Indie Writers – Competition or Collaboration?

11 May

I don’t want to be one of those writers who guards his secrets, refusing to share or discuss how he connected with this person or how he reached that market. I try, not always successfully, to be generous in my personal life, so why should my career be any different?

Some indie writers blog that they won’t share all their marketing channels or discuss how they set up their blog tours, because they consider other writers their competition. That’s a legitimate way to look at things, but even with the traditional publishing, traditional bookstore model, I don’t think it holds true. Many of the writers I know who found success under that old model make it a habit to share what they’ve learned and help other writers make connections with agents, editors, and other resources. Many indie writers have done the same.

Books like The Long Tail, which I’m in the process of reading, have convinced me we’re really not competing against each other in the way some might think. Sure, there are only so many readers out there (millions!), but there’s limitless shelf space these days. The readers who couldn’t find you before, because you weren’t prominently displayed in a big bookstore, can find you now. If you produce enough work, tweak things correctly, make an effort at marketing, and have enough luck, you may be as easy for readers to find as some of the authors with major marketing dollars behind them.

Folks are still willing to spend five bucks a day ($150/month) on coffee. I have to believe that those who are interested in reading your work will still want to read it, and be willing to pay for it, after they’ve spent five bucks on mine.

I have a conventionally published book coming out in 2012. Though I’m more than thrilled about it, I’m just the writer for another author, and I have no influence on how it will be sold or marketed. But I have at least three, books I’ll publish independently this year. When I do, I hope I’ll learn something worth sharing with other writers. Authors, like Kiana Davenport and Jennifer Willis, have openly shared resources and suggestions, and helped me get closer to done. The least I can do is pass on the favor.

Go write something!


Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Indie Publishing


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3 responses to “Indie Writers – Competition or Collaboration?

  1. Ellie

    May 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I tend to find that many indie writers give out so much information, but hold the key points back. That way they look like they are sharing, but its not what is really important.

    I also find that many indie writers are happy to chuck out their successful sales figures, yet won’t admit that if they had done something differently, those figures could potentially have been doubled.

    I have this feeling that it is all about this professional face that you must show. If you were traditionally published…I say throw the rule book out, talk meet, celebrate your success but allow others to know that you aren’t perfect. I have found much resesntment between inide authors, and I believe it is down to an overwhelming air of confidence that many put out – which just ends up coming across as fake.

  2. C.M. Watkins

    June 7, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I’m so late because I’m now just finding these post. How do you become connected with others to get your work publish or in some of these circles? I find that this is one of the biggest hurdles I have to overcome.

    • Candice L Davis

      July 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      And I’m late in seeing this comment and replying! You have to get out there and meet people, I’m afraid. I think you can connect more quickly in person, but online relationships work well, too. I had great success with writing classes and private workshops. From each of these I was able to spin off a group of people who have become my long time critique partners. I was also able to meet agents and other people in the business through those resources. Don’t hesitate to apply to workshops, fellowships, and writing retreats. They’re not all expensive. Some of them actually pay you, and some have grant money attached.

      Online, I’ve slowly made connections by commenting on blogs that resonate with me.


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