“One for all, All for one,”—that’s the battle cry of Alexandre Duma’s “Three Musketeers”. I also believe this should be a guiding principle for us all in the Writing Community.
We are neither competitors nor rivals; we must set aside these preconceived notions, happily in fact we are colleagues. And by working together, collaborating together, we will all enjoy better chances of success. In a stripped down, basic vision, I see us as a kind of loose knit creative Co-op, a Kibbutz of self-publishing zeal where we all have talents, skills, influence, connections and chutzpah to contribute to this common (and admittedly sometimes self-serving) mission.
SIMILAR MOTIVATIONS IN AN EVER CHANGING WORLD
Why do I have confidence in this notion? 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, and we are all pioneers on this great adventure in the publishing world. A publishing world that’s experiencing a paradigm shift not seen since William Caxton established a printing press in 1476 in England, and printed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
Okay I admit there’s a tad bit of hyperbole there, but the fact is Self-publishing has arrived with gusto, Amazon has changed the landscape of retail, and we are now reading reams of books off tablets, kindles and the like. And as such we all share a similar challenge: how to build a plane while trying to simultaneously fly the damn thing!!
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 close to concluding my historical themed novel, The Zebra Affaire I struggled to write my own book’s blurb. I guess I had gotten too close to it. In desperation I resorted to posting my predicament to the vast world of strangers on the World Wide Web. A mysterious creature from a far off land (I think 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. There were no strings attached, no demands for payment or credit. Then one day “Kiss the Sky”, the euphemistic name of my Good Samaritan sprite, mysteriously disappeared….I guess that’s the kismet of the internet!
PAST EXPERIENCES AND CAREERS AN ASSET
Look around you, virtually in social media forums and Facebook groups, or your local writers workshops and associations (such as the Surfwriters and Southwest Manuscripters that I attend) there is so much potential for cross-promotion and collaboration. All writers have a legend, a valuable past profession or career experiences that enable one to contribute in some way. In other words, whatever you once did, or are currently doing in your “civilian life” outside writing is an asset. Heck, even my history in the record business and cause-marketing world 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 realm for us writers. This is great news for all of us in this literary community! We are erudite. We love to write. In fact we are perfectly equipped to write reviews. Let’s start reading, then 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. Talking in terms of collaborations; I know this is a direct result of my passion for the music business: Art Garfunkel was better for having Paul Simon in his life, consider how mediocre The Beatles may have been if Lennon never knew McCartney, Rodgers needed his Hart to compose “My Funny Valentine”, and I guess Jay Z needed his Queen B, Beyonce!—it has been well established that the creative process is often enhanced by collaboration, indeed ‘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. Whether one writes fiction or a memoir, erotica or poetry, Historical fiction or children stories, we are all bound by a common cause—the sanctity of the written word. Remember that, and let us support each other. As creative folks, we are keenly aware that “all boats rise with the tide” and something that benefits one, in time, will benefit ALL. Please let us all review each other’s books on Amazon and Goodreads, volunteer to Beta read a manuscript, “comment” “share” and “retweet” as often as possible, “Like” a Facebook Author Page, guest blog, and conduct fascinating author interviews…these are all inexpensive ways draw pride in our collective work, and enjoy shared success.