When someone wants to write a book, they almost always dream of big publishing houses, big advances and big crowds awash with anticipation at their book openings. After a few months of research, reality comes crashing down on their poor little heads. The reality is, big publishing houses really only want you after you’re a big success, that you’ve done, on your own, with no help.
Typically, after spending months and sometimes years, writing your book, the real work begins. You learn a sort of ‘quid pro quo’, you scratch my back-i’ll scratch yours, kind of deal with other independent writers. You join every single social, writing and business network available to hawk your own book. You soon discover the ‘conventional wisdom’ of helping other independent writers hawk their books, in return for them helping you hawk your books.
That’s the way it is supposed to be, in theory. As much in life, there are users out to get what they can out of you, squeeze your mind, time and money for their own selfish needs, without having to lift a pinky or squeeze a dram of sweat out of their smoothed out, stress-free, brows. For some reason, I was a magnet for such users during my neophyte days of writing, advertising, publicizing and doing book reviews, for free, with the foolish, gullible expectation of getting help with MY books in return.
Certainly, these selfish, independent writers saw a target on my forehead, apparently. I bolstered THEIR sales, helped them reach top-ten status on amazon, new york times and so forth. The LOVED my book reviews-I write damn good book reviews. Other, established writers have written me, thanking me for the good review of their work-not always 5-star reviews, mind you. I”m tough, but I’m fair (usually).
These independent selfish writers told me ‘oh, i don’t reciprocate book reviews (advertising, publicizing, etc) of anyone else s book. It’s a personal rule of mine, but I really appreciate you helping MY book reach number one’.
They would led me to believe they would give my books a review if I did all that for them. For the first year, I believed it, then would be sorely disappointed time and again.
So, fellow neophyte writers, my advice is to only help if you really admire the writer, the book and really believe in them, the book or whatever process you use to determine how to help people.
As for me, I’m more wise than I was.