Watching a Fellow Writer is Sometimes Like Watching a Train Crash-don’t let this happen to you.
I am sharing an experience I had with a fellow writer. I’m not sure why her behavior is/was the way it is/was-jealousy? Fear? No self confidence? Who knows, but I think it’s a good way for others to learn.
So last fall a fellow unpublished YA writer sought me out and became my BFF—-RED FLAG WARNING—-she bad mouthed everyone to me, including her agent—-in fact her agent become the biggest part of her phone calls, or I shall say RANTS to me. She had just signed with her too. I tried to be a good friend and offer advice on why she shouldn’t talk about her agent that way, to anyone, and she did the paranoid turnaround-“Oh I’m just saying to you, and I don’t mean anything by it,” etc.. but she did.
She also spent hours slamming friends, and fellow, writers we both knew. “Her story is horrible,” “She’s never going to get published”, “She’s been trying to sell that thing for years-it’s not good.” “She self published and now everyone knows she is horrible.” and that’s the nice stuff-she said a lot more, but in order to protect her, and anyone she might have slammed who might be reading this, I don’t want to say more.
I think she may be rooming with one of the writers who she constantly slammed, at the summer conference, I honestly don’t know. It’s hard to watch her pretend to be this writer’s friend when she spent so much time slamming her.
She also gave me her version of advice. “Don’t submit to these agents, they are horrible”-including ones who I am friends with. She said that one agent I have been interested in possibly signing with is a slut and a drunk-yup she told me that about someone I respect and like. (I think said agent turned her down). She told me NOT to work one on one with an editor who I met and did a retreat with, saying that this woman is “washed up and doesn’t know what she’s doing.” only to find out, she has hired this editor in the past. I knew that listening to it though.
It really felt like she was trying to sabotage my writing. She told me not to go to any SCBWI events, that it was wasting my money and full of all older women jealous of her and her beauty. (She’s not super young-and even if she was, ew!)
Soon, I dreaded picking up the phone because she never had anything good to say. She would just brag about all her deals-(which I really hope have happened, because I want success for all my friends, or all writers out there-friends or not)-and she slammed everyone else.
I hardly got a word in, but I heard, by name all the editors in New York that she “refused” to work with and didn’t want her agent submitting to. I heard all the agents she hated. I heard all the books and writers she hated. I sometimes put the phone down and when I came back she was still complaining about everyone.
It was uncomfortable to say the least.
This writer has become really obnoxious on social media too-always bragging and being phony.
I was at conference that she also attended. I ran into her and she spent the better part of 30 minutes slamming every illustrator’s work there, and every writer. She slammed this one writer-who is on the bestseller list and is semi-famous, then I watched her kiss his ass telling him how much she loved his books-after she had spent an hour the night before telling me that she “didn’t know how he got published, cuz his books are boring and her kid thought so too, and she slept through the film version.”
It was hard to watch.
It was harder to listen to.
I slowly eased out of the friendship-which was dwindling anyhow, due to the fact that I’m not famous.
The reason I’m sharing this is really for advice for new writers.
1. Never bad mouth your agent.
2. Never bad mouth other writers.
3. Never bad mouth editors.
4. Don’t be phony
5. Don’t suck up to people to advance your career.
It was like watching a train wreck. I tried to warn her of her behavior, but she wasn’t listening.
My heart breaks for her and I really hope that she doesn’t hurt her career by being the way she is.
This is her first agent and first book, and first deal, so it’s common that people get too big for their britches, but it’s still hard to watch.
I hope this helps some people not go down that path and if you do have a friend like that, ease out of it because you don’t want them and their drama bringing you down.
I know exactly where you are coming from. I had a so called author friend who I met at a book fair. She constantly degraded my publisher and me for staying with my publisher. I finally had to unfriend her because her negativity was wearing me down..
I never did understand her hatred for my publisher considering she had never ever worked with them. I also never figured out why it mattered so much to her who I was published with as long as I was happy with the arrangement.
I may not always agree with people’s choices, but I respect the fact that we are each entitle to make up our own minds. I also would never intentionally bad mouth an agent, editor, or fellow author because that is just not respectful or professional. If I had an issue with a person and someone else asked me what I thought of them, I would message them privately and explain that we just weren’t right for each other but I would not become vicious.
It’s all about remaining professional and being a decent human being, and I truly hope that is how people view me.
It’s amazing because this writer was bad mouthing her own agent and editors who she hadn’t even signed with-big ones too. Makes me sad. Sorry that you went through something similar. I think some people are so competitive that they try to bring others down.
My dad always said that there were two ways to feel important. Do something worth feeling good about or tear others down. Unfortunately, many choose the latter :0(
Yeah I agree. I think also this person is justifying in case she fails, so she can say to all her friends, “see I told you my agent was crap.” It’s sad.
Mishka Jaeger said:
Yikes! I used to know people like that when I lived in LA. I am happy to say I have met very few where I live now. I wonder if it’s the entertainment business? I once lost a job on a film care of someone like that. LIfe’s just too short for that kind of negative energy suck.
I don’t think it’s just Los Angeles, but this gal is obsessed with her age-and she’s not even 40 yet-always saying how if she doesn’t stay young and pretty her hubby will leave her and I don’t understand that-which is odd, cuz I’m over 40 and have never had a hard time meeting anyone in L.A. In fact I met my current love of my love after 40 and we are going strong almost 3 years now. I think it’s more being insecure than it is anything to do with the film industry-especially since this was about teen novels-not the film industry.