I love this blog post by urban fantasy writer Stacia Kane about how people react differently to you once you’re published.
Honestly, I thought I was just being paranoid. I’ve never heard it put so clearly before. The context is how it’s hard for a writer to publicly review other author’s books once they themselves get published, but the experience she describes applies to most authors from the big six NY publishing houses, I reckon. Although let me say that I am so glad that I am published by a major New York house. It has changed my life for the better in many ways. But…
You have no idea how lonely writing is until you’ve done it. Especially not after you’re published. Especially not after you’re NY published, and most especially after people seem to think you’re actually successful, when everything you say is scrutinized and people don’t know how to respond to you or simply don’t understand where you’re coming from. Suddenly enemies pop out of the woodwork; people you’ve somehow upset or offended without knowing how, people who think you’re a crazed egotist.
I know that I was completely blindsided by any sort of reaction to me, especially since I had no warm-up period. I was just a blogger who suddenly had a book deal before I had written an actual book. I don’t think at that time I had ever even met a published author before, much less thought of myself as one.
I have the following happen all the time. Note to all aspiring writers: If I’m giving you advice, it’s because I like you. Really, really.
You offer someone advice and they snap and get defensive. Someone else says the exact same thing and they’re thanked.
You ask an innocent question and it’s taken as berating. You answer someone’s question, thinking maybe you can help, and suddenly everyone thinks you’re totally full of yourself and are swanning around like you know everything. They resent you for it. They go out of their way to slam you for it.
This is why we published writers cling to each other like Grim Death:
You talk to your husband or your best friend or whatever, and they help. But you know who actually understands? The only people who actually fully understand, the people who can confirm for you that you actually haven’t changed and aren’t being an egotistical shithead? That it’s not you, it happens to everyone? Other writers.