Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Writers’ WWF

Are writers like wrestlers, battling it out for a spot on the bestseller list? Should WWF stand for World Writers Federation?

Of course, there's competition. The more sales you have, the more money you eventually get. The more sales you have, the greater your chances of getting a contract for the second, third, fourteenth book. And so on.

But that certainly doesn't mean that writers should (or do) duke it out (literally or figuratively). Some of the most generous people I know are writers. Years ago, when I went to the world mystery convention, Bouchercon, in St. Paul, Jan Grape (great author and the woman who knows everyone in the mystery field) "mentored" me by introducing me to people and taking me to events I wouldn't have known about otherwise.

Hone your craft, write your best, keep practicing. The only person you should be in competition with is yourself. If you learn of a contest or know of an agent looking for new clients or whatever, does it increase your chances if you keep it to yourself? Not really. Either your work is good enough to win the contest or it's not. Either the agent will love your manuscript and offer representation, or he won't.

Remember, what goes around, comes around.

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20 comments:

  1. I know from a reader's point of view, I have meet some of the most generous authors in the world. When I started my blog I would have never believed that authors would be as helpful and supportive as they are. I've had first hand experience and seen the sharing and caring among authors. They support and encouragement they show each other is inspiring.

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  2. Most of the authors I read are dead. What the Hell, I'm stuck in the world of classics. Maybe time to make a change; there are probably some live authors that write well too >:)

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  3. I agree Helen. I have met so many wonderful giving writers. Though I have heard terrible stories from others but I've never had those types of experiences.

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  4. So true. I've found the online writing community to be incredibly generous with advice and support. I haven't had the opportunity to meet any authors in real life yet, but I'm sure it will be the same :)

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  5. So true! I have found more support in the writer's community than in my regular life (at times). This post is so on point! From writers' conferencees to the blogging community, it is good to know others have your back.

    One way I try to support my writer friends is by buying their books. I know this seems obvious, but many non-writing friends think they should automatically get a free copy of your work. Those ARCs are precious and meant for marketing. True writing friends know what book sales mean. While we can't buy every book we may want to, it's good to save your money for your friends. Get the others at the library or PaperbackSwap!

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  6. The writing community is usually really generous...I have occasionally seen a little ugliness (not toward me personally). It's ordinarily on forums, for some reason.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  7. Like most of the commenters before me, I am amazed at the kindness and encouragement I have encountered from writers to date. Whether it is via blog comments, or what I've witnessed during readings, there seems to be a far reaching desire on many writers parts to help other writers. The bond is huge and more helpful than I ever could have imagined before. Perhaps this "writer community support" is something that should be studied in order to find a way to release it to mankind in general.

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  8. I couldn't agree more. Most writers I know are awesome in this regard. Maybe it's because we know how hard it is.

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  9. It's definitely a rewarding community, like one big safety net with all of us keeping everyone else supported and inspired. That we're all walking in the others' shoes really gives us an understanding of the journey we all share.

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  10. Love this post, Helen. I agree wtih everything you've said here, as well as all the previous comments. The community of writers found on these blogs is extremely supportive and generous. I've purchased many of their books and many of them have purchased mine. Plus the encouragement and advice is from the heart and eminently useful.
    karen

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  11. Elizabeth, I think the unfriendliness of some forums comes from a feeling of being hidden and without responsibility. No one can see me, so I can get away with stuff. But I also think those same people would probably be unfriendly in person. Perhaps not directly but behind your back. This behavior always astonishes me. If I'm not going to attack in person, I'm not going to do it online. Yet, others don't see it that way.

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  12. I would not be writing my book if it weren't for online authors who have supported and encouraged me. I live in the hills of Cyprus and do not have much contact with writer's in the flesh, so my online support is valuable to me.
    I was a member of a forum that I found a tad, me...me...me and so I left. I do not use big, impressive words, I do not like to run the publishing industry down, nor rant about rates of pay, so I was not very active there anyway.
    Interesting post, Helen.

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  13. I will cling to that thought, Helen!

    And so far all the writers I've met have been very nice and helpful.

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  14. There's room enough for everyone!
    I've met a couple snotty authors, but for the most part, everyone is wonderful.

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  15. "Hone your craft, write your best, keep practicing. The only person you should be in competition with is yourself."

    Excellent advice. It is too easy for a writer to want to replicate a popular approach rather than discovering his/her own niche.

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  16. Enjoyed the post, Helen. I, too, have many writer friends to whom I owe a great deal of thanks for all the help they have given me through the years. I figure if I am passing it on, that is the best way to thank them.

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  17. In the artistic revolution in France at the end of the 19th century, like-minded individuals banded together to foster each other as they worked towards a common goal of producing the best art they could muster. I love this mentality and am doing my best to foster it in my hometown of Greenville, SC. I do feel from some writers as if I'm in competition with them, but I try not to look at it that way. We're all in this together, we all have something to say; why not let each other say it? Karma, baby, karma.

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  18. I’ve met so many wonderful authors who are willing to help other writers in any way they can. I hope to follow their example.

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  19. My experience has been that writers are fantastic, generous and kind people overall, with very few exceptions. There are times when I am honored to belong to this group!

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  20. I hope nothing bad happened to inspire this post.

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