It occurred to me this morning as I read through the several writing blogs I follow that many of the people writing these blogs are, technically, my competitors.
What, you say? Your dear writer friends, who prop you up when you’re feeling down, leave comments of encouragement, and generally are the only ones rooting for you in the cruel world that is fiction-writing—they’re your competitors?
Well, from a business perspective, that’s what you’d have to call them. I’m trying to sell my product to an audience who has a need. My product is a book and the audience’s need is to be entertained. My book competes with millions of other books already written, being written, and soon-to-be-written for the eyeballs and attention (and dollars) of the reading public.
This was brought into especially sharp focus when I realized that at least one of these writers had also entered Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest—and advanced to the next round!
The odd thing is, I find myself excited for her rather than jealous. Maybe because there are so many writers out there and I know relatively few of them, it seems kinder and more helpful to think of the writers I know as friends rather than competitors, even if we are, on some level, competing with one another. Maybe I’d rather embrace the idea of “coopetition“—wherein companies in the same market cooperate on research and development while still competing to sell products—rather than looking at writing as a zero-sum game with a single winner.
Or maybe I’d just rather be part of a community of writers, even if it means remaining unknown, than to find myself all alone at the top. Other people seem to be thinking this way, too. Take a look at Novel Publicity’s Karmic Fan Chain on Goodreads.
So, thanks to a few of the members of the community who have cheered me on and give me daily inspiration (alphabetically by first name in the great tradition of the Amazon contest winners announcement (link is a PDF)): August McLaughlin, Carrie Rubin, Catana, Cynthia Robertson, and Kourtney Heintz. I’m happy to count you among my friends.
If you’re anywhere near Menlo Park, CA, on Sunday, March 4: top by Kepler’s Books at 2 p.m. to hear authors (including me!) reading from the Fault Zone anthology of stories and poems.