Here’s another wrinkle: at least in SFF writerdom, there is really no meaningful distinction between friends and colleagues. Which, sure, is true of a lot of fields. But these relationships are particularly close, and the professional utility of these friendships can be very high. There are costs to missing out, to not being at the right place at the right time to meet the right person. Missed connections are a real thing. Because here’s another wrinkle: it’s not just about being talented. It’s about being noticed.
Yeah, generally you get noticed when you’re very talented. But not always. Sometimes people just… don’t get noticed. You can write the best book ever but people can’t buy it if they don’t know it’s there. There are thousands of short stories published every year, and many of them are fabulous. Not all of the fabulous ones get seen by the right people at the right time. There are cracks, and people and work together fall through.
My sense is that this isn’t a truth people are very comfortable with, because its implications aren’t comfortable ones. But I do think it’s true.
Sunny Moraine on writer FOMO.
Tl;dr, if you liked something? Tell other people about it. If you’re an artist, create fanart. If you’re a writer, write fanfic.1 If you’re neither, even a post listing your fav works is pretty amazing.
The reality is, that for a lot of less well-known authors–particularly authors of color or queer authors–your Tumblr post or Twitter rec is going to be the only promotion they get. And it’s effective. Really effective. So, yanno. Don’t discount it. Because being an I-liked-it-before-it-was-cool book hipster? Does mean something. Trust me.
- Really? Hells yeah. I know there’s this perception writers don’t like fanfic of their work, mostly due to a few high-profile cases from a zillion years ago. Older authors still might be funny about fic, but most “younger” writers–by which I mean anyone under about 35-to-40–and in particular female younger writers? Not so much. They might not admit to publicly reading fic, but blanket nonacceptance of it is much rarer than it used to be.↩