Read this if you are overwhelmed by the competition
Do you log onto Goodreads and gulp?
Did you walk into Powell’s or Strand and think, there is too much here, I can’t compete, look at all the books!
Do you not even focus on Amazon because that A to Z thing is too much to consider.
You are not alone. We all feel the immense bottomless universe of which we’ve signed up to become a part. It’s like dangling over the half blown section of the Death Star. It’s like walk through Times Square and realizing that everyone in this space is important, everyone is special, every person has a story, except possibly the Hello Kitty figure, no, I’m sure Hello Kitty has a back story. It’s enough to drive a writer to join a cult so at least THAT god will speak directly into your ear.
Of course, the cult thing may develop into a problem. . .
What can you do about this overwhelm? Use it to your advantage.
Yes, there are a lot of books (and the numbers are in the millions) and yes, only a few really make it to prominence. And yes, what you create may not be rewarded financially or socially. So what?
If your book won’t be noticed, the you can write exactly what you want.
There is freedom in obscurity. I know that sounds harsh, but too many popular authors have lamented their fame because now there are great expectations from the publishers, from fans and from themselves to deliver the same product over and over, each and every book.
And that is a hard thing for a creative to take.
I won’t suggest you stop envying the JK Rowlings castle. But while she commands from on high, why not crawl under the radar with your own subversive contribution?
I have read too many author who, by their fifth popular book, read like they’ve phoned it in. Or they slapped their name on the cover over the smaller “with” because an unknown author has done the work while the known author gets even more fame. Great, there is money in that for both names on the book cover. But I question the creativity. Those books are products, commodities. And that’s fine, don’t get me wrong. But they are not art. They will not, in the long run, feed anyone’s soul.
You can be different.
While you still care. While you are still pre-famous, write your best book. Write a few of them if you can. That way if you do become famous, at least the next two books will be authentic and good, because you wrote them before.
Those before books last. Those before books will make you happy. Those books will become important to you. And that’s all that matters.
Watch for our upcoming book, Don’t Write Like We Talk – What we learned after four years of interviewing Authors and Agents, Publishers and Poets. From the Newbie Writers Podcast, Damien Boath and Catharine Bramkamp