How To Help Authors

“No man is an island …” I’ve used that idea before in one of my Random Musings, and it is something authors should realise when they try to sell their books. Or when they need an editor, proof-reader, cover designer, or beta-readers. We all need others to have our work be the best it can be. Even when you think you have no particular technical skill, there is always something you know, or can do which helps another author. Research you have done, or a site you’ve found to be very useful. You might know how a certain program works. There’s lots of things to help others with.

Because if you want help, you have got to give to get. Pay it forward and such. There are heaps of writer communities to be found online, but how do you know you’ve not found one filled with envious characters, who seem to love critiquing, but never really give back anything a budding author can use to better themselves. Unfortunately a lot of budding authors stumble blindly across forumland until they find that one community and then still, writers on forums aren’t always the best ones to listen to. Find yourself communities on the book of faces, or Google+, where real, published authors formed communities to help each other.

I’ve discovered that there actually are more than a few authors out there willing and able to share their knowledge with whomever wants to hear it. But there are so many sites out there filled with people who proclaim themselves to be The Expert how do you know when you’ve found a group that is really worth belonging too? (To be honest I don’t trust everything I find on the interweb. Check and cross-check, and use your common sense.)

I suggest to check if the authors offering to help you with grammar know what they are talking about. How? Just read a sample of their work, could be well edited, or could be their own knowledge, but either way that one would know how to go about getting it right if their book is spotless.

Someone offers their professional opinion as a cover designer? Check out the covers they’ve done to see if their work is as good as it should be. (Taste differs from one person to the next, but there are a few things any cover should have. Legible title and by-line in thumbnail and not be too cluttered)

Need to find out how to market your book when it is finally finished? No need to invent the wheel all over again. Not that the wheel in indie author book marketing is invented yet, but there are a great many indie authors trying a lot of different things and they all are willing to share their experiences.

Authors are in their nature either over-confident or hyper-sensitive/insecure. Ready to fall for anyone who spins a good yarn on how he/she is an expert. Takes your money and delivers crappy editing or a cover which looks awful in thumbnail (most important size, because it is how readers see your book in the online stores) But I digress.

What I mean is sometimes you just have to lean back and …

common sense

Authors should be helping authors! Really it isn’t that far fetched. Or is it? We are like what would be a guild in the old days, and guild members stick together, or they should. We shouldn’t be bickering and feel like other authors are trying to put you down.

But then again, knowledge found on internet isn’t always true. How to know who, or what to trust? I’ve found that when authors help authors they mostly mean well, and will go to great lengths to help each other if they see you are equally willing to help them in whatever way you can.

AHA Badge

So, it is give to get. Next time when you have an AHA moment share it with the community you’re a part of. Or join Authors Helping Authors where you can find articles on a variety of subjects and can share yours too.

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8 thoughts on “How To Help Authors

  1. Great post! It really is tough to find a community that suits you as an individual, that will offer the help that you need as an author. Each of us is different and has different strengths and weaknesses and I think you’re right, some people are overly critical and that can be very damaging to a budding author who is just starting out. So it is important to consider where the criticism is coming from, the motives of the person offering it and if and how it will help.

    • Thanks JC, motives are always hard to discern online, but in doubt just lean back and ‘whatever’ that person’s opinion. Which is very hard to do for the budding author. I can remember starting out and thinking every single person who ever wrote a single word must know more than me. (Which isn’t true at all I soon enough discovered.)

  2. Thank you for writing this. I want to share it with everyone I know. I’m currently working on a bit of historical fiction, involving real people and find the research process to be huge as I’m trying to make my story as historically accurate as possible. To that end, I’ve created a research blog: http://1890swriters.blogspot.ca/ I find the lack of feedback there a little unnerving, like does nobody comment because I have everything right or am I so far off that no one thinks I’m worth saving. Maybe my topic is only of interest to me and ten other people? Does anyone know of any forums for discussing the history of writers in London in the 1890s that would help me?

    • I find you get more replies from your readers when you actually ask them a question they need to think about and have fun answering. For example your cucumber sandwiches post. (i love them) has no question for your readers at all to prompt them to post a reply. But sometimes it just takes time for people to find and follow your blog. Things don’t happen overnight, you know? Try to become a part of a community which has the same interest as you.
      Don’t tell me you really choose your friends for their good looks! Hilarious! 🙂

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