It’s Not A Competition


I’ve blogged about this topic before, but recently my friend C. Patt contacted me about trying to get authors to send her swag for a convention where she has a booth.  Ideally she’d like to get 24 authors, maybe.  I don’t remember most of the particulars.  I just know I told her I’d send her postcards for Natural Born Exorcist, so if you are in Austin Sept. 21-23…

She asked me to help her try and fill the spots.  Okay.  I really only talk to a handful of authors.  Because most authors treat publishing and writing like a competition and I just can’t.  I believe authors should work together, promoting one another and assisting each other when they can.

Let me explain it this way, I am not in competition with Clive Barker, and not just because he’s a big traditionally published author, but because if one of my readers wants to go grab The Scarlet Gospels or Mr. B Gone they should.  They are great books and as a prolific reader of Barker’s works, I would say all of them are worth a read.  I got hooked by reading his Books of Blood vol. 1, because I enjoy short stories.  And someone who knew I was reading Lovecraft’s short stories recommended the Books of Blood.  Which I enjoyed immensely.  At the time I didn’t think I had ever heard of Clive Barker.  However, once I got into the Books of Blood, I found a short story with a character I did know… the Hell Priest.  For those not into horror or Clive Barker stories, the Hell Priest is Pinhead leader of the cenobites from the Hellraiser movies.

My feeling is there are enough readers for everyone.  And when readers have multiple authors they enjoy, I think that’s healthy.  Variety is the spice of life.  Books are a multi-billion dollar industry.  And most authors aren’t James patterson, who is currently paid millions a year for his books.  He is the highest grossing author out there.  But Patterson’s profits are still a drop in the hat when it comes to book sales.

And if my readers want to read James Patterson or Amanda Booloodian or Adria Waters or C. Patt while they wait for my next book, more power to them.  It is not going to hurt how much I make in a year.  But lots of authors act like if a reader spends $5.99 on a book by someone else, that’s $5.99 they don’t have to spend on their books… That is true in most things, but not book publishing because there is the very real chance that the $5.99 they spent on someone else’s book is because you didn’t have one they hadn’t read.  I don’t actually know how many books I have out right now.  Twenty-five I think.  The readers that have to have my book the moment it releases are going to spend the $3.99 or $4.99 for my book the moment it comes out and since I am not capable of putting out a new book every day… I’m not losing sales to other authors, I just don’t have anything to offer at that exact moment!  And the readers that don’t have to have my books the moment they release are still going to buy my books at some point in the future.

Just something to think about next time you refuse to promote another author.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not A Competition

  1. Here is a (non-writer) reader’s perspective. My creds: I have in excess of 7000 books in my combined Amazon and Barnes & Noble libraries, that’s just fiction, there are an additional 2500 non- fiction books as well. Yes, I don’t get out much and yes, I am an academic too.
    So here it is from a reader’s perspective. I started to read e-books once I realized that it is easier to take a nook with you than a dozen books when you go places. I told you I am an academic! Then I found out that B&N has a whole list of free books and so does Amazon. Happiness abounds! For those who have a reading addiction. And this is how I found most authors I read now. I got a free book of an author I did not know and I tried out a lot more writers that way than I would have if I had to stand in a store reading the back of the book. This is how I ended up buying many of those writer’s books—usually all of them. Now here is the part pertinent to what you said in your post. Amazon does a good thing here by listing authors on a writer’s page that write in a similar vein. I always check their books out too and if there is a cheap one to try, I do that and see where that leads. Usually to more books I like. But I also look at writer’s pages in regard to what they recommend. I do this because I always run out of reading material before you publish the next book—and honestly, who does that hurt? Bookbub groups writers together too, and yes, this is a great place to find new authors.
    In short, while I could drone on about this, you are right. Authors should work together to advertise their products. The more exposure and the more variety there is visible, the better the public’s chances to find new material and new favorites. Books are like chocolate, you like some, you love some, and others are just not right for you. Point is, someone will love those too. Buying a book is not like buying a car. After researching it, you buy it and stick with it until a better model comes around and you can afford it. A book is something you read, recommend, and move on from. Writers sell chocolate, not cars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writers sell chocolate is my new favorite line. And yes, that is how I buy books! When I bought The Scarlett Gospels by Clive Barker last year, Amazon gave me suggestions like Barker and I love one of them. Imagine how much better recommendations would be if Authors did it instead of an algorithm on a book retail site. Love Aislinn Cain try Lincoln and Child’s Pendergast series. Of course I am nothing like Lincoln and Child from a writing standpoint but Pendergast’s remoteness is not unlike Aislinn Cain.

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