Repeat after me… Other authors are not your enemy. Other authors are not your competition.
After going to several conventions one thing I’ve learned is authors are either best friends, or mortal enemies. While at one convention another author eyeballed me severely. I mean full on stared me down; burning a hole in the back of my head. The same author demanded that I be removed and placed with less serious artists (I assume because I had only released one novel at the time), and when that didn’t happen he waited for me to be in the middle of a conversation with a fan before coming between me and my display going through every single item on, around, and UNDER my tables. At one point this fellow author walked between myself and the person I was selling a book to. The entire three days was spent with him brooding over me, angry that I was breathing his air.
A couple of months after that event I was at another one, talking, laughing and playing with spectators when this same gentleman waltzed on up to me. He decided the third degree was in order as he was a patron of this venue and not a featured author.
“How many books did you sell?” Speaking about the convention in which we met.
I answered honestly – 6
“Then WHY are you still writing??? It can’t be that good!”
I then explained that the venue we were at was not my target audience and how my books have done extremely well at the current one we were standing in. I had sold the same amount from the moment the doors opened to the moment he stepped up to my table (3 hours later).
“Well, I sold 120 copies! I bet I could triple that number here!” This author writes YA fantasy adventure. The first convention was an anime convention, geared towards teenagers-not my audience, meh, you live you learn. The current one in which we were holding a conversation was a scifi-horror convention geared around adults, held in a casino, with a bar, not this other author’s target audience.
So instead of having a battle of wits I bought his book. Right there, right then, the Kindle version, right from my phone using the profit I had just made in front of his own eyes.
“There you go! You just got your first sale! And at a convention you didn’t sign up for!” I smiled. I was not being malicious, or wanting to have the final word. I was trying to show support. He huffed away. I spent the next three days greeting people, talking them through the book process, taking pictures, and having a blast. In any down time I read his book. By the time I got home, I had read and written a very nice review of his tale on both Amazon and Goodreads.
I was not his enemy.
I was not his competition.
Let’s be honest; marketing, selling, writing, deciding, publishing, meeting, signing…all of it is hard! Sometimes you feel alone. You should never EVER feel alone when another author is in your company. We all have the same goals, the same fears, and frustrations. Later, I found that a very common author request is that they be the only one on a floor, or in a row. Or in the very least be the only book of their genre in a row or on a floor.
I am not your competition.
I am not your enemy.
But sometimes you go to an event and find authors huddled together. They request to be grouped together. At the first convention, 6 authors who ALL wrote graphic novels band together to make a book nook. Once they all arrived and poked around everyone’s set up time, they found like authors and asked the director if they could all be together. To help and support each other.
“Why? Your in selling competition with each other.” They were asked.
All 6 replied with “No, we are all indie authors. If one of us makes it, it’s a win for all of us. We each know something the others don’t and we all might write the same thing, but each is written as differently as snowflakes. We are not each other’s competition, we are not each other’s enemies.”
Throughout the convention kids of all ages were taking the items for sale from all of these authors, reading them, talking to the authors about the process and these authors worked TOGETHER.
“Oooooh You’re into pirate fantasy! Check out the guy across from me, his stuff is wonderful! You’ll love it!” By the end of the convention every single one of those 6 authors had sold out, because they helped each other instead of fuming over sharing the same gravitational pull of a planet with a “competitor.”
Soooooo long story short; authors are not each other’s competition, authors are not each other’s enemies.