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.