Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Selfless Self-Interest: The Benefits of Mutual Support

In the interest of Mutual Support, today is my very first guest blog! Also, my very first blog exchange! ALSO, my very first blog give-away. A red-letter day, fer sure.

Blogging for me today is Michelle Davidson Argyle, who is the author of the e-book CINDERS and the upcoming MONARCH, which will be released on September 15, 2011.

I will be blogging over at Michelle's blog today--after you read her post, head on over and read me there!

In honor of our topic, Michelle will be giving away one free copy of her ebook CINDERS. Instructions for entering our awesome contest are at the bottom of the post.

Heeeere's Michelle!

You Give, I Give!

When I first started writing, I didn’t blog. I didn’t connect with people online, and I certainly didn’t know many other writers. I thought writers were all hermits, holed away in their houses typing away so they could ship off big envelopes stuffed with their manuscripts to their publisher. I had no idea that a few years later I would be asking other writers for advice and handing them my novels to read. Little did I know that conversing with authors would become a daily activity.

When I self-published Cinders, I was shocked by how many other authors stepped forward to help me promote the book. Many read the book and did reviews and passed on the news to other friends who weren’t online. The book would not have been such a success without everyone’s help. Now that’s all happening again with my novel, Monarch. I have lists of readers willing to help out. I’m floored. I’m honored, and I want to give back.

Get that?

I want to give back.

See, that’s what happens when you help other writers. They’ll help you when your turn comes around.

I’m already giving back where I can. Starting next month I’ll be offering one free manuscript, short story, or query (your preference) critique every two months to those who enter the drawing. All you have to do is subscribe to my mailing list. If you’re subscribed, details about that will go out soon. I don’t believe in helping only those you’re good friends with because, honestly, lots of people who helped me out with Cinders are people I don’t know very well. Writers in general are nice and open and willing to give back wherever they can.

Here's a few things I've learned...

Writing does not have to be lonely. It shouldn’t be. Good writers live. They interact. So make sure you’re interacting in real life, online, wherever.

Good writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every single writer I’ve ever met shares their stuff with someone, even if it’s only one other person. We seem to have a need to share, to get feedback. Don’t ignore that. Let others help you. Just keep it in perspective and realize that YOU are the one that makes the final decisions. Be in charge, but let others help you.

You’d be surprised what you can get if you JUST ASK. I’ve had writers ask me how to find beta readers or critique partners or blurbs for their books or reviewers. You ask. Simple as that. Some people might ignore you and not even answer your email - the really busy ones. They’re the ones you don’t want to be talking to anyway. There is always time to answer an email, even if it’s a polite no.

Connect to those like you, but don’t turn your back to everyone else. That’s self-explanatory. I don’t write straight YA fiction, but I certainly interact with a lot of YA writers because they rock. It’s amazing how many of them help me out, too, no matter what genre I’m writing.

Be genuine in everything. Period. People can tell, and when you honestly want to help out, it will come back two-fold right when you need it.

Thank you to Robin for hosting me here today!

Isn't she great? Don't you want to read her book? Watch this trailer, and you'll REALLY want to:

You want to read it, right?

Okay, to win a copy of CINDERS, here's what you do:

  • Comment below AND on my post at Michelle's blog to qualify (one point for commenting on both)
  • You get extra points for tweeting, blogging, or Facebooking about the contest--one for each mention, and you must include what you did in one of your comments
  • Contest ends midnight on Thursday
  • Check back on one of our blogs on Saturday for the winner

And that's it! Obviously, we'd love for you to follow both blogs, as well, but Michelle didn't want it to be a requirement. She wants people to follow because they want to! :)

So what do you do to contribute to the writing community?


  1. Ewww! I hadn't heard of this book, but I want to read it now!

    LOVE the book trailer!

  2. Thanks so much for having me over here, Robin!

    Donna, I hope you get your hands on it. :)

  3. Really cool, huh, Donna?

    Michelle--thanks for coming! And for bringing the prizes! :) I hope to be able to reciprocate someday.

