But this is not always the case. I am saddened when I see the rare cases of back-biting and author jealousy. I am a firm believer that there is room for all of us on the shelves, and that by helping other writers, we also help ourselves. Here’s how:
1. We find new readers. Writers are readers too, correct? Reaching out to support and help other writers is one of the best ways to introduce ourselves to a potential reader. Whether in real life or online, giving advice or a comforting word to a fellow writer will familiarize them with our name in a positive way. Of course I don’t mean for this to be all contractual, and the key is starting with genuine friendship. And to add cheese upon cheese, everyone is helped when you make new friends.
2. We find new publicity support. You remember when someone spontaneously gives your book a shout-out on Twitter or their blog, right? I know I do. And when they do I’m much more inclined to follow them or even give their book a looksie. In this way we create a team of friends both online and IRL who will help us spread the word when we have a release. Again, this doesn’t work as a straight up tit-for-tat kind of thing, and when someone lends a supporting hand solely for some kind of reciprocation or obligation, that’s just slimy and obnoxious. But by starting with genuine friendship we can create a trailblazing team that supports everyone involved.
3. We find new inspiration. I firmly believe we are shaped by the people around us. From family and closest friends to casual acquaintances and even strangers. I feel intellectually and creatively inspired by discussions with my roommates, or the great content on my favorite blogs, or the pictures of kitties in bowties I found on Tumblr. When we interact with other people, even in small ways, our circle of experience is expanded, and that can only mean good things for our writing.
C. S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone,” and I think in large part we write for that reason as well. This isn’t a race where only one person can win. In fact its more like a hike up a steep mountain, and the more we help each other, the higher we can climb.
Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and a myriad of other places. Her short story collection, Cross-Eyed, is available on Amazon.