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.

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