No matter how or where the game of cricket is played, it is cricket! The title and contents of this post are about something completely different. Read on to find out…
To begin, I’ve been reading fantasy (and science fiction, historical fiction, as well as many other genres too) since as far back as I can remember. I read a lot of books, have a massive ‘to be read’ pile, as well as bookshelves full of books. Too many books. I never, not ever, not once, when I choose a book to read think:
“Oh, this is so-and-so’s competitor, so I won’t buy that book.”
I read what I read, and I read what I like. If I buy the entire collection or back catalogue of an author because I like their work, then so be it. But that won’t stop me buying another author in the same genre. Or even authors who use similar themes or tropes as others I’ve read and enjoyed. Far from it.
And as an author, I see fellow authors as a community. People I use for support and people I give support to equally. It’s how I’ve always worked. And yes, I will buy their books. I will buy any book of any author, that’s also called giving support. Of course, there are many different ways to give support as well. Whatever works for you.
But the thing to remember is this, publishers need books, agents need authors, and authors do need support from their fellow authors, such as in critique groups, beta reading situations, encouragement, etc. Even a ‘hey how you doing?’ email or message is sometimes more than enough. You get the idea. What I’m saying is, in this day and age, we do not need to write in isolation.
Sure, we all want our books to do well. And yes, there is that competitive urge to be noticed, be bought, and have our stories read and loved, but that shouldn’t translate to having feelings that other authors are competition. Remember the first paragraphs of this post: readers read many, many books. There is also no excuse to be nasty or derogative towards anther author – and using racial, homophobic, or bigoted slanders against another author because of a perceived threat of ‘competition’ is just not on. Or, as my grandfather used to say, “It’s just not cricket.”**
So yes, have the desire and need for your books to do well. Have that hunger. It’s healthy and shows your passion. Promote your work. Be voracious about it. But in going so – as a writer – you are not the ‘barbarians at the gate’ towards other authors who you believe must be slain without remorse and at any cost.
**The phrase, “it’s just not cricket” was first used in the 1949 English movie of the same name starring Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne, and is to say that something is unfair, or someone is being unsportsmanlike, or dishonest, or being a douchbag. Examples: I can’t believe you went on twitter to dis other authors who you think are stealing your books sales. It’s just not cricket, and you’re only hurting yourself.