Right this moment. Whether you're just beginning your very first draft ever, going through the critique process, beginning to query, or deep in the query trenches, you need to focus on learning this lesson right now.
How to say, "Thank you."
Because an author's platform is so very much anchored in cyberspace, she has more opportunities than ever to say "Thank you."
It's a phrase that is no longer confined to the acknowledgements section of a published book. Every person who reads your book, every tweeter who tweets about it, everyone who recommends it to a friend or does a blog post mentioning it, is making your success as an author. And each of those people deserves a "thank-you."
I've seen authors act with so much class in this regard, it's not even funny.
Elana Johnson has commented on this little blog a handful of times, and given me a heart attack each one. Beth Revis has commented, too, and she even gave me a pep talk over at Formspring when I started querying. (Yeah, it took me a day or so to get over the shock of that.)
Brodi Ashton and Gennifer Albin have deigned to tweet and Facebook with me. (eeep!)
These ladies don't have to do that. But they do, because they are smart (and sweet.) They get it. They know that if they're going to be successful each individual reader has to be treated like she's worth her weight in gold. And so they do it.
I will read and cheer on any book they write, ever, from here unto eternity. Just because they've done this.
By now, it might go without saying, but I've also mentioned some authors via Tweet or blog, in a non-crazy way, mind you, who have acted exactly the opposite of classy in this regard. Just the other day I tweeted that I pre-ordered a book, mentioned the author, and she didn't tweet back! Needless to say, I'm far less likely to read their future work, and if I do read the book, I'm less likely to look kindly on it. (I mean, seriously? How much time and energy does it take to respond to a tweet from a fan to say "thank you?")
Anyway. I figure I'd better get this skill down cold right now. Saying "thank you" like it's your job should come naturally to any published author because...well...IT IS YOUR JOB. So here we go.
To the online writing community:
- Thank you for writing such informative and inspirational blog posts, to help me improve my craft and knowledge base about the industry.
- Thank you for throwing amazing conferences like WriteOnCon and contests like "An Agent's Inbox" and "Mystery Agent" to help the pre-agented get more exposure and give our queries a greater chance.
- Thank you for hosting bi-annual networking campaigns to connect us with other writers like us.
- Thank you for commenting on my blog, and letting me know that you value what I have to say.
- Thank you for keeping track of my WiP and being such amazing cheerleaders in my writing process. Ditto for queries.
- Thank you for being a real-time writing-and-query panic support group via Twitter and email.
To my critique partners:
- Thank you for reading my horrendous drafts and ten incarnations of scenes I just can't get right. And not minding a minute of it.
- Thank you for endlessly brainstorming what must seem like minute, trivial character details and plot points with me. And not minding a minute of it.
- Thank you for giving me loving lectures on the accuracy of science in my books, birth control, and query panic, and not thinking less of me afterwards (and, if you do, not telling me about it.)
- Thank you for drawing pictures of my characters, and making me cry.
- Thank you for telling me when a song makes you think of my book, and making me cry.
- Thank you for sending me care packages with inspirational notes, and making me cry.
- Thank you for loving my book and its characters almost as much as I do. That's what I call belief in something, and it's powerful stuff.
To the agents who have asked to see more of THE TRAVELERS:
- Thank you for spending any of your valuable time considering my work.
- Thank you for being unafraid of a brand-new writer.
- Thank you for continuing to read when you run across the occasional mistake or pet peeve.
- Thank you for any feedback you (might? hopefully?) give.
- Thank you for giving me a chance.
To anyone who has ever asked to read my book, just because you thought it sounded awesome:
Okay, your turn to practice! Who do you want to say "thank you" to? Or, what is another important authoring lesson we can learn before we're agented or published?