Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Others' success doesn't equal your failure

Alright, so yeah. I know it's Tuesday and everyone else will be blogging their lovely teasers, but not me today!

YA is thriving right now. I think everyone pretty much knows that, but in case you need proof, there's the fact that Harper Teen was willing to give a seven figure advance to a debut YA trilogy. Things like this should be an awesome thing, for those of us who love reading--and writing--YA.

But sometimes, I think we forget that because someone else got something--be it an agent, a book deal, or even a crazy scary huge advance--it doesn't mean we won't get it too. You can't waste all your time seething at others for being successful. It doesn't benefit you. That hate doesn't make your book better (in fact, it's quite possible it makes it worse...) Does it really make you feel better to make snarky comments about what a book you haven't read will 'probably' be like, based solely on your opinion that all popular books suck? It shouldn't. Because they don't.

If you feel you deserve it as much--or more--than whoever has it, then prove it. Work hard. Write an amazing book. Won't successes of your own feel better than moaning about the successes of others?

This blog post is probably crossing into a territory where it sounds like a rant, but it's not, actually. More like tough love.

Be excited, because each success only helps YA thrive more. And isn't that really in all of our best interests?


Krista Ashe said...

It's funny you wrote this because there's a thread over in Purgatory about jealousy between writers. I think it's a fine line you have to walk. And it's especially hard when you've been struggling to be 100% happy for someone. We're only human. I know I'm stoked when writer peeps make it through, but there's always that little nagging voice of "WHY NOT ME?"

But I like the message that just b/c it has happened it for someone else doesn't mean it won't happen, and you can't lose sight of that. It's tough to stay positive, but ya gotta keep hope!

Lee Bross said...

We talked about this earlier, but I will say it here too, This is a good thing for all writers! If a publisher is willing to take a chance on a DEBUT writer like that, then bonus for those of us not quite there yet!

People who begrudge someone who gets that elusive 6 or 7 figure deal are only hurting themselves. As writers we should cheer because the next one could be one of us! It opens up more doors, the word gets out even further, YA is hot, go buy it, go read it.

This in turn helps all of us.

It makes me sad when people jump all over a debut writer who lands an awesome 6 or 7 figure contract and they feel the need to put down the writing they have no right to judge. Feel like that author has no right to it. WTF are you to decide that. Obviously it was good enough for an agent AND publisher to take a huge bet on.

If it makes people feel better to be bitter, fine. Just don't expect anyone around to cheer for you when if you finally sell your book. And if its for 6 or 7 figures, expect people to put down your writing too. Its only fair, right?

Kaitlin Ward said...

Good point that we are only human!! Of course, as long as the nagging voice stays a nagging voice and doesn't turn into a raging green monster, it's probably ok ;)

Kaitlin Ward said...

Lee: I think your comment is better worded than my post LOL

Kristin Miller said...

Great post, Kaitlin. It's only natural to feel a bit of envy when someone gets the Golden Ticket, but to let that little bit of envy turn into the green-eyed monster is ridiculous. Be mature, be happy for your fellow writers. There are great opportunities in YA.

Michelle Schusterman said...

Yup. A twinge of jealousy is natural, but judging these books that aren't even in print yet - that's ridiculous. Nothing but love for all those who have scored deals, big or small.

Phoebe said...

I think writers put a lot of pressure on themselves to ARRIVE, FULLY FORMED, with HUGE BOOK DEALS. We tend to mythologize those stories. But you know who else just announced a big book deal? Maggie Stiefvater, who just got nearly seven figures for a four book deal. Which just goes to show that hard work over time can pay off, too--and if you don't make it Biggie McHuge on your first book deal, there's still plenty of time to carve out some success for yourself, too. No need to rush--and no need to be petty about the success of other people, either.

Kate Hart said...

What's that quote about "resentment is like drinking poison hoping it will kill someone else"?

I had no idea about Maggie, that's fab!

Nice post, Kaitlin. Success isn't finite. One person's win doesn't make your personal fail... and if you think it does, it might be time to reassess your own efforts.

*looks in mirror*
*sticks tongue out at unfinished draft*

Emilia Plater said...

"While you're carrying a grudge, they're out dancing." Buddy Hackett :D

Chanelley said...

Definitely agree with this, Kaitlin.

Kathy Bradey said...

Super post! Hearing about other peoples success doesn't make me bitter, it gives me hope :) I'm still reeling from the fact that there are other people like me who can't live without writing (I always thought I was a weirdo lol), so I think it's cool to support other writers who have earnt their success.

John Rea-Hedrick said...


This is just what every writer needs to hear!

As writers we need to remember reading and writing isn't a zero sum game. One writer's success doesn't mean there's less success to go around for the rest of us. I agree with Lee, news like this can only help all of us. It’s encouraging to know that publishers still regard ANY writing highly enough to back it with $,$$$,$$$. Obviously, publishers won't be forking over too many seven figure deals, so in a way it sort of takes the pressure off the rest of us.

I'd happily settle for six figures myself.


Kirsten Hubbard said...


Kaitlin Ward said...

Thanks everyone for your totally rockin' comments <3