Sunday, November 17, 2019

Authors Mentoring Authors

I love these #shelfie pics - ones readers send me of my book spotted in the wild. This one is from a Kroger grocery store in Anchorage, Alaska. Pretty awesome company it's keeping, huh?

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Mentoring: my mentors, ways I've mentored others, how to do it right, how to do it wrong, and whether it's possible to lone-wolf this writing journey.

A lot of writing is done alone, it's true, by its very nature. And I suppose it's possible to "lone-wolf" it, though... why would you want to?

First of all, one of the best perks of being an author is getting to be friends with the authors whose books you love. I highly recommend everyone take advantage of that!

Also, a lot of the industry is stacked against authors. The people who want to make money off of us have their best interests at heart, not ours. (Often these things coincide. Sometimes they don't - and we need to be able to know the difference.) That kind of thing (like paying authors as little as they can get away with) operates best in secrecy. Only by banding together and sharing our insider knowledge can we counteract those attempts to keep us ignorant.

I've had some great mentors all along - teachers, editors, agents, sister writers, business-minded friends - and I'm deeply grateful for each and every one of them. I've done my best to pay that out as well by doing formal mentoring, as with SFWA's mentoring program, and informally by giving advice to friends, and friends of friends, as needed.

How to do it right? My approach is be generous and listen. There is no one-size-fits all solution. Everyone wants different things from their writing. I try to help writers refine their own goals and dreams - and then give feedback on best practices to get there.

How to do it wrong? Just the reverse! Every time I hear some author giving advice like "All you have to do is write a good book" I end up grinding my teeth. If that's all there was to it, we'd all be JK Rowling, right?

This is an apropos topic because I'm moving into a new phase of offering Author Coaching. The information will be going up on my website soon - like, this week! - so keep an eye out for that.

Happy writing, everyone!