Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IWSG - Fear of Losing Friendships



It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

All things considered, I’ve been fortunate on my journey toward publication.  I know this, and I’m grateful.  Very grateful.  But just because I managed to snag a contract doesn’t mean everything is always roses and sunshine.  There’s still a lot to worry about. 

Will my launch go smoothly?  Will anyone participate or even care about my blog tour?  And the big one, of course, will anyone buy my book?  Oh yeah, an even bigger one…if they do buy it, will they like it?  My long fingernails are pretty much a thing of the past now, chewed down to the nub, bleeding and ragged.  But you know, I’ve done all I can.  I can only hope and pray for the best.

But still, there is one thing that concerns me.  When I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I built myself a platform and started this blog.  Most of you have been there and done that. You know how hard it is to start up, build a following, cull new friendships and relationships.  I certainly didn’t go into it expecting all that, yet that’s exactly what I got.  And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by that.  All the new friendships have enriched my life in ways I can’t even begin to explain.  But I can say, it’s all good.  And I don’t want to lose it, any of it.  That’s one of my greatest fears now, my big insecurity.

You see, I’ve noticed a trend in the blogosphere.  Certainly not always, but often enough to be worrisome, once a blogging writer gets their contract and publishes, their readership begins to fall away, their comments diminish.  I imagine it’s because the author has less time to traipse about all the blogs and comment.  I hope that’s the reason, but I don’t intend to find out. 

I will always dedicate a day a two every week to ramble, read, and remark.  What good is my platform if no one is standing around to listen?  All that work, the time spent writing and roaming, down the drain, and just when I need it the most, too.  It’s counterintuitive. 

But as much sense as that makes—to keep up my end of the blogging bargain—I’ve heard from several author friends about how they’ve lost not just followers, but real, true friends—or who they thought were friends anyway—to envy and jealousy.  I can’t imagine any of my friends or followers succumbing to that.  My path has hardly been traditional, and we’re not competing against each other anyway. 

But still, it happens.  I’ve seen it.  And it scares me. 

Just as I’ve learned so much from those who’ve come before me, perhaps I can teach a small thing or two to those who come after.  It’s part of paying it forward.  I just hope there’s still a few around to pay it forward to.   
   

60 comments:

Christine Danek said...

I think it's part of the whole circle of things. This happens with all things and others will be jealous of someone elses success--it's life. I think you need to be true to yourself and do what you believe in. You're real friends/fans will stand by your side.

michelle said...

It's a sad reality that cannot be ignored. I don't think that it's a pre-planned thing, and no-one is to blame, it probably just evolves in that way...
The published writer has less and less time to visit other blogs and the readers/followers feel neglected? Something along those lines?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You know I'll stand by you! And buy your book.
Readership and friendships don't have to fall away. Writing the next book will require some time, but you can maintain your blog and your writing at the same time.
I think that's something I worried about, which is why I've really tried hard to keep going here. And it hasn't been too difficult, as I've made many friends and I want to keep going for them.

Susan Roebuck said...

Good luck with the launch! It'll go fine. You're right in some respects that once the book's out there, you'll have to spend time networking (sigh), but you'll still have time for your blog if that's what you love (I do).

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry to hear that's a problem. I suppose that if an author stops following other blogs and posting infrequently it can happen. Sounds like you're aware of the problem and will try to see it doesn't happen. That's all you can do.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

You have such an honest, lovely way of writing, Nancy that I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. I think it's the people who blog about nothing but their book that get tiresome in the eyes of fellow bloggers.

Kyra Lennon said...

I don't comment here very often, but know that I am always reading!

I too have seen the things you're talking about, and it makes me sad that things like envy get in the way of friendships. Aren't we all doing the same thing, don't we all have the same goals? However, it does happen, but all you can do is know that for everyone who drops away from you, you likely have another ten people who will always be there for you. :D

Liza said...

Oh dear. If you "lose" people due to envy or jealousy, they can't have been very good friends, right? Just keep doing your thing. You seem like a very caring person and that will pay itself forward.

Mark Means said...

I think that's a pretty valid concern, actually, though it may be a 'blessing in disguise'.

Anyone who would quit following you or break a friendship due to your success isn't a true friend to start with.

The real friends and those who truly enjoy following you, and your work, will be there through good and bad.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I am completely jealous and incredibly proud! It's hard to live with!
But...I'm here to stay!
We don't need any fair weather friends around here.
Keep pushing forward!
Heather

JeffO said...

It's funny you should blog on this today, I was thinking about this earlier in the week. Now I'm inspired to write a post of my own on the subject!

The short story is I think there's a natural evolution of your online presence as you go from 'aspiring writer' to 'published (and, hopefully, very successful) author' that changes your audience and who you follow and where and how you spend your time. It's bittersweet, but there are, at least, new friends to meet, and most of the old friends will still remember you well. It is unfortunate, though, that envy/jealousy can get in the way.

