Okay, fellow writers, I know you know this, but bugger it, I’ll say it again:
Publishing is not a competitive sport. If another writer is unbelievably successful that does not take away your chance of success. If it has any effect on you at all it’s a positive one. Super sccessful writers create more readers. J. K. Rowling has single-handedly made young adult publishing more profitable and better paying. Every YA writer should fall down on their knees in gratitude. (I have my own J. K. Rowling shrine that I worship at every day. Bless, J. K., bless!)
If we’re defining success as making loads of dosh, then most writers are not super successful, or even mildly successful. I’m certainly not. The majority of published writers cannot make a living from their writing. Does that mean their writing is not as good as those who can? No, it does not. I know fabulous writers who are still unpublished (and, yes, Jeannie, I mean you). Writing good books (however you define “good”) and making money from books are two different things. Sometimes they co-incide—sometimes not.
There are lots of ways to measure success as a writer: good reviews, respect of your peers, winning prizes, or best of all—knowing that you’ve written a book that you’re really proud of. The last one is best of all because all the others will do your head in. What happens if you stop getting good reviews or winning prizes? Does that mean you’re no longer a good writer? That path leads to madness.
In my genre lots of books I don’t like sell better than mine, and lots I adore sell worse. Neither state of things has anything to do with how my books sell. If you start thinking that other books published are stealing sales from your books, and that other writers are “the competition”, you will become bitter and twisted. I’m hear to tell you that bitter & twisted clashes with every single thing you’ve got in your wardrobe.
Trust me on this.
Thus endeth the rant.