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How to Be Happy for Your Friends' Publishing Successes (When you Feel Left Behind)

Jealousy. We've all become familiar with the feeling. How the same friend, who is the same age as you (or younger), who attended the same conferences at you, went to the same classes, read the same books ... hits it big.

Maybe they got a contract.

Maybe they got a BIG contract, with a nice juicy advance.

Maybe they got a movie deal.

Maybe they got all three.

And you? Didn't.

You bite your lower lip, clench your fist. How did this happen? You put in the same amount of work. Why did they hit it big—seemingly without any effort on their part—and you ... didn't?

I cannot fix the situation for you. In the same way that I cannot fix the situation for myself.

But I can help guide you through the right way to cheer on your friend, even when you feel as though you're drowning in the unfairness of it all.

Step One: Remember, Nothing Comes Easily in Publishing

"But my friend had this major deal land in her lap!"

"Her agent does all the work for her, and meanwhile, I've gotten all my own deals."

"I've had to claw my way up, while he gets to take the easy road."

I know, I know. I've heard it all before. I've FELT it all before.

It can often seem like they put in no effort whatsoever and that the Lord chose a writer to bestow all the success in the publishing world. But nothing comes easily. We don't see how many irons they have in the fire. How many of their previous WIP never got off the shelf. How many hours they toiled over projects.

Go into every situation with the assumption that they had to tooth-and-nail their way through everything. Social media lies, and we have no idea how much hurt they endured before they got here.

Step Two: Remember Your Wedding Day

If you've had one. I haven't.

Former brides, groomsmen ... when you had your wedding, did you have that one friend who sighed and looked forlorn as you traipsed down the aisle? They complained the whole reception about how they'd never find "the one."

And how did that make you feel?

Annoyed? Irritated? Why-can't-they-be-happy-for-me-I-worked-so-hard-for-this?

Even if you've never married, you can probably imagine a time where you achieved a great success. And where you ran into a friend who looked like they had a raincloud hung above their head. "Oh. Great work." Their voice drained of color. "I just wish I had gotten it too."

You get the point.

If we want others to celebrate us, we have to celebrate with them.

Step Three: Remember, You Could Be This Person for Someone Else

Perhaps I am that person for you. You see my publications, my bio, and perhaps you think, "Wow. She's made it."

First of all, no. My audience definitely does not buy enough of my books for me to have "made it" anywhere.

But secondly, even if they had—I certainly don't feel like I've made it. I feel like a loser most of the time. An imposter. A fake.

And most of my friends in publishing—successful or not—feel the same way.

We all have SOMEONE who we wish we could be. And we never get "there."

So have grace, have understanding, and know that we all feel jealousy from time to time for one another.


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