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Friday, July 13, 2012

Are You Ever Jealous?

... Someone asked me that last week. Are you ever jealous? Do you hate the Big Name Author for being popular?

I had to think about that. I might be a little envious of Big Name Author, but most of them have paid their dues. They've worked longer than I have, they've spent decades building their names in an industry where I'm still a baby.

So, no, it's not the Big Name Authors that make me green with jealousy. Usually, it's the debut authors, the querying authors, the ones who have finally edited everything and are READY. I want to be that person. I want the full request. I want the big splashy news about a new contract and a new cover. I want it all!!!!

And, eventually, that will be me. Right now I'm in a writing phase. I'm working on manuscripts (yes - plural - I'm weird like that) to send off. I'm not ready to send those manuscripts off. I may want to query, but the manuscripts aren't perfect yet. That's reality. We all have to deal with it.

Publishing is an industry that requires patience. Even if you self-publish, there are going to be down days. You can easily get lost in the bitter rage of watching another book's number jump. You can stomp around and cry when another author signs another contract. You can throw a childish tantrum because someone didn't like your book.

Or... not.

Jealousy isn't actually required in this business. There's no law that says you have to hate someone for being successful. The sale of another book never means the reader won't return and buy your book, readers are promiscuous like that. You'd be amazed how many readers pick up more than one book, sometimes in one day! I think the only other activity you're allowed to talk about "having more in one day" is food, and even then, if I had a donut for every book I read during the day I'd be spherical (we go through a lot of books at nap time).

I guess what I'm saying is: I'm human. There are days I pout and I'm jealous, but by and large, I'm really excited when a friend sells books. I'm happy when I see people talking about books. I love finding a new book and a new author who rock.

Books are good. Keep reading them.


  1. I read a lot of writers talking about how they struggle with this, but I've always been strangely immune. Perhaps it just hasn't bitten me yet. When I read an author blog about "the big news" of their first or next publication, I want to hear about the process that went into it, because that's what I learn from.

    1. For me it first hit when someone I knew from my writing group in Texas (years ago) got a hit off her NaNo novel. She put the first three chapters into a local contest weeks after writing it, and won. She finished, queried in November, had full-requests... meanwhile I was struggling to finish and edit anything. I'd shelved several novels as Not Good Enough, and here she was racing along.

      That was hard. She didn't seem to go through any of the frustration I was having.

      In the end, the book wasn't published, but for several months I could barely be polite. Which was very petty of me. But that's where I struggled. She's moved on, written other work, and so have I. We've done different things, and I think we're both happy.

      But, yes, when the jealousy bug bites, it bites hard.

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  2. If anything, I'm jealous of the new writers I've met online who have taken their work to publication where I'm still in the dithering phase. Not their fault, but why did they have to be so industrious?

  3. It's only human to be envious when someone gets what we've been trying so hard to achieve. Especially when they make it look so easy. All it really means is that we don't know or see what they struggle with in their quest.

    At least we can take what we feel and turn it back into our own writing. After all, it's easier to write about something we have felt than about something we've never experienced.

  4. Great post! I get jealous all the time, so I know what you're talking about. But the best thing to keep in mine is the "keep your eyes on your own paper" attitude. It's wonderful to be aware of what others are accomplishing, but it's important to not treat it all like a race or a contest. At least that has been how it is for me.

    The other important thing to remember is I almost never know the full story behind the successes I get a pang of jealousy over.