Aren't you jealous of her?
The "her" in this case is usually one of my best friends, Kiersten White, who many know as the amazing, witty, talented NYT bestseller. Sometimes the question refers to some of my other incredibly gifted and successful friends, but today I'll mostly be talking in reference to Kiersten because I have her permission. Take this as a blanket statement for all authors, nonetheless.
Now, I can see why people would ask this of me. It's a natural thing to wonder about, looking from the outside in. I mean, Kiersten and I (and our dear friend Renee Collins, too) started this journey at almost the exact same time. We met over three years ago now, at which point we were all noob queriers just trying to learn the business. We were equals.
Then Kiersten got an agent almost a full year before I did.
She sold in an amazing three-book deal before I had an agent.
She's sold in countries all over the world, basically pwning Authorial Risk™.
Her first book came out right around the time my book on sub had been out there getting rejected for a year.
And then she hit the bestseller list.
I finally sell a book, while her second one is about to come out.
That one hits the list, too.
And by the time my book comes out, yes, I'm very well aware that she will likely have four books out, while I'm just barely getting started.
But guess what? We are still equals.
I can honestly say that I am not jealous of her success. It's really hard to be jealous of someone when you know the whole story, when you've seen all the struggles that other people don't.
Do I sometimes wish my own journey would have been shorter? Sure, of course, but I have never wanted Kiersten's path or anyone else's. I am HAPPY to see her reach her goals and dreams, and she is just as excited when I succeed as well. I was there when her dreams were just as implausible as my own, and it honestly pisses me off when people suppose that I would be anything but excited for her, because she means so much more to me than some professional connection or whatever. She is my friend, one of my best friends, and that happened long before any of this other stuff.
Jealousy is a strange thing. I'm certainly not immune, because I have felt it towards other people, but rarely those closest to me. There were times when I was on sub that it seemed like EVERYONE was selling books except me, and that they even had an easy time doing it. But I know that's not true—I just didn't know the whole story.
I think jealousy comes from focusing only on the success while refusing to see someone else's struggles and imperfections. It's an excuse to fuel your insecurity, to play the victim. It's ugly and pointless and something we have to fight. For me, the fastest way to overcome those twinges of jealousy is to remember that everyone struggles independently of their success. And not only that, but their success does not diminish mine. We're all playing on the same team, here. Every writer out there deserves compassion. We're all walking the same road, and it's a much easier journey when you make friends of your fellow travelers, not competitors, or worse, enemies.
Especially now, there is enough room for everyone. So come along, but don't you dare ask if I'm jealous ever again;P