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Ask Not What Your Community Can Do for You (Or Something Like That)

Buried in the Slushpile

Last week, I talked about the importance of community, especially in terms of activating you community when it comes to marketing.

But community is so much more than what other people can do for you. Community is not just about receiving support, but also providing it.

It’s like a more localized version of the Kennedy quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

We’re just going to think on a more local, community scale, even if geographically your community consists of people from all over the internet.

So, here are my top 3 ways you can build your community while giving back to them too:

  1. Volunteer— This can be with an organization devoted to writing (like SCBWI) or a reading or literacy group, but this can also just be within your own community. You have wisdom that goes beyond issues of craft – although you have wisdom there too! Share what you know with the members of your community.
  2. Share other’s success— When one author wins, we all win. So when someone in your community gets a book deal or publishes a book or wins an award, help them share the word about this success. Raising the profile of children’s books is always a good thing.
  3. Support your community’s accomplishments— Show your support whenever you can. Do things like go to local events (like book signings, launch parties) or online events when you can to support your community. When possible, buy your critique partner’s book when it comes out.

Basically, think of all the things you would like your community to do for you, and then do it for them.

Community is about giving and taking and striking the right balance between the two. Be there for your community so that when you ask, they’ll be there for you.

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