A Guest Post
Mark Fine, Author of The Zebra Affaire“
We are neither competitors nor rivals; we must set aside these notions. Happily, in fact, we are colleagues, and by working together we will enjoy better chances of success. In a sense, I envision us as a loose knit creative co-op, a Kibbutz of self-publishing zeal where all have talents, connections, and chutzpah to contribute to this common (and admittedly sometimes self-serving) mission.
SIMILAR MOTIVATIONS IN AN EVER-CHANGING WORLD
Why do I think this? First, we know one another, virtually. We have similar motivations. We share a similar respect for the written word (and hopefully for each other). We are thinkers, we are mindful, we are pioneers on this great adventure in the publishing world–a world that’s experiencing a paradigm shift not seen since William Caxton printed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1476.
Okay, I admit there’s a bit of hyperbole there, but self-publishing has arrived with gusto, Amazon has changed the landscape of retail, and we are reading reams of books off tablets, Kindles and the like. And we all share a similar challenge: to fly a plane that we’re still building.
VIRTUAL SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY
And second, this spirit of generosity already exists in 2015…believe it or not, on the Internet. I know at times it feels perilous, somewhat akin to the Wild West. But I have personally experienced extraordinary generosity of spirit from total strangers; Some of you may have already experienced this yourselves…
For example, when concluding my historical novel, The Zebra Affaire, I struggled while writing my book’s blurb. In desperation I posted my predicament to the myriads of strangers on the Web. A mysterious creature in a far off land (Australia?) volunteered to help. It was a thrill to wake up the next morning—the time difference allowed this mystery sprite to work away as I slept—to find a perfectly cogent piece of prose awaiting me, no strings attached, no demands for payment or credit. Soon, “Kiss the Sky,” the euphemistic name of my Good Samaritan, mysteriously vanished–the kismet of the internet…!
PAST EXPERIENCES AND CAREERS AN ASSET
In on-line forums, Facebook groups, or local writers workshops, there is so much potential for cross-promotion and collaboration. All writers have a legend, a valuable past profession or career experience that enables them to contribute. Whatever you once did, or are doing, in “civilian life” is an asset. Heck, even my history in the record business and cause-marketing worlds may prove useful to somebody out there.
IT ALL BEGINS WITH A REVIEW
How can we help each other? Reviews: And let’s not kid ourselves; Reviews are the coin of the writers’ realm. This is great news for all of us in this literary community! We are erudite. We love to write. We are perfectly equipped to write reviews. Let’s start reading and reviewing the work of our colleagues.
SOLIDARITY IN COLLABORATION
Writing is a supposedly a solitary endeavor, but I would dearly like to collaborate creatively with others, a direct result of my passion for the music business: Art Garfunkel was better for having Paul Simon in his life. Consider The Beatles if Lennon never knew McCartney. Rodgers needed his Hart to compose “My Funny Valentine.” I guess Jay Z needed his Queen Bee, Beyonce!
The creative process is often enhanced by collaboration, synergy in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Ergo, when I write my next book I would be tempted to look to this bookish community for insights. For me this is potentially heady, fun stuff!
BOUND BY A COMMON CAUSE
I’m grateful to be a part of this community of authors and writers. Whatever our genre, we are all bound by a common belief—the sanctity of the written word. As creative folks, we are keenly aware that “all boats rise with the tide” and what benefits one, in time, can benefit ALL. Please let us review each other’s books on Amazon and Goodreads, Beta read manuscripts, “comment,” “like,” “share,” and “retweet” as often as possible. Guest blog and conduct fascinating author interviews–these are inexpensive ways gain pride in our collective work and enjoy shared success.
What are your “one for all, all for one” experiences? Please share!