Saturday, September 15, 2018

Overcoming Professional Jealousy

Here's a topic that is uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing and can be utterly debilitating.

It's also something that is widely prevalent in publishing although seldom spoken about.

Unless you are living the existence of a "hermit" writer--perhaps living in a shack in the woods with no Internet service, maybe a small herb garden, and perhaps a couple of wiener dogs...

(Sorry, I got side-tracked by my fantasy life!) are aware of other authors.

In fact, once you get going with marketing/promotion you realize that comparing yourself to others is actually part of the process.

Who are your "comps?"

That's how publishing companies market you. They compare you to similar authors and market you accordingly.

The downside of this is that you are in danger of having your ego crushed when you discover that similar authors sell more/have better reviews/win awards/[FILL IN THE BLANK ABOUT ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BADLY ABOUT YOURSELF]. 

This is professional jealousy.

This can affect your motivation to write.

Or even to continue with this career.

This is especially an issue in romance publishing where everyone is writing the same themes/tropes, copying each other, jumping on trends. Writing "unique" fiction is not the end-game, which was explained to me in condescending fashion by an agent many years ago.

It's all about the comps.

So, what to do?

First of all, don't feel guilty. It's natural to compare yourself to others, and it's normal to sometimes feel envious of other peoples' success.

But this is the thing you have to remember...

Other people may write the same genre, or have similar interests/branding/series, etc., but no one else can write your book but you.

That's what you have.



That's it. That's what you own. Your story. Other authors might write similar things, even the exact same topic, but only YOU can write YOUR story.

No one else is you. Want to be yourself, not others. Want to write YOUR stories, not someone else's.

Your story is your power. Don't give it up.

Wise words from an old hermit writer...




Nicki Greenwood said...

A great reminder. Authors should also keep in mind that there is room for all of us. Romance readers are especially voracious, and when they finish one book, they will be looking for another to read - probably yours! Keep writing. The only one you need to compare yourself to is you. As long as you keep improving your own craft, you are doing what it takes to succeed. :)

Penny Watson said...

HI Nicki! You made a really good point. There is room for everyone and all of the unique voices! Focusing on our own path and happiness is the most important thing!