So How DO You Support a Writer, Anyway?
This post was originally a Facebook Live video, but I had several people ask me to post it so they could share it with their readers or print it off.
I left it in outline format to make it easier to find subheadings.
How DO you support a writer?
The answers are not as intuitive as we would assume. Well, at least they weren’t for me when I got started.
- There I learned several things, including
- I needed to be more active on social media
- The following week I launched
- I needed a website and blog
- Through August I researched website host
On September 2, 2017, I launched my blog and website, Vibrant Relevance—officially starting my writing career
- Even though I started writing several years before that
- I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
If you or someone close to you wants to write,
GET TO A WRITERS’ CONFERENCE!
- There are many different options our there
- The NCWC is an affordable option
- Regardless of what state you are at there is something for you
- Whether you’re testing the waters
- Have an established blog and looking to publish a book
- Needing to learn how the publishing world works
- Have several books published and want to refine your craft
- Make connections
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU?
Since starting my writing career, several friends have asked this simple yet profound question, and to be honest, I had no idea how to answer it.
- Because I honestly didn’t know what I needed at the time
- Other than “PRAY FOR ME!,” I didn’t know what to say
- I was terrified
- I had no idea how to do the next thing or what the next thing was
- I was clueless about where God was taking me (this is still a mystery)
- However now, a year and over 100 blog posts later, I’m catching on
- Between my experience and conversations with many other writers and authors, I have a better idea of what a writer’s needs are
- And I know how you can help support the writers in your life, including me, haha
But before I get to those practical tips, I want to first educate you on what a writer does because before I started doing this I HAD NO IDEA!!
- Had I known…
- …kidding—I think. 😉
Many writers have a full-time or part-time job and a family
- Working for someone else
- Own their own company
- They incorporate their craft into their schedule as they chase their dream
- This makes for many late nights or early mornings
Some writers, like me, do not work outside of the home but
- Stay home with kids
- Children’s schools
- Help with various ministries in their churches
- Have ministries of their own
- Leading Bibles studies
- Radio programming
All writer have to juggle and balance
- Many different roles and responsibilities with our writing time
- Writing takes time!
- A blog post reading in 5-15 minutes but takes 8-18 hours to create
- Coming up with new, quality content is challenging
- I confess
- Some of my blog posts are not as good as others
- A few that stink!
- Every author has those. So be gracious.
- And a book you read in a weekend, week, or a month is a 3-6 year process to get it from concept to your hands
- 1-2 years to write
- Cover design
- Most writers are working on several projects at once such as
- Radio shows
Like anything, the more a writer writes, the more his or her writing evolves, matures.
- For those of you who have been with me since my first blog posts to now, I hope you can see how my writing has changed and grown.
- I know I’ve grown mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and hope to continue to grow
- Constructive criticism is welcome,
- But PLEASE
- Do it in love, kindness—not cruelty
- Be honest
Okay, ready for those Tips?
Now if you’ve read my blog post The Lesson of the Five balls you KNOW that I don’t have it all figured out yet.
- “It” being all the balance of life and getting everything done that needs to be done.
- I am still discerning glass from rubber balls
- And what elements compose the rubber balls
- If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can find this post here
As things are changing and expanding in my ministry; my needs are also changing and expanding.
- Some needs go across the board.
- Needs that I have discovered on my own
- Needs I have heard echoed by other writers as well.
- I can never overstate the importance of this
- Anyone who is in any kind of ministry is on the front lines, Spiritually speaking
- As writers, Satan does whatever he can to distract us and keep us from writing
- Family/friend needs
- Social media (we all need to gather our tribe right?)
- This is true!
- However, when social media is leaking into our writing time, NO GOOD!
- Writer’s block
- Technical issues
- Self-doubt, lack of confidence, uncertainty
- Balance in life, relationships, family, ministry, writing, blogging, speaking, social media
- Either taking time away from the computer or making time to sit at it
SPEAKING OF SOCIAL MEDIA
YOUR Likes, Shares, and comments go a long way. For 3 reasons
- It doesn’t take more than a few seconds, and it costs you nothing
- But it means the world to your writer
- On the business side of things, it’s critical for publishers, agents, and such
- You encourage your writer!
- It lets us know you are out there, that you hear us
- Often it’s those likes and comments that propel me to keep going
- Especially when I learn the words God gave me resonated in you to encourage healing, change, or perseverance
- I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered if what I am doing matters
- Is anyone out there?
- Am I wasting my time, “breath”?
- Did I hear God wrong?
- Then I get a comment like yesterday’s:
- Thank you for the great reminder of what is truly important in life. Work will always be there and shouldn’t be put first in life. The glass balls are much more important. Sounds like a good book to read too!
- Your comment can be the spark that creates a discussion
- Provide an opportunity to minister as a community to a person who is broken, lost, confused, and hurting
- Or it could help bring an enriched insight into something
- Or breath encouragement to a weary soul
You have a network; I have a network. And the bridge between the two is YOU!