  4. Great dual-post idea - great giveaway! Almost wish I didn't already have Cinders...!
    My very best wishes for success for you both.:-)
    Happy to help promote as always!

  5. Cas, you can win a Monarch swag package if you already have Cinders. :) Just make sure you say you'd like to be entered for that. :)

  6. Hello Michelle. Nice post ya got here and congrats with the great success :)

  7. This looks like a fabulous book! I love fairy tales (and retellings of fairy tales.) I'm off to follow Michelle. (And I will tweet/blog about this and comment on Michelle's blog with all the links.)

    Thank you both for sharing and doing this. ^_^

    P.S. I'm passing on a blog award to you, Robin. You can find it on my blog if you're interested.

  8. Laura, you are so sweet! It's lovely to meet you and see you here. Thank you for sharing this around your circle!

  9. Thanks, Laura! Donna gave me that one a while back, but I've never formally accepted it. *Blushes* (Sorry Donna!) I'll repent on Saturday.

  10. I always wonder what happens after the happily ever after! Would love to win Cinders. I'm off to read Robin's post.

  11. Thank you both for your valuable insights on this.

  12. I read about this on Laura Josephsen's blog! Both of you gave great advice. I love my writing group.

  13. "Be Genuine"--that's great advice to pass along to anyone and everyone; whether they are writers or not.

  14. I'm so happy to hear about all the ways people have helped you, Michelle (and am excited to help when Monarchy gets closer to being released). Writers are such amazing people, and so willing to help. I love meeting new writers online. I like to offer critiques (which I did for my 100 followers contest), I co-sponsored a critique-based blogfest in March, and am now participating in the networking extravaganza of the A-to-Z blogfest. I'm happy to help promote my blogging buddies, and even bloggers I've just met. That's what the online community is for.

    I can't imagine how different my life would be if I lived in that vacuum you mentioned. People have been so helpful to me, and all I want to do is give back. I think your co-contest is a fantastic idea, and I can't wait to go Tweet about it.

    Thanks, Robin, for having the idea for the giveaway, and thank you both for writing such inspiring posts today (well, yesterday, as I'm a little late to the game).

    East for Green Eyes

  15. Thank you, Ricky and Rosie!

    It's funny, Rosie, even though offering critiques takes a lot of time, I really find it satisfying if someone honestly wants my opinion. I always try to make it very clear it's just my opinion, but sometimes that's all a writer needs - some feedback from someone not closely connected to them.

  16. What a beautiful book and trailer! This book is now on my TBR list for sure. :) I'm also a firm believer in writers helping other writers. Thanks Michelle and Robin for this wonderful post!

  17. Thanks, everyone!

    Rosie-- I love the blogs that offer critiques. I've been tempted to do that myself, but have no credentials for that sort of thing. At what point do you think people would want my opinion? I'm worried I'll offer critiques and no one will bite. :/

  18. Anita, thank you! I really hope you get your hands on it! :)

  19. Great post, Michelle! How right you are! Connecting with other writers makes all the difference in a writer's career. You never know what you may learn or gain along the way!

  20. I love your post, Michelle. It is so real and so true. Thank you for sharing your words and your time.

    And your book! It looks amazing!

    Robin, I am so happy to be a part of your celebration! You're almost to 60 followers now! #andcounting :)

  21. I know!! 59! So close! Of course, 59 is an awesome number, too. When I think of a room filled with people who follow my blog, it's a little nervous-making. I think I'll just go on pretending they're meaningless numbers.... :)

  22. Ashley, connections can mean everything in this business, so I think it's important to never burn any bridges if possible, and to treat everyone equally. I just love making new friends. It's so great. :)

    Kristin, thanks you!

  23. You have a fabulous blog! I want to award you the Creative Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

    BTW, I am your newest follower.
    I invite you to follow me as we have a lot in common.

    My blog specialize in helping writers get published by learning from agents, editors and authors who I interview.
    Tomorrow, I am having a literary agent on my blog as a special guest. She has some great tips for authors.

    Take care and have a nice day :-)
    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.