Generosity of Spirit has been the rule, not the exception in the author community as I’ve experienced it. I have been privileged to see my name on lists of authors who have helped with other authors’ careers, and I want to make my own list, here.
At first, I was tempted to put our willingness to help one another down to the obvious–writers cannot stop talking about writing or they’d have to do it.
But that’s not all this is about, is it? Because I have a theory that every real writer starts out as a reader. And for them, books aren’t simply commodities that can be packaged and marketed like the latest celebrity perfume, using a hint of this. A touch of that. People like this color this year so why not use that on the box?
Every reader/writer wants books to be good.
Most important, every real writer wants to do the impossible: Write the book no one has ever written before, so brilliantly that it breaks all sales records, without being a commercial success, because ew. Amiright?
When writers talk ideas are born.
There’s no reason your ghost written-in-a-week novel, dressed up with a fabulous cover, stuffed with fifty backlist titles, can’t be good. But the statistical chances of it being as good as a novel by a proven author are unlikely.
Marketing those books, buying ads, generating sales is hard work. So is day trading, or running a Ponzi scheme. So is grinding Texas hold ’em in Vegas, don’t ever let anyone tell you the life of a professional gambler is easy. But buying a book someone wrote and putting your name (or a fake name that pays into your PayPal account) on it, has to be the ultimate delusion.
Books enlighten us, inform us, and direct our future actions. They create empathy for our fellow travelers on this planet, even if those people are not like us. They are own-voice stories, and fiction, and fantasy. They speak of faith, and ethics–of the possible dangers of rigorously applied morality or cutting edge science, because writers can make hard concepts easy to understand. They invite discourse. They challenge perception.
Like cameras, they kill fascists.
And in my experience, writers have preferred lifting their fellows quietly, relentlessly, and lovingly rather than attempt to gouge or steal or bully or set attack dogs on their colleagues.
Twenty people without whom I would not have a career*, are:
***I knew I’d forget important people. Edited to add the amazing Heidi C. and Marie S. who came into my life with Coffee and Porn (figuratively speaking.)
- Terry Black
- K.A. Mitchell
- Josh Lanyon
- LB Gregg
- James Buchanan
- Louisa Edwards
- Samantha Kane
- Deidre Knight
- Treva Harte
- Laura Baumbach
- Kris Jacen
- Belinda McBride
- Lynn Lorenz
- Heidi Cullinan
- Marie Sexton
- Damon Suede
- Caitlyn Willows
- Christopher Koehler
- Amy Lane
- Rhys Ford
- Louella Nelson
- Debra Holland
*Many more are not listed here as I gave myself a not so hard limit of ten… headdesk.