Friday, December 17, 2010

Going Green

Julie Wright asked: do you ever get like crazy jealous of other authors who "seem" to have it easy with publishing?

Short answer: heck yes.

Longer answer: heck yes I do! There are endless options for the Green to come. She got a better deal than I did. He only had to query for two weeks. Her pub is doing this, and this, AND THIS. He just sold movie rights. They only sent 25 queries? Are you serious??

She got this and I didn't.
He got that and I didn't.
They got XYZ and HOLY MOTHER OF UNFAIR-- I DIDN'T.

Yeah, I feel it. I don't like feeling it.

So what do I do?

A combination of things:
1. Shut down the Internet. Can't feel bad about what you don't know.
2. Work harder to make my next book better, my next blog post better, myself better.
3. Chat with people who won't hate me (much) for whining.
4. Eat a lot of sour patch kids.
5. Remind myself that I'm going to have a real, live, breathing, shiny book in just 6 months. And that's all I ever wanted.

I didn't want to be rich. I didn't want a movie. I didn't want everything.

I wanted to see my book sitting on the shelf at a bookstore.

And I will.

It wasn't easy, and yeah, I sometimes hate people who seem to have it easy (seriously, 25 queries??). But then I remember my journey, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

It's mine. And my long, painful, I-think-publishing-a-book-might-kill-me journey helped me become the writer I am. The blogger I am. And I like that person.

Let's hear your answer to Julie's question: do you ever get like crazy jealous of other authors who "seem" to have it easy with publishing?

69 comments:

julietruekingsley.com said...

Just the other day I was reading about a group of stories of authors breezily talking about getting an agent... so easy, it was like a dream. Baloney, I think it's like childbirth. Once you are in, it seems easy in retrospect. Jealous? Not really. This is tough game, I respect anyone who pulls it off.

Congrats on your book!

RK Charron said...

Hi Elana :)
That's a good question and I really liked your response to it.
For me, I get excited at an author's success. Thanks to the internet & Twitter, I've been lucky enough to see authors explode upon the literary scene.
It re-invigorates my own dreams & aspirations.
All the best,
RKCharron

kellyhashway said...

The worst part for me is hearing these stories while I'm still going through the agony of querying. Of course I'm happy for any author who achieves his/her dream of finding an agent and getting a book published. But it makes me wonder when my turn will be. I try to focus on my successes, no matter how small, and remember that there are people who would love to have the success I've had. We all start at the bottom and work our way up. I'm still working my way up, and the harder I have to work, the more I'll enjoy the success later.

Susanne Winnacker said...

I think everyone gets jealous sometimes. It's natural. Shutting down the internet is something I do now and then, but I usually can't keep it up for long.

Christina Lee said...

THIS was great, E! I get more upset about attitudes and what seems like exclusionary stuff. So to double check whether it's just my perception of things, yeah I walk away, and take in the real stuff around me. It really helps
:-)

Amie Kaufman said...

I don't get jealous *yet*, because I'm still revising and preparing to query. Once I'm querying? You just wait until somebody announces they've signed with one of the agents I want! Green really isn't my colour, but I'll just have to try and coordinate my outfit...

I'd love to say I'll be a way bigger person than that, but... well. Best to be truthful!

Laura Pauling said...

I"ll admit, it's hard. But I realize, it's just emotions. I'm truly happy for writers signing with agents and snagging deals. Sometimes, I have to unplug. :)

Jessica Bell said...

You know what? I get 'twinges' of it. But it's never thriving. I don't know, I guess what I wanted for myself wasn't money or fame. I just wanted to see me book in print and have people read my work that appreciate it, ya know?

Now that that is going to happen, I feel so so so happy about it. I seriously don't care about the money. AT ALL. and I seriously don't care if I become a best-selling author one day either. Those fantasies just aren't in me. Just like I never dreamed of getting married in a beautiful white dress.

All the material stuff that comes with passion ruins the passion for me. So I'm happy sticking with the passion - and loving every second that I'm fulfilling my passion. Yes, jealousy does like to creep in on occasion, but it doesn't take long for me to remember why I'm in this. And they 'why' is so much more important to me.

