Please welcome Judy Mollen Walters to Writer Unboxed. Seventeen years ago, after her stint as an editor in nonfiction book publishing, Judy became a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters. Her first book, Child of Mine, came out in March 2013; her second book, The Opposite of Normal, came out in February of this year.
Of her post today, Judy says, “I’ve always been convinced that as writers we share a unique kind of fragile ego, regardless of where we are in our writing careers—trying to get an agent or publisher, first book being published, hanging onto the midlist, or even when we are blockbuster best sellers. But I was never able to pinpoint how I knew we were all more alike than different until I experienced first hand the struggling writer’s ego in two very high-profile, successful authors. As writers, we should all be a little kinder to each other, and acknowledge that first we are human. I’m hoping this article will ignite a conversation among authors about this topic and that we can all come together and support each other.”
Do You Suffer From Fragile Writer Ego?
A while back, I was in the audience at an author event. The author was a New York Times bestselling commercial writer, a wonderful speaker—witty and full of fun publishing facts. I was having a great time until she made a snarky comment about EL James, the author of the Fifty Shades series.
A few months later, I was back at the same venue listening to another NYT bestselling author, this time of a more literary style of fiction. I was having a great time, hearing her explain the research behind her book, until she snarked on that commercial fiction writer I’d heard a few months before!
I thought about the two experiences for a while, kind of disgusted, and then realized that they were linked by more than just coincidence. Both of these authors, big names, very successful, must have what I’ve coined the fragile writer ego. Now that I’d seen it exhibited by two big name authors, I realize that no matter how successful, every writer must have it.
I know I have the fragile writer ego, but I figured that was pretty normal for a not so seasoned author just bringing her first or second book out. I spent a long time writing novels that were not good enough to publish and almost as much time finding a literary agent. When I finally published my debut, I worried about how it would be received. Was it really good enough to publish? Would people really think it was good enough to see the light of day? [Read more…]