Competing When You Hate Competing

Most writers will tell you they loathe the promotion part of the profession. When it comes to competing, authors like me wish we could all just play nice and include everyone. When art (the creation of our work) becomes product, what is good etiquette for promoting your little tusche off, without becoming that person at the Tickle Me Elmo sale who shoved, kicked and bit her way to success?
Writing Tip for Today: If a bigger or more popular kid steps in front of you, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to plot revenge? Try to crawl between the Big Kahuna’s legs? Or will you observe carefully what the big kid does and learn from it? In writing, there are Big and Not-so-big writers and authors. Biggies are well-known, have brand recognition or have spent a lot of time and maybe money building their readership. My take on competition etiquette is:

  • Always take the high road. Never bad-mouth or undercut an author whose work you are in direct competition with. Instead, try to befriend that person (sincerely!). Observe the similarities and you may actually benefit from catching wind off your rival’s sales, I mean sails.
  • While observing what worked for another writer, work on your own marketing plan. Define your audience. Never stop working on your writing skills. Take the time to actually write down your personal plan. Then start wherever you are and move forward.
  • Whining about your lack of money, publicist, or other resources is counterproductive. I love the idea of mapping out (literally!) a 100-200 mile radius around where you live and rippling out from there, setting up events, radio gigs and book club talks. Many of us cannot afford to fly cross-country to promote, but a day trip might work.

While we’re talking about promotion, The Fence My Father Built is listed as a possibility for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Book Club. Voting is open from today until April 30. You must be an acfw book club member to vote, but joining the book club is free. To join, go here: Please vote for The Fence My Father Built, to help create more book buzz. THANKS!

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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