Lisa Regan said...

I too think this is a very valid concern. I am always surprised how one person's success brings out the worst in some people! Jealousy among writers is unavoidable sometimes but I think it's all in what you do with it. I prefer to think of us all as trying to reach the top of the same mountain and needing to help one another out as much as possible so that ALL of us can get there! There are readers for everyone! Anyway, you'll always have me! :) You're totally stuck with me now.

Marta Szemik said...

We can't control others actions, just our own. The true friends will remain true--that's who you want to stick around anyways.
Good Luck with the launch!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Another blogger friend of mine posted about this just last month -- how all the people who supported her in her journey vanished as soon as she actually published her book.

I'm not sure what causes it. I started my blog after publishing my first book. We'll see what happens after the second one comes out.

I wonder if it's not always jealousy -- but maybe a little discomfort or embarrassment over obligations regarding the book itself. Let's face it. We have a lot of blogging contacts and a lot of them have books out. We probably don't have the time or moeny to read them all, and all of them won't appeal to us. We still like the blogger, but maybe some people are uncomfortable hanging around when they can't look the writer in the eye (electronically) and say: I read your book and loved it.

I hope that some of my blogging friends will read and love my next book. But I don't expect they all will. People have genre/style preferences and limited budgets. But I hope they don't fade away from my blog and my friendship, because we are all readers and writers and bloggers pushing each other up the hill.

Am I making any sense?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Nancy, when you're ready, let's do a guest blog of some sort on my blog to introduce your book to my readers? I'm very excited for you!

Catherine Stine said...

This is a fear that others feel too. I've published traditionally and also self-pubbed. It's a struggle and a rollercoaster ride either way. Part of being a good, true friend is to find ways to manage one's jealousy and still support author friends with joy and eagerness. Good luck!
Catherine Stine’s Idea City

Talli Roland said...

Hi Nancy! Thanks for following - just followed back! :)

I think it's down to time. I know for me, the realities of being published and having much tighter deadlines have meant that I need to focus more on writing and less on blogging -- or, at least, less time for replying to comments. Also, I do think Twitter and FB are overtaking blogging a bit.

LTM said...

I totally, TOTALLY understand this fear. And I've been feeling it, too. But I think it happens primarily because the writer gets so swamped in writing, editing, etc., that s/he stops visiting as much. I find when I'm out of the loop my comments drop off. But once I'm back, they're all back, too. Maybe that's why using other social media is good? Ugh! But that brings me back to that whole "getting swamped" thing again...

Hang in there, Nancy! You'll do great~

Cassie Mae said...

I'm right here, and I promise, I ain't going anywhere :)

Cherie Reich said...

I do know what you mean, but I'm hoping it is more from lack of time on the blogger now also author's part instead of jealousy.

But I've also heard authors mentioning the other too.

Having a new book out is a time to rally behind an author, not a time to drift away. :)

Lauren said...

People are jealous because they fear for their own ability to reach the same goal. Their hatred is a reflection of their own insecurities, not your friendship or your writing abilities.

If it happens you will find other friends, and those left behind because of their own ignorance will regret it. They've lost a friend too, but through their own actions. That's a hard place to be.

Lauren Ritz
Lauren-ritz.blogspot.com

Rena said...

People are not only jealous but fearful.

"Our Deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." --Marianne Williamson

When people see that someone else has "made it," it scares them. It brushes them up against the success they desire with every fiber of the their being, and fear with every scrap of their heart. Sometimes they wonder "Why not me? When will it be my turn?" and the truth is often more painful than they realize.

Sometimes it's too much. Those are the people who shrink back into the shadows unable to live in a world lit by dreams. Either they will find their way out of the darkness or they won't. All you can do is be who you are.

I don't comment often (I get all silly and sappy), but I always read.

Andrew Leon said...

I think some of that may be a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, but I don't actually know, because I didn't start blogging until after I had my book out there. Still, I see fluctuations in blog traffic and comments, and I think that's all they are: fluctuations. It becomes tempting to blame that stuff on specific, external causes.

Ravena Guron said...

I think the reason many bloggers loose followers is them maybe always posting about their book? Well, I hope that's all it is, but jealousy is very easy in a business like publishing. I LOVE hearing about success stories, and I love being able to talk to people who've achieved, because it proves that it IS possible. I may be a little late to to party, but congratulations on your success!

(New follower! YAY! You'll see me around a lot... I love commenting on posts because I love the sound of my own voice (well, the sound of my keys as I type.)

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Nancy, I crawled from my writing cave to check out what's going on in your blogging corner. Those fears you are experiencing are the same for both, self- and traditionally published authors. After all, we all write for readers, and they only care about a great book, and not how it is published :-)

I am soooo happy for you. I'm patiently waiting for your October release. You are doing all the right things, blogging and staying in touch with your friends. I'm sure your first novel will be a great success. Fingers crossed!

