Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fellow writers: colleagues or competition?

For a few days I've been wondering what it is I should blog about today, seeing as how today's Wednesday and that's becoming my blog day. Then this morning I was notified of a comment in a closed group I'm a member of on Facebook, and the person responsible had a very valid point. We were discussing videos for books, and whether they worked as a marketing tool, when Jeannie Faulkner Barber said "This shouldn't be so much a competition, but a writerhood, per se." And I must say, I agree with the lady. 

Most of the writers I know enjoy networking and sharing each others' work. We love working together to get the word out there about our talented friends and, as we see it, co-workers. When one of us is feeling down, and not confident in our writing, the rest of us are there to pick that person up and remind them that they are talented. Only a writer knows how difficult it can be to write when the muse just won't cooperate (my own muse, Alana, is on strike at the moment after a health issue last week). 

The vast majority of writers I talk to (on a daily basis, mind you) consider their writing as "children" of their minds and soul. We put so much work in to getting these stories written down and polished that we become very attached to them. That's not to say that we take negative feedback or rejections badly, we just lick our wounds, pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off, sometimes with the help of fellow writers. 

Yet recently I read about some other authors who don't feel the same way about their writing (well, we're all different) and considered our attachments with total disdain, even insisting that there was something wrong with our family type relationship with other writers and a publisher. I'm not going to say that they don't have reasons for concern. When relationships get that close, someone can get hurt. That's life. But I'm not writing today to talk about the risks we take, but to write about the fact that us authors need to stick together instead of trying to make each other feel like children just because we view our work differently. 

I'm new to being an author. So new that I've only just had my first acceptance a month ago, and it won't be out until January next year. (These things take time, for those unaware of the process. There's making up a final draft, then editing and creating a cover, then marketing BEFORE it's released as well as after, amongst many other tasks that go in to getting something ready for publication.) So it's important to me to have around me those who know the ins and outs of being an author and publishing, and those who know that sometimes we do get down and need someone to talk to. Other people may view it differently, and not all authors are going to get along, that's just the way it is. But being there for each other and picking each other up, celebrating successes with each other, that is what family is about. So what is wrong with referring to other authors and a publisher who genuinely cares about their authors as a family? Of course it's a business as well. That's obvious. But the people behind the publishers are just that: people. And on the personal level, I think it is totally acceptable that they look after those who choose to publish through them. Yes, without readers there would be no need for books, but it works the other way as well. Without the writers, there would be no books and no business to begin with. 

So my point is, whether we agree with opinions and each others' approach to certain things, we should at least respect each other enough to share successes and encourage those who need it, even if we've never talked to them before. We're not just business people, as it was put. We're people with emotions and doubts. We'll help a stranger in the street, but because we're only in it for business we won't help a fellow author? No, that's not right. We're strangers here, as well, and it should make no difference. We should be proud to help someone else who has dared to tell a story and put it out there to be read.

And so, in the spirit of things, here is the trailer for Jeannie Faulkner Barber's book, Taste of Fire. (Being released through Desert Coyote Productions) Keep your eye out for its release next month! 


  1. kudos on this. i believe a close working enviroment makes for better work but that's just me!

  2. Excellent post! I believe you know how I feel on the subject but for those that don't I agree with what has been said here. Why compete when you can assist and be assisted. Why not take advantage of the knowledge of others who are more experIenced if it's offered or a helping hand of one who has become like a frien, brother or sister when the dreaded negativity sets in or the always evil writer's block attempts to stay your hand?
    Why? Becau

  3. Great post. A lot of authors do feel like this is a brother/sisterhood. We support one another, cheer when each other succeeds. Why shouldn't we? A lot of us are in the same boat. Looking to make a dent within an industry is growing.


    We should try our best to help one another. Readers can have lots of fave writers, nothing against that

  4. Very well spoken! :)
    Gina, I think something cut your comment, but with what came up, more wisdom from someone who knows!

  5. One of my favorite quotes which I have at the top of my blog where I promote other authors is "A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

  6. Oh that's beautiful, Kiki. Might just have to add that to the inspirational "sticky notes" on my screen!

  7. I fall in the "writerhood" camp myself. It isn't like we're competing in a "buy one and done" market like groceries or cars. Readers buyuing another author's books does nto mean they WON'T buy mine. They just didn't buy mine TODAY. :)

    That being said, aside from my dislike for certain stories series, I tend to find tht saying somehting GOOD creates far better buzz than saying something bad, and that helping other authors creates buzz from your writerhood. And you can't buy better publicity than another wirter saying :This guy rocks!"

  8. Absolutely agree with you there, Ben!!