I’m a firm believer in karma. Put good energy into the world? You’ll get it back. Put bad energy into the world? I hope karma kicks your ass.
Sometimes it’s hard to wait for karma to do it’s duty, although I like to think we’d all be kind regardless. In the world of authors karma is particularly important. For us, Karma means: When you have a chance to teach another writer or give them a leg up, you do. When you have a chance to learn from another writer (or editor or agent) you shut up and gracefully accept the lesson. You don’t just promote yourself and your books and your writing, you promote the work of other worthy authors. You might not see the karma pay out in sales, but I do believe you see it in a number of other ways. Most importantly, you’re benefiting the industry as a whole, which trickles down to all of us. Frequently we lament the decline of the traditional publishing industry and the quagmire that’s resulted. Do Twitter followers translate to actual sales? I have no flipping clue. Most authors will tell you….probably not? Maybe? But when you help authors produce books that readers love and when you help readers find those authors, we all benefit. You’re growing the industry and the market for quality writing.
I’ve been thinking lately about small acts of kindness I experienced while writing my first book. At the beginning, an editor friend read the first version and encouraged me to keep writing. She was crazy, but she was kind and it motivated me to move forward. Around the same time, an agent responded to my query with a long email of suggestions. She requested a re-write and a re-submission. The hour she took to give me advice completely changed the course of my book and my writing ability. If she hadn’t sent that email my book wouldn’t exist as it does today. My first critique partner completely trashed the draft I sent her but did it with kindness and love. She was a better and more experienced writer than me, but she stuck with me. My agent, Dawn Dowdle, took a chance on me when she signed my MS even though it needed plot rewrites. She said she liked my voice, but she was right that the rest of it needed a major revision. While beginning my second series, Kelly Moran beta’d for me and forever changed the way I look at deep point of view. All of these people gave me their time, patience and encouragement. In most cases, with no expectation of return. I’m forever grateful and I hope if I don’t have a chance to repay them, the universe will.
On the subject of karma, I saw this today and thought everyone would appreciate it. A waitress bought breakfast for two firefighters after they’d had a long night at work.