Reciprocity ~ #31WriteNow

rec·i·proc·i·ty /ˌresəˈpräsətē/ Noun. – The practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country, organization or entity to another.

I’ve given a lot of thought to this word, lately, and used it in quite a few situations. The definition above is great, albeit a very formal one. In the real world and to a lot of people, simply put reciprocity means, “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” It’s one of those age-old adages that in contemporary writing would be considered a cliché. However, in the world of indie writers, it’s a staple and a mainstay, if practiced properly.

When I clicked the “publish” button and put my book out there for the world to see it that first time, it was terrifying. Many new authors I’ve spoken to since that time have attested to this fact. All your insecurities real and perceived rise to the surface from the pit of your belly and you feel as if you’re going to be choked by them until you can no longer breathe. However, as the days go on and you get over the first few days of new author-itis, and the reviews, good and bad begin to roll in, you begin to accept that you are no longer aspiring–you’re published.

If you’re like me, this fact brings with it so many more issues that you never thought about before clicking that button. There is no dearth of information on the internet and in published form about self-publishing books, marketing them, building your brand. However, there is not a lot out there definitively on how authors should support one another in the Indie world. Traditional Publishers have stables of writers that they encourage to support one another by reading each other’s books and providing a cover blurb. They even have the big reviewing outfits many of whom don’t review Indies, and if they do, these services come at a hefty price.

Necessity being the mother of invention, Indies are being courted more and more by book review blogs springing up all over the blogosphere. Therefore, for every infrastructure that exists for traditionally published authors, something similar springs up for Indies. However, the one area in which we tend to flail around with very little protocol is the area of supporting one another. Yes, there are many loosely banded groups who do promotion of each other, but I have yet to find one that works for all involved all the time.

Oftentimes a few pull the weight while some sit back and reap the benefits; some are strong in the areas of providing information but weak in the areas of real promotion; and better still the groups are so loosey goosey no real promotion ever really happens. In addition to this, I’ve found as I talk to indie writers I meet in the many groups in which I’m a member, they are not willing to promote others because they feel like they’ve worked so hard to build their brand, build a following, and gain a modicum of success for their product, they don’t want to recommend any other writers.

Some have legitimate reasons why, like their inability to assess quality before they promote. It would take more time than I have to write this blog post to go further into why they refuse to read other indie writers’ works (I guess that will have to be a blog post for another time). And I know for a fact, that like myself, many Indie writers have other jobs, because they simply don’t make enough money writing to support themselves, so organized promotion becomes that thing that is a chore they simply can’t take on–not when it’s so labor intensive that your writing and your attention to your own social networks, fans, and writing suffers.

I suppose I’ve said all I’ve said here to say that I wish there was a more organized manner in which Indies could support one another in promotion. If we could forget all the reasons why we don’t want to and just do it–provide a reciprocal sharing of our works with the masses, we could all reach more readers and get our books in front of more purchasers. A more contemporary, slightly different action that takes on a similar meaning to reciprocity is “paying it forward.” The difference in this case being you may not do something to benefit that person from whom you received the favor, gift, or privilege. You’re helping someone else entirely in many cases. I know this might be one of those idealistic notions that many might view as a fad, but I’d like to think there are enough readers around for all of us, and we should gladly help other writers find theirs, as others helped us find our own.

Paying It Forward . . . The Next Big Thing Blog Hop!

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I was tagged for this by Andrea Goodson and Nikki Walker. As a sincere believer in the ripple effect of paying it forward, I decided to give this a shot. So here goes:

1. What is the working title of your current/next book?

Exit Strategy is the working title for my next book, but in all likelihood it might not be the published title.

It is book 2 of my Ghetto Girl Romance Quadrilogy (the biggest misnomer this side of creation, but hey like one author told me recently, it’s my Brand now).

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

After writing the first book of the Quadrilogy, I appealed to my readers to write me and let me know if they were interested in seeing the series continued. Since publication of the first book in October 30, 2012, I’ve had to date 120+ reviews on Amazon, 80+ ratings and 40+ reviews on GoodReads, and overwhelmingly readers have implored me to continue the series with a caveat. Most have requested that I give Keisha and Tristan their own story that isn’t parody, and doesn’t resemble Fifty Shades of Grey at all. So, at the end of November I wrote an outline, and in December, I began penning the second book. So, the short answer is, the idea for the second book came from a week-long brainstorming session I had right after Thanksgiving after getting a month of positive response to the first book from my readers.

In book two, Keisha and Tristan will finally share things about their pasts with each other that isn’t pretty, and then will have to decide if they can take a chance on love given what they’ve learned about each other. All this is juxtaposed against the backdrop of a homicidal maniac who believes Tristan is the devil incarnate for having used women as submissives and threatens his life as well as the lives of the people he cares most about. The idea was borne out of the cliffhanger that ended the first book. At the end of Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever Keisha safeworded and left Tristan because the more she embraced his lifestyle, her mental health was threatened by demons from her past.

3. What’s the genre of this book?

The genre is contemporary romance/romantic suspense. The first book had a humorous bent because it was parody, but the second book will be more dramatic than humorous because it will deal more with the messiness of their lives.

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters of the movie rendition?

If Gabriel Aubrey were an actor, I’d want him to play (twin Doms) Tristan and Nathan. He has the height and he’s gorgeous:

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I don’t know this model’s name, but she’s what I see Keisha looking like in my head:

Keisha

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Tristan White, an experienced Dominant pulls out all the stops to win the heart of his erstwhile submissive, Keisha Beale, despite their histories fraught with emotional baggage that brings danger to their doorstep.

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Two months.

7. If you’re an Indie Author, will you be publishing through your own Indie Publishing Company or in a collective with other Indie Authors?

Yes, I’m an indie author and will be publishing via my own publishing company.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think this story can be compared to any standard Nora Roberts romance without the language and BDSM elements.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’d have to say the readers of my first book inspired me to write this one. If it weren’t for their unwavering support, writing me at my personal email address to let me know how much they enjoyed the book, and then writing reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, I probably would not have continued with the series.

10. What about your book will pique the readers’ interest?

I believe readers will be drawn to the second book because they will want to know what the demons are from Keisha and Tristan’s past, how they handle them, and what they will go through in the present to ultimately solidify their love for one another.

Thanks for reading my Next Big Thing Blog Hop questions and answers, and please pay this forward so we can all see a ripple effect!

With this post, I’m going to tag Author SK, who just released her new book, Shadows of Deceit.