This week The Author CEO Naomi Blackburn asks isn’t it better to advise, support, and promote your fellow authors than waste your energy on sabotage and back-stabbing? Keep your sand in the sandbox and let’s all help one another!

Naomi is founder of the Goodreads group Sisterhood of the Traveling Books, as well as the Nordic Noir group, dedicated to discussing Scandinavian mysteries. This year, Goodreads ranked her at # 11 on their top reviewer list, in both the U.S. and in the world (2011 rankings). As a reviewer, Naomi is brilliant, insightful, and, as she puts it, “brutally honest.”

Please feel free to leave questions for Naomi, as well as any suggestions you may have for future posts. I hope you enjoy the column!

The Author CEO: Don’t Throw Sand in the Sandbox

by Naomi Blackburn

Naomi Blackburn

In a past job, I had a wonderful, dynamic boss. A backstabbing co-worker once tried to make her look incompetent to senior management. The co-worker did this to cover up her own insecurities and to boost her image with the management team. In the end, the co-worker’s betrayal of our boss backfired horribly. In discussing the incident with me, my former manager made a statement that, 8 years later, still sticks with me: ‘If you feel that you need to throw sand, you don’t belong in the sandbox.’

I am often reminded of this when I see authors bashing other authors’ works. Authors who stab colleagues in the back only shoot themselves in the foot. For one thing, they miss important opportunities to partner with other authors in marketing their books; they also miss out on the opportunity for critical advice from authors who’ve gone through the same thing-those who ‘have made it through the rain’ and are successful in selling their books. After all, would you want to partner with someone who has a reputation for stabbing fellow authors in the back?

When I began working as a healthcare sales representative 12 years ago, if I had treated my co-workers like competitors I would not have been nearly as successful as I have been in my career. Instead, I reached out and connected with other people in my field and nurtured many positive relationships. When I decided to go out on my own, I had a supportive network behind me. For the last five years, I have had many independent contracts.

The same applies to Indie authors. Rather than thinking of other authors as competitors, reach out and make connections. Here are a few of the many things you stand to gain:

1) Advice, help, and tidbits for marketing and selling books

2) Advice, help and tidbits on publishing and producing your books

3) Partnerships for book events

4) Support during tough times

5) Opportunities to guest post on blogs, giving you further visibility

Those who follow The Author CEO know that I frequently quote Christine Nolfi. She always has wonderful things to say in her blog. In a post on January 18, 2012, she made this poignant statement:

‘If you’ve just completed your first novel and are new to the world of authors, here’s the good news: there are precious few cutthroat novelists in this tribe. Most writers arrive in the world with a chewy, nougat center. They’ll offer advice and tips. If you join groups on Facebook and GoodReads, if you tweet and connect, you’ll receive a wealth of useful information. You’ll also make friendships worth cherishing. In that vein, I’ve decided it’s time to write this post.’

Indie publishing is already hard work-and not for the faint of heart. Why make it harder on yourself by making enemies of your fellow authors? The choice is yours: Are you going to throw sand in the sandbox? Or will you make the valuable connections that will help you and for a long time to come?

About Naomi Blackburn

Naomi Blackburn

Naomi Blackburn, owner of The Author CEO, a consultation firm dedicated to helping independent authors navigate the development of strategic business plans and the marketing world, holds an MBA and has worked in the field of business development, sales and consulting for 12 years. A former social worker, she has helped hundreds of clients meet their life goals. An avid reader and top Goodreads reviewer, she comes to the world of books from a reader/reviewer’s perspective. She strives to help authors achieve their goals by teaching them to think of themselves as CEO/entrepreneur of a small business and helping them negotiate the business side of selling books.

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