In my last post, I got pretty real about dealing with edits for my second book, Seeking Unseen. This time, I’m gonna get real again–about jealousy.
This past Saturday I spoke about short story writing at a local writers group. It went well. REALLY well. The writers who attended were attentive and asked great questions, and all of them came up and told me how impressed they were with my talk. At the risk of sounding conceited, I have to say, I thought I did a dang good job myself. I knew my material, I was calm and relaxed (the nervousness melted away almost the moment I started talking), I spoke smoothly, had answers for everyone’s questions, and everyone got my jokes . Oh, and the group asked me to come back and speak again, as well as recommending I give the same speech at another group’s meeting.
The meeting ended with me feeling like I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. Writing, and helping other people with writing. I only sold three books, but that wasn’t the point of the meeting. I knew it was unlikely that many in the group would be into my genre, so three sales was pretty good as far as I’m concerned!
We went to lunch following the meeting and had a great time as well. While at the restaurant, one of the group members told me she was going back to Barnes & Noble (where the meeting had been) to say hi to an author doing a signing that afternoon–an author she had interviewed on her blog, who is now a NYT bestseller in YA fantasy/paranormal. She asked if I’d like to go with her and meet the author.
Duh. Yes! I’m always interested in seeing what other authors do at gatherings and signings. Unfortunately we missed her speaking part, and got there while she was signing books.
A room full of teenagers, all staring at the author like deer caught in headlights. Star-struck.
My gut twisted. Part of it was kind of feeling sick at the idea of this person being nearly worshiped. She’s human after all! The fans present were all-out gushing. I thought how weird it must feel to have people act like that over you. The group members who had commended me on my speech were professional and enthusiastic, but not swoony. I felt supported and appreciated, but not fawned over.
On the other hand, my gut also twisted from what I can only name as jealousy. This room full of teens had never heard of Finding Angel, and with me being with a small press it’s unlikely that any of them will any time soon. I certainly won’t be invited to B&N for a signing for a long, long time. Watching this author sign three books per person, to my three books total suddenly made my successful talk feel far less so.
I know this author didn’t start off at that level. She wasn’t selling books hand-over fist from day one. And not everyone loves her, as evidenced by the negative reviews she’s gotten. (Yep, I read them, and only them–no positive ones….I am so bad.) I also read the first pages on Amazon and found issues that I was in the midst of trying to rid my manuscript of. Ya’ll all know how frustrating that is, don’t you? Being slammed on something in your writing, only to find the very same no-no in a NYT bestseller. Sigh.
In the end, I just decided I have to let it go. Someday, I WILL be doing signings at B&N. Someday, I WILL have fans coming through my line to buy my whole trilogy at once, maybe two or three sets because they plan to give them as gifts. I’m not sure why this author gets to experience that so much sooner than I will, but feeling jealous was doing me no good. I quit reading her bad reviews, quit looking for things to dig on, and reminded myself that God has a plan for my writing. I know that in the end I’ll be able to see how that plan was perfect for me. In the mean time, I’m ignoring the jealousy and focusing on making Seeking Unseen the best book it can be.
(But you still won’t catch me reading that author’s good reviews .)