Sunday, February 21, 2021

Battling Author Envy

This week at the SFF Seven we're talking about ENVY. We're asking if things have ever gotten weird between you and another author after publishing?

Yeah, they have. And it's awful and heartbreaking.

You know what else is awful and heartbreaking? Feeling that envy for other authors who seem to be more successful than we are. None of us wants to be that person, and yet none of us is immune from those green crawly fingers of professional jealousy.

So, what happened to me? It's happened a few times, with different people. The most startling cases were authors who were published before I was. I admired their books. They became friends. They were lovely and generous and helpful to me. A couple of the people I'm thinking of were ones I counted as very close friends. Women I loved. 

In every case, after I did get published and enjoyed some moderate success, they ended up just... not being my friends anymore. They essentially ghosted me on social media. One emailed me after we roomed at a convention, told me she wasn't going the next year and so I should find another roommate - then she did go, didn't tell me, and roomed with someone else. 

Did it hurt? Oh, yes, it really hurt. It still hurts to write this.

Did I wonder what I'd done to lose those friendships? Obsessively. I still think about it sometimes.

Do I know it was envy? No. It could be I said or did something. Sometimes we never know why someone stops loving us. Even if we can figure it out, there's no changing the past. 

The point of all this is that I can't control those relationships. They didn't want to be my friends anymore and I couldn't change that. I've found only one way to combat that ongoing pain, and that is to control what I can: changing myself.

I do my very best to be a good friend to others. I try to help and support other authors. I counter professional jealousy in myself any time it pricks me with its poisonous thorns. 

The best way to counter that? Flow out the opposite energy!

Read a book that you don't think is as good as yours but seems to have done better? Find something to love about it!

See an author with more followers than you have? Follow them too!

Someone is nominated for an award that you aren't? Celebrate it!

Another author is making way more money than you are? Take some of theirs!

Oh, wait...

Okay, so, it's not a perfect method. But it really does work. If you feel the pinch of professional jealousy, the most effective way to combat it is to be the opposite of that. You don't have to feel it, just act accordingly. Trust me - the feeling will follow. 

And know you're not alone. 


Dark Wizard comes out Thursday!!
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