Books Magazine

Competitive Authors?

By Imagineer @ImagineerTeam

Quick Note First

I would regard it as a personal favour if you could take a quick hop over to Stacy Claflin’s blog, where she features an interview with myself.  It would be nicer still if you could, if you are so inclined, leave a comment on the post.  I think that pursuing such things is a part of supporting each other.

Now for the Meat

I’ve seen something I dislike.  It’s not yet at a point where I would say that it’s a serious problem, but it certainly contains the potential.  Quite simply, it’s commercially-driven book sites, particularly those touting for business in providing services to authors, such as editing, formatting, cover design and marketing.  Two or three I’ve seen carrying variations on the same concept: that authors are in competition with each other!

The idea that we must become cutthroats determined to outdo our fellow authors, somehow robbing them of their market, by employing a variety of tactics is, to me, not as laughable as it should be!  Why not?  Well, not because its valid.  More accurately, I find it offensive because its a cheap ploy aimed at the many who don’t know the realities of the book business and it also creates a mindset of latent aggression between authors.

Anybody who knows anything, of course, knows that there are, and probably always will be, vastly more readers than writers – and that’s discounting the fact that writers are readers too.  Sure, each individual reader has a finite amount to spend on books, but given how many millions of readers there are, that represents a vast sum of money.  Is it such a dreadful fact that its shared?  Do we have to try to grab more of the pot than other authors?  We would all love to be able to live off our writing, but at any cost?  Yes, publishing houses use advertising to attempt to gain more of the market share, but that’s nothing to do with the authors – they don’t actually care about the authors they use in their campaigns.  They’re a business seeking profits and they really don’t worry who gets hurt in the process, or what tools they have to use – and the authors they feature are just that – the tools to profits.  There’s little to suggest that all their efforts are particularly successful, anyway!

So are we in competition with each other?  Personally, I don’t think we are.  Would all the associations, guilds and such exist if we were?  It seems unlikely.  We’d be uninterested in such ‘author clubs’ if we were only interested in sticking the knife in and twisting it!  Of course there are some who have allowed themselves to become corrupted by the idea of selling more than others.  It’s called greed and it occurs in all walks of life.  Does it have to dominate our world?  Not at all!  We don’t need it.

It would be really fantastic if we let the greed-merchants know just what we think of them.  How?  If you’re connected with any of them, by accident rather than intent, then dump them!  If you have books with them, such as free shorts and the like – delete them and close your account!  I shall certainly be doing just that.  I don’t want my name even loosely associated with their kind!

~ Steve

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