She Writes Novels, I Write Blogs…Should I Be Jealous?

I’ve got a friend who’s a nationally-known, successful novelist.  Let’s call her WF for WriterFriend. WF doesn’t use twitter or Facebook, although her agent suggested WF should start. WF has a Web site, but she doesn’t handle the content. When WF writes, she working on her books. She’s working on her fourth or fifth novel. WF is a very sweet woman. I value our friendship which isn’t based on writing. There’s no competition between us. So when she told me her agent had taken her to dinner the other night I lost it, at least the space behind my eyeballs was seeing red. I also felt a bit blue. Like the saying: the rich get richer and the poor get poorer WF has the luxury to work on her novels because she has an agent and a publisher. She’s got help to promote her book. She, therefore, can focus her attention on writing. I, on the other hand, spend most of my time focused on SM. There’s no time or energy at the end of the day for me to focus on the novel I started several months ago.

Question: Should I feel jealous? Does my WF have a better deal because she has the luxury to focus on a singular purpose – her next novel. This gives WF the satisfaction to see her work progressing. WF knows at the end of the process she’s got an agent to shop the work and an editor to promote in. And me? I can’t focus on one project. I need to manage and grow my presence on the Web. I admit I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learn how to set up the different SM sites, and everyday I manage content. I also SUFFER all the frustrations that come with these things. In addition to these practical aspect I am expanding my horizons by the people I am connecting with on the ‘Net.

In terms of dollars WF is in a more secure position. I’m still throwing money at things like Web site promotion, sending complimentary books for PR purposes, etc. I haven’t seen a positive income stream yet, and have no idea what, if any, the potential is.

Is WF more successful?  WF has direct evidence that with the help of her agent and editor she can sell books and receives royalty payments. I’m still at the starting line in terms of sales of my first book. I still wondering if SM was the right choice. Maybe I was too impatient and should have looked harder for a publisher? One thing I CAN claim that WF cannot is that I am part of the ‘Net community. I’ve got my own tribe, and others who are supporting me everyday.  Am I in a better position? You might say I am. After all, the traditional publishing world is reported to be struggling to keep their market share. Instead of committing myself to the establishment, I chose to take a chance on the new frontier. While WF writes and relies on her agent and publisher to work the angles, I’m working with SM to make connections and establish associations and friendships that, I hope, will serve me well in the future. Of course, WF has hard data that demonstrates what works. At the moment I only have testimonials for the promise of the future.

While WF is working inside her protective bubble, I’m working with a ‘Net. She is a writer and I am a tweeter, FB friend, blogger, Web site administrator (here’s hoping I can get my new indie-hosted site up and running soon). I’m a writer who hopes to soon have  more time to devote to a new manuscript.

So who’s better off? It depends on what you want. How you define success? What your definition of writer is.  I do a lot of writing on my blogs. I’m writing tweets and FB posts every day. Is that writing? How important are the connections I’m making both now and in the future? It also depends on whether SM is a here to stay phenomenon or just a technology bubble.

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4 Comments

Filed under agents, book, cost, editors, on writing, social media, success, writing

4 responses to “She Writes Novels, I Write Blogs…Should I Be Jealous?

  1. Yeah, but…. WF, were she starting to day with her first novel, would have to do everything you’re doing even if she did get an agent and a publisher. This is SOP these days.

    Plus, imagine you had a full-time, super demanding day job with deadlines, and children still in the home, and were doing everything you were doing to promote your career and write your next book. That’s the situation most of us are in.

    I’m sending out poems every week, keeping short stories in circulation, writing new stories & poems, working on two novel manuscripts that are active plus keeping mental and physical notes for a couple others currently in the file cabinet, writing essays, blogging, tweeting, plus working for a living and keeping tabs on a teenager. Oh, and maintaining a relationship and a house and trying to stay fit.

    That’s the life of an artist and sometimes it seems flat-out impossible. When editors and publishers and agents blog about how more and more responsbility for not only self-promotion but self-editing is shifting to the writer, and how we shouldn’t expect to get paid much, and how we shouldn’t expect to quit our day jobs, I just want to scream. I’m so exhausted. I feel envious of your WF too. But if you don’t have to work at a paying job for a living, you’re a lot luckier than most and, really, are in no position to talk about envy….

    Just some perspective, maybe, if it helps at all….

    • Pam

      As Martin responded to my OMG post: God I would have preferred to read something more cheerful. I guess it’s true that misery loves company because I’d have felt worse if you’d commented that I was just a whiny, writer wanna-be. If you’d had no trouble with publishing. Clearly this is a a difficult time for writers, and I’ve heard for agents and publishers also. I was lucky to start my freelance career as a journalist 15 years ago. The newspaper industry is imploding now. There is little work left. A number of the magazines I wrote for are gone. What I take away from your comments (I’m very glad to have you contribute comments) is: writers should write because they love to write. If a person writes expecting to get published they should also expect to put in a lot of work with possibly no result. All the women in my writer’s tribe are juggling as many plates as you, and carving out time to write. Nearly all the women I know are stretched to the point of breaking. Apparently, this fact hasn’t escaped the rest of the world. I haven’t heard any reference recently to lazy Americans.

  2. Thanks the author for article. The main thing do not forget about users, and continue in the same spirit.

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