Monday, August 29, 2016

Comparisons and Jealousy

I recently came across an article that focused on a writer, a very successful writer who is now making a six figure income. The thing that kills me is she only burst onto the scene a few years ago. I used to follow her blog. I don't anymore. Why? I'll admit because I'm jealous of her success and I hate to compare myself. Pretty simple.

Don't get me wrong, she's a perfectly lovely woman. She's smart, funny, well-spoken, well-written, and we could probably be friends (or at least in the same book club if we lived near each other.) However, this woman is all over the place with book ads, podcasts, blog posts, guest appearances, and is quoted by everyone. Yup, she works hard for her money. And I don't begrudge her one cent.

What I do begrudge is how she makes it look so easy. Her books are everywhere, she is everywhere, and I'm just sick of it.

Why? Because I'm not.

Why? Because I can't.

This woman has no children. She is also married and her husband is her marketing manager. She focuses her life 100% on her books, writing, marketing, and promoting. Oh, if we all could live in that world.

I'm lucky if I can find time to wash the kitchen floor. (I swear when I'm rich I'm getting a maid.) I have so many things pulling on my time CONSTANTLY I fall into bed exhausted just thinking about all the shit I have to do TOMORROW. Between school, my parents, the yard work, not to mention Monster and figuring out how to feed her eight times a day (my God, the child never stops eating), I barely have time to take a shower every day. (Yes, I know that's just TMI and too disgusting for words, but I'm sure a lot of other moms out there know exactly what I'm saying.)

So, yes, I'm jealous of the writer who has time for all the stuff I can barely dream about. Sure, I'd love to do podcasts. Sure, I'd love to write timely and interesting blog posts. Sure, I'd love to have a six figure income. But, I don't have time.

And I can hear a whole bunch of you screaming, "Well, make the time." I hate to inform you, there's only 24 hours in a day, and of those I need seven to sleep. (Although, I never get the full seven because something is always waking me up in the middle of the night--be it my to-do list for the next day, the scene in Chapter Ten that's giving me fits, or an uncontrollable bladder. Again, I apologize for TMI.)

I remember when Kindle was the new craze. Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon and self-published and made a lovely little name for myself. But then, as more and more writers took the plunge, I found myself drowning in a sea of other Regency authors. I was no longer arriving at #11 in the Top 100 on launch day without a review. Now, I can't even get placement in the Top 500 with three reviews.

What do these other authors have that I don't?

Time. Time to blog, and Tweet, and FaceBook, and Instagram, and whatever other social media craze is out there to talk, discuss, mention, brag, and sell the latest book they have out. It's disheartening for a writer like myself. I can't even do ONE of those things on a steady basis, never mind for a book launch.

I'm jealous of this author's time management skills and envious of her success. Does it drive me to distraction? No. I've given up worrying about what other people do or don't do to achieve the limelight.

I have a new book out. I Tweeted about it a couple of times. I posted it on my blog (which then gets shared to Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Amazon.) And that's pretty much it. I don't have time for the other stuff. (By the way, in the article about the famous author, it was also revealed she doled out five grand for a BookBub ad. Ha! If I had five grand, I wouldn't know what to do with it. Yes, I would. I'd put new floors in my house.)

I've always maintained the way to a book's success is by word-of-mouth. No ad in the world will make people buy your book. (Okay, that's sort of not true and I know it, but for argument's sake let's just go with my premise.) If one person likes the book, then hopefully, she'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on. (Or we could hope for one particularly brilliant review that ignites a spark.)

I can't do anything about the concept of time and my lack thereof. The only thing I CAN do is to use what I've been given wisely. One hour equals ten pages of edits, two can get me a blog post written for next week, three hours could possibly find me finished with the dreaded Chapter Ten rewrites.

We can only do what we can do. Will I continue to be jealous? Hell yeah. There's nothing wrong with a little envy--it's what actually spurred me into writing to begin with (I thought I could write a better book than an author I had read). Will I allow it to eat at me until I can't function anymore? Nope. I don't have time to wallow.

