“In social psychology, reciprocity is a social rule that says we should repay, in kind, what another person has provided us. That is, people give back the kind of treatment they have received from you. By virtue of the rule of reciprocity, we are obligated to repay favours, gifts, invitations, etc. in the future.” (Wikipedia) Amongst writers we have much the same arrangement.

When you give someone’s writing a bad review – it sets a subtle pressure inside them that comes into effect when they get the opportunity to read and review your work. At best they will be catty about your story; a little edge of sarcasm or bite will creep into their words. At work, they will rip your work to pieces without compunction or remorse.

On the flip side – when someone gives you a good review – how different the feeling. You will relish the opportunity to return the favour. Even if that person – the one who has praised your work, turns out a steaming pile of sith, you will still feel inclined to pick out the good points for praise and flush the bad aspects around the u-bend of your attention. Heck, if you get an exceptionally good review from them, you might even make some good stuff up about their work.

The same effect is evident if you buy a budding writer’s book. If you subsequently ask them to flash cash by your own epic tome – they will be much more likely to oblige. And guess what – they might even read it!

Life is all about trade. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

And the moral of the story – be nice to people – especially to writers.


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