Author Envy – Combating the Green-Eyed Monster

A phote of Jealousy

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I sort of stumbled into writing Spanking Romance.  I mean, if you count a lifetime of being a closeted spankophile who also writes tumbling into it.  But basically, I discovered the genre existed, immediately typed out a 25,000 word novella in a week, had it published 2 weeks later, and made a crap-ton of money on it. Not all of my books worked like that, but I had a lot of successes in my first year and a half of publication.  Before you shove a boot up my butt, I’ll tell you that I had a long slump of flops in the year that followed.  Happily, I’ve had a few successes again this year, so it feels like things are on an upward trajectory again.  That’s the biz, right?  

There will be ups and down in your career.  There are trends, and readers are fickle. They like new and shiny.  What happened that year that sucked for me?  Maybe I became old hat.  Maybe there was such a glut of new fabulous writers I couldn’t hold their attention span.  Maybe it just wasn’t my year. Maybe it was the universe pushing me to reinvent myself–to try a new genre, a new name. To move out of my comfort zone.

Success is not based on quality. It can’t be, because my very first novella was a big hit and, well, I don’t think I was that good back then. At least I sincerely hope my writing has improved immensely in the last three years.  And we all know the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy wasn’t the very best in the genre, and yet it made $95 million in one year. Who knows?  Maybe E.L. James’ stars were just aligned. Should you feel jealous of her?  No. Because it means your stars will be aligned at some point, too. Maybe not to the same extent, but know that whatever way your ship comes in, it will be perfect for you. That’s what I remind myself, anyway.

Comparing yourself to others.  It’s tragically what we often do. I’d like to be able to say I’ve never been jealous of another author’s success.  It would be a lie. I’ve had successes as an author and I’ve had big failures.  When you’re in a slump it’s easy to look around at everyone who’s doing better and grit your teeth, wondering “why did that book succeed rather than mine?” Comparing ourselves to others happens. I’m pretty sensitive to people’s energy, and I’ve certainly felt jealousy from many of my own colleagues when my sales were up.

I also admit to housing the green-eyed monster. I’ve even been jealous of authors who are my closest friends. Did that serve me?  Not in the least. In fact, I’m here to tell you today how damaging it can be. First of all, it puts you in a place of lack. Rather than cataloging your own successes (no matter how small– they are all successes!), you’re looking at what you don’t have. That’s a recipe for failure, as anyone who has studied the law of attraction knows. You can’t align with what you want in your life when you’re busy focusing on what you don’t have. You need to be in a place of flow, and stopping to look at how green the grass is on the other side isn’t being in flow.

“High water floats all boats”

How do you shift out of jealousy?

  • Acknowledging that your ego has reared its head. Just being aware of it is sometimes all you need to shift.
  • Love your own books/writing. Go back and read your favorite and remind yourself what a kick-ass author you are. When you’re in a state of love/appreciation, it’s easy to find flow to attract your own successes, which will naturally be different from someone else’s, because you are a beautiful and unique writer.
  • Forgive yourself for experiencing envy. Forgive yourself immediately every time you notice it.  
  • Set your intention to transform your jealousy and feelings of lack. Celebrate your colleague’s successes. Know that high water floats all boats. If readers are buying their books, they’re going to love yours, too.

Check in this week. How do you compare yourself to others authors?  How do you compare people in your life in general?  Does it serve you? Remember, when we attack others we are directly attacking ourselves.  

Leave me a comment and let me know if any of this sounds familiar and what you do when you find yourself comparing to others.

Comment List

  • Casey McKay 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    This is a fabulous post! It’s all so very true. Especially success not being based on quality– my husband tells me this all the time, but it’s still hard to remember, right?

    I also think admitting to yourself that you are jealous of your peers is hard too. But it happens. Sometimes it’s hard to get past, but I try to only say nice things, and then only think nice things. Then throw myself into whatever I’m writing.

    You’ve had more success than me, so I am sure the slumps hit harder, but no one likes to feel like they are working hard and not getting any recognition. Once in a while I just have to think about why I write. If it was for money and recognition I really don’t think I would do it. I write because I like it, and it keeps me sane. I’ve asked myself- Would I still write if no one else ever read it? And the answer is yes, it’s always yes. If that answer changes one day then it might be time to throw in the towel.

  • Renee Rose 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    You’re absolutely right. Writing for the love of writing is the best way to stay in the flow!

  • Kayla Lords 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    In the blog world, it’s sometimes called “content envy” and while there are differences, the similarities are striking. I’m guilty of both. I’m happy for my writing friends, especially those I’m closest to, but I sometimes have to walk away from social media because the green-eyed monster has me in its teeth.

    My biggest problem when I start feeling is envious is wondering what’s wrong with me – why didn’t I have that idea, why aren’t I writing faster, when will it be my turn, you name it. But, eventually, I tell myself to get over it and get back to what I’m here to do – write. If someone reads my writing or buys a book, that’s great, but it’s not why I write, so I can’t let envy get the best of me. I’m not competing with other authors – I’m competing with myself. 🙂

  • Rollin Hand 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    So true, Renee. I have to tell myself to stop being jealous of the success of others. It doesn’t help me or them. That’s why I make it a point to congratulate folks when they have a hit. For now I have the perfect rationalization for not keeping up — I’m still working. I won’t have that excuse when I hang it up at the end of 2015–start of 2016, so I’d better get pumped to produce, LOL. Also important is the fact that we are individuals with our own approach. I certainly feel I’m different from everyone else and I’ve made a conscious business decision to do it my way. So how can I be envious of someone else who does things their own unique way? I made my choice, so I either live with it or reinvent. That understanding, more than anything else keeps the monster at bay. It’s my monster and I own it.

