On the Endless Temptation to Compare

Photo credit: ashleeappendicitius on Flickr
The closer we get to December, the more I've been preparing myself for list season. You know, those end-of-year lists that talk about the "best" or "most underrated" or "most memorable" etc. etc. books across various categories. The YA world has a ton of them.

Every year up until now, I've seen authors remind themselves and others not to pay much attention to list season. There are often tweets about how not getting picked for a list doesn't mean your book is bad, or unmemorable, or doomed to failure or whatever—the truth is, a lot of really great books get left off lists every year.

Of course, this is the first year where that advice actually will apply to me.

In a way it's interesting—we writers have to remind ourselves not to compare ourselves to others all the time even before we get published or agented. We have to remember that one person's writing speed isn't our own, that just because someone got published at sixteen doesn't mean you suck because you didn't, that not being able to "win" NaNoWriMo doesn't make you lesser than those who do, that not making that pitch contest, or getting a pitch request or, or, or, or—

You get the idea. Now that I am published, however, there's a whole new list of things where I have to remind myself not to compare. Advances, number of contracted books, bestseller lists, review averages on Goodreads and Amazon and Barnes & Noble, sales ranks on the latter two, royalties, marketing budgets, shelf and endcap and table placement, presence in stores, features on big websites, starred and professional reviews, tours and conference appearances, marketing budgets, publishers—the temptation to compare and avenues to do so are truly endless.

But sometimes, we need to take a deep breath and remind ourselves of what we have accomplished. Of where we have gotten recognition. Because while it's super easy to forget, when you sit down and make a list or at least give yourself time to consider it, it really can be all the encouragement you need to tell the side of you that wants to compare to be quiet and feel awesome about things you should feel proud about.

So here's my quick book and writing-related list for 2016:

  • Saw my debut face-out at B&N
  • Did a mini-tour and spoke at an SCBWI conference like a pro
  • Was featured as a local author at two B&Ns during B-Fest where I sat at a table with a stack of my books and hand sold my debut
  • Sold my debut's two sequels, which will be published in Fall 2017 and 2018
  • Wrote two new manuscripts and am nearly done with my third
  • And, most recently: Beyond the Red made Buzzfeed's "Ultimate YA Book Gift Guide for 2016" (!!!!)

For my writing and book stuff, at least, 2016's been a good year so far—something I'll be reminding myself of every time the temptation to compare arises. 

Now I want to hear from you: what writing-related things have you accomplished this year? What are you proud of?

Twitter-sized bites:

Feeling tempted to compare yourself to other writers? Author @Ava_Jae blogs on the endless temptation to compare. (Click to tweet
What writing things have you accomplished this year? What are you proud of? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...