It’s Monday morning and I have about six million unopened e-mails. While I’m scrolling through deciding which to answer and which I’m going to…ignore for a while, I open the Girlfriends Book Club e-mail proposing what we talk about this cycle: promotion and agents and editors.
I have a lot to say about those two things (what author doesn’t) but what hit me first weren’t thoughts on BookBub versus BookSends or whether I think agents have a role in today’s marketplace.
My first thought was author envy. How did I make that leap you may ask? Well, I wouldn’t need promotion or an agent or editor if I was, say THE Number One fBestseller of the moment shoveling money into the bank faster than I could count it. The books would sell themselves. Agents and editors would be coming to me.
I’m not that author. We’d all know if I was. You wouldn’t be able to walk down the street, much less through a mall without seeing Sylvie Fox splashed on every flat surface ever created.
Do I envy that author?
Hell yes I do.
The naked truth: I’m not alone.
Every author I’ve ever spoke with has author envy. If you don’t believe me, ask them. We all look at other writers and know the grass not just greener, but Scotland golf course greener, on their side.
It’s not the Stephen Kings or J.K Rowlings that I envy most of the time. Why not? Because they’re harnessing lightning in a bottle. I understand talent meeting luck. Not everyone gets lucky.
It’s more about looking around at your peers. And thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever before.
My mind started down that evil little rabbit hole of author comparison early this morning because well-known author A was online complaining because she only sold nineteen thousand books in the last second, where it’s normally twenty-two thousand a second, and she wanted to know if there was a glitch with the Amazon KDP dashboard.
Author B signed a gazillion dollar nineteen book deal with every one of the Big 5 publishers, and anyone could duplicate his success he said, if they tried hard enough.
I dutifully logged into my sales channels to find I hadn’t sold nineteen or twenty-two thousand and no there seeming glitch with my reporting. And there were no seven figure offers in my e-mails. So I had my green-eyed moment, then got the hell off Facebook.
It can go on from there, whose got what deal, or what sales, or what spectacular editor that you don’t. It’s not that I really want what they have (because then maybe I’d have been pursuing it), but every announcement forces me to realize that I make choices every day, closing one door, opening another. But it’s marathon through a maze with an unknown ending.
This is the unvarnished truth about an author’s day. Sure I’m thinking about promo and checking on A/B testing I’m doing on Facebook ads. Yes I’m considering the ethics of an agent who isn’t submitting for a client. But many days those things take a back seat to wondering what every other author is doing and how she or he is doing it better than me.
I know they’re not being successful at me, but I want what’s seemingly beyond my reach nonetheless. I’ve only found one way to combat this: go back to writing. It’s the fun part.
Oh, and stay the heck off social media.
Sylvie Fox is the author of In Plain Sight (fall 2015), Qualified Immunity and The Good Enough Husband. She’s also the author of Unlikely, Impasse, and Shaken from the first two books in the sexy, contemporary L.A. Nights series. Don’t Judge Me, and The Secret Widow from the Judgment series. When she’s not battling traffic on the freeways of Los Angeles, she’s eating her way through Budapest.