The book launch for Latimer’s Law was a roaring success. I made plenty of coffees, my writing partner read from the first chapter of her book, and I got to see so many old friends–former writing students, and poets, and people familiar from all the community events Cover to Cover hosts. I was also called “the evil little voice that sits on Mel’s shoulder,” which is one of the higher compliments I’ve ever received.
I should mention here: part of the reason for the success is the grunt work Mel’s done over the years, both as Cover to Cover and personally. As a bookstore owner, she’s gone in early and stayed late to host poetry open mics, book launches, signings, NaNoWriMo write-ins, and a thousand other things. She encourages local authors, and also gently tells the business reasons why their books won’t work in some stores. She’s endlessly patient with even the prima donnas–something I don’t think I could ever be, and one of the reasons why I’m the evil voice in our partnership.
As a writer, she’s a community builder too–not just as my writing partner, beta, and support system, but also for a wide circle of far-flung wordsmiths (like Grace Draven, frex) that rely on her wisdom, support, and wonderful sense of humor.
This is why, when she modestly credited other people for a large part of her success, I immediately jumped in to point out the work she’s done for YEARS as a facilitator, bookstore owner, crit partner, editor, networker, friend and confidant not just to me but to literally hundreds of people. All that work, those late nights and that patience, pays off. It’s delayed gratification, true, but it prepares the ground so that any luck falls on rich soil.
Which brings me to my Monday Lesson, chickadees. Being invested in, and proud of, other peoples’ success is a good strategy. This is not a zero-sum game, where the more success a fellow author has means less for YOU. The more success other authors have, the better it is for everyone, and reciprocity and community-building makes you luckier, and makes your own success that much more robust. It really does pay to be kind to each other. Not being an asshole is a great business strategy, and one I wish certain other people would practice…
…but that’s, say it with me, another blog post.