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All Things Writing & Publishing > Are authors competitors?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Some statistics say that an average American reads 12 books a year. Let's assume there are few (dozens of?) thousands of thriller writers. Are they my competitors for an average reader's attention or do we complement each other through offering a wider variety for the genre fans?
I know in non-literary biz - some hate another similar shop being opened just nearby, let's say a shoe store, while some others argue that it's actually a good thing, if another shoe store is opened right near, because it creates an area, where a customer will have more certainty he/she will find a pair of shoes, be it in this store or the other.
What do you think?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I think there is perception and there is reality. The truth is we are not in competition as authors, especially within the same genre. The truth is that we may feel like we are, at times. As long as readers are exposed to new authors the rest is Darwinian.


message 3: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments If we were in competition, we wouldn't give each other such rave reviews would we? I think writers are in competition with oneself. How well we write, depends on the honest opinions of our peers.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Qgree. Indie authors are extremely supportive of one another and those with breakout success often give tips and advice on their blogs and websites. Goodreads is the best for this kind of support. The kdp boards are not as warm and fuzzy but still an invaluable resource.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Dan
Bravo to everything!


message 6: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments I agree Dan! Three cheers!


message 7: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2145 comments I think the answer is somewhere in between. Sure we're in a competition with each other, but he consumer of indie material seems so voracious, I don't think the market is yet as over-saturated as we think. as has been hinted, it's the marketing and exposure that limits many of the books out there.

I agree with Dan's comment about the crap that seems to sell. I see some high-ranked books with lots of glowing reviews, but I take a look and some of them look as if they haven't even received one round of editing. Then I look at books that seem to get no attention (dismal sales and no reviews) and the "mistakes" are few and far between while the story itself is intriguing enough where I shake my head wondering why it's not performing.

But getting back to the point, I would argue that while we're in a competition with each other, it's that variety we all bring collectively to the market that actually drives the indie movement. After all, the rise of indie publishing comes from a frustration that the big publishers have been limiting our choices. If indie authors start treating the competition we're in as something that we need to guard against and go to war with each other over, then we actually hurt our niche by heading down that path toward limited choices.


message 8: by Mehreen (last edited Jun 04, 2016 06:53AM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Variety is the key J.J That makes us friends not formidable opponents.


message 9: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer I believe we are in competition with other writers in our genre. We are competing for audience and sales.


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Dan wrote: "Well if there is competition it's filtered through so many factors that all you really need to think about is your craft. We as writers are a support group of weird individuals. We're like the tree..."

Welcome to the group, Dan. Like your changing colors as well as your input -:). Haven't met EL nor read 50 shades, but judging by the movie, it doesn't look like something I would enjoy.. Right exposure no doubt jumpstarts writing career. I don't remember from where, but I heard or read that Ronald Reagan was (one of) the key factor that brought Tom Clancy into prominence. Read about another author who struggled with sales and right after he managed to appear on a night show, he started to sell big time and all his books released before and after the show became betsellers, some retrospectively...
So, guys, if someone knows George Clooney, I'd appreciate passing him one of my books in the hope that he's in search of a variety after promoting Nespresso almost daily on my TV


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Denise wrote: "I believe we are in competition with other writers in our genre. We are competing for audience and sales."

I think we should fine-tune our books, as if we were in the most fierce competition, but I don't think that we compete that much with each other. My line of thought is as follows. Right here in the group, for example, we're honored to have GW Eccles. We both write about oligarchs and former USSR in thriller/adventure genre. A most direct competitor, one may argue. But I think the more he succeeds in developing and selling the 'oligarch' theme, the better. Readers enjoying his book might look for more, because that's readers' behavior, and discover mine. Likewise he might benefit, if my books promote 'oligarch' word on search engines. After our (with a co-author) first book, Ben Mezrich released a book, containing words 'Rise of an Oligarch' in its name. As he's a big seller, I hope our book popping up on some searches near his, may actually result in sales..
I think developing a certain theme brings more sales to everyone. It's like 'alpha male' theme or other niche genres....


