You Scratch My Back And…Thanks! That Felt Great!

Recently I was asked to read and review someone’s book. I don’t mind doing that, especially when it’s an indie author. Sometimes the little guy could use a boost, and sometimes you’ll find their writing to be way better than some stuffy traditionally published author as well.

One author sent me a copy of his book as a gift from Amazon. He sent it to me a while ago, but I was just in the middle of reading another book and then I was reading Norma Beishir’s The Unicorn’s Daughter so that I could give her a review. And now I’m beta reading for William Kendall’s debut novel Heaven and Hell. I will get to this author’s book when I’m finished with William’s book, giving it a review. I think I owe it to him to give him that much since he did send me the book as a gift.

Norma, William and Mike Saxton have all beta read for me, short stories and novels alike, and Martin Rus has edited for me before. Eve Gaal has done reviews and read-throughs, as well as Shelly Arkon. And all of us have been promoting a little known author from my brand name, Bent River Books, named Devon Cooper. She is the author of Bad Day, and is promoting when she can. She is a newbie to Twitter and Facebook, but we scratch each other’s backs. We care that the other’s work is well written and I would do what I could for them.

I do tend to gravitate to romances and romantic comedies more so than thrillers and horrors, but I have been known to read my fair share of paranormals. I’m not a huge sci/fi and fantasy fan, but if it’s well written, then I’ll read anything. I do tend to stay away from mysteries and horror, but sometimes you have to try something new once in awhile.

If any of my friends asked me to beta read for them, I would. If they asked for a review, I’d give them as honest a review as I could. So, why is it that I feel that I’m scratching everyone else’s back, but not getting any relief from my own itch?

It seems that there are many Indie author’s who are hellbent on writing that “next best novel”, and expecting it to be read and reviewed, and yet, do nothing for anyone else.

One fellow author told me once that she would do a bloghop with me (whatever that is, exactly), but that I would have to pay for her services. WTF? I couldn’t believe that! Paying for a service because it would take up some of your time was a ludicrous thing for her to do/say. If I did that for every time I’ve read, reviewed, formatted, blogged about or otherwise promoted someone else by tweeting or by facebook etc, then I guess I’d be a rich woman who wouldn’t have to write to try to earn a little extra spending money.

What I’m getting at is that there are authors out there that aren’t interested in anyone but themselves. They tell everyone on Facebook how many words they’ve written that day and that after the beta reads come back, they’ll be starting their next novel. I-haven’t-got-time-for-anyone-else kind of attitude.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s my Canadian nature. Canadians tend to be a little more giving of ourselves, wanting the “little guy” to succeed. I want every one of my friends to succeed. And they will. You know why? If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s because they give back.

I’m not saying that you have to read and review all books that come your way, (because I have a shitload of free books on my Kindle) but I think it would be nice to take time out of your otherwise busy schedule to read and review your friends books. And don’t think because I read and review books that I don’t have a life. I work fulltime, I’m a fulltime mother and wife, and that means there’s always stuff to do. I write, and because of the reading, reviewing, promoting, formatting etc, I haven’t blogged that much lately. I have my online relationships that are maintained through emails and Facebook, and those relationships are important to me because those people have been supportive of me and my works as I’ve been supportive of theirs.

Let’s just put it this way. We’re all struggling to make a go of this. It’s a difficult thing to be #1…and especially in this industry when there are so many great indie authors out there that are just begging to have their works read and reviewed…yet, there are others who won’t don’t want to take the time out to give a little scratch for someone else.

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20 thoughts on “You Scratch My Back And…Thanks! That Felt Great!

  1. When I did my Writers Karma post recently, I noticed that none of the guilty parties commented. Did they recognize themselves? Who knows.

    Authors need each other, whether indie or traditionally-published. Those who don’t feel reciprocation of support is necessary are in for a rude awakening. Look at the books that sit on Amazon unreviewed. We’re very often each other’s first reviewers. We draw other readers in and get them to give a book a chance based on our recommendations.

    The same goes for blogs. If you don’t comment on your fellow authors’ blog posts, don’t expect them to be regular commenters at yours. It doesn’t work that way. One blogger wrote that he will continue to comment on others’ blogs as long as they comment on his frequently. I agree with that. I don’t expect anybody to comment every time, but if they’re not showing up at all, then there’s one less blog on my blogroll.

    That writer wanted you to pay her to do a blog hop??? Yikes! I stay as far away from blog hops as possible. It’s more of a high school thing than an author thing. I know, a lot of bloggers are going to disagree with me–but look at any “name” author’s blog. You will never see a pro doing a blog hop.

    Good post, Beth, and very insightful.

    • Beth Muscat says:

      Yes…she wanted me to pay her. I couldn’t have afforded it even if I wanted to. Luckily it wasn’t that important to me. Right now, since Devon’s book is finished, I’ve spent a lot of time in her direction. It’s a great book that others need to see. And you’re right about Indie authors needing each other…it’s not always family member and close friends who comment first, but other authors…good point!