A. Grey said...

I don't much feel envious of people who got published easily, not normally anyhow. I look at people like Stefanie Meyers I'm glad I haven't gotten published with a book that wasn't great. Yes, the Twilught series is 'successful' and Meyers has that 'something' that draws readers. But her writing could have been much improved - and WILL be from here on out. But her first books will always be 'eh'. I want my first books out to be better, even if I improve from them.
The only time I feel that tingle of green in earnest is when a debut is genuinely bad. If I read someone's debut novel and the pacing is awful or there are things that even I can see that need polish, it smarts to think that they made and I haven't. Yet. I also get grumpy when a well established author decides to put out something in YA which is my writing love, and they so have an easy in because they're so established. Then the book turns out to be a shrunken version of the author's adult books and I can't help feeling cranky because that 'book publishing slot' could have gone to some struggling writer (not just me either) and it didn't.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

The thing I love about your story to publication, Elana, is that it gives us all hope. Nothing worse than getting 25 rejections and thinking you might as well give up because you didn't land an agent like xx did, so you never will.

Christine Danek said...

I swear you read my mind. I totally feel this way and I haven't gotten that far. I'm pretty sure my journey is going to be super hard. Trust me, everything is super hard for me, but I'm willing to do this till I die so I guess I must accept it.
Lately, I've felt this way by certain stories I've read and I like your remedies.
Thanks and have a great weekend.
BTW-Can't wait to see your book on the shelves. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not so much jealousy as I just wonder. What if I'd landed an agent and gotten a bigger book deal? What if my book was a big enough seller it became a movie? Damn, I still wish that one would happen.

E.J. Wesley said...

It's like the couple Uncle Rico is trying to sell plasticware to in the movie Napoleon Dynamite. When he offers them the 'sail boat' if they'll only purchase the 20 piece set, the lady points at the boat and whispers to her husband, "I want that!"

Two lessons here: 1) Sometimes when we want what others have so badly, we kind of overlook the tradeoffs and sacrifices that would have to be made to get it. All we see is the boat, and don't think about the $50 that we'd have give up to get it, not to mention all of the useless crap we'd have to find a place for. Every journey requires its own level of sacrifice, commitment, etc. and unless that person has told you what they specifically went through to get to where they are, it's really hard to judge its value.

Furthermore, sacrifice is a relative thing. For me, giving up bacon for the rest of my life in order to be published would be like asking Michael Jordan to give up his arms if he wanted to play in the NBA. What good could possibly come of it? :) As much as it may seem so, I'm not sure you can really ever compare apples to apples when it comes to people.

Almost forgot lesson 2): There really isn't anything that can't be learned or taught from Napoleon Dynamite.

Tracy said...

Absolutely, I get envious when others seem to take a much easier route to what they want!

And, personally, when anyone tells me they'd rather go the tortured route makes me believe they're either a liar or mentally unstable. It's okay to accept the struggle as part of the deal, but to want it...?

Liza said...

Here's my thing. As long as I am working the hard I can and the best I can, then I'm okay. There will always be people better, or with better deals. There are also people who don't have anything close to what I have. I'll take my little victories and smile.

Joanna St. James said...

I am envious of everyone that has a publishing deal - there! i said it.
I don't hate them I just wish that were me, its only human eh?
I study them a lot to see what they are doing right, I too would love to be that 1 query wonder author.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Absolutely, I'm human right?

Love popping sour patch kids!

I run. I think some of the jealousy slides off me in the form of sweat (oh yeah and prayer helps too).

~ Wendy

Matthew Rush said...

This might sound crazy (or full of crap) but I don't really get envious. I think that writers that have that level of success that fast, aren't telling the kind of story I want to tell. Besides, it's MY journey, I'm the one who has to live it, and having it work out the way it has worked out so far means I'll appreciate it that much more in the end!

Magan said...

"I sent out three queries all to my top agents and got offered rep from each one of them." *cries in the corner* I learned to just start rolling with the punches, because I think working for something is half the battle. If you work really hard on something then I think the end results are that much better...or that's just what I tell myself to sleep better at night.

Susan R. Mills said...

Well, of course! I think it's totally natural.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't know about crazy jealous, but yeah, when I hear something about someone getting through this journey a lot easier than I have, the green monster rears its warty head. And then I get over it. That's their journey. This one is mine. Would I like mine to be easier? Heck yeah. But it is what it is.

marissameyer said...

*hides* I'm maybe one of those authors with the absurdly fast publishing story, and still boggled about it. At the risk of dodging tomatoes, there is actually quite a bit of guilt that comes with it - at times I've felt horrible telling writer friends who were querying years before me with still no luck. In the end, they've all been very excited for me, though, and I really hope to be one of those writers who pays it forward whenever I can.

