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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The Writing Life 
Competition or Cooperation?

According to RWA National, the romance genre generated $1.4 billion in book sales last year. They also affirm that the typical romance reader buys and reads 36 books per year. These figures support my contention that there is no need for competition in the romance book field. 

I didn’t say romance authors do not behave in a competitive manner, some do. I’m saying with such a huge market, there is no need for competition among us. There are enough sales to go around. Some competition can be good, making an author work harder to improve her craft and produce an even better book. However taking that to the “nth” degree by putting nasty reviews on other authors books, slapping a low rating on a book to take another author off Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble's best-selling list is beyond competition. It’s sabotage.  

And if you think these tactics improve your sales, you are mistaken. Tactics like these drag you down, drain you of positive energy, take up time you could spend writing and making new friends through social media. Sabotage is ineffective in destroying your “competition.” Jealousy and competitive feelings rob you of the ability to succeed.

Don’t forget that writers are readers, too. I don’t think I’ve ever met a romance writer who wasn’t a romance reader as well. Writers who are competitive instead of cooperative will find their sales ailing. Don’t overlook the positive value of winning writers as readers. Writers who read your work and like it will buy your books and recommend them to others.

Writers talk. If you have snubbed other writers or actively tried to hurt the sales of another writer, that news travels fast. Writers will avoid your books like they are contaminated. 

What does cooperative mean? It means stopping by others’ blogs, leaving comments. Share your space by having guests on your blog. Write about a book you’ve read and liked. Leaving an honest, positive review on the book of another writer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble may win you a reciprocal review. Or it may not. That’s not the point. Not everything is tit for tat. 

Creating positive energy around yourself by helping others succeed brings good feelings to you and help when you most need and least expect it. Neglecting to put aside time to back others could get you their cold shoulder when you need support; and we all need a boost from time to time.

Sure it takes time to put yourself out for others. If you do it, you won’t regret it. You reap what you sow in this business.

Please share your opinion in a comment.



Molly Daniels said...

'You reap what you sow in this business.'


I'm all for helping each other and newbies; it creates harmony rather than chaos. Nobody has 'the secret' to being a best seller, or getting your work noticed. And a novice might spend years never knowing what she's doing wrong if someone doesn't 'play nice' and help her out. Plus, harmony among authors = long TBB lists, lol:)

JoAnne Kenrick said...

you've articulated this point really well, Jean! Kudos xx

I can imagine this line to be oh so true: "Tactics like these drag you down, drain you of positive energy, take up time you could spend writing and making new friends through social media. Sabotage is ineffective in destroying your “competition.” Jealousy and competitive feelings rob you of the ability to succeed."

Hope the folks who partake in such activities stumble upon this post and rethink their actions.

Energies should be more wisely spent on writing and giving fellow authors a leg up rather than a push down. Positivity goes a very, very long way.

(((squeezy hugs)))
<3 ya, Jean

V.L. Locey said...

Wonderful post! Positive energy always comes back around in favorable ways.

SMI_BookClub said...

As a reader when I see all this writer drama going on the Internet it puts a bad taste in my mouth . Depending on how the author responds I may decide to stop following them. They either look extremely immature and emotional blasting /be little each other and making pleads with why "their the best, and how they love their fans." THEN this turns some of their fans against the author their blasting while also stroking their own egos. Because then their fans start commenting on blogs etc about how awesome they are (kissing butt). I appreciate this article. I hope the bickering stops.

Vastine Bondurant said...

Wonderful post.

Reminds me of a couple of quotes, something along the lines of 'You cannot make your own candle burn brighter by blowing out the candle of another'....and, 'One cannot learn to fly by wishing another bird to fall from the sky..'

Kicking others down is not the way to find your own dreams.

Thank you for sharing!

Palmaltas said...

The writers who are my friends are the most supportive people around. I doubt that I could succeed without them. Such a shame that there are "writers" who cannot learn such a simple but rewarding lesson.

Great post, Jean!

Kellie Kamryn said...

I absolutely agree! Great post :)

triciaandersen said...

Very well put Jean!

Fiona Druce said...

Well said and oh-so-true! It ruins the readers' trust in us, as well as our trust in each other.

The way an author treats his/her audience and fellows directly effects my opinion of their books; it influences how I read their characters and their voice.

Writing is a solitary occupation. But being a writer is a community affair.

Troy Storm writer said...


Couldn't agree more and couldn't agree more with the comments that have been made. It's truly joyous when I feel that I've been able to make a comment or pass on a bit of knowledge that a new writer can use. And, as you well know, to have the help of someone who is willing to share their knowledge, as you are, to me, only make the entire writing community a better place where I feel I can do my best work. Thank you.

An Open Book said...

There are plenty of readers, fans and fellow authors who also read for us all to 'share' and build an audience with.

Some days, even though we all generally work from the comfort of our homes, it seems as though we are dealing with ruthless competition, 'office gossip' and hinderances.

We are all set to meet our personal goals, just like our co-workers.

Jeanine said...

Nicely written. Thank you!

Native NYer said...

Wise counsel. It's unfortunate that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. It's a cliche but it's true. Hopefully, people will grown up and stop acting their shoe size. (I'm full of cliches tonight. :-))