Thursday, June 13, 2013

Are You Jealous of Your Friends

Last month I wrote a post about friends being jealous of you. For whatever reason. I dealt mainly with the issue of "real life" friends because I've been in real life mode for the last couple of months.

But one day last week I decided to finally troll the blogs and see what I was missing. I'm not going to say this was a big mistake, but it was certainly an eye-opener for me and my feelings.

See, I always wanted to be published by Avon. They have a line that my books would fit into. But after a couple of rejections, and a couple more years of writing, and being on the blogs, I realized that wasn't going to happen. So I decided to self- publish.

I don't regret my decision at all. Self-publishing, albeit a decided learning curve, was the best way to go for me.

That being said, when I was cruising the blogs, I couldn't believe how many people got contracts, agents, deals that were announced in Publisher's Weekly. It was enough to make this grown woman cry. I didn't, but I sort of wanted to.

I'll admit, I'm jealous. I don't know if I would have done anything differently over the last few years. I like that I'm in control of my books. I can make corrections and revise any time I want. I can price my books any way I want. I can take them off sale if I want.

Being with a publisher, you can't do that. You get one shot to make a great story. You get one shot to impress an agent. You get one shot to promote that book and then it's over. On to the next. But you know there's someone behind you, helping you, pulling for you, making great covers for you, editing for you.

And yes, I have a great cover designer. And yes, I have beta readers and critique partners who are the bomb and totally made of win. And yes, I have friends who will listen to me whine, or congratulate me when I publish another masterpiece (lol). But, no matter what, it's still just me. I'm the woman behind the machine. If it all goes south, it's my fault.

And I think that's what I'm jealous of. If I go south, there's nobody to blame but me. If I had an agent and the shit hit the fan, I could blame her. (Because you know it wouldn't be my fault.) If the cover was lousy, I could blame the designer. If the ms. had typo's, I could blame the copywriter or the printer or whoever.

In self-publishing, there's no one to blame but yourself if you make a mistake. There's no one to blame if you don't market and promote. There's no one to blame if you have a crappy cover.

And I guess that's what I'm jealous of. I have no one to blame for my ineptness except me. That's a hard pill to swallow when you're trying to make it into the bigs.

But, I think I'll get over it. I just won't read blogs anymore. That way I won't see what my friends are doing. Yeah, sure, I'm happy for them. (Honestly.) But jealousy is an insidious monster and takes over when you're not looking. I don't want to be that way.

So, I guess I'll just Keep Calm and Carry On doing what I'm doing, writing and self-publishing.

Tell me -- Are you jealous of your writer friends who get ____________ (fill in the blank).

Robynne Rand (c) 2013


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I have come to the conclusion that, despite all our stellar efforts, lightning will strike where it will.

Getting an agent or a publisher is not the Golden Fleece. If you do not sell well, the agent and/or publisher will drop you. Ouch.

Your published books will stay on the shelves only a micro-season, and then be swept away for a new crop of titles.

eBooks stay on the cyber-shelves forever. All it takes is for you to sizzle with one great seller, and your readers will check to see if you have any more books.


There will be your lightning as you have a substantial backlist.

The grass may be greener on the other side of the "Good Luck" fence, but you don't have to mow it! :-)

Robynne Rand said...

And you know how much I love to mow my grass! lol

I think the secret to self-publishing is to have as many reviews up on your book as soon as you upload. I'm still sitting with the same reviews as I pretty much started with.

My next book will have at least 10 before I publish. I think that's the only way for lightning to really strike.

Anonymous said...

If I may offer my opinion, I don't think multiple reviews are the key. No one trusts them anymore. Reviews have been exposed for their ugly truth as mostly written by family and friends, or fellow writers seeking a kind review in exchange. (Not to mention the ugly underbelly of the paid review industry.) The only thing I trust as a reader is my own knowledge of the author's style, voice and ability to write a captivating story. This makes those first few free pages and/or chapters so critically important.

Liza said...

Such a hard topic. I try my best just to compare me with me. I know...doesn't make sense. But we KNOW there will always be someone better than us, so making comparisons will always be bad for morale. All we can request of ourselves is to do OUR best. And if our best isn't good enough, then we need to keep trying until it is...until we achieve the goal we set for ourselves. You set a challenging goal to self-publish and it sure seems like you've got that mastered! If you are happy with the path you have chosen, then that is what matters. But if you are feeling like you need something different, maybe it is time to re-assess your goals?

Robynne Rand said...

Anonymous -- Yes, I see your point. Reviews are not what they used to be, nor do they mean what they should. 99% of the reviews on my books are from readers, not people I know. But still, it would be nice to have a few more. I used to ask for them and never got them. So I stopped doing that. I don't know. I guess I'm still learning to figure out the business.

Robynne Rand said...

Liza -- I don't know if I have to reassess, more like get my act together. I enjoy self-publishing, it's the only way to go.

However, real life has thrown me a couple of curve balls of late and I miss my writing life. A LOT! Soon I'll get back to it. I hope.