Whatever a person's publishing story is like, I think the ultimate happiness remains the same: a published book on the bookstore shelves. Everything else is just a footnote.

lynnrush said...

Yep. Jealousy rears its ugly head once in a while for me. I try to quickly refocus and celebrate with whomever is celebrating, because that's exciting for me, too. Someday I might have friends jumping up and down with me, too, so I focus on that, too.

Great question and discussion. Happy Friday!!!

LTM said...

YES! And I'm singing Oh, Christmas Tree... :D But you nailed it--it's your/my journey and it turns us into the people we are w/the future stories we have to tell~

Merry Christmas! <3

Lisa Aldin said...

Yes...And I hate it the Green! One thing I learned this year is that you have to follow your own path. Every author has a different How I Got Published Story. There's more than one way to do it and there's more than one way to KEEP doing it. Even though we're all writers...we each have our own career path. They vary.

I love writing. It would be awesome to be paid to write. It would be even awesome-er to making my living writing. Anything else would be icing. One step at a time...

Own Your Path!

melissa said...

I think it's natural to be jealous. It's all about how you use the feeling, though. When I see people getting agents or book deals or whatever, I think two things. 1. I haven't been doing this very long, so these people are further in the process than me, and 2. I need to work harder!

Sometimes a little green can be just the thing you need to kick yourself in the butt and get moving!

Lisa said...

I get jealous all the time! Some people just do have awesome luck (or else they've just got the goods!). I have to remember that I can only do what I can do (make the best book possible) and the rest is just left to the winds of chance :)

Elena Solodow said...

The grass is always greener on the other side. Green = jealousy. So in other words, that phrase can interpreted as the people on the other side are probably jealous of something you have too.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Um, yeah...duh! I think we all do. In fact, I wouldn't believe someone who said they don't - they HAVE TO BE LYING!! But I try to remind myself that they probably had the same dream I do, wrote a whole book, edited it (hopefully more than once), took the time to write a decent query (hopefully more than once) and managed to get the job done. I'm still trying and will keep trying, and maybe one day, someone can be jealous of me!

Out of curiosity, Elana, can I be nosy and ask how many rejections you had before you got the call? We all think of you as the query queen - I mean, you wrote From the Query to the Call!! How long did it take for you to master that? :-)

Colene Murphy said...

I hate feeling jealous. I just want to be happy for people but it is so hard not to be jealous! Good advice though. Gonna try it next time.

lotusgirl said...

Sometimes. Those are not my best days. The older I get the easier it is not to be jealous.

Quinn said...

I think it's impossible not to be a little jealous. You can understand that each writer has their own path, but when you see someone else succeed or get what you want, it's hard to remember.

How you respond to the jealous ... that's important. Do you let it upset you? Do you give up? I let it push me to work harder and try my very best so that I can get where I want to be.

Donea Lee said...

Heck ya, I get jealous! But, I'll leave it at that. I could go into full on rant, but I won't. :) All the feelings, emotions, ranting and whatnot are always just for me, my internal stewing.

I remember that the person I'd rather be (and try to be) is the one sending my love and support and championing the other person's success.

Kristi Helvig said...

I'm happy for anyone that makes it in this crazy business...but...I read a post once where a writer didn't send out ANY queries. She went to a conference and said that most every agent there wanted her full ms, and her top choice pick is now her agent. I admit I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that. It happens to all of us. :)

VR Barkowski said...

This is going to sound really insecure (for good reason), but usually instead of feeling green, I start to doubt myself: I'm not good enough, I'm not cut out for this, nobody loves me, etc. That lasts for a few minutes, or a few hours, or a few days. Eventually I talk myself down, and THEN I go green. :)

Meredith said...

I love your solutions! I need to try those. Especially the Sour Patch Kids :) I hate getting the Green, but it does always make me want to work harder, which isn't such a bad thing, in the end.

Lisa Gail Green said...

And then there're those darn people who already have book deals and seem so unbelievably nice so you can't hate 'em!!! Oh. Wait. ;D There's always going to be someone with more, I just try to remember all the good stuff, and there's enough of that to keep me going, thank goodness!

Lisa_Gibson said...

Mmmm, sour patch kids. That's all I have to say about that. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Natalie Aguirre said...

I try to stay happy for the person, but sometimes I get jealous/discouraged that it seems so much easier for others. But I try to remember that it'll happen at the right time for me if it's meant to happen.

