At Apex Day, I ended up in two separate discussions, one with Brian Hatcher and the other with Michael West, about their love of going into bookstores and “facing” the books of writers they know (Facing means turning books out so that folks can see the whole cover, not just a spine and allowing those writers more book shelf real estate). They were making an interesting case for how they support the genre.
Now, granted, I believe in “supporting teh genre” like I do apologetics: if God needs me to defend Him, we’re all screwed. Still, I’m always surprised when writers complain about there not being enough good markets and readers complaining about the cost of magazines, and quality free (and professional paying) magazines, such as Horror Literature Quarterly and Noctem Aeternus go under-subscribed.
Apex Day was a blast. I’ve talked about some folks being family, but it was cool being welcomed into the Apex family (of mixed nuts). Sure I’m going to be their featured writer next month, but I wanted to support Gary Braunbeck and Lucy Snyder and Jason Sizemore and Geoffrey Girard and the rest of the Apex Crew. But there was a certain amount of self-interest involved: it was an excuse for me to hang out with Doug Warrick, Sara Larsen, Alethea Kontis and Debbie Kuhn (even if she makes you chase her down for a hug).
Too often we get bogged down in “how can I market me” spirals of thought. Granted, we have no obligation to advance the genre beyond writing our best stories. However, some of us are a part of communities despite our solo pursuits. It’s a lesson I need to keep learning. There are times when we can get pretty mercenary in our pursuits/networking. However, when you support your friends, you’d be surprised how many friends will bend over backwards to help you when your time comes. Consider this blog me facing some of my friends. But I’m still not going to buy a copy of Chesya’s novel when it eventually comes out. I’ve EARNED my free copy, dang it.