Question. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com.