Monday, March 12, 2012

We are not competing with each other

Most of us have seen or experienced first-hand this type of attitude, "I'm not going to have HER on my blog, she writes the same type of things I do." Or, "Why would I friend her on Facebook, she writes romance too." Something along those lines, anyway.

The nastiest display of this type are those who feel the necessity to use fake accounts for the sole purpose of leaving scathing 1 star reviews on sites like Amazon. They seem to think that if they can bring their fellow author down or make them look bad that this is a good thing. Is it?

I've never heard of one author's sales going up because another's went down. Even if someone leaves a terrible review and makes a few people change their minds, who's to say they will go after the book of the one writing the review? Especially if no one even knows who they are because they're using a name like "unknown" to bash people.

Here's the way I see it. First of all, the publishing industry is a very small world. Be polite and be professional to everyone you encounter. Someone you are snarky to today might be very famous tomorrow. Maybe you could have been a guest on their blog or been referred to their agent, or some other thing that might have helped you, if only you hadn't been a total jerk.

Everyone has an off day sometimes. There is a difference in having an off day and being a downright bitch. A big difference.

If all your contact with other industry professionals is online, be careful how you word things. Also, don't be afraid to use smilies when appropriate. They go a long way in changing the tone of otherwise flat or harsh words.

Here's something that may shock a lot of people. I do not believe that other authors who write paranormal romance are my competition. I'm not saying we should all hold hands and sing, but we are in this together to a certain extent. There's no reason to be nasty.

The reason I say that is, I've never in my life known a reader who only reads ONE author. Generally, if someone likes a genre, they read widely within that genre. Personally, I love horror and I read lots of authors who write horror. Sure, I have a favorite. However, that won't stop me from reading someone else's work. I also love fantasy, including YA.

For years I didn't read any other paranormal romance. I didn't want it to influence my work. I didn't want anyone to have a reason to compare me to anyone else. While I still don't want to be compared to others, I have started to read within my chosen genre again.

At first I got questions from some like, "Checking out the competition?"

"No," I said. "I'm going to read something I enjoy."

If you don't make the time to read, then you shouldn't take the time to write. Reading the works of others is what makes us better writers. You might be surprised what you learn just from reading someone else's book. I sincerely believe that every time I read Dean Koontz my ability to describe things improves. That man can paint a picture with only a sentence. Now THAT is a neat trick. Reading his work is not only entertaining, it makes me a better writer, even though we aren't in the same genre.

There are also those who try to narrow the field by discouraging as many new authors as possible. This could range from an outright attack or simply trying to make them feel bad about themselves and their work. That is outrageous. Please, don't let anyone do this to you if you're a new writer. Hell, if you're not a new writer, don't let anyone do this to you.

For some reason, people like this think that if there are less books out there, theirs will suddenly sell more copies. While this might happen accidentally if the market is sparce, there is no way to know for certain. Besides being cruel, this behavior is flat out stupid. Your work should stand out because of the quality of entertainment you provide, not because it was the only thing available.

My point is, we aren't in competition with one another. Regardless of the genre you write, all writers have a lot of things in common. No matter how much you may like to share with your friends and family, there is only so much they understand. Or care to hear for that matter. Ha. Ha. No one knows the industry like someone else working in it.

Does anyone remember the line from Lord of The Rings, "To be a ring bearer is to be alone?"

Well, for the most part, to be a writer is to be alone. We spend countless hours at a keyboard, making entire worlds come to life while our own may be neglected. We live out dreams in our heads and put them onto paper for the world to see. We put emotions into words.

Why alienate each other? We're really not so different.


John-Paul Cleary said...

Great blog post Tracy.
Totally agree.

Tracey H. Kitts said...

Thank you, John. :)