So, I haven’t blogged in a while, but I feel like it’s something I’m finally mentally healthy enough to take on again, and I’m absolutely going to make an effort to start doing it more consistently with the old favorites like Music Monday and Thankful Thursday, etc. But, before I dive into the core topic of today’s ramble (with gifs!) I do have to say that without the support of so many amazing authors, readers, and local friends I know I wouldn’t have made it through the last year without losing my mind completely. So, thank you guys so much for lifting me up when I needed it most.

And, really, that’s the main thing I want to talk about today in my completely rambling way. When I worked at my day job there was a coworker I had that wasn’t exactly a friend, but we were amicable, and although we didn’t always see eye to eye, he did have this phrase hung up at his desk where he could see it, and all of us could also see it when we walked by. It always stuck in my mind because I feel it’s so true and so important. Since I don’t have his handy piece of paper, I slapped it on a pretty picture for you guys.

It’s pretty freaking simple.

Seriously… this concept shouldn’t be foreign to any of us in life, but it especially resonates within the author community. I’ve been publishing for over five years now and while I have met some incredible people who go above and beyond to help their peers, I’ve also seen people who treat this like some kind of competition — which, newsflash, it isn’t. There is not an author on the planet that can write books fast enough to keep up with these voracious readers who devour romance books at an impossible pace, and what does that mean for all of us?

We only succeed when we lift each other up.

When we share each other’s books with our readers while we’re updating them for the tenth time about our progress on our next book, we’re giving them the chance to fall in love with another author and fulfill their reading needs because we can’t at that moment. In return, that author will often share your new release, and the cycle continues, around and around, with lots of different authors across the landscape of authorlandia.

Mufasa laid it out when I was still a kid, and he’s right. We’re all connected in this great circle of “romance book” life. That’s the truth of it. So, when I see people insulting other authors, or tearing them down, or dragging their name through the mud all across social media over a disagreement or a personal issue… I honestly don’t get it. We’re not going to all be besties, and that’s just because people are people and we don’t have to like everyone — but making a public spectacle of a private matter? Tearing down another author’s opportunity for success because you don’t like what they write, or don’t like their cover, or don’t like something they said or did? That just doesn’t get us anywhere. All it does is hurt the reputations of everyone that gets involved or shows up on the periphery. When that happens, we all fall a little.

We all sink, together, in the eyes of our readers and the community.

And who wants that? Who wants to be seen as the “problem child” in the author community, or the “drama queen,” or the “gossipy one?” None of those are good labels to put next to your brand, and no matter what you think of authorlandia as a whole — your name is your brand. Every action we take in a public space reflects directly back on our brand, especially because most of us derive many of our new readers through advertising on social media, and many readers that find authors in other ways go to social media to see what that person is “really” like behind the pretty picture and author bio.

Ask yourself… when people look for you, who will they find?

It might be. I’m not here to answer that question for you. I’m only here to try and share the concept that all of us can succeed together. We can be kind, we can be generous, we can share knowledge, we can reach out, we can speak up, and we can see each other as partners in this crazy publishing world instead of “competition.”

Most importantly, we can lift each other up, and we can ascend together.

There are no limits to the number of books a reader will buy. I think the sheer number of memes revolving around our ever-growing TBR lists (mine could crush a small village easily) is a testament to that fact. Romance readers aren’t just voracious with their reading habits, they’re voracious with their buying habits. A book is an impulse buy because something about it spoke to them. An amazing cover, an intriguing blurb, a snippet that made them have to fan themselves, or a friend shoving the book into their virtual hands with an “omg this book destroyed me and you have to read it right now!”

It really doesn’t.

And even if you’re convinced that every reader is a coveted item to be hoarded like Gollum did the ring, then you still have to ask yourself what kind of world you want authorlandia to be. We’ve all chosen this path for ourselves, and it is hard on the best of days, and a nightmare on the worst, so why should we make it harder on each other? Why not use your reach and your voice and your brand to spread positivity in this community? Why not leave the world of authorlandia a little better than you left it each day?

Personally, I’m a big believer in karma, and I’ve experienced the way that the love you send out into the world comes back to you. When I was at my lowest points in the last year with the death of my grandfather, then my mother, my step-grandmother shutting me out of her life, and the trouble with my kiddo needing help at school and the journey of getting special education resources… it was this community that kept my head above water. Even when all I could do was lie in bed and wonder when things would get better, I never had to go farther than my phone to find someone reaching out to me, checking on me, telling me they loved me / my books / my whole weird personality. When my entire life was in tatters, karma paid me back for all the love and energy I’d sent out over the years ten-fold.

And the same will happen for you.

We get out of the world what we put into it, and even if you think karma is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, at the end of the day it’s still better to be a positive influence. To choose love, not hate. Choose kindness, not malice. Choose being the person you want to see in others, not the person that continues the cycle of pain.

And while I’ve been speaking to authors for most of this, it all applies to readers too, because this community wouldn’t even exist without you in it. So, when negativity shows up on our feeds on social media, we have the choice to let it lie, or participate. All of us make that choice (unfortunately way too often) and those choices are going to continue shaping authorlandia and the world we choose to experience every day. So…

Let’s choose to treat each other like partners, or at the very least coworkers — not competition.

Let’s choose to lift each other up when we have the opportunity.

Let’s choose to leave the world a better place.

We all need it, even when there isn’t an apocalypse going on. <3 So, that’s all I wanted to ramble about today, because I figured I might not be the only one who could use that phrase on the pretty picture rolling around in their head. Feel free to save the picture, share it, share this blog, comment, etc. We’re all in this together, and I’m going to continue trying to lift up those around me because that’s how we all rise.

Thanks for reading, lovelies. Just remember, we’re #InThisTogether.