It’s not every day that the writing community trends along with Grimes and Elon Musk’s baby getting a haircut.
Sadly, this tweet, like many tweets on Twitter, is receiving a lot of backlash. Why? Well, it makes the claim that writers are constantly in competition with their peers.
Personally, I loved Tessa Dare’s response to this. She starts off by saying how “harsh” writing advice and “bad” writing advice are often confused.
It’s true. I’m sure many writers on and offline have come across bad advice being tossed around under the guise of harshness.
In her tweet, Tessa also points out how without peers within your genre, your audience would have nothing to read while you, yourself are working on your next release. Some authors only release one book a year. Others might only ever release a handful of books ever!
Some twitter users (mainly one who has removed their tweet since), thought it unfair of her to make such a statement. They couldn’t believe a New York Times bestselling author would have “the audacity” to comment on the competitiveness of the industry. Basically, trying to gaslight Tessa Dare by saying she couldn’t possibly understand, being a successfully published author.
Tessa was quick to clap back and the reading community backed her. She also elaborated on her statement in a separate tweet to avoid blasting this person.
“Especially when it comes to NYT publishing contracts, it’s important to note this business is not a meritocracy. The playing field is not even. Privilege, connections, timing, and just plain luck are all factors, and I have benefited from all of them to one degree or another. But one thing that doesn’t help in publishing is treating this business like the Hunger Games, where eliminating the competition is how you win. The absolute worst time to sell a historical romance is when no one else is successfully doing it.”
This is something that I agree with, there are many factors that come into play but if we treat industries like these as some sort of cutthroat competition, we aren’t doing ourselves or our peers any favours!
Sure, I work in what is considered to be competitive industries, but I don’t look at it that way. With my acting, I look at each person I meet at an audition as a new friend. More than likely, the people you run into at an audition, you will end up working with in the future. It’s a small world after all!
Here’s a real life example: when I auditioned for Tiny Tukkins, I met one of the sweetest actresses I know! We casually talked in the waiting room before our auditions and wished each other the best. Although both of us didn’t end up on this show together, the following week at a different studio I was called in by the director to play a character, on another show. Turned out, the girl I’d had a nice conversation with at the audition was one of the leads on this show. One week later and we ended up working together! Imagine if we had been cold to each other at that audition the week before?
I absolutely hate this cutthroat, competition mentality.
Nothing turns me off of a person more, than when that person targets their peers and treats them like the enemy.
In recent months I have witnessed so many authors/writers bullying others in the community. They attack anyone who writes something similar to their book. Even if it’s something as little as a person having a similar trope like…the girl next door. They consider everyone around them their competition, rather than their fellow peers as a potential opening for new readers.
This “I’m not here to make friends attitude” is ludicrous. Some go as far as to leave negative reviews on other authors books, just to help boost their own sales. Why? Why do you have the time to do stupidness like that? My harsh advice to those people would be, stop wasting so much time worrying about your peers and focus on your book. If you feel like you need to sabotage someone else, maybe you should spend a little more time perfecting your craft.
I personally don’t like associating with these types of people. They’re just plain mean. I don’t see the point in treating others like my enemy, when we have something in common. We can help each other navigate this business. We can provide each other with resources and wisdom.
If it weren’t for the wisdom given to me by others in the acting world, I may have signed with a sketchy agency. If it weren’t for the advice and critiques of my peers and professors, I would have continued making similar mistakes in my writing! You cannot grow without the help of your community in industries like these. It is the connections that you make with others, that encourage you to keep going and to put your best work out there!
I’ve wanted to go on a rant about some of the bad/harsh advice floating about the community for some time now…because the negativity and the jealously towards one another is gross and discouraging. My favourite thing is seeing others announce that they were accepted for publication! It brings me so much joy to see others doing well, and prospering in this industry because I know how hard we have all worked to have our dreams realized.
When I see people acting petty and cruel towards their peers in this community, I automatically unfollow them. I don’t have time for that. This isn’t grade school. It makes me miss the old writing websites I used to submit poetry to. People were supportive, and even when they gave criticism it was both constructive and respectful.
It’s not hard to be nice.