Monday, November 07, 2011

Readers Enough For All

There's a writer of my acquaintance who has been touting her traditionally published new book for what seems like forever. She's done this before and now she wants to know if she should self-publish or stick with the traditional publisher, who has purportedly announced the book is not coming out this year, but next year. After having been through this with her several times before in the decade plus that I've known her, I can't say I'm surprised. She has wanted to be published forever and that's not to say she isn't a good writer. She's good in her genre. I just can't get behind this constant push and pull and maybe and maybe not story behind her books. This is the third or fourth one that has been coming out for so long it's almost a joke.

I remember the days when she was telling me how getting published in anthologies, and I've been published in a lot of anthologies over the past four years, was not really being a writer. I don't know why. I got paid and there are books containing my stories. Some of the anthologies carry two of my stories in the same issue, and I've been published and self-published in 18 books in the past four years. I think that's pretty good. She was over the moon when one of her stories was published in an anthology and she was paid 1/4 cent for her contribution, most of which she spent on a case or two of copies to give and sell to her friends and fans. I think she still has a case and a half.

One thing I don't understand is the need to denigrate another writer to make yourself feel better or more professional. It's less professional and petty. I am glad for her successes and, while it's not obvious by this post, I do hope her book is published soon. There is no greater thrill than seeing one's work on a bookshelf, virtual or otherwise, and know that all the hard work, sweat, blood, and tears (always a lot of tears) paid off.

Writing isn't, or at least I don't think it should be, a competitive sport. We are all writers together. We may not write the same things or appeal to the same audiences, but with nearly 7 billion people on the planet, there's room for all of us, and buyers and readers for all of us, too, even if only a handful ever know you existed. There are more people born every day and that means more people who will grow up and may choose to read your book or mine. It's not a competition -- except when it is -- and it's not worth keeping score. It is, however, worth making sales, and I hope your sales and mine are always the best.

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