My writing group is having a stellar year. One member has a YA novel coming out soon and three others of us have finished first drafts of new novels. It therefore seems like a good time for me to suggest some rules to follow when a friend publishes a book.
1. Comments are closed. If you met your friend in a writing class or critique group, you may be used to offering comments and suggestions for improvement, but don’t do that now. The book is published. She can’t make changes and if you send her a list of what you think is wrong, you will just annoy her.
2. Buy the book. Seriously. Buy at least one copy of your friend’s book. Authors love libraries but we don’t get a royalty when you check the book out. Especially if you plan to ask the author for a favor, such as an introduction to her literary agent, be able to say honestly that you have purchased her book.
3. Give the book five stars. Review the book on Goodreads and Amazon and even if you are one of those people who never give a book more than three stars, give your friend’s book five stars. She’s your friend. You can always address the book’s flaws in the body of the review if you must.
4. Be happy for her. It’s human to feel some jealousy when a friend succeeds, but her getting published doesn’t diminish your own chances of getting published. It’s much more fun to bask in her success than to crouch in the corner with the green monster. Exorcise any envy by being extra generous: crow about her book on social media, host her book launch party, make her a “Published Novelist” tiara like the one my writing group made for me. Who knows–in a year or two she might pass the crown on to you.