I glanced over an article today about evaluating your competition when you’re a writer. It reminded me of meeting Patricia Briggs last year. She was doing a book signing at the local Hastings and my friend and I went. I picked up signed copies of Dragon Blood (unfortunately, Hastings didn’t have Dragon Bones or I would have gotten that one, too) and Night Broken.
While having a conversation with Patricia Briggs, I mentioned that sometimes I get her Mercy Thompson Series mixed up with C.E. Murphy‘s Walker Papers. Both series are urban fantasy and contain female protagonists of Native American descent, who work on cars and live in Washington State, have dealings with the Native American spirit of Coyote, and battle various supernatural and fantasy entities.
Ms. Briggs told me that was okay, because there wasn’t really competition between authors when you look at the big picture. She pointed out that if two authors write books that are similar, they will actually build each other’s reader base.
She has a point. I have often finished all the books by a specific author, then gone looking for something else of the same type (as evidenced by the fact that I’ve read both Briggs’ and Murphy’s series). Some bookstores and libraries will have displays or lists posted that if you like so-and-so’s books, check out these other books. Friends will tell me of fantasy books they’ve read, and I’ve recommended various books to people as well.
Now, you definitely do have competition for shelf space and whatnot, but since this age is becoming more and more digital, I think that’s becoming a little less of an issue.
What do you think? Can you have competition between authors, or are more books better for everyone?