To Clear The Air

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Hi, folks. DA here again…and it looks like I’m about to climb the old soapbox, once again. I think I’m going to go on a bit of a rant, here. There are some things that need to be said…both about the writing industry and about my own personal career as a writer…and I plan to let it all out. Bear with me.

I’m going to go after a subject that might make me a little unpopular in some circles. I debated not even opening this can of worms, but I decided to not shy away from it. This is a problem that I’ve observed and experienced on a personal level. The sad thing is that there are other writers out there who seem to delight in tearing you down. They will go after you, your work and your reputation. Why? Well, that’s a tricky one. I’m not really sure why they would do it. To me, that’s beyond reprehensible. It’s just plain wrong.

For the most part, the writers and authors I’ve met have been amazing people who want nothing more than to share their work with the world. That’s awesome. That’s what we should want to do. For those of you, who have been so good to me and to each other, thank you. This isn’t intended to be about any of you. This is only a very small percentage of the community. I won’t bother pointing out who they are…we all know at least one. If this bothers you, maybe you should re-examine the way you treat other writers. If it doesn’t apply to you, then it’s not about you. I didn’t intend to single anyone out. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. The thing is, do we keep doing those things….or do we try to do better and be better than we ever thought we could be? I just hope that by bringing this up, we can call enough attention to this to make it stop. Authors have enough stress to handle without being bullied by other authors.

First, the personal stuff.

I have not, nor will I name names when it comes to who has done what and to whom. That’s not my style. The people who have done these things know who they are and we’ll leave it at that. Karma can handle it. Taking potshots at me in a public forum is their style…not mine. So, I won’t dignify their existence with a name. Suffice it to say that I once thought of them as a friend…not just someone I knew from Facebook. No, I knew this person for years.

Not only did they do the unthinkable as a writer…stole from me…then they had the audacity to go onto a forum where they knew I wouldn’t see it and bash me to their new circle of friends. To me, that shows the true character of a person. If I have a problem with you, you’ll know it. You won’t hear about it second hand. They acted dishonorably, despicably and cowardly; that’s the only way to describe what they did. I won’t say anything behind you that I won’t say to your face. I’ll either stand by my word…or fall by it. That’s just me.

If you know me, you know I will bend over backwards to help someone. I did for this person, too. I got them interviews on radio shows, tried to help them with marketing, even warned them about the bad experiences I had so that they wouldn’t have to go through them on their own. The reward I get is to be ran through the mud and slandered; all to “get ahead” of me in their writing career. Watch your back, people. If they stepped on me to get what they wanted, don’t think that they will hesitate to step on you. After all, that’s the kind of person they are.

Listen to my interviews on Blogtalk Radio or check out my pages. I constantly tell new writers that if they want to ask me anything, shoot me a message. I mean that. I firmly believe that by helping other writers to achieve their dreams that we help ourselves, too. I will gladly offer advice, tips or even share information with anyone who asks. Even if all I can serve as is a bad example, there’s a lesson to be learned. I know that I’ve gotten some amazing help and advice from some incredible authors along my journey. The least I can do is pay it forward.

There are far too many people out there who seem to think that they only become successful as a writer by stepping on the competition. They will steal, lie, post nasty comments on your book reviews, bash you in social media and anything else they can think of to make themselves look better by tearing you down. This is just insane. I can’t fathom why people do this, but they do. The truly horrifying part is that it is becoming more and more commonplace.

I saw just the other day on Facebook that an author was going to quit publishing his work and yank all of his current titles from print. All because someone has been bullying them, saying that their writing is derivative, they shouldn’t be allowed to publish, and worse. All I can say is, “Why?” Why do that to another writer. So, you don’t like their work. That’s fine. Don’t buy it. But it’s not up to you to decide who can and can’t publish. By bashing that person until they were ready to quit writing entirely, all you’ve done is shown the rest of us that you’re a thug.

The author who has been bullied won’t name the person who did it, but I wish he would. Frankly, I’d make damned certain that I never buy one of their books. That’s just being a jerk, for no reason. Sure, there are writers out there that I don’t like their work. You know what I do? I don’t read it. Period, end of story. I don’t go after them to make them quit writing.

Look people, writing is a journey. It’s just like life. We’re all on this journey together. My journey in no way means you don’t get to take one. The same goes for your journey. It in no way invalidates mine. When we apply that to our writing, it becomes a shared journey. When I write a book and you read it, we’re now taking that journey together. It goes both ways. I feel the same thing when I read a book. I get to share the vision that the writer wanted to show. The truly amazing part is that we can experience that journey again and again. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered the paths and pages of Middle Earth, finding new things each time I visit. Thank you, Professor Tolkien, for bringing us that world.

I have a bookshelf in my room. On that shelf are literally hundreds of books by dozens of different authors. I read books I enjoy. The point is that I don’t know anyone who only reads one author. So that means that we have room on our shelves for many different authors. Not just one. We have room on our shelves for many different books, not just a few. I don’t even know anyone who reads just one genre. Good stories show you to new worlds in your mind. Great writing makes you feel like you’re there.

Writing is not a competition. We don’t win or lose by “beating” the other writers. My success does not depend on someone else’s failure. Your success does not depend on my failure. The only person I am in competition with is myself. I strive to be a better writer today than I was yesterday. Nothing more, nothing less. I hope that you gain all the success you can achieve as a writer. I honestly mean that. I don’t feel like I can’t ever reach the New York Tmes Bestseller’s list because someone else already did. You shouldn’t either. Reach for that star.

Honestly, I don’t even wish bad things on the people who did these things to me. I still hope they succeed and do well with their work. I just wish they felt the same way about me. I won’t stoop to attacking other writer’s works, belittling them in public forums, or trying to turn other people against them. That’s not my way. That’s not the way that anyone should act.

Don’t forget that writing is a journey that we take together. Writer and reader, we experience the same story in different ways. I’m proud that I get to share it with you. I hope that I can continue to share it with you for many years to come.

I meant what I said before. If you have any questions for me or would like to know what things worked for me and what didn’t, feel free to contact me. I, by no means, am an expert or the authority on anything. I just know what did and didn’t work for me. That’s information that I would gladly share. After all, there’s room on the shelf for both of our books.

After all…there’s a reason I chose the tagline that I did for my work. I truly believe it.

The End is Only the Beginning.

DA

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