Paying it Forward
This past week my podcast co-host, Pru Warren, told me (and our listeners) about the launch of her first book, Cyn and the Peanut Butter Cup. We had planned on talking about tropes (as I blogged about it last week since the concept has been on my mind as I start plotting out my next series), but Pru’s book had come out a few days earlier and I knew she was incredibly busy with her launch (as evidenced by the fact that she completely stopped responding to emails, which is really unlike her). Both as a friend and as another author I was really curious as to not only what she did for her launch—as there are many ways to launch a new book—but how it went.
I won’t give you the details of her launch—you can listen to her answer on January 29th when the episode airs—but one thing she said really struck me.
As part of Pru’s launch, she did a number of Facebook page take-overs. For those of you who don’t know, that’s when an author posts on someone else’s Facebook page in order to have a new audience to share their message with. I’ve done a number of page take-overs when I’ve had a new book and it’s a fantastic way to broaden my audience or introduce a whole new group of people to my work. For a page take-over it’s sometimes one author posting a series of posts and contests, sometimes it’s a line-up of authors who post one after another—a launch party.
One of the take-overs Pru did was a launch party with a bunch of authors all posting one after another. Each author could post three items for a specific half-hour of the day and then another author would take over and post their three items. But something happened that struck Pru (and me!) – the author who came after Pru didn’t just post about her own books. She posted about Pru’s book and even gave away a copy of it!
She was paying it forward.
This is not a new concept. I’m sure you’ve heard of someone at a drive-through paying, in advance, for the order of the person behind them (I’ve had this happen to me once, it’s the most incredible feeling!). Authors do this sometimes as well—they’ll promote someone else’s book when it’s their turn to promote their own and hope that the person who comes after them does the same.
Authors are incredible people!
It is common for authors to promote each other’s books. I do it all the time on Facebook when a friend of mine posts about a new book they’ve just released or about a sale they’re having, I’ll share their post. But to actually take from a limited amount of time you have to promote your own work in order to promote that of a stranger? It’s incredibly generous and wonderful!
Why do this?
Because we are in this together. We are all working toward the same goal—to sell books and encourage people to read. The wonderful thing about books is that they’re not coats.
With a coat, you buy one and you’re done. You don’t need to buy another. The one coat will be fine to last you the winter, if not many. All coat manufacturers are in direct competition with one another in order to make sure that their product is the one the consumer chooses.
Books don’t work that way. Just because someone buys your book doesn’t mean that they’re not going to turn around and buy mine. People need lots of books to read. So my promoting your book isn’t going to stop someone from buying mine—in fact, it might encourage them to buy mine as well because they’ll think that I’m a really nice person for supporting a fellow author.
So not only is there no reason not to pay it forward, there is every reason why you should promote the work of another author—especially one who writes in the same genre as you.
All of this paying it forward has one other important by-product: Community.
An author without a community is one extremely lonely person. We need our author community and promoting the work of one another is a fantastic way to create this community and make friends.
With this in mind, I encourage you all, if you are published, drop the links to your book in the comments below and I will promote your work on Facebook and Twitter because I believe in this community. I believe in promoting the work of other authors—whether they write in my genre or not. And maybe, if you are so inclined, you can do the same for me. 😊