Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Think of all the writers who have helped you out over the years: Your high school English teacher who saw promise in you when everyone else only saw the weird marginalia you drew in your notebooks. The published author who took the time to critique your early short stories. Your secret high-school crush who pretended they didn’t know about your notebook full of embarrassing love poems you wrote about them. All of these individuals made a positive impact in your writing career. Did they ever ask anything in return? Being a self-absorbed writer-type, you probably wouldn’t have noticed if they did. But now you’re the one in the position of power—maybe you’ve sold a short story or two; or perhaps you own more than one “Be nice to me or I’ll write you into my novel!” coffee mug. You couldn’t have achieved these successes without help along the way, and it’s your turn to pass that wisdom to the next generation of writers. Here are a few ideas:
Critique their Manuscript
We all need a helping hand with that first (or second, or third!) book. Look for a promising newbie writer in your circle and offer a thorough critique of their manuscript. Impart to them the lessons you’ve learned over the years—for example, if your protagonist visits a swimming pool in Act I, someone must get pushed into it during a party in Act III. When the newbie writer’s eyes go wide in astonishment that they never learned this in college, simply shrug and say you learned this at the School of Hard Knocks, which is famous for its pool parties.
Host Authors on Your Blog
Let other authors write guest posts on your blog to promote their books. This isn’t just a way to get free content for your blog. It’s also—oh, wow, I had you at “free content for your blog,” didn’t I? Well, that’s good enough for me. And hey, look who’s signed up to write an article? It’s your mentee whose manuscript you critiqued. Wow, paying it forward is paying off already!