Monday, August 19, 2013

A Small Success Comes At A Price

A couple of years ago, I told a friend I had signed a contract to publish a historical romance titled Impetuous. She oohed and aahed over the news and offered me her congratulations. In her very next breath, she asked when was I quitting my job and if she could come work for me. She'd do research, handle email, do social media things, anything I needed done and would only need a salary of $50,000 a year.

I tried to explain that while I was lucky enough to be offered a contract, I was far from being able to leave my day job behind much less hire someone to work for me. She mentioned other writers receiving huge advances. I agreed and said most of those people already had built in audiences and/or name recognition and that I was no way on the level of someone like JK Rowling, Stephen King, or James Patterson.  Nor did I hope to have the draw that the celebrity of the day who'd written a book would have.

She asked me how did I explain Amanda Hocking getting such a great deal then because she was a nobody just like me. (Her words, not mine.) At the time, I hadn't heard of Amanda so I didn't know what to say. My friend went on to recount that Amanda had signed a seven figure contract with St. Martin's Press in early 2011. After we parted that afternoon, I went home and googled Amanda Hocking. She may have signed a contract with St. Martin's Press but she was already successful as a self-published author long before that.

Unfortunately, my friend and I are no longer as close as we once were. I can't help but feel she thinks I could have hired her but just didn't want to and resents me for leaving her in a job she hated but that paid well.  It saddens me that by sharing what I felt was great news, something that I'd been striving for, that I lost a friend in the process. And on a side note, I still have my day job, though I hope to be able to write full time within a couple of years.


  1. How sad. Like anything, going from zero to hero in any profession takes time. There are overnight successes but aren't they few and far between? I'm sorry to hear about the turn in the relationship with your friend. Perhaps one day it'll change, but, hopefully, your success won't be the reason it changes.

  2. Hi Miriam,
    I hope it will change one day too. Meanwhile, I try to keep these types of things in perspective and keep working on becoming that overnight success.