Monday, June 20, 2005

With a Little Help from My Friends

I had a revelation of sorts at my booklaunch party, one that made me glad to be a part of this business.

Among the 100+ guests were many published writers, including Jay Bonansinga, Libby Fischer Hellmann, David Ellis, Robert W. Walker, Raymond Benson, Thomas Keevers, Brian Pinkerton, Tim Broderick, and several others.

Though it's possible they'd been lured there by the free beer, each of them was congratulatory and bought books. Some bought several. Some even brought champagne.

While other jobs inspire intense competition, jealousy, political maneuvering, and back-biting, I've never felt that from the professional writers I've known. Quite the opposite---almost every pro I've met has been gracious, generous, and truly happy for the success of their fellow novelists.

Though I know writers who are bitter, the bitterness is directed at their publishers, their agents, or themselves, never at other writers.

In a field this crowded and this competitive, that's a pretty amazing thing.

But it doesn't end with just a booklaunch party. The few times I've been nominated for an award, my email overflowed with well-wishes from authors. When I get reviewed, fellow writers will give me a 'atta boy' if the review was good, or a 'that reviewer is an idiot' if the review wasn't so good.

I'm new to the blogosphere (so new I don't know how to change my template and link to other blog sites) but that hasn't prevented many blogging novelists from linking to me and sending traffic my way.

For WHISKEY SOUR and BLOODY MARY I've gotten more than thirty blurbs, many from NYT bestsellers.

When I considered editing a thriller anthology, almost everyone I contacted sent me a story, knowing full well that the money would be trivial.

And while I'd love to think that the behavior of these writers is directly linked to the undeniable charisma that I ooze, I know for a fact that I'm not the only recipient of this ongoing kindness.

I belong to an online writing forum called Backspace ( and the membership there is so overwhelmingly supportive that entire threads are dedicated to congratulations.

I attended the ITW Cocktail Party in NY ( and some of the biggest names in the thriller world were drinking and eating and schmoozing with newbie writers like we were equals.

Whenever a group of writers get together, they share tips and tricks and wisdom and experience that would get folks in other professions fired for revealing trade secrets.

Writers support, promote, and help each other. This appears to be the norm.

What a cool profession I'm in. Now can someone please tell me how I can link to other blogs?


Matt Forbeck said...

The best way would be to switch to a better blogging system like WordPress, which you can get for free at This has a built-in links system that you can manipulate at will. You can even import posts from your old blog.

Sarah said...

Joe, if you go into your blog template ("edit template" or something like that") and look under "LINKS", you can manually add links with the same html coding as what you have for your home page.

Or you could import a list created by an outside software like Blogrolling ( and not only would you have a blogroll but you'd know when the blogs on your list were last updated.

Also it wouldn't hurt to have an RSS feed up, since a lot of people reading blogs now use aggregators to see when they were updated instead of going to the blog directly every day.

Matt Forbeck said...

I read Joe's blog through a newreader via the RSS feed that Blogger automatically sets up.

Martha O'Connor said...

Echoing Sarah, Blogrolling is a very convenient way to keep links. Otherwise, you have to go into your template every time. PITA. It took me about 5 seconds to blogroll you back when I heard about your blog. Would've taken 10 minutes if I had not used Blogrolling. It's free also. M