I doubt there’s one profession or segment of society that is void of one-way streets. The way to stay sane when you appear to be in the midst of this phenomenon is to learn from your experience and move on. It’s important not to give up hope and treat everyone as if they’re out for themselves; otherwise you become a one-way street. The thing you hate the most.
I have found the community of writers to have a relatively low percentage of one-way streets. Sure, writers need to promote their work, that’s the nature of modern publishing. Everyone understands that. But there is no need to exclude others when you promote your work. I think most writers get that. The mentality that, “We’re all in this together.” Frankly, that’s a comforting notion to me. I am not alone in my struggle to write a good book and convince people to buy it.
In the short time I’ve been in publishing, I’ve met a tremendous group of people that not only offer their time but, when the opportunity arises, mention that they know of another author or book that people might like. These two-way streets mention other writers to the organizers of book festivals or reporters. These are the kind of people I want to use as role models.
This blog, Naked Authors, is a good example. They welcomed me aboard and always say nice things about me or my books. Not just on the blog but out in the non-virtual word as well. I hear comments from booksellers or readers and know where the buzz originated from. I’m a redneck, not stupid.
A few others that are always helpful can be found by comments on their own blogs or websites. The following list is by no means complete, and in the interest of full disclosure, everyone mentioned here is a friend of mine. But that’s the point. We should all point out the success of our friends. Another variable in the names below is how easy it was to find a photo of them. Remember, this blog is a sideline, my job is to write novels. This was one afternoon of playing around on the internet and finding a few photos.
One of the first guys I met in crime fiction was Ken Bruen. Aside from liking him right away, I discovered his books and now feel he is the top of our field. He also is generous with blurbs, mentions his friends on his blog and is generally available for any advice one might need. In any area. Whether you ask for it or not. Sorry, I got side-tracked.
Michael Connelly is another guy who’s easy to talk to and helpful
Christine Kling helps out in the crime fiction community by volunteering for just about anything anyone needs. She’s supportive when you’re down, cheering when you’re up and just fun to be around.
I used this photo because I happened to find it on the net easily. But Lee Child is just a good guy. He gave a few of us a class on image, promotion and style at last year’s Thrillerfest that really stuck with me. He treats everyone as equals, makes time for fans and is open to new writers. He is a class act. As is the beautiful Twist Phelan who is next to him in this photo. The problem to being around both at the same time is that they add to my weight and height complex. Go figure.
You guys have read some of my jabs at Jeff Shelby on the blog. Over at First Offenders he replies, or more often, starts the conflicts. There are few people who mention my books and share the spotlight more that this Flower Mound, Texas resident. See, that was a little jab because he can’t say the name of his new town without rolling his eyes. So remember, Jeff Shelby lives in a town named “Flower Mound”.
Tess Gerritsen embodies the concept of a two-way street. My personal experience, other than a great blurb she gave me for Field of Fire, is that she introduced me to my agent. Last year, while in New York, interviewing potential agents, she suggested I speak to her agent, Meg Ruley. In brief, I am now represented by Meg and happy for it.
J.A. Konrath also takes a few jabs at me but there is no doubt he’s a two-way street. He even has a blog entry about how to recommend authors by comparing them to bestsellers. I also like this photo because it makes him look a little like the devil.
Bob Morris always mentions his friends to book festival organizers. I’ve been invited to several as a direct result of Bob’s support. That kind of behavior is in someone’s nature and guys like Bob would help out if they worked at a cement factory. I’m just glad he’s a writer.
Sarah Weinman runs a website most of you have visited. Confessions of an Idiosyncratic mind. On virtually every day or every week of every year she points out books that might otherwise go unnoticed. She promotes authors without regard to any agenda other than quality. She’s a champ.
There are many of my friends and fellow authors I didn’t mention but luckily this is not my last blog. At least that I’m aware. Maybe that’s why Paul won’t answer my e-mail. Regardless, I was just giving you an idea of how helpful writer can be. I missed a number of them. I’m sorry.
There are a lot of role models in the crime fiction world. From this blog to the biggest names in the field I like that most people are willing to help each other. Now if we can get the rest of the world on this plan.