your writer-friends really do need you

My writer-friend Megan posted a link on Facebook to a post written by our writer-friend Shawn earlier today. (I reviewed Shawn and his wife Maile’s awesome book, How To Use a Runaway Truck Ramp here).

His post is entitled “20 FREE Ways to Help Your Writer-Friend Survive the Writing Life.” I read it and shared it, but mentioned that not all of the ideas were things I really wanted/needed. In a minute, I’ll share the ones that really resonated with me.

But first a word of… something… about… something.

Marketing/promotion is a little bit of a prickly, sticky thing for me. And my failure to do it well has caused me some grief over the years (like having 2 books go out of print). I still haven’t fully developed my philosophy on it, let alone figured out how to implement that philosophy into real-life action.

Here’s what I (kind of) know.

Marketing/promotion takes a TON of time. And I don’t have that kind of time right now (and I’m not willing to put other things aside to push it up on my priority list).

Promoting my own books often seems like a prideful thing to me. But when I don’t promote them, it’s not always because I’m super-humble. Sometimes it’s even a prideful thing for me. Where I don’t want people to look at me a certain way/think negative things about me because I’m talking about myself. Does that make any sense? No? Sigh.

Sometimes it just feels like talking about my books/blog means I want something from people, like I’m using them to build a platform. I hate this. Really truly. Can’t bear it. I want to genuinely like people, let them know, and not make this all about me.

I’ve given a lot of thought to why I’d even want a “big” platform. I can honestly say (and I mean honestly) that I really enjoy being able to interact/engage with a smaller number of people. Like our Deepening the Soul for Justice Read-Along. It’s about 30 women, and I send out an e-mail with updates/prayer needs each week. I feel comfortable sharing things with them that I don’t share publicly, and it’s been really mutually encouraging.

I’ll have more thoughts to share about this later, but let’s get to the list.

Again, these are from Shawn’s List of 20 FREE Ways to Help Your Writer-Friend Survive the Writing Life.

4. If he blogs, leave a comment. (I try to leave comments on most blog posts I read, but it’s kind of impossible. However, I know from experience it can be a real boost to the blogger.)

5. Share her blog posts on Facebook. (I try to do this too. But sparingly. Only when something really resonated with me.)

7. Retweet their posts on Twitter. (I’m a lousy Twitter-er. And I can’t decide if I’m going to make an effort or not to use it more effectively. But I know it’s a good place to reach out to people.)

11. Tell your friends about your writer-friend’s books. (This is huge. I rarely read a book unless someone I know recommends it to me.)

13. Review their book on Amazon. (I know it seems like your review might not make a huge difference, but it really does. Especially to counteract the haters who write scathing reviews just because they’re mad at the world and feel like taking it out on no-name writers.)

15. Pray. (Oh my word, yes. Prayer has made the single biggest difference in my life, especially the past two years. And even better, drop me a line that lets me know you prayed. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.)

So there you have it. Like I said, I have a lot more to say about this stuff. And I have an e-book that’s hopefully releasing early next month (December), so I’ll be calling on all interested parties to help me get the word out.

If you’re a writer (of anything, not just books), which things on Shawn’s list resonated with you most? And if you’re one of the all-important-and-awesome reader folks, what are you most inclined to do to help a writer-friend spread the word about his/her books?

10 thoughts on “your writer-friends really do need you

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  2. Cathryn

    I seldom write comments, but i did a few searching and wound up here your writer-friends
    really do need you | Marla Taviano. And I do have a few questions
    for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it appear like a
    few of the comments look as if they are coming from brain dead
    individuals? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional places, I would like to keep up with anything new you have to post.
    Would you make a list of all of your communal sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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  4. Nina

    I’ve missed reading your words! This is super encouraging to me as I have started a new blog and been investing a lot of time and effort in it and man, promotion is exactly what you say it is: a lot of work, time consuming, and impossible to really measure time well spent. And it is so confusing! I don’t want to annoy people. When I had a blog in college, I would never, ever talk about it. It’s been so weird to try and step outside my comfort zone.

  5. Brooke

    i’m lazy when it comes to writing reviews, but feel like i’m always “taking a penny” and never “leaving a penny” because i depend on good (and bad) reviews before trying out a new author!
    take heart – its pretty easy to tell when someone has a legitimate gripe with the book vs just being a mean spirited person.

  6. Megan at SortaCrunchy

    Thanks for the link love, friend!
    I really enjoyed his list, although like you, I don’t worry too much about blog comments anymore. I used to be reeeeeallllly wrapped up in it, but the way we all read blogs has changed so much that I know many more people are reading than comment. And that’s fine. I don’t comment much anymore, either!

    Also, Twitter? I’ve given up on it. I hate it. Really, really hate it. And I’m not going to force myself to engage in something I hate to build my platform (shudder at that word). So I’ll probably never be invited to speak at a conference and I’m probably missing making some great professional connections, but I just don’t care. So there, Twitter.

    Great thoughts, friend! Glad you shared these.

  7. Cheryl Pickett

    First to answer your questions: As a writer, I’m fine with any way that a reader can and wants to help in their own way. If I don’t tweet a lot, but they do, I’m glad to be connected to their community that way. If someone prefers mention my book when they’re talking to people in person, awesome!

    As a reader, I look at it about the same way. Like most people, I’ll share in the ways that are most natural or easiest for me unless the request for something more than that is from someone I am more personally connected to (like you Marla :-)). I’d try to do something special if you asked. If asked by someone in an author group whom I don’t know very well, maybe, maybe not.

    I also wanted to touch on the point about marketing and using people and making it all about the author/you because a similar conversation came up on LinkedIn today. And it just comes up a lot in general among author types.

    You are absolutely right, it isn’t all about you and it’s great that you know this. A lot of people don’t and that’s how they try to promote and it can be really awkward when someone goes overboard in that direction. However, if you have something to offer, it is you that has to do it, at least to an extent, unless you can hire that work out.

    No matter what you are trying to promote though, the primary focus needs to be on the customer. What will they get out of the situation? How do they benefit? I’ll actually be blogging about this soon, marketing works best when it looks like this:
    Person A is looking for or interested in something/topic + Person B has what A is looking for/interested in and offers it, if it’s a match it’s win win. A makes a sale, B has a need fulfilled and has been served. It’s actually when A never says anything, when everyone in the equation can potentially lose out.

    The sales process starts feeling icky when B has no need nor even interest, but A tries her darndest to convince too hard or too quickly that he really does need what she has. There’s no match. Maybe there could be later, but it’s so much more less icky feeling when you can talk to those who are a likely match when they’re ready. Of course the tough part is finding them and that’s a whole other kettle o’fish, but at least if you can start knowing you’re going for the win win, hopefully it makes things a little easier to stomach.

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