Most people think it’s adorable when small children offer adults their food, whether it’s a lick of the ice cream cone or a mushy cookie that’s been held too tightly in pudgy toddler hands. I don’t find it adorable. It will never cross my lips. Sometimes it’s all I can do to pretend to take it. It pushes my level of acceptable grossness a little too far.
While gross, I can appreciate the sentiment behind the gift. These children have found something worthwhile, something they enjoy. They want to share it with those around them. They get pleasure from watching people they love enthusiastically enjoying the same things they like.
As adults, we may not shove our ice cream in a friend’s face demanding they try it, but we still want to share the things we enjoy. We tell our friends and family when we find a new favorite restaurant. We talk for hours about all the pros and cons of the latest movie we saw. Recipes are swapped, and we announce the best sales with enthusiasm. The desire to have common positive experiences with those we love is strong.
We, as readers, need to harness that desire for the good of our favorite authors. With the publishing world changing frequently, news about good books doesn’t get out to the public the way it used to. Fewer brick and mortar book stores mean less opportunity to happen across a new author on the shelf or see a poster of their book hanging in the store window. Big name authors from big publishing houses may have commercials and advertisements in national outlets, but for every great big name author getting regularly publicized there are many great authors who are just getting started. These authors don’t have the funds or reach of a large publishing house. They need us.
Current readers are the best means authors have to get their books into the hands of new readers. And the ways they can do this are endless. Choose lesser known authors for your book clubs. Request an author’s books at your local library. Share about the book on social media. Interact with the author on social media. And always review the books you read on Amazon, online book stores, and Goodreads. These reviews are one of the best ways to help an author get their work into the hands of new readers.
As writers, we have a responsibility too. We are a large part of each other’s support system. We need to faithfully do the same things we ask our non-writing readers to do. We need to review each other’s books, follow each other on social media, and talk about books other than our own. In addition to these things, we have a unique opportunity to share what we’re passionate about with our readers and other authors.
Readers enjoy getting to know us. We can share about the process and passion we have over social media and in our newsletters. Letting readers into our world as an author can open the door for us to offer spiritual encouragement, offer prayer support, and challenge their faith to grow. Isn’t that why we’re writers of faith?
All writers are on a journey. Some have risen to heights we only dream of, and others are just starting out. No matter where we are, we need each other. Even if you’re only on the first mile of your writing journey, there are people who are not as far along that need to know what you’ve already learned. As authors, we have opportunity to share our experiences through writer’s groups and even individually. In being willing to give of what we have to those coming behind us, we strengthen the whole writing family. We don’t have to hoard what we know afraid the competition might overtake us. Writers are as diverse as flavors of ice cream. There is a market and a reader for each of us. Let’s share what we know to help all of our offerings be as great as they can be.