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4 Ways to pay it forward as an author

There seems to be a growing trend in society – one that is quite heartwarming amidst other news – for people to use the gifts and rewards of their own lives to “pay it forward” for the success and advantage of others – even strangers. Perhaps you have been the recipient of one of these acts of kindness at a local drive-thru where the person in front of you paid for your order. Or maybe you have had someone in your life take extra time to encourage and teach you – selflessly helping you pursue your dreams and goals.

If you think about it, there have likely been a number of times when unexpected offerings of assistance have come your way without any expectation of repayment. Those gifts have perhaps brought you, in part, to where you are today as an author. So, how can you “pay it forward” to the next generation of authors? I offer four possibilities below.


For faculty authors, this option may be the most comfortable. If you are already an experienced teacher in a classroom, spending some one-on-one time with a particular individual to help them learn and grow in their own pursuits by learning from your experience may come naturally. In order to be an effective mentor, you merely need to invest the time and interest in the growth of others rather than focusing it on your own pursuits.


Established authors can help new authors learn the craft and see immediate success by adding them as a co-author on an existing book or series. Providing opportunity for a less experienced author to coauthor your next journal article, write a few chapters in the next edition of your textbook, to author supplemental materials, or otherwise learn from you while establishing a reputation for themselves by partnering with you can be a great advantage for them.

Succession planning

Extending the coauthoring model a bit further when you find the right partner for your work can be a way to leave your legacy in the trusted hands of another author. By planning to maintain the ongoing success of your book even after you are no longer in a position to write new editions, you can pass the torch to a coauthor through deliberate succession planning. 


Sometimes paying it forward can be even more simple than the options above that admittedly take considerable time and effort to leave a lasting effect. By writing a review or testimonial on a younger author’s work, you can add credibility through your established reputation with minimal time commitment. The feedback can serve to guide the author and to promote the work.

The most successful people rarely get there without the help and kindness of others. By choosing to pay it forward, the gifts you have received along the way to bring you to your current level of success can fuel the next generation of authors to even greater heights. How can you pay it forward today?

Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.