Julie Hedlund said...

Yes, I do but not because I don't want those great things to happen to other people. It's just that I want them so badly for MYSELF too. It's hard to be patient and watch other people have their days in the sun. But then I remember how, regardless of that person's particular path, it really isn't "easy" for anyone. That's why we have to support each other.

And buy Sour Patch Kids in bulk! :-)

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

I've spent YEARS and YEARS feeling green. And now it's only sometimes and it doesn't linger for very long. I mean, I know hardly anybody who spent as many years as I did writing and trying to get published - or who had 8 years of famine in between books. It sucked!!!

But, like you say, this is my journey and for whatever reason(s) it ended up like this and I'm so GRATEFUL and thrilled that I get to be published again and with a wonderful agent and editor that I love and who love ME. Count our many blessings, right?

And we never know what's waiting for us just around the next bend - if we keep working hard.

Oh, look! There's a 6 figure deal just up ahead! I'm off to catch it . . . LOL.

Regina said...

I sometimes get the 'poor me' pang in my gut but have to remember that they worked for it too and just be proud of their efforts and look forward to reading their work.

I always try to look to those who have found success in order to help me learn to focus on what I may be lacking. I find more strength sometimes knowing that people actually make it!

I just keep punching away at the keys. Someday I will get it right. Thanks for the great post.

IanBontems said...

I don't get jealous, not really. It may look like someone's got it easy but we don't really know about the hard work they're putting in to get where they have.

S'pose it's like the old analogy about the swan gliding across the pond but underneath those legs are kicking like mad.

But me, jealous? Nah, I'm too busy trying to improve what skills I've got (or haven't as the case may be).

Nicole Zoltack said...

Sometimes. I always feel happy for them but there's also a twinge of jealousy too. But I try to turn that jealousy into a good thing - motivation.

Heather said...

I don't. Sure, I wish luck was on my side and I had an easy time of it, but I don't get jealous. Seeing others succeed encourages me that it's still happening, that it can happen to me. I love the way you put, "I wanted to see my book on the shelves." That's what it's all about, not the big advance, not the movie rights, but seeing your book on the shelves. It's worth all the hardship in the world for that!

The Golden Eagle said...

Yes, but I also feel excited for them when they break the news--someone I know is getting published! :)

Ghenet said...

So far, no. I'm still plugging through my first draft so if a writer friend of mine finds an agent or gets a book deal, I feel happy for them and hope I'll be in their shoes someday soon!

Jealousy usually comes from feeling like if something good happens to some one else, it won't happen to you. Like all the good stuff is all taken up. But there is enough room for new authors and new books, and we all have the same chance. Each writer has a different journey to get there but publication can happen for everyone who works hard enough.

I'm sure once I'm at the point of querying, the green jealousy monster will show up more!

Krispy said...

I think we all get jealous about something sooner or later, but it's not wallowing in it that's important. I'm all for a good pity party, but I have to remember to get over it and keep moving forward. And like you said, your journey is YOUR OWN, and I think we all take something invaluable away from that personal trek. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I do get jealous, especially of the seemingly easy journies. But I have to let it go and tell myself I'll get there... eventually.

Can't wait to see your book in a store!

Melissa Gill said...

It's not just the easy journeys, anytime I hear about an authors success, I get a dart in the eye from the jealousy monster. So I write a very sincere congratulations to that person and the jealousy vanishes.

I keep in mind that everything happens for a reason, and I hope that people will be supportive of me some day, even if they are a tad jealous.

kathrynjankowski said...

I might sigh and wish for what sounds like easy success, but every writer takes a different path. I'm not going to begrudge others who reach the end before me (although I do consider publication just another stage of the journey). ;-)

Corey Schwartz said...

OMG. yes! I'm pretty sure that Beth Revis and I got our offers at the same exact time. Only her book is coming in out in like two weeks, and mine.. in two years! Jealous, jealous, jealous! :)

Marsha Sigman said...

Yes, I do get jealous but I'm also encouraged by other's success. So, I feel a little bi-polar and then throw in a lot of caffeine and little to no sleep and you have my winning personality.lol

Carol Riggs said...

It's SO human nature to feel at least a little twinge of greenness. The first step is admitting it. LOL You know, when we hear about those 20-something-year-olds who write their FIRST novel, find an agent in two months, and land a publisher the following month. Okay, we all can't be them, and we all can't be JK Rowling. That balance of luck and hard work, again....

