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Competition Among Writers

For years I’ve been told that the writing game is highly competitive. I mean, there are only so many readers out there, scattered between a number of genres, so if you want to either break into the game or gain attention with a new book, you have to do one better than the next guy.

And for years I’ve believed that.

Until recently. I mean really? Who do we compete against?

Do Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt and David Weber really compete against each other? Or do they compete against the whole “let’s make science fiction socially responsive” crowd?

I think it’s the latter. Okay, yes, I have my favorite writers, and it is a tiered listing, but really! If I have to choose a book published by Bantam, for example, or by Baen – that chicken gets left on the shelf and I choose Baen. Because my favorite authors have a commonality that Baen chooses to promote, and other publishers don’t.

It’s not that other publishers don’t have good writers – some do. But life is short, and so is my expendable income. When I get a new book, I go for those I like most, and I buy those who view me as a respectable party; not an imbecilic trog who needs enlightenment.

I like to get my series in order, so that’s my strategy. Fill the series first, then go for one-offs. I may pass over a name I haven’t read before, but the Baen Free Library is a great resource to get to know them. In fact, I would have to say that for every ebook I’ve pulled off the free library, I’ve bought the hardcopy of the story, and generally several followup books. With one exception: I have every one of John Ringo’s Aldenata series except for the first two. Every time I’ve looked for them at my local book story, they didn’t have any. I guess I’ll have to fill that straight by purchasing online from – Horrors! – Amazon.

But then, they aren’t competition to writers either.

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