We all know about the phrase Think Globally, Act Locally. It’s obvious for food. The reasons are straightforward – reduce transportation costs and hence greenhouse emissions; keep jobs in this country and hence wages and taxes; and the food should taste better too. There’s probably more, but I’m no expert.
Last month I put my hand up to run the Australian Shadows Awards, the annual literary awards presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and judged on the overall effect - the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance - of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian. My first job was to put in place the judging panel. I sought advice from the outgoing Director of the awards, and was hugely embarrassed by the question,
‘How familiar are you with the local Australian horror writers?’
It finally hit me, the truth of the requirement to read extensively within your chosen genre. How can I expect to gain publication if I am not in touch with the local (and international) forms of the genre?
I’m so glad I put my hand up. I now know several published Australian Horror authors. There is a great panel of judges in place. I’m looking forward to reading their works. There won’t be any greenhouse emission reductions because I use an eReader. But the money I pay for their works will stay in Australia.
I’m also becoming more aware of the markets for my chosen genre. Another benefit for me.
Free advice, because your Creative Writing teacher already provided it to you and you didn’t listen, is ‘read locally in your genre’, and if you’ve got the time, get involved in the communities associated with the genre.
It’s given me a quick blast of hard work (I’m over the hump now) but the rewards are significant.
And yes, think about the ethical component of all your purchasing decisions!