Behind the Scenes

Competition or Teammates? You Decide

writer people problems

It’s your girl, Calypso Grier, outside enjoying a balmy day to the tune of birds trilling. It’s a new week, another Monday. The sky is blue, grass is green and a bunch of stuff is piling up in my inbox that will have to be handled at some point before the sun goes down. Of course, like any other working gal, I’m killing time on the net. Here’s what I came across:

the darkest hour by tony schumacherTony Schumacher, the author behind The Darkest Hour, put out something kind of wonderful in his blog for HuffPost, Forget Spelling, Learn Selling if You Want to Write. He reminded writers:

“You are part of a community, you are a writer, you will get nowhere, honestly, you’ll get nowhere being selfish and trying to shoulder people off the road. It just won’t work.”

It’s kooky, selling books. You want to appeal to readers, but you’re also going to attract a lot of writers. My friends list on Facebook EXPLODED recently, and I can’t help but think Mr. Schumacher is onto something when he says we’re one big happy family of bookmakers who should quit it with the sibling rivalry.

I think competition is human nature, and that sense of needing to one-up the next person harkens to our caveman years where bringing home the most meat meant survival. Sometimes the meat WAS the competition. However, where on earth would any of us be if we didn’t band together at some point and get civilized?

Writers be like...
Writers be like…

There are all sorts of “writer beefs,” hard copy versus digital wars and conflicts of interest when it comes to authors supporting other authors. Mr. Schumacher hit the nail on the head with his assessment.  Guess what else writers generally do? Read. A lot!

Most of us started with an avid love of books, and as we became writers, we began to see supporting anything but our own work or that of “established” authors as treasonous. In reality, you can never have too many books. (So, there’s no such thing as a crowded market. There’s a home for all good books. You just have to make sure your content and marketing approach is stringent enough to stick out.)

The only way to remain a sharp writer is to read for the pleasure of reading, like the good ole days when the Bestseller List consisted of getting your latest story tacked to mum’s refrigerator with a couple of alphabet magnets. I know it can be hard to squeeze in the time–to set your book or project aside to pay attention to someone else’s–but your brain will thank you! You probably need the break anyway!

hammock-425773_640
Your brain says thank you.

So, whether you’re in the process of outlining, writing, sending off, self-publishing or marketing, if you’re a writer, do something constructive. Read. Read new authors. Read new blogs. Read classics, too. Anything you can get your hands on!

And, if you find yourself feeling like no one else’s writing is worth your time, then you may want to rethink why you became a writer in the first place. (To join the chorus or to drown it out completely? Because that’s an awful lot of harmonies to handle all by your lonesome.)

I think about the road I took to become an indie publisher, and I look ahead to where I plan to go next. I know personally that it’s tough to support others while marketing yourself, but it’s not impossible. I’d like to think the people I meet along the way won’t mind if we share the hike since we’re all going the same way; I’d like the company.

So, what have you been writing or reading lately? Tell us in the comments section below. Ta-ta now, y’all!

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I had the recent great fortune of stumbling upon a social media group that is all about sharing and support. It’s called “4 The Reader NU Presents…We Review!!”—catchy name!—and if African American fiction is your forte, this band of readers is the perfect place to find out what’s hot now. Peruse their posts and check out their reviews, or check with the admin, Deanna Cecilia James, to find out how you can become a part of their very active review team (or even get your title reviewed!) Look up: 4 The Reader NU Presents…We Review!!

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arsen ward Available Now! 

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