Doretta Lau on Friendship, Support, Common Courtesy, and Building a Community in the Arts
I want to act as a mentor in the writing community, but sometimes I barely have the energy to show up for my own work so I look for small ways to make positive contributions. When I have the funds, I buy books, see films, go to concerts, make donations. I do my best to celebrate the work of other people on social media and to share when I love something. Word of mouth gives projects life, so I make sure to tell friends about anything I think deserves attention.
When it comes to books, there are many things we can do to support writers that don’t require us to spend money. We can request that our local library carry a title. We can write glowing reviews on Amazon (make sure to do it on the dot com site so that it appears around the world) or leave a five-star rating on Goodreads. These positive reviews and ratings have a direct impact on sales.
When it comes to your personal friends, if you’ve already done the work of reading their book, you must pony up those five stars on Goodreads. Don’t hold back and give three or four stars–what’s the point of doing that? You already bought the book and spent the time with it. Why give all that love and then hold back at that last step, the one that helps sell the book to other people? If you don’t give five stars on a public social media platform, you may as well say to your friend, “Do better, bitch.” The time for that sort of criticism comes before the publication date, not after. If you are a true friend, you will give your friend’s project five stars.