I'll write my books, publish my books, and continue in this vein until I get rid of what is sucking my time (right this moment it's the lawn. Between the rain and the humidity I haven't been able to do the yard in almost ten days.) And hopefully, I'll make enough money next summer to be able to hire a lawn guy so I can shave off four hours every week for myself. Wouldn't that be nice?

Tell me -- Are you jealous of other writers who have TIME to do the things you can't? Do you have (or have you ever used) BookBub to promote your books? Do you have a lawn care guy?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2016


February Grace said...

So much honesty in this post, and I thank you for it. I know that it will resonate with a lot of people even if they won't own up to it.

I think all of us have looked at a bestseller or other and wondered why it did better than our books did; after all the love, blood, sweat, and tears we put into each one, it can be frustrating to see someone hit book after book out of the park all while making it look easy.

I know far too much (and perhaps still too little) about how publishing works to believe that it ever is that easy. I still believe a lot comes down to who you know and who is backing you, and yes, how much money you have to spend on things like Bookbub (if you can get a slot, back when it started they ran two of my books twice and sent them skyrocketing up Amazon ranks; but my last book, they wouldn't even look at twice. Even though I had a decent history with them. So there you go...)

There will always be someone with more resources, more connections, more...more. All you can do is what you can do.

This is one of the sides of publishing I truly do not miss now that I'm out of it.

There are authors I have stopped following because they ceased to be real people on social media and became nothing but commercials and bragging machines. That is unattractive to me and so I just quietly unfollowed. No one wants to hear about every single review a book gets, I don't care who the author is. At least, I don't. It all gets so dreadfully boring.

Anyway, I'm rambling. I just wanted to thank you for this again; it was a breath of fresh air and I for one truly appreciate your honesty.



Maria Zannini said...

The quality you speak of isn't time, and it isn't just authors. Some people simply have a natural grasp for connecting with people.

My best friend is like that. If she weren't my best friend I'd be so over the top jealous. She's articulate, intelligent, kind, and sociable. She makes connecting with people look EASY.

She's been successful at everything she's ever touched. Me? I have to work my a$$ off every step of the way. I'm used to it. I know that's my lot in life.

I've analyzed my friend to see if I could glean any tips. She works hard, but she's also very charitable with her time and money. Whatever she sends out, she gets back threefold.

In short I still haven't figured her out, but I'm glad she's my friend. If I ever end up in jail, I know she'd bail me out. :)

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

...those stinkin' successful people...hate dems

Bish Denham said...

Sure it makes me a little jealous too. And... I don't have the wherewithal to sit in front of a computer all day and do the work it takes. I'd rather be reading or sitting on my porch watching the birds.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I envy others' success but I don't feel jealous. I wish I had more money to spend on promotion but I don't. And if I had the money, I would spend it on a maid and a lawn care guy before I would advertising.

Anne Gallagher said...

Bru -- Thanks for stopping by. Funny, how we're so pumped at the beginning of the writing process, but by the time we've got a couple of books under our belt, the shiny has worn off. I can only do what I can do. And that's that.

Maria -- I'm a whizz in social situations. I even get along on social media. My problem is time. I just can't seem to find enough of it to sit myself down in front of the computer to socialize. I'd rather write. So, yeah, I guess I have to be better at time management skills.

Mac -- I know, right. You'd think after 30 books your name would be a household word.

Bish -- Oh, yes. Watching the birds. Luckily, my office window looks out on trees, so I get the occasional bird. A few butterflies as well. However, I still wish it was the beach. Then I could read!

Susan -- There are so many other things to do with money than spend it needlessly on promotion. I still say word-of-mouth is the only way to sell. (And by w-o-m I mean a really great review on Goodreads counts too.)

Wendy Ramer said...

Hi Anne,
It's been four years since I was blogging, but I popped on tonight, inspired by I'm not sure what, and yours is the first blog I'm checking in on.

I feel your pain as I, too, have not come close to finding the success we writers all dream of. So go ahead, enjoy your pity party. It's okay to host one every now and then. But please realize that one thing YOU have accomplished that I have not is that you are STILL blogging! That is so cool! I am massively impressed to find you here after so many years. :-)

Keep on...