Collegiality, Rising Tides and Spam Sandwiches
Part the first…
I am very fond of my writer friends. I have also been very, very lucky to be surrounded by a community of wonderful writers, throughout my career, who have not blinked when it comes to lifting each other up.
My first internet writer friends came from the Compuserve Writers Forum, which still lives on as the Literary Forum. IRL groups that have supported me over the years include the North Shore Writers, Canadian Authors, CWILL BC, CANSCAIP, The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. This last group, SiWC, is like a homecoming for me every year; going back to a safe place filled with writers who are willing to share the knowledge, the trials, and the joys of the writing life. All my successes I owe to the people I’ve met here, who have befriended me, who’ve shared what they know with open hearts and the sure knowledge that writers who help each other are the better for it. [All my failures? They are ON ME, man.]
These people are special to me because we’ve gone through it all together. Some of these folks I only see in the flesh once in a blue moon. A bunch of them I only know on-line. But we have relationships that have been years in the making. The beauty of this job is that I continue to make new friends, over the internet, and at workshops and readings and signings and conferences. I work as hard as I can to pull my own weight, too — lifting up other writers, sharing their work and linking to their expertise. I try to be a rising tide whenever I can, lifting my own boat and all the others, big and small, around me.
However. There is a dark side to this industry. A dodecahedron of dark sides, to tell you the truth. And part of my work with SiWC and other groups over the years is to steer unwary writers away from those parts of the industry looking to eat them alive. ANYONE who tells you they have all the answers to finding success in this business — ESPECIALLY if they expect you to pay for it — is worth stepping away from. Successful writers, particularly those who are excellent teachers, will tell you what they’ve picked up over the years, and what worked for them. Learning from them, adapting their lore and wisdom into a plan that works for you is the way to go.
Buying into a quick fix is not.
All of this is to say, I am never going to direct the writers who come to me for guidance toward these bad actors. I’ve been living inside this industry too long for that. And if you do want to talk to publishing professionals about getting your own work out there? Hounding them, sending them harassing emails, tweets or other social media contact is definitely not the way to go.
Next time, I’m going to talk about getting the word out about your book or your publishing service — the right way.
Avoiding spam sandwiches, and other delectable delights.