Ask (Your Writer Friends) and Receive

Thursday, May 28, 2015
I had lunch with a writer friend this week; she had an ARC of her soon-to-be-released romance novel and at long last, I’d get to read the whole thing. But she wasn’t so much happy for me as she was…well, a bit apologetic.

Honestly, if I hadn’t won the ARC, I’d probably still be waiting around, wondering about her book. When in truth, all she had to do was ask.

Why do we do that? That is, why do writers—not all, of course, but a great many of us—find it so difficult to solicit support from the very people who likely understand us the most? Why do we balk at asking our personal writer friends for help? At giving a review? Or allowing us to write a guest blog post?

In talking to my friend (and really, it was quite a long lunch) I had time to hear all of her excuses. Maybe you’ve heard the same excuses:

But you don’t really like (fill in the blank with appropriate genre).

Okay, maybe I wouldn’t pick up a vampire western or a robot romance or a fairy fantasy. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate good plotting in an Old West romp, or finely-drawn fairy characters. And that’s exactly what I’ll write about—and enjoy—in whatever you’ve written. So give me a push about your book—and let me be the judge of the writing.

But what if the book really stinks.

I suppose it’s a possibility that your book could stink. Then again, I’ve read plenty of books, written by Very Famous Authors, that weren’t so hot, in my humble opinion. But those Very Famous Authors are not my personal friends, and they don't need my help. So even if your book stinks, I’ll like it well enough to say something nice because that's what friends do.

But I know you’re busy and I really hate to bother you…

Yep, I’m busy. And I may not be able to read your book tomorrow. It may be even longer before I get that review posted. And if you have to send me a nice email reminder, I’ll be fine with a nudge. Because I know you’d do whatever you could to support me in my writing journey.

I’m not unique in the writing world. I bet your writer friends are just like me—thrilled for your success and willing to lend you support. But you have to, you know, reach out a bit (or send an ARC, or an email, or a pdf of the book).

So no more excuses, writers. Ask (your friends) and you shall receive.

~Cathy C. Hall


Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--Lisa is a sweetie. I'm sure she tripped all over herself with the excuses. She's the type of writer who bends over backwards to not inconvenience, to not bother, to not push. However, I've encountered a few writers who badger and bully and shove... until I've no choice but to fade away (so I'm not forced to read their badly-written book) since I'm not a good liar.

I can't wait until I can read THAT BOOK. ;)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Great post, Cathy!

I think a lot of us, me included, are so afraid of being one of those authors Sioux mentioned - "who badger and bully and shove" - that we go too far the other way and don't ask for help, for reviews, etc at all.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Well, yes. There are those writers on the other end of the spectrum--the ones who badger and bully and spam us with promotion.

But aren't those usually writers we don't really know? Who haven't taken the time to develop relationships? I'm talking about our true writing friends. They may not be writers we see all the time, but they're writers we have a connection to, writers who've been there for us in a tough time, or writers who've been there for the joys, too.

It's funny, 'cause as I said, these are writers who'd do anything for us in a heartbeat (like Lisa, Sioux!).

Yep, writers are a funny lot. :-)

Renee Roberson said...

Hey Cathy! Do you think this same advice applies when asking people for beta readers? :-)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Wow. I can't believe Sioux outed me. How'd she know? But she called me a sweetie, so I can't be annoyed. :) You're right. So right. Always right. Don't you ever get tired of that? I used to tell my kids, "Give people a chance to say no." Tough to take my own advice, but I guess I can take yours. You're in trouble now. I'll be bugging you all the time. (Uh, more than usual, I mean.) Thanks for being a friend. :)

Cathy C. Hall said...

Sure, Renee, why not? :-)

And P.S. It's not bugging when you're friends. It's called "keeping in touch." :-)

Lynn said...

It is difficult to ask, but if you don't ask, how will you ever know or get the help you need?

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