Competition – Do Artists and Authors Have It?

Posted: June 6, 2019 in Just a Thought, The Business Side of Writing
Tags: , , ,

I got this question from a friend: Do Authors (and Artists) have competition?

My answer: They don’t.

Anyone could argue that the author is competing for the customer’s dollar. I’ve been in that position, where I only had so much to spend on a book I wanted, instead of one of everything. However, that didn’t mean I gave up on it altogether – it just went on my list for later. (I still have a long reading list, but my book collection is by no means tiny. In fact, I’m trying to find new homes for some of them, and slowly adding more to the site. Go here if you are interested.)

However, something else is regulating what those who have money to spend on books/art: taste.

Functional goods make it to magazines with comparison charts and categories like “best value” and “most efficient” and numerous other item-specific trait evaluations.

Novels and artwork can’t be classified this way. It can be marketed as “Horror” or “Fantasy” or “Romance” or “Sculpture” or “Pastels” or “Lithograph” and it can be evaluated for how well it was crafted, but, let’s face it, not every bestseller is going to appeal to every reader. Why? Taste. Aesthetics. Preferences. You either like it, or you don’t.

So, no, I don’t think we have competition. In fact, I think we have a sort of symbiosis: “If you like X, you’ll like Y.” And in general, readers don’t ditch an old favorite author because a new one is on the scene, but add it to an ever-growing list of beloved authors.


And something marginally-related to this post, based on the discussion with the friend:

Word of warning: seems to be people preying on new/wannabe authors, charging them a fortune for the writer to pitch their story at these writer symposia.

Also, if you give someone a manuscript to read, don’t format it so it looks like the novel before you hand/e-mail it to someone and then expect them to take you seriously. No, no, no.

  1. Greg says:

    I agree, I have dumped authors due to keeping characters I didn’t like. Or an author going against my moral code ie: defending a military poser etc.

  2. trneff says:

    I actually dumped an Isaac Asimov novel I was in the middle of reading because he had the protagonist cheat on his wife and then treat it like it was no big deal. I could no longer see him as the good guy after that.

    • Greg says:

      I’ll never read anything from Brad Thor again.

      • trneff says:

        I do read reviews in books to see what it may contain. And I read all, 5 or 1, since something people like I may detest and what they detest I may like. (And I hope you warn other readers about the Stolen Valor-sympathetic scum)

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