I just read a lovely, encouraging post from the INTERN, and I want to direct all writers reading this in that direction. It’s all about helping out fellow writers (and could be extended to other artists too) by means of kindness and introductions and, which I love, lending books. I have a tendency to give away even books I really enjoyed and might look over again to friends I think would gain something important from the reading. This is why I no longer have One DOA and One on the Way, by Mary Robison, or The Way Through Doors by Jesse Ball, both novels (one in microfiction form, the other a web of fable like tales) that expanded my way of thinking about fiction.
If I would add only a few other points to INTERN’s list,
these would be:
1. Read. Their. Book. If your friend trusts you enough to give you the (finished, edited, done) copy of their novel, please, please try your best to get through it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, you can be tactful, congratulate them on their efforts at crossing the finishing line. The worst feeling is when someone says ”I lost it…’ or, when they’ve told you they haven’t read it say ‘it was okay’. ‘Okay’ is worse than hating it, in my opinion. Hate at least implies some kind of passion.
2. Go to the book launch. Go to any readings or public appearances of your friend, even if you are tired or busy. It means so much to have friendly faces in a crowd (especially if the crowd is one scowling man texting on his blackberry and the bookseller sighing and looking at her watch).
3. When your friend gets their book published, don’t just blog about it, or review it (you may, if you are close friends, feel a bit hesitant about the latter) but buy a copy for two friends, and tell them if they really love it, to buy a copy for two friends of theirs, thus creating recommendation links outwards. If the book comes into the hands of someone who isn’t as keen on it as you were, tell them to pass it on for free to another friend. Go to your local library and request the book be stocked. Link the book up to readers in any way you can. Don’t do this out of sheer anticipation for your own endeavors, but out of desire to spread the love.
That’s all I can think of at the moment, any more ideas?