Building Writer Karma


Photo by Elmo H. Love

I'm a big believer in karma, always have been. Call it a psychological concept, a religious one, a spiritual thing. Whatever works for you. But I think that if you want to have positive things in your life, you need to put positive thoughts and actions out into the world. And in your writing career, I think the concept applies as well.


Writers are a large but very supportive and tight community. You can see it online, at conferences, at critique groups. Most of us are there cheering each other on and truly rooting for everyone's success. It's a wonderful thing and I'm proud to be a part of that community. And I think it's important that if you're a member of that community (and all of you reading this mostly likely are) that you give back and fill up your bank with good writer karma points. You'd be amazed at how a) good it makes you and others feel and b) what a positive effect it can have on your career.

So what are some things you can to do put deposits in the karma bank?

1. Offer to critique for someone without the expectation of them having to give you a crit back.
This doesn't always have to be a two way street.

2. Mentor someone who may not be as far along in their writing journey. 
We all were beginners once. Even if you know someone is very green and it may be painful to read some of their work, offer to take them time and give them some feedback.

3. Judge for writing contests.
Almost all of the RWA chapters around the country do contests and are always in need of judges. You don't have to be published to volunteer.

4. Don't post bad reviews on your blog (unless your point is to be a book blogger/review site and not a writer)
I'm all for honesty, but this can bite you in the butt faster than anything. True story: I reviewed a book on here when I first started blogging (thankfully I loved it so the review was very positive), but that author is now the person who is giving me a cover quote for my book. (squee!) Imagine what would have happened if I had not liked her book and posted a bad review. I doubt she would've been willing to even look at my book.

5. On the flipside, if you love a book, TELL people. Blog it or tweet it or give a review on Amazon.
 Word of mouth is sometimes all an author has, so don't be afraid to share if you loved something. It's a powerful tool. I recommended a book last week and already heard from three people who bought and loved it.

6. Don't play the jealousy game.
It's an ugly side we all fight internally with. Just remember there will always be someone with a better deal, a bigger blog, a more kickass cover, better sales, more luck, whatever. It's a game you can't win. So learn to be happy with your own victories--don't water them down by comparing it to others.

7. If you're doing the social networking thing, give shout outs to people or link to them when you loved their post or their tweet. 

8. Never get too big for your britches.
I don't care how awesome your books are, none of us are THAT important. Don't ever pull the diva routine. Always be thankful and humble and friendly. No one likes an a**hole. :p

Alright, so those are the things I try to stick to, how about you? What do you do to give back? What are some other things that could be put on the list? Do you believe in writer karma? :)