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Writers Beware: The comparison game is a deadly game

February 18, 2013



The comparison game. For an author, it’s a deadly game.

You’re watching the boob tube (when you probably should be writing your book, or at least doing something more productive) when you spot that author again. She was just on this same damn show a few weeks ago, But there she is for a repeat performance, blowing her horn about that book.

And it isn’t even a very good book. You know, because you went out and bought the damn thing. Oh, It was okay …maybe … but it certainly didn’t bring you to tears as it did the TV host. And you saw nothing particularly uplifting or praiseworthy about it. It wasn’t even very well written. My God, there’s a ton of other books on that same subject too. She really offered nothing new on the issue. And yet, the book is on the New York Times Best-Seller list for more weeks than you care to count. It probably doesn’t hurt the author any that she’s not too hard on the eyes.   

So, you stew and wonder and get depressed and think … God, there’s no way I can ever see my book up there in lights, grabbing six-figure royalties and allowing me to live the dream life I always wanted to have as an author.

Ah … yes. The comparison game. It’s a deadly game.

And yet, we can take comfort in seeing these authors with the mediocre books being celebrated and toasted as something special. You see, it’s often timing, and perhaps more important, good marketing that can launch an otherwise horrible book into the stratosphere of best-selling status.

In many ways, the bar isn’t that high. You don’t have to be a wonderful storyteller or talented wordsmith to reach literary heights. Now, does that mean you forget about trying to write the best book you possibly can? Certainly not. But don’t beat up yourself every time you write a bad sentence or have a less than good day of writing.

Remember, there’s plenty of books out there, including a lot of bad ones. Don’t think you can’t  write a book and get it published. Magic can happen. It happens all the time.

No matter what you’re writing – a children’s book, a Civil War history, the next great American novel – write it with passion. Your book is worth writing if you do with your heart and soul. Keep your focus on your own work, not that of others. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. 



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  1. Created ~ permalink

    Very encouraging….thank you 🙂

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