I run a free Facebook group called the Emerging Novelist Incubator, and while some Facebook groups are promotion-free zones, I encourage people to share about their books, and their writing-related products and services.
Now, of course, this is with the caveat that they share valuable content and help people in the group more often than they promote themselves. But other than that, I’m pro self-promotion, because I believe writers need to learn and get better at sharing their work.
A lot of people frown on self-promotion, acting like it’s egotistical to tell people that you created something and are offering it up in exchange for money. And yes, I’d agree that if all you ever do is promote your stuff and never (or rarely) add any real value to people’s lives or give anything away for free, that’s egotistical promotion.
But when you’re a writer who participates on the regular and contributes to building the like-minded community in the group, I see nothing wrong with them posting information about their books.
We’re all here to support each other.
In my group, there are even other writing coaches and story coaches. They participate in the group and add value, as well as share their services. Several people got alarmed at first, and some even reached out to ask me how I felt about having coaches with similar services to me tell the group about their services when it’s my group.
A few years ago my reaction would’ve been a lot different than it is today. When I first quit my job four years ago to take my business full-time, I thought everyone was my competition. I thought we were fighting against each other, trying to claim readers as “ours” and out-doing each other in business.
So if someone was sharing their services in a group run by me, I may have gotten upset about it or worried that they’d steal clients away from me. But now I see things differently.
I don’t believe in competition. Competition does not exist.
There is no one in the world who can do things exactly as I do them or who can replace me. Because there is only one me.
Just as there is only one you. You bring things to the table that no one else could do quite like you can. And yes, there are people out there who might be “better” at stuff than we are, but that doesn’t change the value we bring by being us.
You are irreplaceable. And no one ever has or will ever have the same mix of experiences, thoughts, ideas, skill-sets and perspective that you have.
You are unique and so whatever you create will always be unique in and of itself. And there’s no one who can compete with that, because no one is you, except you.
If you put two (or more) authorpreneurs side-by-side and compare them to each other, you may find that they have similar skills: they all have a way with words, they all help writers develop and write books, they all offer up inspiration and motivation to get you doing the work.
But will they have the same message? No. Will the words they write be similar? No. Will the processes they use or the type of inspiration they offer up be the same? No way.
Which means they’re each putting out something different. And because of this they’ll each attract different clients. Some people will resonate more with one person versus the other and be attracted to or repelled by them.
So there is no such thing as competition.
When you publish your book and get it out into the world, it will stand alone as unique in and of itself, because you wrote it and no one could write it or tell the same story like you can. So there might be other books that exist in the world that are a similar category, genre or topic, but there will never be anyone in direct competition with you because there’s no comparison.
No one will ever be you.
And so I welcome authorpreneurs into my community, because I believe there is more than enough business and book readers to go around and we’re always stronger together than we are divided. Me getting new clients or new book readers doesn’t take clients or readers away from anyone else because we’re not going after the same ones.
I work with emerging novelists who want to create their dream writing lives (which includes writing a kick-ass book worth publishing) whereas other people who do what I do are focused on an entirely different specific group of people. I write novels for women who love chick lit and want an actual story with a love story wrapped around it, whereas other romance authors choose to make the love story center stage in their books.
If you’ve been worrying about how you’re going to compete with all the books out there or ever heard the thought (or had someone say to you): the world doesn’t need another book, throw that shit out right now and don’t ever think about it or worry again.
The world does need another book. It needs your book. It needs to see a subject/topic or a story through the lens that you create or view things through.
No one else will have that exact same perspective or tell that exact same story. So there is no competition.
Now when you enter a contest, that is the only time there is direct competition because everyone who enters is vying for the same prize(s). But in life, there’s no direct competition because there are more than enough clients, readers and customers to go around.
There are billions and billions of people alive on this planet and you only need a small number of them to make a living as an authorpreneur. There is no competition.
So believe. Believe that you’ve got something. Believe you’re meant to get your book out there.
Believe that the world needs it.
Because it does.
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What’s one thing you can do right now to stop viewing other writers as competitors?