This week I got to sign a few books. One of these days I need to figure out what to write when asked to sign something. Oy!
I gathered with family for some time away, and some of them brought copies of books. And then I got to talk about writing and publishing and…
…well, it hit me. While I’m not a household name, and while I’m not making my living off writing (yet), I’ve done it. One novel bears my name, and another comes out in December. I have a plethora of short stories available for others to read. I have my own Amazon Author page. I know what it is to be published on multiple levels.
I know something by experience that many others don’t.
As I talked with a younger cousin, I shared what I’d learned. I pointed her to a number of resources that helped me greatly. She wanted me to read one of her stories, which I wasn’t able to get to while we visited. She’s supposed to email it to me so I can read it.
And as I reflected, I realized… I’ve been doing this for others, too. Certainly not a huge crowd of people, but helping out where I can. One friend is getting to the publishing part of her journey, and I’m sharing resources with her. I’ve read some novels to give opinions. I’ve done nothing monumental, but I’ve been helping others where I can.
Is that dumb? After all, people have limited attention and limited money. If I help another person get published, doesn’t that just mean someone might spend less money on me? I’m sabotaging myself!
Well, no. I know very few readers that will only purchase stories from one source. I know such readers are out there, but most readers will read anything they enjoy and have the ability to support. A lot of readers (perhaps the majority?) purchase so many more books than they’ll ever read. Yes, there is some competition between authors, but it’s not like the competition in other areas of life. I’m not competing against others; I’m competing against myself. I want to write better. I want to produce content that others will want to read.
One person I respect phrased it this way: A rising tide raises all ships. If authors can support each other, if we can help each other create the best products possible, not just the craft of the story told, but the value of the cover, the accuracy of the description, the skill of every step, then there are better stories out there. And the better the stories, hopefully the readers will want even more.
So I’m doing my part in raising the tide. Even as I’m working to know more, to produce better content, to craft better stories, I’m doing my best to help others, too.
Let the tide rise.
Let the ships be raised.