How can we help each other?

I’m trying to find ways to increase my visibility, find new readers and get the word out about the series I am working on. Book one, Set Adrift, is out already.

I’ve found that many authors are willing to help, offer advice, and want to be supportive. Part of the problem is that there are only so many hours in a day. The desire to help a new author may conflict with deadlines and such. Marketing takes up the lion’s share of an author’s time. Writing isn’t my full time job, and I don’t anticipate that it ever will be. I’ve toyed with the idea of a street team for a very long time. I was on one briefly a long time ago. They are a great idea and I finally did it, with prompting from a friend. I had sort of dismissed the idea, since I am such a new and unknown author. It seemed presumptuous. It may well be, but the fact is that I suck at marketing myself. I enlisted the help of some very good friends and ardent supporters of my writing. They may be as shy as I am, and we will have to figure things out as we go along. But I think that once they get started, it will be a good thing.

I digress. Staying on task is not my strong suit. Time. I was talking about time, and how there just isn’t enough of it. I think though, if we all devote part of our time we spend on social media pimping not just ourselves but other authors as well, it will benefit us all. There seems to be some sense of competition among writers/authors. I don’t think there should be. We can’t possibly write more than anyone can read. Readers aren’t going to read our book and then stop reading until we get another one into their waiting hands. They want to know what to read while they wait for the next one, though. That’s an opportunity we have, to help each other out. Also, reviews. We all want more reviews, honest reviews. And again, there is an opportunity to help another author. This requires us to read, however. And we all have a TBR list a mile long. Who has time to read? We are trying to publish our next book and keep ourselves relevant. We have to make time.

It’s about community, not competition. Miriam Webster defines community as a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/community entry g.)

My goal is to read and review at least one book per month. I need to try to stay within the genres I normally read, at least at first. I am finishing a book of poetry at the moment, something far outside my norm. I am trying to figure out how to review something so outside my realm, so the next few will be books that I would pick up and read without a second thought, at least to get into the habit of reading and reviewing once again. To me, this is essential. First of all, how can I ask people for reviews when I don’t do them myself? Secondly, my love of reading is what prompted me to start writing. It inspires me, sharpens my mind, and gives me a much needed break from myself at times. Some books are a cautionary tale, teaching me what to avoid or what I, as a reader, like or don’t like. Some books are like a holy grail, showing me what I could someday aspire to. Either way, reading is essential.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

― Stephen King

Some of you reading this are probably wondering what I could possibly know about any of this. I’m a new author. Does this come across as me being an obnoxious upstart? Possibly, I suppose it could seem that way. I’m not though. Promise. I may have just recently published, but I’ve been writing for awhile. I don’t know all the ins and outs of marketing or of publishing, not by a long shot. I have a million questions and every time I think I have a handle on things for the moment, a million more questions arise. But I am pretty good when it comes to human nature. I am cognizant of the pitfalls of seeing people as competitors instead of members of one’s community. In school, I was in a fraternity that stressed the importance of helping each other. I learned quickly when to compete and when to extend a hand. It was the most important thing I learned in grad school I think.

There are a couple of authors that have been extremely kind, acting as a mentor and truly being a friend. One that comes to mind immediately is Kallypso Masters. That woman is one of the most gracious and down to earth people, she is selfless and caring and was a huge help, a tremendous resource to me when she could have just as easily brushed me off and not taken me seriously. There are books I would love to discuss with people. I will feature authors and books here regularly. But also, I will be featuring readers. They are so amazing, so supportive. And I really am interested in hearing what they have to say.

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