The Value of Casual Mentorship
As a complete newbie to the publishing scene, I thought it might be worth my time to reach out to a few of my favorite authors for advice. To my eternal gratitude one author, David Drake, responded and he and I have entered into one of the best correspondence series of my entire life.
For those of you who don’t know him, David Drake, is a prolific writer specializing in Military Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Alternate History. He is best known for his Hammer’s Slammers series, but my favorite of his books it the Belisarius series which he wrote in conjunction with Eric Flint. Additionally, he is an Army Veteran, having served as an interrogator with the 11thACR (Blackhorse), in Vietnam.
When I reached out to him, I did so as one combat vet to another as well as the new author to the “old hand” in trying to get any advice I could when it came to promoting my book. Without telling you the details of our emails (I absolutely do not want to betray his trust), I will say that he has been very honest, forthright, and genuine with me in regards to his own history and struggles as a combat veteran and author.
Over the last 72 hours, or so, that we have been emailing back and forth, I have learned more about how common my frustrations are to the writing industry as a whole. I can honestly say that he has helped to temper my expectations while at the same time giving me hope that I can succeed as an author. They say that you should never meet your heroes but in the case of David Drake that could not be further from the truth. While he may not consider himself to be a mentor, he certainly has helped me beyond what I could have wished for through his advice and personal history.
I feel that too often in business, hobbies, and life in general, we think that to be a mentor requires a strict student to teacher relationship, which causes people to shy away from it. My interaction with David Drake has proven to me that this is not the case. Our correspondence has been casual and even lighthearted at times, yet I have soaked up his every word like a sponge. His causal mentorship has meant more to me than almost every formal mentorship experience I have ever had because it is completely genuine and sincere.
Regardless of my success as a writer, I can honestly say that I have learned a great deal about the proper way to mentor. These are lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I hope that when the opportunity presents itself for me to casually mentor someone that I have half of the humility and dignity of David Drake.
As always, anyone interested in reading my book can find it at:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1728712173 for paperback
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JBJ5QYM for Kindle eBook