Pay it forward – 6 weeks on

Pay it forward

When I wrote my original Pay It Forward post, I had little idea of the reaction it would cause. It was largely written as a statement of intent for myself. Why should I, as a self-published author, expect people to buy my work when I didn’t buy books from other self-published authors myself? I decided to change my behaviour, with the aim of purchasing and reading the work of those I had met since beginning this journey and promoting those books I’d enjoyed.

At the same time, I wondered how many other self-published authors bought work from their peers.  The final paragraph – where do you come in – was written in the hope that one or two of my fellow authors would be converted to the cause of paying it forward. It was added mostly as an afterthought. My think was that maybe my thoughts would influence one or two others to join in and spread the love too.

I should have known better.

Since starting out as a writer I have found many wonderful, supportive people from within the writing community, and the pay it forward post has introduced me to many more. It has become the most viewed, most commented and most liked post I’ve written to date. I’ve lost count of the number of  times it has been re-blogged and retweeted. Since first published it has gone on to have a life of its own. There may be days go by without me hearing a mention of the post before it once more springs back to life as it is discovered by another writers. You only have to read the comments in the original post to see the many wonderful people committed to the idea.

The other thing I have learnt is that it wasn’t an original idea. Many authors had come to the same conclusion long before I had and have been reviewing or promoting books from independent authors they admire. I have never been so pleased to have people approach me to say “welcome to the party.” I’m just sorry it took me so long.

In the six weeks since starting down this road I have read a number of self-published books. Without fail, all have been well written and presented. One or two weren’t for me, but that was more likely a failing on my part rather than the author’s; they still received my money and the statistical uptick from my sale. Those I have enjoyed have been promoted here under recommended reads, as well as receiving a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

One unexpected benefit of starting this process has been discovering how much I enjoy reading short stories. It is a format I’ve avoided in the past (I know, burn the heathen) as I like getting buried in large novels, or novel series, but I’ve really enjoyed the novellas and short story anthologies I’ve read to date and will look them up more often in the future.

An important part of my personal ethos I haven’t mentioned so far about paying it forward is around what I hope to get out of it. The short answer is: nothing. For this concept to work well any support has to be given freely, without obligation. I would be horrified if any author I’ve featured felt obligated to do the same for my work in return. I would, however, be delighted if they decided to pay it forward to self-published authors they have enjoyed (if they haven’t already) but that’s a choice for each individual alone.

So finally I would like to thank everybody who has contacted me, everybody who has committed to pay it forward from now on; all those wonderful people who have been doing this for a while now. I have been truly humbled by the reaction of the self-published community, of which I’m proud to be a member. And if you are a self-published author new to the concept, I would urge you to consider giving it a go. All you have to do is every now and then choose to buy an independently published book and if you enjoy it, tell everyone. That’s it. Simple, eh?