Tuesday, January 30

Competition or Camaraderie? @NanReinhardt

All the month of January, I've been featuring Indiana Romance Authors on my personal blog. Man, it's been fun! I started on New Year's Day with my favorite Indiana Romance Author, our own Liz Flaherty and just took off from there. Some of these writers are people I know well, others I know slightly, and some I've never met, but it's been a blast getting to know them through the their articles or the Q&A I sent them.

Having a different author up nearly every day got me to thinking about writers and writerly competitiveness and how that plays into my life as a midlist author trying to get noticed in a very glutted market. You see, I'm not very competitive--I never have been. That's not to say the green-eyed monster doesn't rear it's ugly head now again. Of course it does. How could I not be envious of romance authors whose careers have taken off like a shot? The ones who get offered a book contract with their first novel and then sell millions and become a household name (or at least their book titles do). But I can say truthfully, I'm only get envious if I really don't like the books or the subject matter. I confess I'm often bewildered by what sells big in the romance publishing world today.

Most of the time though, I'm thrilled when author friends have successes, when they sign a book contract, release a new book, or hit a bestseller list. And I believe that my author friends are equally delighted for me when good writerly mojo comes my way. My writer pals can always be depended on to toss kudos my way when one of my books makes a list or I get a BookBub (which is really hard to do!) or when a review is particularly kind. And we're all pretty great about leaving reviews and promoting one another's work. We all want to succeed, but none of us seem to want to tread on others to win. Writing a book isn't a race with other authors, at least not to my mind.

Here's where I'm going with this--I think writers, for the most part, are more into camaraderie than competition and I love that about us. I think we are an unusual breed in that respect. We share one another's joys and sorrows, we help each other out when we're stuck or need an opinion about a scene or help brainstorming an idea. We share tips and tricks of the trade and teach one another. I always love being "editor-on-call" for my writer buddies. I love going on writing retreats with my BFF Liz Flaherty. Those trips feed my soul and my creativity, and I know they do the same for her.
 I'm certain I couldn't have had what success I've had with the Women of Willow Bay without my crit partners and my editor and my formatter--all of whom are fellow romance authors. That success was what got me noticed by Tule Publishing and got me a 4-book contract for the series I'm working on for them right now. The typical image of the solitary writer typing away in her little garret is a bit misleading. No author goes it alone--we all need each other to succeed.

So writers--what do you think? Do you see a lot of competitiveness among your writerly buddies or is it all about the camaraderie and support?

8 comments:

  1. While there is competition--and hurt feelings and betrayals and all the other things that happen within families--I think writers (at least romance and women's fiction ones) are largely a village. We work together for the good of all. Great post, Nan.

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  2. I think a little competition is definitely healthy...it's when 'competitiveness' turns into jealousy and 'why not me' and comparing our journeys that things can get sticky. Like Liz (and you), though, I see more camaraderie than competition, and I think that is wonderful.

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    1. I agree, Kristi--we can't compare our experiences. We're traveling the same road, but in different ways.

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  3. I read an article recently which talked about how supportive the Romance genre writers are with each other. It seemed this was unusual even within the writing world, and made me proud that we can be such a positive force for one another (and I confess I was shocked to read an article applauding romance instead of bashing it). As I’ve often heard, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That said, I DO get my panties in a wad when I read a “successful” book that is poorly written (in my opinion).

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    1. That's good news, Ava! And yes, I also get my panties in a bunch when I read a highly successful book that is poorly written. It doesn't seem right somehow...

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  4. What I find the most helpful with the romance writers and groups I belong to is the sharing of information and the willingness to help to promote each other. Like any family, there's occasionally going to be some competitiveness and jealousy. But for the most part I agree with Ava: A rising tide does lift all boats. Some maybe a little higher than others.

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    1. The groups I belong to seem to be very helpful to one another and that's so lovely, isn't it? Thanks, Jana!

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