Monday, February 21, 2011

Five Ways to Help Yourself By Helping Others

Often authors think of other authors in terms of competition. And while this is true in some sense, it is much more helpful to think of other authors as partners and support systems. The old saying what goes around comes around is very true. When you help others, they are inclined to help you also. Below are five ways that you can help yourself by helping other authors.

1. Offer to do book reviews for your fellow authors. Book reviews posted on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, Library Thing, and Shelfari not only help other authors spread the word about their book, but usually will be reciprocated.

2. Share marketing tips that work well for you. Knowledge is meant to be shared not horded. When you share tips, not only are you helping others, but you are branding yourself. You are promoting yourself as a caring individual who wants others to succeed in life as well.

3. Promote similar books by fellow authors on your website or blog. One great way to do this is to add an Amazon widget to your site. My favorite is the Amazon carousel which is a rotating collection of books with prices and links. When you sign up to become an Amazon associate and someone buys a book through your link you earn a small commission. A helpful video on this subject can be found at

4. Offer words of encouragement to other authors. This costs absolutely nothing and helps bolster moral. Many times a small word of encouragement has helped me to forge ahead when instead I felt like giving up.

5. Include other authors in your social networking. For those of you who belong to Facebook or Twitter, share a fellow author's link or tweet about other authors on #Writers Wednesday or #Follow Friday. Not only does this help your author friends, it also gives you a broader base of potential followers. People who follow your fellow authors may see and follow you as well.

Well there you have it my friends, five simple things you can do for others that will benefit you as well. Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Encourage Enthusiasm

There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of a child. Still fairly innocent, they see things simply and simply enjoy the things they see. They laugh at little things like the mention of underware or pictures of cats in party hats. They even giggle at names, like one of my new eight year old readers who informed her mother that the name Mildred made her laugh.

When I named one of my characters Mildred, I did not chose that name in an attempt to amuse kids; but rather, because it was old fashioned. But the more I think about it, the more I can see why that would seem funny to a child. Mildred, from the Old English meaning "gentle strength", has not been popular since about 1910 when it hit it's peak. Therefore Mildred probably seems as strange to today's children as foreign names seem to me.

Children also immensely enjoy things they can relate to like my characters Edward Cornstalk and Jimmy Curlytail pummeling Justin Curlytail in the head with mud balls because he would not help them out of their predicament. One mother told me that she and her daughter laughed hysterically at that scene. And I know that it is relateable because I based it off of the time my neice threw mud balls at her sister as she rode by on her bike.

Children haven't yet been jaded by everyday life, paying bills, complicated relationships, and so forth. If only we could bottle and sell that enthusiasm. But since we can't, the next best thing we can do is encourage that enthusiasm both in our children and in ourselves. Encourage them to read, encourage them to write, and encourage them to dream. Laugh with them, remember to notice the little things, Find joy in everything you see and do. Sometimes that joy may be hiding behind a cloud, but it's still there and can be found if you look through the eyes of a child.

Signing off for now with wishes for a bright and beautiful day!