Last week I went to two different book signings for friends. Hank Phillippi Ryan is one of my Sisters in Crime, and Ilie Ruby and I took writing classes together years ago. Both of their books came out in hardback (which is a big deal), and they both had readings/signings (another big deal). I bought both books, and had them sign them. I couldn’t have been happier for them than if it had been me.
Really, I mean it. In this competitive, crazy business, I decided a long time ago that it was much better to celebrate the success of my friends than to envy them. I have three friends who have signed three book deals with Kensington in the past year. I can’t wait to go to their signings. When I know someone who has been nominated or won an award, I send them an email. And I talk about it on Facebook and Twitter. I sing about other’s success, with glee.
Now, this may have started out as paying it forward, waiting for my turn. But I’ve learned three things over the past decade, since I have been taking myself seriously as a writer.
- Success takes a lot of hard work. Writing till all hours. Missing out on events. Making time when there is none. Everyone I know who has had success, has earned it.
- There is plenty of room for everyone. Especially now, with small presses and digital publishing as options. Someone else having success does not diminish my chances.
- Life, and this business, aren’t always fair.
And here’s one more.
- Being happy for people is a lot more fun.
Do you have a writing goal? Find someone who has reached your goal, and celebrate their success. Be genuinely happy for them.
It feels great.
J.A. Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. She is a mystery writer who’s short story, “Tag, You’re Dead” was published in Level Best Book’s anthology Thin Ice. “Her Wish” is in Level Best Books’ Dead Calm. And “The Pendulum Swings, Until It Doesn’t” will be in Blood Moon in November 2012. She is a huge social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. She wrestles with allusions of athleticism, is an avid theater goer and a member of Red Sox nation. Her website is jahennrikus.com