Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Writer's Wednesday - Reciprocity

This week, Pink Heart Society columnist Donna Alward talks about taking...and giving...and the awesomeness of Romance writers everywhere.

The romance writing community is, by nature, a generous one. We talk to each other. We support each other. We help each other promote, critique each other’s work, and a million other things. The sense of “A rising tide floats all boats” is one that I love about this industry.

That saying, by the way, is the first thing Susan Meier said to me the day we met – at my first RWA conference in Washington in 2009.

For those of us “inside” the romance writing community, we know that there are times when we don’t always agree. Of course that’s going to happen. We are thinking women (and men) and we have passionate opinions. But on the whole, I think we can agree that romance authors are da bomb.

Sometimes, though, and I think especially now in a work climate of trying to do it all and not having enough time, we forget to reciprocate. We’re constantly worrying about time management, and so we trim the “fat” from our schedules. Sometimes we understandably have to say “no”, but I would also hate to see that “help each other” philosophy disappear.

Most of all, the idea, of reciprocity needs to be nurtured.

A few of us were chatting about this earlier this month. No one likes being the person who always gives and never seems to get anything back, but we also don’t want to be the person who feels like we can only give if we get something in return, because that goes against generosity.

Still, there’s nothing wrong in making the most of each other’s talents. Particularly if we know someone with a strength that’s a weakness of our own, and vice versa.

I asked my friend Jenna Bayley-Burke what I give her in exchange for her awesomeness in ideas and brainstorming. She told me that I give her encouragement and coaching. The other great thing that came from that conversation was both of us confessing that after a really tough year, it was the Not My 1st Rodeo trilogy that got us back “into the saddle” so to speak. Yay for collaboration!

Speaking of the trilogy, I’m getting more familiar with Wordpress, so I did the website. But Sarah M. Anderson has a graphic designer she uses, so she did the banner. Jenna? She’s the “unique swag” girl.

It doesn’t have to be services, either. Sometimes just being a sounding board is enough. Giving someone the benefit of an experience you’ve had. Sharing a Facebook post. Reading a proposal when someone’s stuck. Whatever you’re good at, offer it. Someone will be good at something else that isn’t one of your strong suits, and you’ll help each other.

I’m part of a few loops that are really tight. In addition, there are four of us who e-mail regularly: Barb Wallace, Susan Meier, Selena Blake, and yours truly. When we were talking about this, Selena said, “What’s the point in networking so hard if we stay in the same place?” I loved this. 

I got my first agent because someone said, “I heard you’re on an agent search. Let me introduce you to mine.” 

I’ll be the first to introduce people. Maybe nothing will ever come of it besides a quick chat while you’re waiting for your wine at the bar. Maybe it’ll bear fruit down the road. But selfishness is a sure way to guarantee a path of professional jealousy. And no one benefits from that.

So…it’s Writer’s Wednesday. What good deed are you going to do today for a fellow writer?

Donna’s latest release is Nothing Like a Cowboy, part of the series from Samhain Publishing. 

Brett Harrison tried marriage once and isn’t anxious for another round. So when his twin sister sets him up on a dating site, he seriously considers strangling her and cancelling. Luckily for him, he’s too much of a gentleman to act on those impulses, and when he meets Melly Walker, he wonders if it’s time to get back in the saddle.

Melly knows exactly where her previous marriage went wrong. She was dazzled by her ex’s big-city charm and strayed too far from her roots. This time, she’s going with tried and true—a dyed-in-the-wool cowboy. Her first few dates net her more duds than studs, but when she meets Brett, she’s ready to get more than just her feet wet.

The principles of trust and compromise are great in theory, but when Melly discovers Brett has his eye on more than just her curves, she questions her judgment and his motives. Is Brett ready to drop his dreams for something as unreliable as love?

The other two books in the trilogy, Something About a Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson and Anything for a Cowboy by Jenna Bayley-Burke also released yesterday. Visit for more information!

Find out more about Donna Alward on her website, as well as following her on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.  


  1. I love your posts here, Donna. You always seem to say something that resonates with me. Even after 50+ books, it's a wonderful refresher course in how to conduct myself in this business. Thanks!

    1. Aw, thanks Julie. Sometimes I think the longer we're in the biz, the more we forget things and we need to get back to basics - both in business and in craft. Maybe mostly in attitude. :)

  2. Isn't it funny how Susan Meier seems to be a name EVERYONE mentions in terms of giving back. She must have a giant karma bank somewhere. You are so right though about the need to share and give to our fellow writers. There's enough success in this world to go around so why not try to help one of your colleagues achieve it? Who knows? Their success might open doors for you - because a rising tide DOES life all boats. And if it doesn't - well, you can bask in the knowledge that you played an important role in an another person's life.

    Fantastic column as always!

  3. I bought books in Harlequin's BOGO sale online yesterday. Does that count?

  4. I like the idea that the Internet has made it possible for us to all be closer no matter how far apart we live and to support each other.

    It's turned what had been a solitary profession into one where we can make some good friends!

    susan meier...who really does believe a rising tide raises all boats!