|from "South Park"|
As a new author, I feel blessed to have the support given to me by my family and close friends. Let me clarify early in this article that “friends” means people we’ve known and trusted for years, outside of social networking. As adults, I’ve found that most of my closest friends are those I met in childhood or high school, with occasionally making a close friend in adulthood.
When my first book, “Act of Redemption” came out in 2009, my family and friends jumped on the bandwagon with emotional support and reviews. I know some criticize those types of reviews, but for us newbies, it means a lot, as we’re learning how to find reviewers, and as I’ve stated before, the NYT isn’t breaking our doors down.
When my second book, “Children of Discord” came out in 2011, I got equal emotional support from my friends. But most of them didn’t post amazon reviews for me. Why aren’t they supporting me? I sent most of them books! I think of it like this: our closest friends, as adults, have more in their lives going on than my self-published novellas. They went out of their way to write reviews before, and what binds friendship to me is not what one does for me; it’s that we’re there for each other in times of need. In their eyes, I needed them more for the first book, for the second, I should be less dependent on their support.
I’m not a fan of free stuff. The last time I won some kind of “scratch-the-card, you’re a winner;” it cost me almost one hundred dollars. Life isn’t free. So some of my friends work in the marketing/ad design industry. What a resource! Get free web design and ads professionally done! Putting my friends “on the spot” isn’t something I’d like done to me, so I don’t expect it of them. If whatever your friend creates for you, what if it doesn’t work out? What if you don’t like the results? None of this, to me is worth losing a friendship. I had one acquaintance do paid work on an ad that missed a deadline, and the whole thing fell through, leaving me out of some significant money, frustration, and eternal distrust of that person.
So what came out for my second novella, that my friends didn’t post reviews for me? Actual book reviewers posted reviews for me. My friends did me a favor; they gave me what I needed in the beginning, and held me up emotionally to keep me working toward marketing/promoting my books that lead to more credible results in the long run.
New authors, cherish your friends. Use caution if they do professional work for you, and don’t obligate them to do something they may be uncomfortable with, even if they “owe you.” Don’t let the lure of “free stuff” get in the way of the most important relationships you will ever have. Your friends are always there for your, helping you, whether or not it’s in print.