Power of the Group: View Your Fellow Authors as Colleagues, Not Competitors
by Laura Orsini
A handful of years ago, I organized the Holiday Author Event. More than 70 authors came together in a retro building in Downtown Phoenix to sell and sign books for the reading public. I put a lot of energy and effort into it. It was a gorgeous production – and still it was something of a flop. Poorly attended and not many sales. My post-mortem revealed that events across the whole city did poorly that weekend for some unknown reason, but that did nothing to pacify the authors who had hoped for more. One of the more outrageous complaints I heard, however, was about the fact that I had grouped authors of similar genres together. Kind of like they do in bookstores. Or department stores. Or grocery stores. Could you imagine if they sold apple juice in aisle 6 – but you had to go to aisle 17 to find grape juice?
I’m frequently surprised at the lack thinking that seems to pervade so many authors’ mindsets. Whether it’s pricing their books higher than reasonable in an effort to make back the money they spent publishing them or shirking in terror at the thought of sharing a table at an event with another author who writes in the same genre, an unfortunate number of authors operate on the premise that there isn’t enough to go around. Not enough readers. Not enough buyers. Not enough money. Not enough sales. Not enough time. Not enough of anything. And any author who competes with them is a threat who could potentially steal what should rightfully be theirs.
Of course, lack thinking isn’t unique to authors. It’s a prevalent thought form across much of American culture. Yep – the Law of Attraction sounds airy-fairy as hell. Until you start practicing it and seeing its results. Focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want.
Think this isn’t a problem for you? Take this challenge. Consciously track your thoughts for a day. Use a clicker or snap a rubber band on your wrist every time you find yourself complaining or thinking about what you don’t want – instead of what you do want.
Oh my gosh, I’m going to be late.
I really don’t want to get sick right now.
How come I never have enough money?
I hope there isn’t another sci-fi writer next to me at the book festival.
Most of us do it – all the time. Until we learn to break the habit and shift our focus to what we do want.
The Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup is blessed to have among its members some very talented children’s picture book authors. Rita Goldner is the author of ORANGUTAN: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, Making Marks on the World, and the forthcoming Agent H20 Rides the Water Cycle. Joanne Grady recently released her first picture book, The Lovebugs Welcome Party, with more in the pipeline. Barbara Renner is the author of two illustrated series for kids: one about Lonnie the Loon and another about Quincy the Quail. These ladies embrace each other as fellow picture book authors, and for that, they reap the rewards.
First – they experience the power of the group in terms of expansion of ideas. Second – they partner up for events like the All-Zona Book Fest in Tucson last weekend. Third – they share expenses so no one has to bear all the costs of things like a table at the Tucson Festival of Books. What’s more, since they know each other well, each can act as an advocate for the others. There’s no worry about stepping away to have some lunch. If someone has an interest in a book by an author who’s taking a break, the other gals will endeavor to sell her book as readily as they’d sell their own. By happily viewing each other as colleagues, rather than competitors, these talented ladies embrace prosperity thinking.
If you’re already partnering up with other authors who write stuff that’s similar to you, good on you! Keep it up and sell more books. If you’ve been reticent to acknowledge their presence, perhaps it’s time to retool your mindset. Dump the lack thinking and embrace the power of the group.
LAURA ORSINI is a self-publishing consultant who works with authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Laura is the organizer of the popular and successful Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, creator of the Holiday Author Event, and conjuror of many other author opportunities. She will explore the power of the group in her posts for this group blog. In the meantime, read her regular posts at StanTravels.com.