    • Renee Rose 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      That’s so beautiful, Rollin! If we didn’t celebrate our own unique individuality, we’d have nothing to celebrate at all!! And the more you write what YOU love, from your heart, the greater the chance of your success.

  • Jaye Peaches 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    Does the green-eyed monster visit me… well, my nose would be touching the screen if I said no. Sometimes it’s an awareness of others’ productivity – do they type in their sleep? Other times its the excellent writing quality or the plot, or originality of characters, and of course, sales. However, I don’t feel I’m competing. I try to see my community of fellow writers as my teachers. I can learn from them, celebrate their successes and hope something rubs off on me. When the envy lurks, I remind myself I write because I enjoy it. It’s that simple and I shouldn’t over complicated it, and as Rollin says, go with what works for me.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      I like the idea of looking at our community as teachers. That’s a great way to think about it, and we have a great community–wonderful and supportive.

  • Kelly Dawson 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    What a great post, Renee!
    I haven’t been jealous of anyone else’s success yet because I’m only just starting out in this, but once I’ve got a few more books out I can certainly see the potential for jealousy to creep in. At the moment, I find others successes inspiring and encouraging. Long may that feeling last!

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      Yes– stay with that sense of excitement over your fabulous accomplishments this year!

  • Megan Michaels 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    I think we all have moments of this–I have definitely have felt twinges of this. I quickly right myself — I used to tell my kids, we all have our chance at the top, and we all start at the bottom. So, you cheer the people at the top because they are your friends and you want your friends to be happy. And when it is your chance, you would want people to be genuinely happy for you too. So treat them the way you want people to treat you when your day comes and work hard to get there.

    I love watching everyone and thinking, God that’s exciting, maybe in two to four years, I’ll be able to do that. I can dream LOL. But, this was a great post, and I think we appreciate you opening the door for discussion.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      I love that you told your kids that. I will remember that when my kids are getting stuck in lack! Thank you.

  • Angie Sargenti 15 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    Hi, Renee! I have gotten jealous a time or two when I thought some people were doing better than me, but I try not to be that way. I guess I’m doing all right with my writing. I just wrote a YA novel, and I’m trying to get an agent/get published. I think it is my best work to date. I hope you continue to enjoy success for years to come!
    Angie S.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      Good for you!! I’m so excited for your YA novel. I’m working on one too. 🙂 Good luck with the agent/publishing!

  • dee palmer 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    I’m really new to self publishing and writing. Hadn’t written anything remotely creative since school but read in one authors bio that she just had this desire to write and did. I read a lot now and wanted to write something I like to read…not necessarily better., I read a great deal of amazing books..I wanted to write something that I would enjoy and yes given my chosen genre it can easily be seen as ‘jumping on that ol’ bandwagon’. But if I didn’t enjoy it it why would I bother…I wasn’t hoping for sales though they have come…I wanted something for me, not as an appendage of what I am, mother, wife etc so I don’t get jealous. I do get irritated at the sense of entitlement that seems a little too prevalent…no-one owes me anything and everyone reads a different book so not everyone is going to gush over what I do…and despite my hubby shitting himself that I would crack at the first troll I’m good…loved this article btw xdee

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      So glad you’re writing what you love and that the sales have come, too. Sounds like you are perfectly in the flow of it.

  • Celeste Jones 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    Great post and so honest. Thanks.

    I don’t know if I get jealous (okay…I do) but more than that, I sometimes feel discouraged when I read a really poorly written book—totally amateurish—and it sells like crazy while my book might be limping along. It makes me think I ought to just bang out 40K of telling vs showing full of head hopping and repeated words and see what happens.

    But, if I did that…I’d do it under another name.

    When a book flops, it’s aggravating because it’s hard to know why. Or you think that maybe the first few that were successes might have been flukes. But then I think about great actors or actresses…even Tom Hanks has had a flop or two along the way. I think when things aren’t going well, it’s easier to become envious.

    I think it’s important to embrace what makes your writing unique. My books aren’t the hottest or the deepest, but when I get a review that says “I was thoroughly entertained and laughed out loud several times” I feel great.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      Yes– there’s just no way to understand why one book flops and another succeeds. You’re right, embracing your own writing is the only way to go!

  • Ella Dominguez 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

    Such a great post. I too have felt the ugly effects of jealousy. So much so that I’ve had to remove author friends from my feed so that I wouldn’t keep comparing myself to them. It hurts me to even admit that. I struggle with with envy frequently, though I do my best to remind myself how very lucky I am to have such a dedicated following. And I am truly happy for other’s success. Especially if, in some small way, I had a hand in it. By sharing their work. By giving them a tip or piece of advice that helped make things easier for them. Yes, we do need to remind ourselves of our small accomplishments. Thank you so much for this article.

    • Renee Rose 16 / 09 / 2015 Reply

      I agree– I love feeling like I was a “part” of someone else’s success– if I beta read or shared, etc. That’s another great way to stay in the flow is to engage in acts of support!

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