Supporting One Another

Writing can be a lonely endeavor.

By nature, it is a solo pursuit. We write alone, whether in a private office, living room, library, or coffee shop. As well, we often “feel” alone in our profession because so many of us are introverts. Despite our families, friends, and critique partners, we nurture self-doubt. We fear our writing isn’t good enough or that others won’t appreciate our work or that we will not be able to follow through if we are successful.
Knowing all this about ourselves, it behooves us all to support one another and there are a few easy things we can do toward that end.

First, share good news. Opportunities abound for this one and it requires little effort except simply doing it. Nearly every one of us now makes use of at least one social media platform. When a fellow writer finals in or wins a contest, does a cover reveal or announces a new release, share the news! Tweet/retweet, post/share, or pin. Use social media to spread the word to your friends and followers so that a wider net learns about it. With increasing reports of some platforms blocking authors’ self-postings about releases, this is a critical way to help spread the word about others’ accomplishments, especially when the writer is modest and doesn’t make announcements on his/her own.

Equally as easy is congratulating them. Like or better yet, comment when significant writing news is posted. Offer kudos within groups and “loops” and “list-serves.” Use hashtags. These small efforts may not seem like much but I guarantee they mean an incredible amount. Each comment I receive on news I’ve shared means the world to me and I take notice of each like. As well, those “likes” drive the algorithms on social media so that that person’s posts appear more often in newsfeeds. Thus, you provide them warm feelings and a marketing boost. If the person is important to you, write a short email or send a snail-mail card and really make their day!

If a fellow writer is releasing a book, attend a signing event. Too often, many of us attend launch events for the first book released by an author. Subsequent books are not celebrated with event attendance. We often figure we don’t want to attend a launch event unless we intend to purchase a book and we can’t afford to purchase everyone’s book. Yet few people understand that there is nothing so deflating as arranging (and sometimes paying for) a celebratory event and having only a small handful of people attend. Authors are robbed of the joy of the new release. It doesn’t matter one whit if the author is debuting or is multi-published, the let-down can be devastating. In a group the size of RMFW, this should never occur.

At one of my release events, I looked out and saw members of my critique group, there to celebrate with me. My heart nearly melted. These were people who had read the book, had no reason to purchase it but there they were…present to support and rejoice, even though it was not a first book and even though I have already experienced success. To me, it didn’t even matter if they bought a book or not. Authors quickly come to understand that it’s impossible to others to buy every book friends release. The point was that they had come. Sure, selling a book is great but having a supporting audience is really what matters.

Read a book? Consider writing an honest review and posting it on Goodreads or Amazon. Not only will it mean much to the author but it will drive algorithms so that the book appears sooner in search engines. Reviews and search engine results drive sales for the author. As authors, we understand this, yet we still fail to write them. Some avoid writing reviews because they feel they might hurt the author’s feelings if the review is less than glowing. Others note that Amazon sometimes removes reviews written by fellow authors—not true if the book was purchased through Amazon, by the way—then forget the Goodreads platform. The most common reason we don’t do this for one another, however, is because it takes a bit more time to do. Perhaps all of these excuses need re-evaluation.

Admittedly, I fail to do all of these but I’m making efforts to do some of them on a consistent basis.

And you know what? It feels good!

Pamela Nowak
Pamela Nowak writes historical romance set in the American West. In addition to widespread critical acclaim, her books have won multiple national awards. In love with history and rich characters for most of her life, Pam has a B.A. in history, has taught prison inmates, managed the Fort Yuma National Historic Site and run a homeless shelter. She was named the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Writer of the Year in 2010, chaired three conferences, and now serves as volunteer coordinator. Pam and her life partner Ken live in Denver. Their combined families include six daughters and several grand-children. Together, they parent a dog and a cat. More about Pam on her website.

9 thoughts on “Supporting One Another

  1. This is so important, Pam. It does feel good, both to be supported and to support others. I’ve dropped by signings where I was the only one attending except for the author’s spouse. I’ve also had book signings scheduled for my own books where no one came. Nowadays, I try hard to read and mini-review more books….and I already buy enough to start my own bookstore.

    • By the way, for those of us who would love to buy even more books but just can’t break the budget to do so, most libraries have a “suggest a purchase” option on their websites. Asking the library to order a book you’d like to read is another great way to support the author.

  2. Heck yes. Everything Pam said! Supporting each other is what I love most about RMFW. I love it when one of my fellow writers at RMFW succeeds. It makes my day. I admit I’m terrible about going to actual (outside of my house) events. Who wants to wear pants? But I am making this a new years’ resolution. Like I do every year…. Thanks Pam for reminding us of why we are members and what it means to be part of this fabulous group.

  3. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to my minimal success in writing if it weren’t for the support of other writers/editors/authors. JA and Patricia are two of the best to have in your circle. Wonderful reminders Pam and let’s spread the support, joy, passion and craziness far and wide!

  4. This is all so true, Pam. Thanks for reminding us to reach out and care, reach out and share. It enriches our writing experiences and our friendships.

  5. All good points. As Patricia suggested, the library is an important alternative when you can’t afford to buy the book yourself. I think the library’s important even if you do buy it. The library gets a book you admire into a place where it will be discovered by others and helps create an audience for the author’s next book.

  6. So critical that we support each other. So many times I’ve posted good news on loops and circles and communities of fellow writers only to get crickets in return: nothing, nada, radio-silence. It can be discouraging, because you’d think if anyone could appreciate and identify with you at moments like these it would be other writers.

    Likewise attending book releases and signings. It used to be these were places where I could catch up with colleagues besides monthly RMFW events and conference. Now if you spot fellow writers there is a coincidence – they just happen to be shopping on the day you had your signing.

    We need to pull together and become a community. Because remember, one day you’re going to want and need THEIR support some day!

  7. It’s so good to hear others echoing this and adding other suggestions for support. Writing is discouraging enough because of our self-doubt. Support of one another is absolutely critical!

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