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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mean People (an addendum to the RWA post)

Since I started talking about the mean people I met in Washington and RWA, I've been thinking about what I didn't say, and probably need to.

A couple of my friends, loyal that they are, wanted names so they could hunt the people down and kick their butts. I very politely said it wasn't necessary, and that I really didn't know who they were anyway. Which is true.

The funny thing is, as much as these people wouldn't talk to me because of my "nobody" status were not people I knew. For those of you who don't know this about me, I've worked for a major publisher for 6 years and counting. I know a ton of people, if not personally, by name. Not only do I stay on top of what my publisher is doing, I watch what the others are doing as well. I may not be very good at name-dropping, and to be honest, I don't always remember names until I see them. So, as we did the requisite badge-staring, these people who wouldn't talk to me because I'm a "nobody" are probably nobodies too.

Seriously. I know a lot of the bestselling authors, or would at least recognize their names enough to know that they were rude to me. Midlist authors- know them too. I probably would recognize the names of many of the folks at the bottom. I know the market. So the fact that their names didn't ring a bell, and I couldn't remember them well enough to stick on my "I will never buy this person's book list" tells me something.

Apparently, these insecure writers found the one person they thought beneath them and decided to treat me as such. Their need to treat someone as a nobody obviously stems from the fact that they're nobodies too.

Stay with me here, because I'm generally not the kind of person who's friends with you based on your status. Right now, most of my friends are published. However, most of them BECAME my friends before they were published.

Because here is the truth of the matter. There are three authors on this planet... of all the years I've been going to conferences, meeting authors, etc, whose books I have stopped buying due to their rude treatment of me. Three. And trust me, if you're a meanie, I'm not buying your books. I have too much to read and too little money as it is.

In terms of the nobodies... well, I suspect that if a book with their names came across my line of vision, it would ring a bell and I'd remember their meanness. And I wouldn't buy their book.

One of my friends told me something that has always made me stop to think. So many of us think in terms of "when we're successful" "when we're rich" etc. Success, wealth, power, and all those other things only make us more of who we were before we achieved those levels. If you are a mean person, success is only going to make you meaner. Personally, I think the reason most of these "mean people" are not successful precisely because of who they are now before success.

The three authors I mentioned as being on my "never buy" list? They've obviously reached some level of commercial success. But on a personal level? I suspect, that with as unhappy as they always seem, success didn't fix the things that were already wrong in their lives.

For those of you who are looking for that brass ring and that magic moment to make you happy; to finally arrive as a somebody so people stop treating you as a nobody: you need to make the changes in your life now to be the person you want to be without the success, or you will never be that person with the success.

3 comments:

Shirlee McCoy said...

I should have warned you not to look at people when you were on public transportation!

Come out to Spokane. The people here are so warm and friendly and wonderful. I liked Maryland and D.C., but where I am now is a place that really fits my nature.

We should have a writers' retreat here next year. We could rent a cabin in the mountains and only invite people who will actually acknowledge us in public! ;0)

Jana said...

You are, by far, one of the wisest women I know.

And you know what? The joke's on them because they missed out on getting to know such an awesome gal.

Danica/Dream said...

LOL Shirlee!! NOW you tell me. I would love to do a writers' retreat with you. Oh, the bodies we can bury!!

Thanks Jana. I don't feel very wise, because I think if I were wiser, I wouldn't dwell so much on these mean people, and instead celebrate wonderful friends like you.