Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bitterness Isn't Sexy

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post about humility being sexy. Today, a little time on the flip-side with what isn't sexy.

The writing/publishing world is an easy one to get bitter in. No matter our route and no matter where we are in our journey, there's always someone who's gone further faster, gotten more, done better.

A fellow querying writer who gets a gazillion requests on a derivative story with a so-so query while you can't get a peep out of agents.

A fellow self-publisher who races to #1 on the charts without seeming to lift a finger.

A fellow agented author whose novel sells in days while your agent has been shopping your second manuscript for six months after striking out with the first.

A fellow published author who gets the red-carpet treatment from their publisher while you have to pound the pavement yourself if anyone's even going to hear about your book.

So what do we do about it?

Some people send nasty replies to agents' form rejections. Some leave bad reviews on their "competitions'" books. Some just plain badmouth their peers. Some chat-bomb Twitter events that industry professionals have given up their scant free time to host and do little more than spew venom.

What good did any of that ever do anyone? I have a hard time believing it even makes the perpetrator feel better—not in any real way.

Here's what it's not going to do: Endear you to other writers. Or agents. Or editors.

Or readers.

Did you notice something in the list I gave earlier? All those people are supposed to be our "fellows." How about we treat them like it? We can be happy for them while hoping to soon be a bit happier for ourselves.

If nothing else, it's got to be better for your mental health.


Suzie F. said...

I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I hear ya! Your timing was as today I got yet another query rejection and noticed an ERROR on page 3 of my MS. But taking it out on everyone else is just bad karma.

Anonymous said...

GAH! Your timing was PERFECT, I meant *sigh*

Feaky Snucker said...

This post is sexy. <3

E.B. Black said...

It is very easy to get bitter in the publishing industry.

I have no problem feeling happy for my peers who have achieved more than me. Usually I look up to them and try to emulate them.

But lately, I've run into people who make threats and bully other people using their success as a weapon and it disturbs me.

It's so tempting to get bitter when you see people behaving that way.