This week I have been suffering with an affliction known as poison sumac. Not to be confused with poison ivy, sumac is a woody plant, and in my case it was a tree-size. I encountered it during a rescue mission on a 50-year-old-farm and because there were no leaves, I mistook the vile thing for a popular tree and promptly dug it up and then rescued a bucket load of daffodils scattered around it.
I told the doctor, all of my itching is worth the discomfort.
As someone who can dig poison oak without so much as a blemish, this affliction both surprised me and had me sitting at the doctor’s office begging for a shot.(and pills and cream). Back home, I sat on the couch I replayed a conversation with an author friend of mine. She is a veteran author who has written for several esteemed magazines and recently released a charming book. However, like me, she has encountered quite a bit of what I call jealousy.
This year, as an effort to encourage readers to shop local, sustain local booksellers in the community, and feed starving authors (including myself), I am writing a quarterly newsletter featuring up to four books. Featured authors do not know I am choosing them and I have not been paid to write about them. In most cases, I haven’t personally met the author.
I provide that back story, because I recently learned that some authors have crossed their arms, pooched out their lips and are pouting. Yes, the jealous authors who-I’d bet money-don’t even know me, nor have they taken the time to know me.
Jealousy, you see, is like those tiny blisters on my arms. Jealousy starts small, with a pooched out mouth. Then it begins to itch. So we scratch it.
I included all four authors in the email mailing of my newsletter and those authors shared my newsletter with their readers. I don’t use a secondary carrier. Instead I paste the newsletter in my blog, AND, I send the newsletter in a personal email to the readers I have met during my years of traveling. (FYI: Your contact information is always safe with me).
Shouting out the books others have written is what I do. Again, I invest my time, for free. Here is an example of my blog posting last year featuring Susan, Jolina, Ann, and Karen. None knew of my plans. No compensation for my work. My newsletter is my gift, a valuable one, to my readers.
However . . .
Like the sumac blisters, jealousy festers. It collects and annoys until one either must scratch, or explode. Imagine my surprise when I learned that my most recent newsletter, this week, sparked an email from an unhappy author.
Yes. It. Did.
Not from the authors I featured, but one I did not.
I am writing to her today. No one shared your name with me but you need to know this. Lean in close because this is important. You do not understand how badly jealousy is damaging your career.
There. I said it. You are sabotaging your career.
I am not “always” promoting one particular author. I am promoting authors who have written books I like.
Lean in again. Support others. Be nice.
Readers who know me trust my opinion. I read several genres and you-missus unnamed author- must understand that we authors are in a big old gumbo pot together.
We are not in a competition. There are plenty of readers out there. That is why I pick several different types of books. I do not surround myself with people who read only what I read.
I want to grow. I want to be better every day. I want to be a better writer and a better friend. I want to make a positive impact on this earth. Most of all I want to help people.
Now I ask how did your remarks benefit you?
Did your remarks about another author make a reader want to buy your book?
Did your remarks about me want anyone want to help you sell your book?
Again, let me whisper. Stop it my colleague. Just stop.
Don’t scratch the jealousy blisters my friend. Treat them. Cure them. Stop scratching.
And yes, several people are going to think this blog post is harsh. But it is past time that rude and jealous authors be called out. Because here is the truth, I can be that author. We all can. Authors are afraid. We are loosing contracts. Publishers are dropping us. And people think Amazon is making us rich.
It isn’t. None of my author friends are wealthy. None of them.
Jealousy is inside all of us. We are consumed with fear that we aren’t selling enough books. We look at Facebook (which is you believe that hype you should really get a reality check), and we believe that we deserve the same sales as someone else.
We do deserve success. We have worked hard. And that is why I help others. Unprompted. Unsolicited.
If you are an author who has experienced jealousy, do your friend a favor, tell them to stop. Tell them how badly they are hurting you and their own career. Or, just forward them this blog.
If this blog has been forwarded to you it means someone cares enough about you to help. Perhaps the jealousy consuming you is keeping you from attaining the success you crave. If you are wondering why aren’t my books selling? Here is one possible reasons: your attitude toward others.
You can’t act on fear, or jealousy. Instead WRITE A GREAT BOOK. If you have a good book your colleagues will support you, IF you play nice.
Just be nice, or as my grandpa used to say “Be somebody!”
Stop scratching the itch, or soon you will be poisoned with jealousy.
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com I would be honored if you’d download a copy of my work.