tips. Like, she’s mastered them the way we have, then why isn’t she killing it on the bestseller’s lists the way we are?

She didn’t like that too much. Said I was throwing my “bestseller’s status in her face”.

Damn fucking right I was. 18 motherfucking times I’ve been on that list. In three years. I might know just a tiny bit more than her when it comes to this kind of thing. And if I want to blog about it, I will.

What my friends I are doing here has nothing to do with promotion of ourselves. In fact, it came out this topic right here.

Giving back.  Freely.

I had already made up my mind that I was gonna blog every day in December so one day I saw something on the internet. Someone was charging for yet another course. It kinda pissed me off because I didn’t think she was qualified. So I said to my friends, “You know what I’m gonna do? Since I’m already gonna blog every day in December anyway? I’m gonna blog author tips. Five tips a day, every day of the month. And I’m gonna give them away for free. Because if I can save one unsuspecting author from this Newbie Author’s $200 course on how to make a bestseller’s list, then I did something good this holiday season.”

And they said, “Fuck yeah, Julie! Can I do a post?”

And I said, “Fuck yeah, you guys! Let’s all do a post.”

So that’s all this Top 5 Tips is about. I’m not gonna collect your fucking email. I’m never gonna charge you for a fucking tip. I’m NEVER gonna ask for more than I give. EVER.

Now listen, I don’t think everyone has a bogus course. I have a friend doing this stuff and I’d fucking pay to hear her speak about her success. Because she’s actually, you know, DONE SOMETHING. MANY TIMES. Not just once, with a 99c book, for one week like that other author.

And to be perfectly fucking honest with you, I’ve done shit too. Shit worth talking about. Which is why I do talk about it.


On my blog.

For free.

And because I know that 99.99% of you aren’t unappreciative of what I do here, I’m just gonna go ahead and say, “You’re welcome. Hope you come back tomorrow.” 🙂

Because I’m up tomorrow too, and my topic is HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR FIRST BOOK.

Happy Holidays, bitches!


BE MORE CREATIVE (Violet Vaughn) 
WRITING FOR TV & FILM (Johnathan McClain)

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23 responses to “Top 5 Tips Giving Back by JA Huss

  1. JO

    Most awesome, THANK YOU 🙂 And yes, though I haven’t even launched yet I do feel good helping others x

  2. I’m appreciative. 🙂 I don’t comment often, but I’ve read most of these tips blogs, and they’re excellent. And I’ve been watching your videos, and they’re excellent as well. God bless you!

  3. So… ex-scientist who wrote science books for kids who still reads science fiction – would you like a science fiction anthology written for kids, by grownup authors including Nancy Kress? (not for a quote, or anything, just as a thanks for the month of great tips?) (And if this is weird and stalkery, ban-hammer away)

    • Julie

      Awww, that’s sweet of you. I am very picky about my reads so I’m gonna decline. But THANK YOU so much for the offer. 🙂

  4. Julie! As the newbie who is SLOWLY learning her way around this world, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s awesome that you TAKE TIME and offer it to others, alongside precious advice that comes from EXPERIENCE. I think it’s crazy for one not to realize what a tremendous gift this is. Thank you! <3

  5. Michell Casper

    You are one kick ass person JA Huss!!! ❤ Thank you for everything you do. ❤

  6. Hahaha! Oh, girl. I love you… the giving-tips are great, but it’s the extra “why I wrote this post” that made me LOL and link my bestie to this, and that’s keeping a smile on my face even now. ❤

  7. I’m not sure you understand how much you are appreciated for the “FREE” tips and advice you give. For an author (still feel like an impostor when I say that) like me, having a best selling author willing to give it up for free is a huge gift. Thank you and thank you to all your author friends who have contributed to this blog.

  8. You are the best! I love, love, love your blog, your attitude and all the words you write. You are a totally awesome human being and don’t let anyone ever say otherwise. Just so you know- I’d pay good money to hear what you’ve got to say about being an author, about writing and about marketing (and anything else, really). It blows me away that I don’t have to. Your generosity, and your friends generosity, is an inspiration. Happy holidays from Downunder!

  9. Hahaha. That fucking post! Your response made me laugh. The tips and the videos are great and I truly appreciate them, but most of all I love that you’re just you. 🙂

  10. You fucking make me smile. I love your advice and appreciate and absorb it like pizza. This was a great post. I’ve diddled around and for years let the takers tweak me. I finally 86’d that shit and what to do you? I feel lighter, more productive and happier. I’m always happy when I have something to share and people actually can use it. It’s not often, but once in a while I have a good idea 😀 Thank you for all you do. For writers, and for readers. Your advice is priceless and your books keep me smiling and sane!

  11. Marie

    You’re awesome. Some people just can’t be happy or appreciative of anything so they have to say shit and bust the balls of people who are actually doing nice things for others. So F them.

  12. SJ Martin

    Thank you so much for posting these tips! As someone new to the Indie world, I feel like I could easily waste a lot of time and money doing all the wrong things. I am using these tips as a road map to stay focused and to do what WORKS!
    And I have learned about New authors and have of course been buying books! Thank you to all of you for the tips!