Any time you send a book – or even an article – into the world, you subject yourself to both praise and criticism. Sometimes praise seems embarrassing but criticism can hurt. By criticism, I’m not referring to the helpful, constructive kind. I’m talking about the mean kind.
When someone says something hostile, consider that it’s not about you. That person is expressing what matters to her. The subject of the remark will reflect what the person is worried about, or jealous of.
Does the comment diminish your accomplishment in some way? Perhaps the person disparages the type of book you write, or your publisher, or the fact it’s self-published. If your success makes someone feel dreadful, it’s not your fault. That person’s feeling the rise of jealousy because of his own regrets and missteps. Most people would love to have all the benefits of being an author (or name any profession) without doing the work. Once someone reveals this proclivity, write him off as someone you should avoid sharing your good news with.
Perhaps the person makes a scathing remark, and then slaps you by saying she’s just being honest. If she doesn’t find anything good to say, and especially if this person seems rarely to be on your side, this “honesty” is meanness, and she’s blocking any defense or she’ll upbraid you for not being able to deal with an “honest” comment. This is a ploy of the toxic person.
Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
It’s painful to realize that someone who you thought was, or should be, on your team, rooting for you to be successful, isn’t. This can be anyone from a family member, pastor, or a “friend” who enjoys your misery but doesn’t rejoice in your success. Don’t keep going back to the well, looking for them to change their minds and start supporting you. Don’t make even a small part of why you are writing all about “showing” them. You never will.
Instead, limit the time you spend with naysayers as much as you can.
Gravitate to people who genuinely support you. They’re there, wanting to hear all about your celebrations. Relish spending time with your team. They are the people who matter.
What is your favorite way to celebrate publishing success?
What is the best piece of advice or encouragement you’ve heard on your publishing journey?
Have you encountered jealous people? What did you do?