Avoiding competition as an author is impossible. As soon as you release a book, you’re up against your friends for sales and notoriety.
Competition among authors is just a part of publishing, but that doesn’t mean we’re all out to get each other. At least, it shouldn’t.
The writing community is a tight knit group. As we work on projects we ask each other for advice, critiques, and ideas. We help each other with everything from plots to back cover blurbs and pitches. We collaborate on just about everything, and most are eager to offer advice and help. We’re excited for each other when we land an agent or publisher, or when we take the leap into self-publishing.
How does that change once our books go live?
In a perfect world, it wouldn’t change anything. We’d still be thrilled to see one of our friends succeed, even if it means they’re doing better than we are. Lots of writers are still extremely supportive of their fellow writers and will lend a hand whenever it’s needed. Some aren’t, and that’s their loss.
But even for the writers who maintain their excitement for their friends’ success, sometimes it’s tough not to worry that their success will lessen ours, or even be a bit jealous when their rankings jump ahead of ours. We’re human after all.
The fact is… we’re all on the same team. Yes, it might be difficult to swallow when you’re still working to get your name out there when a friend seems to skyrocket to stardom out of nowhere. You’re looking at it from the point of view of competition, not collaboration.
Just like when your writer friends encouraged you to keep writing or query that dream agent, every book they sell encourages people to read. If they’re writing in the same genre as you, even better! Readers who love their books will want more. Don’t hesitate to support the authors you’re competing against. Most authors return the favor, but even if they don’t, you’re still promoting reading and literacy and that is ultimately to your benefit, and everyone else’s. Every book sold, whether yours or not, builds a love for reading. That’s the point, right?
I’d love your thoughts. Do you think competition derails efforts at collaborating?