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Generosity and Competition Among Writers November 16, 2009

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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I worked the Nebraska Writers Guild booth at the Nebraska Book Festival on Saturday. I had a great time networking with other writers and selling books. A beginning writer might wonder how festivals and writing organizations like this can work when writers are all in competition with one another. The truth is, we’re not.

I write books for children, primarily teens. I worked the booth with a nonfiction historical author, a poet, an author of a crime novel, and a romance author. We all attracted different customers.

I found another children’s author a few booths down, but she’s published in picture books while I’m published mainly in young adult novels. We discussed promotional opportunities like school visits, and we may collaborate on these because, again, we’re selling to different audiences.

Over the years, I’ve found that the more experienced writers get, generally the more generous they become. Perhaps the reason why is so simple as they’ve realized how little money is involved in this business for most writers. Becoming cutthroat over peanuts is silly.

In some genres, experienced writers even usher in novices, conveying the notion that there’s room for everyone. I’ve found this particularly true in the romance genre. Romance authors are some of the most generous writers I’ve met. This may be true because more than half of the books sold each year are romances. When a genre dominates the market like this, good writers can usually find a place without becoming hypercompetitive.

Beginning writers sometimes see writing organizations as head-to-head competition and fear joining, but I’ve found most writing organizations are fun and supportive.

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