In the world of business, knowledge and expertise, and of course experience, are a huge commodity. If a person takes the extra time and effort to learn more than the next guy in their field (a/k/a an expert) it makes them a sought after commodity among their peers, which hopefully leads them to make more money and move up to a more prestigious position within their field, thus furthering their career.
After working in the business world for over half my life, I have found it is not common practice for someone extremely knowledgeable and respected in their field to be forthcoming and willing to help out the “new guy”. Sharing one’s skills, hard won knowledge and expertise just for the sake of helping the “new guy” break into the field is unheard of. I have found the general perception is once you teach someone everything you know you run the risk of no longer being thought of as “special” or the only expert in your field. The “new guy” becomes the “hot ticket” if you will, and suddenly you are no longer special, so why go out of your way to help someone else who could potentially replace you?
I have found the writing community to be completely opposite in this thought process. Each author has their own writing style, their own stories to tell, their own characters to develop and the potential for new stories is quite frankly, endless. Regardless of an author’s personal success or how many books he or she has written and published, I have found a successful author is more than willing to go out of their way to help the “new guy”. Authors love to get together to discuss everyone’s newest work, to spin new ideas, help one another with editing, research, creating plots and even character development. They don’t think of it as giving away their knowledge and expertise. In fact it’s quite the opposite, they enjoy lending a helping hand as they have first hand knowledge how difficult it really is to not only write and complete a novel, but to get it published and noticed by the general public.
In support of this, I recently had the opportunity to attend the first annual Collier County Local Authors Book Fair hosted by The Collier County Library and Friends of the Library of Collier County. Being a newly published author with only one novel under my belt and not having much of a fan base yet I was unsure of what to expect. I of course struggled with what my display should look like, what I should and should not bring and then of course there was the interaction with the general public. Anyone who knows me knows I am far from a shy person, however, I struggled with what to say and how to say it. How could I briefly tell someone what my book was about in three sentences or less without turning them off or boring them to death? It was not easy. Let me tell you writing the novel was way easier than actually talking to a complete stranger about it and trying to gain their interest in so little time!
During the event I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and speaking with three seasoned authors, James Masciarelli, Author of “Beyond Beauport”, Dan Petrosini, Author of The Luca Series, the most recent installment being “Third Chances – A Luca Mystery – Book 4” and last but not least, John Wayne Falbey, Author of the Sleeping Dogs Series, the most recent installment being “The Dogs Of War”. Each of these authors have numerous works to their names and naturally drew a large crowd to their respective booths.
As I made a mental note of how they each had displayed their individual booths with their various works, I took note of the easy way each of them was able to interact with the general public, speaking animatedly about their latest work. I have to admit I was in awe of each and every one them and hope one day, in the near future, I will be able to discuss my book as well and be as successful as they are.
What was truly surprising, impressive, and I have to say the coolest thing ever, was how each author was so up front and willing to share their knowledge and expertise with a new author, just out of the gate. They openly discussed what worked for them in the past and what didn’t, what groups would be beneficial to join, what conferences would be helpful to attend, how they came up with the titles and covers for their respective books, etc. etc. etc. It was a great feeling to have such accomplished authors pay attention to the “new guy” and care enough to willingly trade a copy of their latest work for a copy of mine to add to their ever growing “to be read” pile with the promise of getting back to me with their thoughts, comments and suggestions.
By the end of the event each author purposely sought me out and personally offered not only their encouragement and congratulations on completing my first novel, but they all extended their own type of olive branch with an offer to help me succeed with my current novel and future works. The genuine interest each author showed in me and my work and their respective offers of guidance and future help was worth more to me than selling a hundred books. I was impressed, humbled and excited all at the same time.
Thank you James, Dan and John for taking time out of your busy schedules to speak with me and for showing an interest in me and my work. I am truly honored. You are a true credit to the industry and I wish each of you all the best with your current and future works!
P.S. No matter what book you have in hand, Sit Back, Relax and Enjoy The Read!