In high school it was who had better clothes, better hair, a cooler car, the hottest boyfriend.
I couldn’t wait to exit the rat race, but life is life and people are people. No matter what age, we will compare ourselves to one another. And most of the time we’re the ones that come up wanting, by our own estimation.
There a million ways to shortchange yourself as a writer. There’s always someone with more marketing dollars, someone who got a better deal, a cover that you covet, a tour you didn’t get to go on. We can check our Amazon ratings against someone else, compare shelf-adds on Goodreads — and that’s without mentioning reviews.
It’s very easy to go down this rabbit hole. A writer can’t use any social media without being highly aware of a book other than theirs that is getting a lot of attention.
And that’s fine.
As a librarian I can say that there are plenty of reluctant readers that need one particular book to flick the switch in their brain that turns reading from a chore into a joy. It only takes one to change their minds – and if it’s not mine, that’s okay. The one book that turns them into a reader has done a service. Once the transformation from non-reader to reader takes place, there’s always the option that mine might be picked up next.
Writers need to be aware of that when we feel a little stab of jealousy when massive exposure is being doled out – and not always in our direction. The book that’s plastered everywhere may not be ours, but it’s creating hundreds – possibly thousands – of readers.
And that’s a wider potential audience for everyone.