As I was recently networking with some new virtual friends, the subject of book sharing with reviews came up, in the “authors helping authors” line of thinking. Then another author piped in about review swapping and “Author Jealousy Syndrome.”
As a new author, I admit to ignorance of such an issue. It was described to me as a successful author “get taken down a notch” by others purposefully posting bad reviews over jealousy. What? Do people beyond the fourth grade really do this?
As I’ve written in the past, it irks me that readers post bad reviews and admit to not finishing the book. I saw this done many times on Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” so I didn’t post a review until I took in every tedious word of the famous mega-novel. As I read the bad reviews, jealousy didn’t come to my mind. Most of it looked like readers who became frustrated with the book early on.
As I ponder jealousy in the writing industry, I’ve felt emotional pain of feeling let down, anger at a bad review by a reader as mentioned above, much frustration at the publishing industry as a whole, but jealousy? Who am I supposed to be jealous of? J.K. Rowling? Well, sure, like who’s not jealous of her to some extent, and that group need not be Harry Potter readers. Success and wealth continue to be the dreams of many, so it makes sense that some jealousy will be felt for those of us not so fortunate.
Are new authors jealous of each other? I’ve never seen this outright. Most writer groups that I belong to go the other way around, with continuous back-slapping, virtual hand shaking, sharing tweets, and featuring each other in the blogosphere. If any of them are jealous of each other, perhaps I’m blind to this or fortunate enough to be in virtual groups that focus on positivity.
New authors, we have plenty to do, which includes writing our own work. Who has time for jealousy? Better question, who has the energy? An author becomes successful, that’s great, but to what degree? Success to one author is a beginning to another. While I dislike being brushed off, I’d find it as hard to believe that another author would be jealous of me, as I would be jealous of another writer. Jealousy amongst writers may be out there, but to me, our energy is better focused on our creativity and sharing as appropriate. Jealousy rarely brings out the best in any of us.