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Author reciprocity can be a touchy subject. If Writer A shares Writer B’s blog post, hits “going” to her online event, “likes” her Facebook page, clicks “follow” on Tumblr or Twitter, it is only natural that Writer A want Writer B to do the same for her, yes? In a perfect world, everyone would turn around and immediately repay the favors other people did for them, but this is not a perfect world, we are not perfect people.

You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours—or not.

I go to a decent number of online events for different authors, review lots of books (or did before I started school), follow lots of author social media feeds, occasionally make graphic edits for books I liked, and recommend books on Goodreads and Amazon, but do I expect all those authors to do the same for me and my titles? Well, I’ll admit it would be nice, but no, I do not.

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The truth is, it seems unreasonable to me to expect everyone to repay every “favor.” There are a number of people who left glowy reviews for my books, but I haven’t read theirs for whatever reason. I don’t always return blog comments and I’m horrible about sharing links to anything and while there are a few authors with which I have established strong relationships, I do not expect every author I’ve reviewed to return the favor.

In all fairness…

For one thing, they may not have the time. The author community is comprised of parents, students, and full time workers, people with day jobs, cats, and other time-consuming things in their non-literary lives. When they manage to find a spare moments between all of that and writing to read/review, who am I to say they should read my book instead of that one they’ve been wanting for over a year?

The slippery slope.

Then what if they don’t like it? That is their right, after all. Do I get angry because I left an awesome review for theirs and demand they lie to spare my ego?

The idea of author reciprocity is one of those things that is great in theory and can be great in practice, but can also get icky very fast. What do you do if you review the other person’s book and it turns out to be full of flaws? That’s even worse than the other way around. What if they get angry?

In general, I just do my thing and if other authors reciprocate, awesome, if not, I may still download their entire series and preorder their upcoming releases if I liked them. The way I see it, posting reviews keeps my blog alive and even if the authors themselves don’t check out my books as a result, maybe other readers checking out my reviews will.

And let’s not forget why we got into this business to start with.

Perhaps most importantly, I don’t think I should let the prospect of another person reading/not reading my work influence my enjoyment of their work. That’s why I started writing—because stories make me happy. I read stories I enjoy, I write stories I enjoy, and I try not to worry about what other writers are doing.

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