Paying It Forward (Revisited)
I’ve heralded the benefits of paying it forward and told my particular story many times in articles I’ve written. Paying it forward, or helping others without expecting anything in return, has been an effective means of furthering my career as a self-published author and is a great way to spread a little positive energy. I thought I’d share some of my paying it forward experiences with you.
Robert Bidinotto ran his first major self-run promotion last year. Amazon picked up Hunter, his debut novel, at the end of 2011, and ran a promotion on this fine book, but in mid-November of 2014 Robert ran the first promotion he organized himself. Robert generously shared information that helped me connect with readers early in my career so it was no surprise that he paid it forward and shared the results of his recent efforts. Many authors share a little here and there, Robert goes beyond that. You can read about what he did, and how it worked out right here. Come back though, I have more to share with you.
When I released my first book I used CreateSpace’s Cover Creator to produce a free cover. It worked out well. The cover was indicative of my story and had a contemporary-feel to it. Unfortunately, once you pull the cover from Cover Creator’s databank the image remains in the system and others can use it too. So, my cover was not unique and soon other books sprung up with the same cover (but a different title). That’s when I realized I needed to hire a cover designer. I contacted two authors whose covers I admired – Russell Blake and Claude Bouchard. Both of these authors are a big deal. They have lots of readers and that’s what I wanted too. They emailed me back and surprisingly enough they suggested the same designer – Jun Ares. I still work with Jun today. They had no problem paying it forward and I’m grateful they did. The encyclopedia of knowledge is right in front of us within Amazon’s product pages. If you find an author who’s running their career in a manner you admire drop them a line and ask for advice. Chances are they’ll send you an answer.
I recently had a question on how to release an audio book. I’d love to work with ACX, Amazon’s audio company, but as a Canadian it can be difficult. On my Facebook page I asked if there was a solution. I was quickly answered by two top Canadian Indie authors. Steena Holmes and Elena Welch-Aitken both stepped up and helped me immediately. They’d gone through the process and offered some advice. In my past life as a sales rep if I’d called up one of my competitors and asked a question on how to release a product I would have received an evasive reply. Or, there would have been laughter as the phone was hung up on me. This is not the case with the majority of self-published authors – they want to help.
And finally, this Christmas has been bittersweet. After a wonderful holiday we lost a beloved family member. For three weeks our house was home to relatives as they stayed with us and came to pay their respects. My daily tasks involved cooking meals and driving back and forth to the hospital. Life got in the way of book promotions and writing, and I’m glad it did. It was important to honor someone who’s been an important influence in my life. I kept the information to myself but a couple of author friends found out what was happening. My friend Paul Rega posted links to my books on his Facebook and Twitter pages. And, K.S. Brooks helped me re-schedule commitments that I had. Neither of these acts was requested. They just did it. I’m sure there were others too, helping out in the background. For the help everyone gave me I am very grateful.
This is an extraordinary community of artists that we find ourselves in and I feel lucky to be here. There are many folks who pay it forward every day. Book bloggers, review sites, other authors, and of course readers help us over and over again to not only get the word out about our books but in other ways too. Many of these acts go unrecognized. I feel very fortunate to have received so much help and I do what I can to return the favor and pay it forward myself. I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this benevolence. It just felt like it was time to talk about it again.
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