- Your share introduces us to your network
- When you share with a personal comment, your network takes notice
- They can decide whether or not what was said was edifying or not.
- The more you like and share, the more your network will check us out and decide to join our family/tribe
WRITING IS A BUSINESS
- Like it or not, that is a reality
- Whether God is leading you to be published
- Not all writers feel this leading—yet
- But for those of us who are, this is even more important
- Or you want to monetize your blog to be paid for all your time and effort
- Publishers, agents, editors, etc. look to see what kind of engagement you have on social media and your blog to see if you are worthy of being published
- Do you have a tribe big enough to support a book?
- Do you have a relationship with your tribe?
- Do they love you, know you?
- Will they buy your book and help you launch it?
- Every time you share a FB or blog post, thought, tweet, or video you
- Introduce or reintroduce your writer to your circle of friends
- Encourage your writer
- Show publishers, agents, editors, etc. how much your writer is supported
- And when you add a personal insight, thought, or reaction to the post you enhance curiosity
- This is the basics of networking
- But also you give your friends the opportunity to decide whether or not to follow your writer.
WEBSITES AND BLOGS
SUBSCRIBE to your writer’s website/blog!
- Even if you follow your writer on FB, Twitter, or Instagram subscribe to their website and blog
- Even if you follow a blog on WordPress, Subscribe
- First, you won’t miss any of their posts,
- Even if you don’t get to it for a few days
- What I do with the blogs I follow:
- Create a “BLOG” folder for my email
- Put all posts in that folder (unclutters my email box)
- I read them
- When waiting to pick up a child
- In waiting rooms
- Eating breakfast/lunch
- I need/have a short break
- Second, you get their newsletter.
- You get a more intimate encouraging word
- You get the scoop
- What’s going on with your writer
- You get the behind-the-scenes stuff
- Projects they are working on
- Specific prayer requests
- My newsletters are a little more intimate and vulnerable than the rest of my writing.
- Many of us do giveaways specifically for their subscribers
- If you like a blog post
- Click like
- Write a comment
- Share it on your social media platforms
- Again this is huge for the business side of things and it doesn’t take more than a few seconds.
- But more importantly, it encourages your writer.
- I can’t underestimate this
- Writing is often a thankless labor of love, like parenting. But when your child hugs you for no reason it fills you to over-flowing.
- I have been on a few book launches and have loved them
- You get to read a book before it hits the shelves
- You get to know the author and their tribe
- You get to ask all the questions—and get the answers
- You get special privileges and thank you gifts
- You get to bless another and be blessed
- The main things you have to do is (all launches are different)
- Fill out an application –why do you want to do this?
- Read the book
- Share quotes and personal testimony on your social media outlets as you read
- Write a review of the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and/or Christian Book Distributor
- There is a book launch opportunity on my FB Page for Lauren Gaskill’s new book coming out!
- I really want to encourage you to check it out
- And I would love it if you joined us in this new adventure.
OTHER WAYS TO SHOW SUPPORT
- Instead of asking, “Hey how is your book going, are you finished with it yet?” (Remember, writing takes time.)
- Ask something like:
- How can I pray for you as you write your book?
- How can I help you this week so you can meet your deadline?
- Bring coffee, lol Caffeine is a BEAUTIFUL thing!
- Many, many words have been inspired by and infused with caffeine
- Thanks, Allie!
- Go out to lunch or bring them lunch
- Offer to do errands
- Care for/chauffer kids
- Especially when the kids are small
- Driving kids to and from activities is a HUGE time suck, but if your child is going, grab your writer’s kid on the way—HUGE help!
- Thanks, Christy and Justin and MaryAnn
- Some writers have special needs kids, help/break is a blessing beyond words
- Make your writer go out for a walk and get some fresh air
- I have had friends do this for me and, WOW! What an incredible blessing it is! I didn’t know I needed it until I had it.
- Thanks, Jo!
- Another way people have shown me support is financial gifts
- GCs to Christian Book Distributor or Lifeway to buy resources.
- Thanks, Mom and Dad and Kristina!
- One of my Christmas presents was the funds to go to the NCWC 2018!
- You can read about that AMAZING weekend here
- It still gives me chills when I think of how God blessed me that weekend.
WRITING COSTS MONEY
- (No, I am not soliciting by any means)
- But know when writers charge you to speak at your conferences, luncheons, etc., the money is not just to compensate for their time in preparing for the talk and talking, it’s also going back into their ministry or to help feed their family
- The blog site hosting annual fee
- Proofreading and editing
- Classes to enhance their writing/speaking abilities
- Writer’s groups and guilds
- Travel expenses to do conferences and speaking engagements
- And for those of us (like me) who live in tank tops and yoga pants—real clothes to wear out and speak in public, lol
But the most important and practical way you can support the writers and authors is your life—PRAY LIKE CRAZY! The spiritual warfare we face is something else. Several of my writer friends are under fire now. So any prayers are welcome and needed.