19 August 2015

Author Jealousy

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. So many times I have seen popular authors tell us that we should treat other authors not as rivals, but as business partners. That one author’s success is the success of all authors. I call it bullshit. Another author’s success has nothing to do with my books and their sales. We’re not this big, nice family, where everyone gathers around the table with a roasted turkey in the center, smiling and petting each other on the shoulder, while congratulating one of the family members who just sold 1 million copies of her book. Our life is not dreamlike, as many think. Just because writers don’t have a 9.00-6.00 job (although I do, like many others), that doesn’t mean a writer’s life is a compilation of smiles and congratulations. Yes, we are rivals. Because writing is business, and we have a limited amount of customers. Let’s be honest, one day there will be more books than readers. And that day seems to be approaching. If you’re not a famous best-selling author, than the only way to survive is writing as many books as you can in a short period of time. And that’s what we, the indies, do. Now tell me, how can there be no rivalry? No way, right? But you know what? Rivalry is not a bad thing. It can be a good motivator to write more, and write better, and hire a professional editor, and order a good-looking cover. And all the aforementioned will help you to make your book stand out. Competition is what drives the business, and as I said already, writing is a business, too.

But rivalry (or should I say healthy competition) is not jealousy. While rivalry makes you work harder and produce better books, jealousy pushes you back and sends you into a state of misery. Get rid of it. If you’re not sure how author rivalry differs from author jealousy, let me explain it.

Rivalry is when you see another author publish their third book in the same year and think, “I should work as hard as her.”

Image from fareedsiddiqui.com.

Jealousy is when you visit another author’s book page and leave a 1-star review, hoping it will stop the sales or will at least hurt that author’s feelings. Or when you summon your friends and begin carpet bombing said author’s books with negative reviews. Or when you upvote the negative reviews and downvote the positive ones. I see this often. A fellow author has recently published a romance novel in a popular subgenre. Her book is well-written and professionally edited; she has a good cover and has a lot of positive reviews, and one single 2-star review. And that 2-star review is upvoted, while the 4 and 5 stars are downvoted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a big deal. It’s just a review and it won’t really harm the book’s sales, no matter how many times it’s upvoted. It’s just a bit sad witnessing this type of jealousy. And the more popular the book becomes, the more it’s carpet bombed by jealous authors and their friends. I’m not talking about genuine negative reviews. Over time I’ve learned to tell the real negative reviews from the fake ones. Call me crazy, but I like to receive a negative review once in a while. NO, I’m not asking you to give my books negative reviews :)) I’m just saying that a balance is always good. I’m also saying that being jealous won’t help. It’s just a waste of energy and time. Thinking “Why her and not me!” won’t help you finish your next book. But it will turn you into a miserable human being. The word explains itself well: jea-lousy. You don’t want to be lousy, do you? But you can be a healthy competitor and work as hard as you can, while lending a helping hand to the newbies. I know I'm loving every bit of it!

author jealousy envy rivalry competition