Competition in the African-American & Urban Fiction Book Industry
Updated: Nov 24, 2019
Okay… I’m going to keep this particular blog post short and sweet today because this particular topic tends to get associated with a lot of negativity and that’s not what I’m about at all.
Competition in this book industry, that I happen to be a big part of, wasn’t something that I really used to think about until last year. Take into consideration that I’ve been writing under Royalty Publishing House for 3 years. (Yes, that’s my job! I write novels for an American publishing house.) It will be 4 years in April that I first signed with Royalty.
When I originally started, my main focus (still my focus till this day in fact) was just publishing books and securing the bag while I did it.
The charts weren’t something that really got to me, not even when I first hit number one with my book. I was still just focused with trying to earn more and get more readers. When I first got signed I didn’t even know about the charts, my publisher was the one that directed me to them and fully educated me about how they work.
Last year though really opened my eyes to just how competitive this industry can get it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s always been competitive but because there are so much more writers in this industry, the competition is even more than it used to be. And with more competition, unfortunately, comes more negativity.
The way I handle competition in the industry I write in?
I focus on myself and stay in my own lane. No matter how many number ones I get from this day forward (or don’t get), I’ll always remain humble. I’ll always remain true to me, myself and I. You’ll never see me forming cliques and trying to appear superior to every other writer in the game. You’ll never see me beefing other authors on Facebook, cursing them out because that’s just not me. If I have an issue with you, I’ll make it known in our private messages. It’s not something the whole entire world needs to see. Focusing on myself means I can focus on my craft, my brand and my readers – because that’s all that truly matters to me in this industry.
Lala Milan made a really valid point at a BET discussion panel that I’d like to end off with here:
“When we can all come together as a collective you automatically have magic. Because you can teach me something that I don’t know and I can teach you something that you don’t know, but you so busy afraid that I’ll take the spot when there’s so much space… That you’re trying to withhold your knowledge from me, but guess what? I’m going to learn it, with or without you because I’m that hungry and if you’re as hungry as me and you’ll stop trying to starve everybody around you, we can all eat.”
– Jen xo