Jennifer Hillier said...

I did lose a friend once I got published and it sucked. Big time. I really don't know why she made the decision to disappear from my life (actually, she disappeared from the blogosphere altogether, but we were constantly in touch via other means - she simply stopped returning my emails), but it really hurt and for awhile I blamed myself. And losing her really did take some of the joy out of what I'd accomplished.

But I know now that sometimes friendships expire. They just do. She alluded that it was hard to watch her friends get published and so maybe it was just too hard for her to stick around. I don't know. But I do know that I'm grateful for all the friends who have stuck around, and I plan to always be there for everyone else, too. Not going anywhere, lady. :)

Catherine Noble said...

Aww, how horrible to lose friends and fellow bloggers, just because you're talented enough to be publishable! I totally understand why that prospect would worry you, but you can't control the way some people behave, so you just need to let them get on with it (I wish I could take my own advice here haha).

Anyway, thank you for visiting my blog, and best of luck with The Mistaken. How exciting! :D

VikLit said...

Interesting post, I didn't know this happened. I guess it is because the author maybe has less time, at least I hope so and not the envy part. I guess maybe evolve their blogs to be more 'toward their audience' of teens too? Bless you for being concerned about it and I am newly following, and so don't intend going anywhere!

VikLit said...

(I only say teens because I write YA, I mean whoever you see your audience as, rather than toward fellow writers. Although they'd be your audience too, you'd hope!)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I hope that doesn't happen to you, or anyone else.
I have noticed one or two bloggers that I used to visit regularly I stopped visiting when every post became a promotion for their book. Promotion is good, but every post as promotion gets old after a while . . .I'm not jealous I just want to read about their writing journey and other stuff too.
I hope that makes sense.

I've noticed this summer that many of us have slowed down on blogging, so I think that a fall, winter or spring release is probably a better time for marketing a book via the blogworld.

Ink in the Book said...

True friends NEVER forsake! I'll keep you around 'cause I need all the friends I can find:)

Oh, your book tour is scheduled for Friday. I don't think I ever replied to let you know, did I.
It's been one of the best tours I've put together. Can't wait for you to see it!!

Mel Chesley said...

Hmm... I hope I don't lose friends over this. I certainly don't want to lose followers and commenters. I need more as it is! I think, after a certain amount of time your platform may change ever so slightly. You may lose followers and commenters, but you'll gain fans. I don't know. I'm about to find out myself. But I am certain of this, I won't ever be jealous of your success. I will be happy for you, I will help support you even more by promoting your work and cheering you on with your next endeavor. It's all good. ;)

Tonja said...

I think you'll figure out a way to manage all of it. Congratulations on your release!

Rosalind Smith-Nazilli said...

I am sure it is just the time element.. and of course the more you network the more obligations you build up to support others.

From a personal point of view, since I started out on this road I have seen several folk hit the "almost" big time and I have been thrilled for them, but sadly some of them have vanished from social media sites.

One in particular is a lovely man who has now sold the film rights. Six months ago he was constantly asking for help, but now we never see him.. xx

Kim Lajevardi said...

Like others have mentioned, it's probably an unfortunate side effect of getting busy, but I agree that it is sometimes short-sighted. Once you have a network of writers built, it seems sad to let that slip away. Great IWSP post!

Ciara said...

Congratulations on your release. Great IWSP post. The management of relationships and tough schedules is something all authors struggle with.

Kirsten said...

Love this post, and the insightful comments as well but I'm picking my jaw up off the floor here. Really? People stop coming by because they're jealous?! Wow, okay.

To me, someone like you, who works hard and writes well is someone I look up to and try to emulate in my quest to write better books!
I think it really comes down to time. I'm reading everything (yours was the best A to Z blog series, hands down) but often simply run out of time to comment.
I'm eagerly looking forward to the release of The Mistaken!

jamieayres.com said...

You won't get rid of me that easily, Nancy;~)Seriously, you could start a revolt and I'd follow!

Christine Rains said...

What a wonderful and honest post. I worry the same things sometimes. I worry that if I don't put the effort into my blog and comment on other people's, I'll lose all I've accomplished. I also feel guilty when I don't visit other blogs. Yet writing has to come first. It's difficult to balance, and some people out there don't understand why writing must come first. There's those of us that do, though. :)

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I haven't experienced enough success to worry about this yet - lol! :D But I read through a few other comments, and I think there is an explanation that's not just pure envy or jealousy. It probably has to do with feeling neglected by a very busy author friend, or it could also be just getting sick of hearing about someone's success 24 hours a day. I've only just begun to have bloggy friends and critique partners experience publication success, so I haven't personally experienced this, but there was a blog I followed briefly where the writer experienced instant fame and became ... just ... nauseating to listen to. I don't think I was jealous, exactly. It's just that I found better ways to spend my time than reading that person's blog. If authors stay humble, I don't think they have a single thing to worry about! :D

Samantha Paige said...