message 12: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Each of us is different in what we write. And that makes our work original. Competing with one and another would be like if we were to write an assignment on the same topic. As writers we never do that. With sales though, it depends on a lot of things. Some readers might prefer some writers over the style of writing, theme of the story, techniques so on and so forth. Does this mean we are in competition? How does one compete with readers' likes and dislikes from the sales point of view.


message 13: by Denise (last edited Jun 05, 2016 02:08AM) (new)

Denise Baer Nik wrote: "Readers enjoying his book might look for more, because that's readers' behavior, and discover mine. "

Might. If his writing is better, than they won't bother with yours (Of course I'm not saying you're writing isn't good. This is just hypothetical). This is where some of the competition comes in. It's not only us competing with ourselves to write better, but to be better than those out there. Plus, it can have the opposite effect. If readers have tried several ‘oligarch’ books and they've failed for the reader, then they’ll be hesitant to pick up another one in the future. I'd much rather someone attempt to read my book before others, so as not to lose future opportunity.

I know authors say they're supportive of other authors, and I am to, to a point. When push comes to shove, I want a reader to pick up my book before choosing another writer in my genre, or even a different genre.

Mehreen wrote: "Competing with one and another would be like if we were to write an assignment on the same topic. As writers we never do that. "

Not exactly, but all genres build off one another. We all take an idea and revise with a new twist. As much as we'd like to believe our books are unique, there are similar books, so the competition is which book is better. I thought my first novel, Net Switch, was unique. Then when I read one of the reviews, a reader stated that he had read a similar book just prior to mine, so it took some of the wind out of the sails. He kind of knew what was going to happen. If he read my book first, he probably would have left the same type of review for the other book.

Mehreen wrote: "Some readers might prefer some writers over the style of writing, theme of the story, techniques so on and so forth. Does this mean we are in competition? How does one compete with readers' likes and dislikes from the sales point of view. "

We all write differently, which doesn't erase the fact that we're competing for readership. Many readers put a book down due to it being dull, poor editing, can't connect to the characters, or too much info dump in the beginning. There are main reasons why readers put down books, just like there are similar reasons why a majority of readers like certain books.

Just my 2 cents.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Denise wrote: "Might. If his writing is better, than they won't bother with yours (Of course I'm not saying you're writing isn't good. This is just hypothetical). ..."

Sure, this is also probable.
Amazon seems to group together similar genres, similar themes, interests, going down to the tiniest resolutions. And 'Also bought' & 'also viewed' categories offer an excellent exposure potential. My assumption is intuitive, theirs, I bet, - based on internal researches.
I think for the most we play as a team but at some stage - yes, there are individual awards, where people decide whether Xavi is better than Iniesta, and readers - whether to buy his or my book. To find out who writes better, they need to at least sample a little of his writing and of mine. If he brings those people or I bring and we end up 70-30 (bought books) to his favor, well it's kinda fair, if he's 'better' (may be subjective). I feel we have more in common, however, in bringing the traffic and gaining visibility than individual competition....


message 15: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer In time, I'd like to see where authors create their own categories instead of following the main genres. A more fitting way would be for the author to choose themes and characteristics. Instead of someone going to Fiction / Contemporary Romance, they can input words to narrow down their interests, such as amnesia, sarcasm, romance, adventure. As a reader, I'd love to be able to specify what I'm interested in at that moment in my life.

Okay, I veered away from the subject matter.


message 16: by James (new)

James Devo | 5 comments I wish there was a sarcasm genre. I suppose the literary version taught in schools would be the irony genre.


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Some authors become genre-makers, like James M. Cain is considered a noir pioneer..
Sarcasm sounds good! And amnesia not bad as well -:)


message 18: by James (new)

James Devo | 5 comments There are a few tales I've written I'd prefer people to forget.


message 19: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments James wrote: "There are a few tales I've written I'd prefer people to forget."

