Tag Archives: Helping Each Other

We’re All in This Together – Ask Alice Saturday

mfrw-logoQuestion. I’ve shared a number of lunches with a highly known author over the years and will do so again soon. I’ve never told her I had a book published and I’m not sure I will be traveling to her area again. My husband said I should give her a book as a gift so I have one in my luggage but I seriously feel like I shouldn’t do this. That she will think I’m trying to get her to help me in this field and that’s so not what it’s about. Am I being foolish because she’s so far up the food chain or is there a kernel of truth to my concern? What would you do? Jennifer France.

Answers. Jennifer asked this in the amazing marketingforromancewriters@yahoogroups.com chat group. Several of us answered. Here’s a sampling of those comments.

“Why don’t you do it anyway instead of being concerned with what she will think? It would be better to regret having done it than not having done it, especially if you trust your reason.”

“In this day and age, it’s hard to believe that people don’t expect something when they give out a book. However, there are a few dinosaurs around who remember what it was like to just get a book from someone and them not expecting a thing. If it were me, I’d give her the book and I have an ethical streak a mile long. Believe me.”

“It’s taken me years to get past my modesty about being a writer, or about my hope that someone somewhere might want to buy a copy. I’m so over that. This is immodest me. I’m a writer. I write books. Some people actually buy copies and read them. I want to sell more. Authors deserve to be up front that we write, that we’ve actually got something out there for people to read, and that we are willing to network with other authors. If we’re still hesitant about that, why on earth are we on this list? This is about networking and marketing, and valuing what we create!”

“If I were your friend, I might be offended if you didn’t tell me you’d written a book.”

“I say give her the book, and if you feel the need, tell her you don’t expect a review or anything in return; you just wanted to share something you love with a friend.”

“Jennifer, I think anyone, no matter who they are, is appreciative to know when they’ve inspired someone, especially in writing a book.”

“Give her the book. Be up front about it. You are an author. How many times have you heard people tell you they wanted to write a book? Well, you did. Be proud of that. Tell her you hemmed and hawed over whether to tell her because you didn’t want her to think you were asking for anything in return. It’s ok to admit you are in awe of her and that your respect for her has caused you to write as well. It’s the utmost compliment.”

“Never miss a chance to show your love.”

I added my voice too. “I’ve been at several levels of the food chain of publishing and I can tell you this. There is no food chain. There’s just all of us doing our best to make our work the best it can be and get it out to as many readers as we can. One of the most effective ways we do that is by helping one another. It makes me feel good to share my knowledge with others and maybe help them along their way.

“Most definitely give her the book. If she reaches out to give you the leg up we can all use in our careers just say Thank You. There’ll be a time you can pay back the favor. Probably not to her but to some other struggling author who needs the same leg up. That’s how it works when it works well. We lift each other. Sometimes we even carry each other.

“So please give her the opportunity to be her best self. And give yourself the opportunity to be your best self too by welcoming generosity into your career. That’s the other side of this equation. We must let others reach out to us. For many of us this is a hard lesson. It took being on my back with cancer – absolutely unable to do for myself – before I learned to let others do for me. I learned simply to say thank you and carry the gratitude and memory of that generosity in my heart where it still resides. I hope we can all do the same in our lives and careers.”

P.S. Jennifer gave her book to her friend and the result has been happy all around.


A WRONG WAY HOME – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 1 – the eBook – is FREE at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T9RVGGC. It is also FREE at Barnes & Noble and iTunes and KOBO and other online platforms. A YEAR OF SUMMER SHADOWS – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book #2 – is available at those same platforms including http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZBOTH5O. These are my 12th and 13th novels and many other writers helped me get here. Thank you so much. Alice Orrwww.aliceorrbooks.com.


Tribe and True – It’s True on Orr What? Wednesday

Writing is a solitary gig. We sit in a room and manipulate words. Which requires focus. Which requires solitude. Other things in life require solitude too. That’s okay – except when it isn’t.

For example solitude isn’t okay at worry time. We hunker down in the dark closet of our negative brain place. We spin our worries into more and more complicated tapestries. We let those tapestries become us. We eat them like the nutcase in The Red Dragon. Remember him?

The same goes for doubting. We really know how to spin our doubts big and bigger until they suck up all the air in that narrow closet. Our doubts all begin pretty much the same. With a sentence that goes “I’m not good enough to….” You fill in the blank with your own doubts.

I know this doubt and worry closet well because I’ve spent way too much time there. Hunched in the corner with the closet bar over my head and every hanger draped in fear. I’ve spent too much time there and not one nanosecond of that time did any good Group Hug - Pooh styleat all for me or my career or anything.

Solitude also doesn’t work in our favor at question time. Google doesn’t have the answer to everything though it does a damned good job at that. But Google doesn’t have a human voice. Google can’t reach out to us from its heart or give us a reassuring smile. At least not yet.

For that we need our peeps. Unfortunately for those of us who write – a lot of the time our personal life peeps can’t help us. Because your significant other or your sister or even your regular friends most often do not know the correct answer to the following crucial question.

“When you’re staring into space, can you possibly be working?”

Civilians – meaning anybody not engaged on the battlefield of the writing/publishing wars – can’t be expected to understand that blank stares and frozen faces and arrested motion in general on the part of a writer can mean an idea is either on its way or in search of its perfect wording.

We need our tribe. In our tribe we find quirky-obsessive minds like our own. In our tribe we find inspiration and encouragement. In our tribe we find each other. We hold each other up when worry and doubt and questioning press down on us. And we are beautiful together.

I am reminding myself of all of this as I renew my own commitment to several of my tribal families. My home RWA Chapter at www.rwanyc.com. Liberty State Fiction Writers which I joined a couple of months ago at www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com. New Jersey Romance Writers which I just rejoined at http://www.njromancewriters.org/. And my local chapter of MWA where I intend to become active again after many years at http://www.mwany.org.

So I’ve been mostly absent for a while but now I’m back. Maybe I’m back to life in a way in general. How about you?

Find my books at amazon.com/author/aliceorr.

Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com