I'm still working on getting some online writing friends. I'm too shy about my writing to share my work with my current friends and I'm not 100% sure how to "properly" connect online. Enjoy you're writing and good luck with the launch!

Kelley Lynn said...

I'm SO excited for your book launch!!!! Yippie!!!

I haven't thought about any of this yet, but it's something good to think about. It's about being the same person everyone fell in love with no matter what happens. I don't see you changing, so those of your friends that stick around are the ones you want to keep anyway :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

It's true. Once you're published, the work changes. No longer are they your deadlines, there are publisher deadlines and other books to write while you have the momentum on your side. It's tough to get to all the blogs and keep writing. I solved this problem by not cleaning my house. Not really, but I have lowered my standards considerably and all my flowers are dying.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sorry, my post yesterday probably didn't help, did it?

I've not lost friends due to envy though. That's a plus.

Murees Dupé said...

If it helps, I will still come around and visit. I rather like reading blogs by published authors. I like finding out about their writing journeys and how their life has changed since becoming published. If your friends dump you because of your success, than they are not your real friends and your life should be better without them.

Karen Walker said...

Hi Nancy - following you back from my blog and so glad you stopped by because I didn't know you yet and now I want to because of what you've written here. I've noticed the same thing.
Karen

Siv Maria said...

This is a great post and a valid concern for many I think. Making priorities is often difficult when it comes to time spent. I believe your true friends will always be there for you and your writing platform will stay as strong as you yourself make it. Good luck with your book launch!

Eve said...

I've never been published, so I don't know if, or how or why this happens. I know I would tire of always reading about how great someone's book is...and that wouldn't have anything to do with jealousy, just boredom...
I don't think that will happen with you though, you seem pretty level headed.
I think we're all insecure about something...don't worry, it'll be great!

Insomniac #4 said...

That's a great point, and one that a lot of my IWSG friends have contemplated recently. It's tough for an aspiring novelist to balance writing their novel with social media content, so I'd assume it only gets more difficult once you've made it. Personally, I'm motivated by the hope that if I ever sell anything (even if it's self-published) that my family will grant me the 'genius time' I need to write and blog.

Here's hoping that your friends and followers stay connected and supportive of your work. Good luck with everything!

Stephen Tremp said...

Unfortunately this does happen. Just as in real life. And there's not much we can do about it. You just have to stay true to yourself and keep moving forward. Your faithful friends will remain with you.

Carrie Butler said...

Try to get rid of me, Nancy. Just try it. ;)

Cynthia said...

First, congratulations on getting as far as you have. I understand what you mean. All I have to say is that when someone stops becoming another person's friend because they can't handle the other person's success, it says more about the person who's doing the de-friending than the de-friended.

Tara Tyler said...

i noticed that too. but it seems to be for the authors who post less and mostly about their progress or only to promote, they also comment less. they need us less...

just like families in my neighborhood at different stages in their lives or friends with kids other ages than mine, we drift apart & hang out less...

its up to you. if you want us, we're here & we'll respond. and as things get busy for you, we understand & support! we want to be there and hear about that next phase! so keep posting!

Melissa said...

Great post. I like your attitude. Juggling the social media is difficult even when you're not published.

Good luck with the launch. I'd be happy to host you for the tour. Just contact me to reserve a blog spot. ;)

IWSG #179 (At least until Alex culls the list again. :P)

Pk Hrezo said...

Hi Nancy! Interesting post. I didn't realize that happened, but I think maybe sometimes peeps need different things in their life to keep them going, and maybe in difficult times, they have to separate themselves from things that don't make them feel good about themselves or where they are in their own path. So maybe successful authors shouldn't take it personally, but look at it from the other side of the coin. ;)

cleemckenzie said...

I try not to notice any of that jealousy. Of course, that's almost impossible, but I do try.

Nice exploration of feelings in this post. Thanks.

Gene Pool Diva said...

Well, you have a healthy outlook and I wish you all the best.

Lynda R Young said...

I think it might be because the writers gets overwhelmed by the sheer volumn of followers and readers they have to respond to and the amount of work they have to do. They now have deadlines they didn't have before. I HOPE I'm able to balance it all because I certainly DON'T want to lose these fantastic friendships I've formed through blogging.

Stephanie said...

Excellent post. All you can do is keep being true to yourself, and adapt as things change. Good luck.

D.V. Sheppard said...

The fact that you're concerned, says a lot about your intentions and loyalty. Being so aware will help prevent misgivings and mishaps. Thanks for a post full of honesty :)