So they will buy them anew? -:)
Amnesia shall come handy


message 20: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer Sarcasm genre would be great. Another good one is parody.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments My view is competition is probably good for the lesser author (lesser being less well-known, not less talent). To take one of Nik's points, if someone well-known is writing about oligarchs, then "oligarch" might be used as a search tool, and up pops Nik's, because there aren't many other such books.
If, on the other hand, like me you are writing books with no obvious clear competition, you have a hard time getting seen. The well-known writer makes the term fashionable; you can't do that because very few know about you.


message 22: by M.L. (new)

M.L. The idea of 'competition' pops up all over. Having 'awards' fosters competition. :) In another group someone had a 'rating' system, offering to 'rate' on cover, format, etc. (never mind who in the world presumes to put themselves as 'evaluators' in the first place). There are 'stars' and whatnot. So yes, like mushrooms in the forest after rain, it pops up just like that.


message 23: by Matthew (new)

Matthew I don't compete with any other authors and those indie authors I do know don't really write in my genre. I write humour, mostly, which nobody appears to read anyway haha


message 24: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer @Matthew, I like humor, and could use some right about now. Which book of yours should I start with first? :D


message 25: by Matthew (last edited Jun 06, 2016 07:02AM) (new)

Matthew I have a collection of stories, or I have them all separately. They're very British in humour. The collection has a bonus story.

It's made up of the stories Last Christmas, Bittersweet, The Bachelor, Albert's Christmas and the bonus story, The Family Jewels.

I would say Bittersweet is fine for jumping on, Last Christmas was a quick tie-in to Bittersweet. It is mentioned in Bittersweet but it's not essential but depends how you feel :) It's available on Kindle or in paperback :)

The characters are a bit zany at times, some are normal but there's also lots of heart in them.

The Bumpkinton Tales: Volume One

Or separate

Last Christmas

Bittersweet

The Bachelor (My personal favourite)

Albert's Christmas

Humour is quite a hard sell, hence I'm looking to find sub-genre's they could fit into as 'Humour' doesn't really say much. There's some mystery to some of the stories, lots of coziness, some pathos. A mixture of things really :)


message 26: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments I have seen British humour used as a sub-genre before. It is probably not available in book categories though.


message 27: by Matthew (new)

Matthew It's a difficult one to sub-genre. My editor said to go for Cozy Mystery. It's a mix, one story is more, thought they're the same style, it's just that every story is a bit different topic, one about a newcomer opening a mystery shop, another a singles night for all the village singles etc :)


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Speaking about competition in economic aspect, we might as well mention its literary application, if there is...


message 29: by Michel (last edited Dec 27, 2016 07:11AM) (new)

Michel Poulin Well, there is presently another thread about free ebooks conflicting with sold ebooks, where there is plenty of competing opinions!

One way not to have to compete directly with other authors is to write books in new sub-genres or new storylines, if at all possible. Personally, I started recently to write novels that are a mix of erotica and urban fantasy (I prefer to call them urban fantasy novels for adults). As far as I can see, not too many writers have gone down that road and readers seem to like it (at least those who are not prudish). Maybe the answer is to be even more creative and imaginative in our book plots.


message 30: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Michel, I like to think that is true, but it helps in your case where it is a blend of well-known popular categories. I found it somewhat harder to penetrate with futuristic political/economic thrillers - if that is the best way to describe them.


message 31: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Colleagues, comrades or competitors? :)


message 32: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Hard to know. If you go to a writing group, or do something to help others, colleagues?


message 33: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments I have lovely writer friends from our writing group. We really enjoy each other's company. Best of all, three of us call ourselves 'The Apostrophe Posse.'

We share really poorly written news articles in our own messenger, and have been known to add/subtract apostrophes on public signs as required.


message 34: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Great stuff Leonie. I wonder whether anyone notices, or do you insert them in bright red?


message 35: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments There have been sticky notes and black texta.


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