This topic has been a very personal one to me, especially lately. When I first began writing professionally, I had everyone at arms length. There was no trust, as I was told early on that there were vultures out there who would attempt to pick at your work and steal your unpublished ideas. Along with that came this undeserved sense of being better than everyone. I had no real English or grammar training other than high school. I may have had a pocket full of cool words, but without the proper editing and formatting, my first book, well, sucked.
With the rise of social media and sites like Myspace, I immediately found large groups of friends from around the world who were beginning authors and whose skills were similar to my own, if not much better. The negative attention to my first book had knocked me down multiple pegs, and I was ready to absorb and learn.
I was linked into groups of other authors of every genre. We traded our books with each other in order to assist with each others mistakes and help each other grow. Out of the 20 or so strong foundations I began during this time, I still have connections to about 18 of them.
Now, with Facebook, that list of friends has expanded. We help promote, edit, format, and bounce ideas off each other on nearly a daily basis. Yet there was always something nagging at the back of my mind. Something that although I had experienced before, I was unprepared for this time.
Even the most humble of writers has the potential to become an egomaniac when our work goes viral. When the money begins rolling in and our following skyrockets, it brings with it a sense of accomplishment. Which is good! Although, a few succumb to the “Me Monster” and long-standing friendships can easily be destroyed by writers who believe that because their work sells more, they are somehow better than other writers.
More established? Sure. More wealthy? Probably. Comes with the territory of selling books. Although the minute you lose the ability to control your ego, foundations are shattered, friendships destroyed, and regardless of money, you’ve become poorer than when you started.
If I never sold a book again, I would keep writing. Even if just to keep working with amazing people I consider some of my best friends.
Image: university student group by Audio-luci-store