I'm pretty sure most of us remember this scene from the Pay It Forward movie where actor Haley Joel Osment plays a young boy who creates the concept of a world of expanding good deeds done for one another by "paying it forward".
I loved this movie when it first came out and love it as much, if not more, today because I have seen this concept work again and again within this writing community. I remember how it felt to be brand new at this writing stuff...trying to believe in my ability to become a published author and yet afraid to imagine others would believe in me as well.
I thought to myself I would try to figure all this stuff out on my own and maybe one day when I begin to think I actually know what I'm doing, I would be able to become one of those "pay it forward" people and do what I could to help others achieve their writing dreams as well.
But one day an amazing thing happened. I was on the internet, just fumbling around, and came across Karen R Sanderson's wonderful blog THE WORD SHARK. You click on this link to find all kinds of fabulous writing advice...http://karenrsanderson.wordpress.com. Just looking around her blog made me realize I was not alone. That there were others out there paying it forward every day by sharing their knowledge, love and support of ALL writers, great and small.
That was when I realized I didn't have to wait until I was published myself to be able to pass along MY good deeds to help other writers fulfill their own writing destinies. I created my FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION event and began sending out emails to every author I knew...and many I didn't...explaining what I wanted to do for them. Some of them were thrilled and some were sceptical.
"You want to help me promote my book? FOR FREE??"
The first year I tried it I managed to convince 30 authors to take a chance on me. To trust that I truly wanted to simply help them by paying it forward in the best way I knew how. I learned a few things from that first year:
1. Writers have very generous spirits.
2. There will always be people who doubt FREE doesn't actually come at a price.
3. Kids (and many adults) think having an autographed book in their hand is like winning the lottery.
4. No matter how many things I give away at my booth, I'm always saddened I didn't have more to give.
5. The hours are long and the pain is real (I'm allergic to the sun) but I know in a heartbeat I will do it again each May during the Children's Festival of Reading because it give me untold JOY to be able to share so many lovely books with the world!
Now that a book of my own is in the process of being published I am sure some of my friends will help celebrate the moment with me and who knows? Maybe around this time next year there will be one or two people willing to "pay it forward" and help me share MY story with the world. Until then I will keep loving that movie and doing MY part to keep the love going...