Career

Writers Give to Others

My hope is that this headline is true. While the writing profession (or obsession as some describe it) is a solitary one, it is in giving to others where its impact can be felt.

Time

The gift of time is precious as we are given a finite amount in this life. To mentor another writer. To blog freely. To teach at a conference or in a school setting. All are examples of a beautiful way to both give and receive.

At many conferences, I watch writers joyfully train their replacements! Think about it. Teaching others the inside scoop on how to write well, and more, helps improve those who later become competition. And yet the acrimony of competition is missing entirely. It is a wonderful thing.

Talent

To use your talent to its fullest is a gift to others. To hone that talent so it crescendos into the heart of a reader should be the goal of every writer. This talent must be shared. To hoard it for oneself would be a travesty and tantamount to the deadly sin of greed.

As our agency believes, we are in the business of helping to change the world word by word.

Treasure

I am talking about the things we treasure, like our money. I particularly like the epigram from Ellie Kay who wrote, The sweetest dollar you ever make is the one you give away.” That is so true! Cynthia Ruchti wrote (in the CBA Marketplace) about a number of novelists who have tied the revenue of their work to various charities. One example from the article is novelist Loree Lough who consistently donates a portion of her proceeds to causes like autism research, Soldiers’ Angels, Wounded Warrior Project, the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, and others. There are a number of writers, editors, agents, and publishers who do the same or tie content in their books to specific charities or causes. Many do so in anonymity.

Time, talent, and treasure … three things that we can give in this season of giving.

Your Turn

How have you benefited from the gift of another writer?
How do you plan to give back to others?

 

[An earlier version of this post ran in December 2011.]

Leave a Comment

The Book That Changed My Life

Books have changed my life, many times. The Bible has done so, of course, on an almost daily basis, as it has done for so many others. But, while it tops the list, other books have had huge impacts on me. Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle introduced me …

Read More

Lessons Learned As a Literary Agent

Dan is leaving the agency at the end of this month to focus his attention on the work of Gilead Publishing, the company he started in 2016. Here are some parting thoughts. _____ I’ve been a literary agent for about 2,000 of the 13,000 total days spent working with and …

Read More

Caution: Loose Platform Planks

I love learning about authors on the internet. And as a literary agent, I enjoy the internet and find connections there that would be otherwise difficult to find and maintain. But as professionals, we must be cautious about what we share on any level. One reason is that we all …

Read More

Eternal Words

Every time I read or hear a report of a prominent person’s life complicated by something they tweeted, posted or recorded a decade earlier, I hope the stories are a cautionary tale for anyone desiring to be a media communicator or public figure. We used to be able to put …

Read More

Four Myths about Fame

Being rich and famous solves every problem, right? Let’s give that some thought. 1)  Once I have my first book published, I’ll be famous and the journey will be downhill from there. We’re tackling two myths here. One, once you are published, it’s not likely you’ll be famous, at least …

Read More

Promotion: Faithful or Self-full?

“What’s the difference between promotion and self-promotion? How do we promote ourselves/our books so that we honor God, respect others, and use common sense?”

The constant tension between marketing and ministry has plagued the Christian author, speaker, bookseller and publisher forever. Why? Because Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple. Because we are commanded to die to self and to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord….

And yet, our society…our culture insists, even demands, that we market and promote our message.

Read More

Making Decisions for Others

Because book publishing is surrounded by semi-regular failure, no matter if you are an agent, author, or publisher, the ability to deal with adversity is a defining characteristic of anyone who is successful in it. It’s a lot like baseball, where a high level of failure and adversity are part …

Read More

Writers Beware! Protect Yourself

The writing profession starts off as a private venture. Creating ideas and stories in the privacy of your own home. But those of you who become serious about the work and slowly become more visible the issue of personal protection needs to be addressed.

I cannot emphasize this enough.

Read More