Modern Ms. Manners: Asking other Authors For Help

I’m still enjoying my 30 Days, 30 Authors event. I hope you’re enjoying it, too. I know my reading list swelled!

I’ve also made connections with some fantastic indie authors. There are some really great people participating in this event, and it’s been nothing but a positive experience for me.

Not every experience I’ve had with other writers has been the same. Sometimes people are just rude.

But sometimes people just aren’t sure how to behave when interacting with other authors. I know that before I started talking to other writers I was hugely unsure of how I should behave. But the more I’ve done it, the better it’s been. And it is absolutely essential that we as indie authors help each other out.

If you are worried, though, here are some guidelines for working with other indie authors.

Remember, you’re a professional and so are they.

So behave as such. I speak with other indie authors the same way I’d speak to a co-worker, editor or agent. This is someone with whom you intend to have a professional relationship with. So things like politics and religion don’t have a place in this relationship. I don’t have to agree with your politics to like your book. I also will probably not be telling another indie author about the date I had the other night with my husband. Unless we’ve developed a personal friendship, I don’t share things about my personal life.

Always ask, never expect.

Often I ask for help from my fellow authors. I’ve been asked by fellow authors to help them. Most of the time this involves book launches or relaunches. We ask each other to post on our blogs, support our social media campaigns and conduct interviews.

Sometimes we just don’t have the time, though. Sometimes we’re just too busy. Indie writers have jobs, families, school. We also have our own books that we’re working on. We might also just be flooded with other commitments. There’s any number of reasons why you might ask an author to help you out and they might have to say “No, sorry.” So don’t take it personally, and don’t mope about it.

And I’ll tell you now that an author who insists that I do something is an author that’s going to hear no a whole lot from me. Now and probably as long as I remember them being rude.

Remember, other people are busy

So if you are given a deadline, meet it. If you need to get information to someone, get it there. If you get an email from them, try to respond within a day or two.

At the same time, don’t expect direct responses. A day or two is an acceptable time frame in which to get information back from someone.

Also, if you need something from someone quickly, maybe don’t expect that to happen. I know that it would be difficult for me to post something tomorrow if you’re giving it to me today. I might be able to, but I don’t really know.

Just, respect other people’s time is what I’m saying.

Share others work when you can.

I like to scroll through Facebook and Twitter looking for indie books that look interesting. It takes about three seconds to share that tweet or post. I don’t do it every day, but it’s something that takes no effort to do. So it’s an easy activity while I’m watching tv.

I really don’t expect anything in return, but sometimes I get a thank you. Even better, I’m putting more indie books in front of people who might like to read them. Remember, it’s not all about showing love to other writers. It’s also about helping people find books they want to read.

Offer help in return.

I post about other indie writers here on PBW. I also include at least one indie book in each issue of PBW Update. (Click here to subscribe, comes out every other Monday.)

I do this because I want to introduce you to other authors, but I also do this to help them out. I do it whether or not they’ve helped me in the past. Because it’s a nice gesture. It shows good manners.

Above all, don’t be scared! I recently had the bright idea to contact some of my favorite indie authors directly and ask them to read an upcoming book before it came out. These were people who wrote books I’d read and loved. I was terrified!

But you know what? All of them responded with such positivity and courtesy. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they all were. So don’t be scared.

What this all comes down to is just treating your peers with respect. But if you’re adhering to these rules, then there’s no reason you should fear contacting other authors to help you with your books.

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