Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yes I am a little jealous...

While trolling one of my favourite american agent blogs (Kristin Nelson at ) i read this:-

5 Ways That Another Author's Career Can Sideline Yours by US Agent Deidre Knight--and we don't mean because they're more successful!Here’s the big secret: the power for those authors to harm your career is all inside of YOU!
1) Don't compare yourself to other authors. Every career, no matter if same agent, same editor, or same house, is unique. Comparison derails you with jealousy and can be toxic in a variety of ways
2) Looking at your friends careers and growing impatient. This is a long haul business and we have seen new authors who rush too hard to get projects out that should have been edited more. Don't kneecap yourself by worrying about your friend's recent deal.
3) Don't decide your career is like anyone else's. Your career is unique to you. A doctor can't treat you based on a friend's illness. Dig in, focus on what you need to do and forget everyone else. Write the books.
4) Soliciting advice from a committee of friends. If an Agent brings you an offer--make your decision with your agent. Don't poll your pals about the contract, your cover, you name it. Don't feel every facet of your career is for public consumption.
5) Be careful with your online presence. Don't join in blog dramas or controversies. If authors are in feud, float above. Be careful how you choose industry friends and use your instincts about who might be toxic and who is not.

I often read about do's and don'ts and dealings with agents, publishers and editors but it was interesting to see this list of ways a writer can get unintentionally sidetracked by other authors. I have myself previously acknowledged that every author's career path seems to be unique and that this makes it difficult to give good advice to other authors. I have had experiences that no one else has had. No one could tell me the best way to deal with these things and I've had to muddle through on my own. And I don't know if there would be any benefit in sharing this experience with other's. It probably won't happen that way for you. And I DO look at what has happened to my writer friends. I am guilty of being impatient for my own work when I see what has happened to other writers I know. I want to sell my next work before its completed because thats what my friend did. And no she wasn't famous the first time it happened (okay maybe she was a bit famous when it happened subsequent times). And why doesn't the publisher ring me the day after a submission having read my work overnight because I know thats happened to other people. And if i read again how the usual time frame is a year from submission to book on shop shelf I will scream! I so admire the achievements of my friends but i can't help comparing my career with theirs.

Children's writers are a very supportive, kind, and generous bunch, more so perhaps than writers in other genres but as Deidre points out, the problem isn't actually with the other writers, its with me. I think there is a lot of truth in what Ms Knight says but of course i want that same success that he/she is having with their books. I don't think I'll ever stop wanting a faster, easier run at getting published. I don't think I'll stop dreaming about getting a yes the day after a submission. But i won't let those dreams and desires keep me from writing my stories, submitting them and then submitting them to someone else and submitting them again if need be. I'd rather sell my new story now so I know its worth doing the work to complete it but i know I'll finish it anyway. And I'll keep muddling through my own unique set of circumstances as they happen. And I'll keep reporting on what happens to me just in case something similar happens to you and there's something useful in my experience that helps you. I'll still ask my writing pals for advice. And I'll keep reading about the experiences of other authors. Sometimes I feel a little jealous but I am also encouraged and bouyed up by their news. Its still great to be a part of that community.

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