  2. I’m reviewing one of your books this week.

  3. Evie does good reviews!

  4. I know that I’m kept busy a lot of the time with various things, but I think that indie authors pretty much have to have a bit of give and take going on in their relationships with each other. We’ve got to have each other’s backs. It can feel really bothersome when it’s all give and getting nothing back. I’ve got a book to be reviewed at some point in my email; I did say I’d review it, but the author’s never really shown much interest or effort not just in my blogs or work, but with anyone. It becomes hard to build up any enthusiasm that way.

    And yes, the same goes for blogs. I make as much effort as I can to keep up with and comment on blogs, and I think it’s one way to establish good relationships with other indie authors to do so.

    Great post, Beth!

  5. Beth Muscat says:

    It’s easy to get bogged down by how much we do. I know to the layman, we just sit around all day and twiddle our thumbs…except I don’t know how we’d get anything done if we did that. LOL

    Sometimes I miss blogs…but, I do try to make an effort to get there when a new blog post is made. You’re right when you said it was a good way to establish relationships…heck, that’s how we all found each other!

    There has to be give and take…in any relationship…

  6. Tom Conrad says:

    Beth. I read this and felt terrible. You wrote a great review for my book, and tbh, other than say ty lots and offer to feature your books on my own little website (for free of course), I guess I could’ve done more. I did download your books though, but I don’t own a Kindle atm (downloaded on Kindle for PC, which I always feel too tired to read off). I actually can’t afford a Kindle, as odd as that sounds – lost my job (no violins please). Once I get an ereader I will try to read, hopef I’ll read and review and the offer to promote any of your books on my site, always stands.

    Tom.

    P.s. I do get the point of what you’re saying and think it’s really important to help one another, but also to maybe understand why people sometimes don’t or even just plum forget. For me personally, I got so many wonderful people helping, during my last promo, it was crazy hard to try and payback all their kindness. I’m still trying – must try harder and I certainly could’ve prioritised those who wrote me such a good review.

    • Beth Muscat says:

      Tom, I’m going to come over to Britain and smack the crap out of you. LOL

      I feel very grateful to have gotten the chance to read and review your book…and I told you that Devon’s book would be free in July…so no worries.

      What bothers me are the people that are constantly asking for people to review their books but don’t reciprocate…there are a few that I can think of and your name didn’t come up in the mix. I think it’s great that, although you can’t maybe read the books because you don’t have a kindle, you offered your website to Devon and myself. That’s great…and I don’t blame you for anything…you’ve been a great friend.

      So, from Canada to the UK…I officially smacked some sense back into you…I hope.

  7. Tom Conrad says:

    You’re a funny lady, Beth and I’m not saying whether I mean funny-haha or peculiar… 🙂 Glad I wan’t in the mix!

  8. More peculiar–just kidding! Beth’s a sweetheart!

    A while back, I was having trouble posting links to my blogs at Christina Lucas’ Blog Entourage Facebook page, and I noticed I wasn’t getting any comments from her. I never said anything, but she brought it up. She explained that time is an issue for her (which I completely understand–I write full-time and still don’t have enough time to write), so she limited her comments to bloggers who posted links on her page. I did finally get the posting problem resolved.

    The bottom line? No matter how much we might want to read and comment on everything, it’s just not humanly possible, so we have to limit ourselves. Like a lot of bloggers, I stick with those who post comments on mine. Likewise for reviews. I have a long list of books I want to review, but the authors who have reviewed my books get the top spots on that list.

  9. Beth says:

    HEY!!! Get it right, lady!! I’m a lot peculiar!!

    I know that we can’t be everywhere doing everything. But when it comes to other authors, especially indie authors, you’d think they could give back a little. I’ve done interviews, written reviews, given my blog up for a day to accomodate a guest blogger…I guess my bottom line is, I’m too busy for people that are too busy for me.

  10. Most of us share that position, Miss Peculiar!

  11. Lena says:

    You are so right, Beth! We have to support each other, and I can’t believe that she wanted to charge you! I’m planning to read Wildflower soon and leave you a review. I hope to interivew you soon, too. I’ll let you know. I wish I could work faster and review everyone quickly, but with my 3 kids, husband and busy life, it is not easy. I usually blog weekly or bi-weekly. I suppose we just have to do the best we can. At least we are moving forward. And I agree with you; I do want all my friends to succeed! I wish everyone felt this way. Take care!

    • Beth Muscat says:

      Thanks, Lena. Everyone is busy…some more than others. But, then there are the people that do what they can for everyone from beta-reading to reviewing…and to fit writing in there as well. But, then there are the others that only write…always expecting reviews but never handing any out in return. You’ve read a few of mine and that’s great, and you’re always supportive. Thank you.

      • Lena says:

        You are very welcome! I always try to be supportive of my friends and of other writers as much as possible. We have to support each other. The writing world is a tough business.! Take care!

  12. I don’t review as my author persona, but I do swap crits without any money changing hands. Blog hops, too. The only thing I’ve ever forked over for those was a (by volunteer) prize of a crit or a gift card for the winner of the flash fiction contest. It’s hard to find the time to do the social media thing properly, but I’m discovering you get what you give.
    Great post! 🙂

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