Monday, September 3, 2012

Other Writers Aren't Your Rivals

 Nothing like an excuse to rant! Today I found An Open Letter AboutAuthor Behavior

In short, one particular author has been going around using pseudonyms to 1) give himself glowing reviews and 2) give his "rivals" bad reviews.

While giving your own writing glorious reviews under a false name is clearly unethical, I was really surprised with the second half of that equation, and that's what I want to address:

Say it with me folks..."other writers aren't your rivals."

Like a snowflake, your book is unique and special, something that you, and only you with your singular past, perspective on life and style could write. (Oh they SAY that a few million monkeys typing for a few million years could eventually churn out the Bible or the works of Shakespeare, but I personally don't buy it.)

That other writer couldn't have written your book and you couldn't have written theirs.

Now granted it's possible that a particular reader might not, on a particular given day be able to afford both your book and your "rival's" book.

Funny thing, though, books are consumable. Even though there are plenty of books that we've read more than once, sooner or later you're going to want to read something new. And even the most prolific writer is probably not going to crank out enough novels where the reader won't eventually run out of published works to read.

Now how would you even imagine that a particular author was a rival? Well they probably write a similar type of book to yours, and maybe have a similar style to yours. Which means the people who read your books might read theirs, and vice versa.

That doesn't make that author your rival - it makes them your POTENTIAL MARKETING PARTNER.

Rather than focus on negativity and a sense of lack, focus on positive possibilities. Their happy customers might be your happy customers as well.

  • Give them an honest and positive (assuming you actually like their work) review. Then consider saying something like "and if you loved their book, you might also like (insert your own title). Is it legit to do this on I don't know, but I can't imagine it's not.

  • Again, assuming you liked their book, write a nice review on your own blog or other website. Let the author know. They'll probably be so happy that they'll link to your site. And what does that do? It sends their readers to you as well as to them.

  • Contact the other author and suggest you do some mutual blogging/reviews of each others work. They might say no, but they might be flattered and say yes.
My hypnosis teacher used to say, "What you focus on is what you create." 

If you believe in a world of lack (not enough sales, not enough customers, not enough good reviews, too many "rivals") you'll create that. In fact consider the author who originally wrote all those negative reviews and how many potential readers he may have lost because of that.

However if you believe in a world where there's plenty for all, you create that instead.