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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Is there enough support within the African American Literary Community?

This subject is pretty close to where I live.  I have looked at this problem from both an analytical as well as a business perspective; and although the two don't seem to meet in the middle, there is a way for them to coincide and reside in a place for everyone to be happy.

An author friend once told me that it was great that I supported so many authors through any means possible, but at the same time, I have to support myself.  Maybe my calling is to be a promoter of sorts first and an author second.  But I'll save that for another article.

One of the problems...at least as I see it is the lack of support that self-published authors give to one another.  Don't get me wrong, I see other authors that will mention another author's work and at times even give it high praise, but that is clearly not the norm. In this ego driven industry, we are all striving to be the best, and we know that clearly, everyone can't earn that title because otherwise the competition wouldn't be anywhere near as fierce... if indeed there would be a need for competition at all.

Only now am I learning to promote myself shamelessly because I need for people to know who I am.  It is important for people to realize that there is so much talent that lives within me.
It is also important for me to create a legacy where I am not ashamed to pay it forward and let another author's work shine just as bright as mine.  Ultimately, what I am trying to do is change the way this game is played so that it is less cut throat.  But then again, we all know that for some of us, this isn't a game but a way for us to get our money and support our families; and if supporting our family means  putting out our work by any means possible over someone else, then that's what we'll do.  I get that too...probably more than you know.

Last year, I penned an article that addressed this very topic.  Do we see this lack of support in this challenging industry changing in the future or will it remain the same indefinitely.  As book clubs like Oosa pay it forward daily with thought provoking questions, I dare wonder if it is at all possible for an author to put forth a quality product, do what it is necessary to survive in this industry and still have something left to offer the support that another author may need to get to where they are trying to get to.

Is it really possible or are we destined to compete and get minimal results for our efforts?  Or is it something as simple as the best rising to the top and the minute resting at the bottom?

Clearly, there is no right or wrong answer to this question.  But read the article below and if you are inclined, weigh in with a response.

Read the article, "Is there enough support in the African American Literary Community" penned November 18, 2012.

http://www.examiner.com/article/is-there-enough-support-the-african-american-literary-community


~ J.L. Whitehead


















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