Competition or Colleague?

I have read quite a bit lately about authors and their relationship to one another. Specifically, the debate emerges about whether to view one another as the competition, or as colleagues. One view prompts nasty comments, spite, and vitriol. The other brings mutual support, uplift, and encouragement. I suppose from the way I just framed the argument, you already know my point of view.

I disagree with people who say this reality sprang from contemporary social media. While that has heightened the exposure to nastiness and brought it into public light, from the beginning of the publishing world authors have gone after one another and existed in tension. I get it. There are only so many readers, publishers, and reviewers out there, and we authors compete for their attention - or more accurately their dollars.

Yet I also believe enough readers exist for us to spread the wealth. I guess I don't want to build my career and following by clawing over the backs of others. I prefer to help each other as authors, with promotion, encouragement, and the understanding that we all struggle in similar ways.

For example, I recently did a podcast that will come out in April with Ryan Campbell, a fellow NineStar Press author. (Check him out at!) We chatted about strategies for self editing, because he broadcasts podcasts that discuss the writing process, best practices, and other advice for authors. To me, his work represents the best of a win-win situation: he gets publicity as the host, and when the authors advertise their participation on his podcast. And the author gains an audience with other authors and people who listen to his podcast. It represents the best of worlds to me, and a great example of supporting each other as authors!

This doesn't mean that my reviews of other works will always be positive, because I also want to be honest. But even there, I strive for nuance and kindness as much as possible. Our world today contains a lot of nastiness and hate. A lot. I want the author community to avoid it as much as possible.

Peace out. Damian

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