RaShelle said...

Elana - Thanks for this post. I think you're awesome. And, sour patch kids? Yum!!

Sara B. Larson said...

Elana, you are so honest and awesome, I just <3 you. I really, really do. I think EVERYONE feels jealous sometimes to varying degrees, and I'm sorry, but I think the people who say they don't are maybe just trying to convince themselves. ;) Just my humble opinion. Or else they are just way better people than me. You can be happy for someone and a bit jealous simultaneously. It is possible. But I love how you deal with it. Do I wish I could have had the "easy, wham-bam-give-me-a-huge-deal, thank-you-ma'am!" path? Yes. But I have to believe my path is what is meant to happen and believe it's the right thing for me. I just hope I can see my book(s) on a shelf someday soon.

Kylie Jefferis said...

Hi hi!

I'm Kylie, Matt's kid!

Umm... I'm not really working to get published... So I'm not all that envious... And um... yeeeeah...

Later?

Bye bye!

Kelly Dexter said...

Yes, I do.

Though I don't have children, I imagine it feels similar to the frustration of certain mothers upon hearing certain other mothers claim that their childbirth was completely painless.

I'm with you on the unplugging. Also, the Sour Patch Kids.

gideon 86 said...

Not really.

I'm not jealous of other people's success, I just want it to happen to me. At this stage in my writing career, I would be THRILLED just to be asked for a partial from an agent. After that I hope it will all fall into place.

Time will tell.

Elana, I am so happy and excited for your book coming out soon. You have accomplished what all of us dream about. Enjoy your victory. YOU made it!

Michael

pensees said...

Yes, yes, and absofrigginlutely yes. I know I shouldn't and all, but is it worse to be jealous or to lie about being jealous? *grin*

Still, if I'd had the easy road, I wouldn't be able to relate. And relating to others is what makes good writers. So it all works out in the wash, right? ;)

Cyndi

Terri Tiffany said...

Like you said, your journey is yours and mine is mine. I have my own set of rules and craft and everything else to put together before my book is there. OThers might have worked on it harder and just got it before me. THat's ok.

Jeff King said...

I love what you do... keep it up.

I try to focus on me. I am too worried about what I’m doing wrong to be thinking of how easy someone else has it.

I guess, deep down there is a sense of jealousy.

But, knowing what it takes just to write a shabby book. I assume they worked hard and deserve the success they are having.

thx

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't tend to get jealous... much. I don't know if there really are any easy journeys out there. We usually only see the surface.

I do get discouraged rather than jealous though - and I find it hard to pull myself back up.

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't tend to get jealous... much. I don't know if there really are any easy journeys out there. We usually only see the surface.

I do get discouraged rather than jealous though - and I find it hard to pull myself back up.

L.T. Elliot said...

I don't really get jealous of the milestones because like you said, that's my journey and I know it will be different than others. I'm okay with that and I'm trying to just enjoy it. What I get jealous of? The ease other people seem to have in the actual writing process. I feel like I drag every word kicking and screaming onto the page (most times) and there are others who seem to just pour out loveliness in seconds--and are happy the whole time They're doing it! It takes me forever!

Me thinks I could use some sour patch kids myself!

Karen Lange said...

It is tempting to focus on what THEY have and what we DON'T. A healthy dose of perspective is always in order. Appreciate the tips. Haven't tried the sour patch kid solution yet. Wonder if smarties would work the same way...?

Julie Musil said...

YES! It's not always easy. The good thing is, it pushes me to work harder. I don't mind working hard at improvement, because I know my time will come when I'm ready.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I like to celebrate the success of my friends. But yeah, when I read about the author who wrote his first novel and got an agent within a month and then signed a multi-book deal and subsequently sold movie rights, I get jealous. But only a little bit.

I'm confident that success will come my way eventually; it's just a matter of continuing to work hard and improve until that happens, and then continuing to work harder to maintain a high standard.

I get more jealous of authors whose books are so good, I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that bar that they're sitting on. I'd give almost anything to be as good as they are, but I just don't think I'll ever get there. I hate that. (But it doesn't stop me from loving their books.)

Writer Turned Blogger said...

I wasn't jealous of those amazing, prolific writers who only had to submit 25 times before they hit the big time until I read this post (gee, thanks).

Let's face it. Some writers are hares and some are tortoises. It's not how you get to the finish line that counts. What counts is that you get there.

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