Yay! Somebody else answered my desperate plea for guest bloggers…*G* Thank you, ladies!
Hey, guys. We’re the dynamic duo. Well, we’re not always so dynamic…Do you ever get that not so dynamic feeling?
Thanks so much for letting us guest blog, Shiloh. We wanted to use this time here to discuss a very important matter that affects us all. Wearing white shoes after Labor Day. This is a tragedy that can be avoided…
Ha! Had you fooled, didn’t we? We’re not here to talk about unfortunate fashion faux pas. (Seriously though, don’t do it. Every time you wear white shoes after Labor Day, a bunny dies. Jackie’s easy solution? Don’t own white shoes, only ivory.)
What we are here to talk about is how to keep the CP fires burning bright when one of you gets published before the other.
Emma: So how do you maintain a healthy productive relationship with your critique partner after one of you sells? (Jackie: Pretend it didn’t happen?) Let’s be honest, even though you and your cp are pretty close, one of you selling before the other can damage your relationship if you let it. We’re human, so naturally we’re going experience human emotions such as envy, self doubt, and the fear of abandonment. CP Sally has sold, why does she need me now? She’s starting to make all sorts of contacts, possibly interacting with big name authors and experiencing things you at your career level are not. You may feel left out and left behind.
Jackie: It may surprise the non-selling partner to realize it isn’t any easier from the other side. Oh, sure, the thrill of selling is huge, but the glow wears off pretty fast as you start to realize that your friend and best writing bud may be happy for you, but she’s probably also feeling more than a little depressed.
Selling doesn’t make you a better writer than your CP–just a luckier one–but it can be hard to convince her of that, especially if you’ve both been at it for about the same amount of time. It’s hard not to feel a certain amount of guilt for having sold first. Especially if you truly love and respect your partner’s work, which, if she’s your CP, you should.
Emma: So what can you do to bring the magic back to your relationship?
1. Remember why you guys began your critique partner relationship to begin with.
Your critique partner is the same person. (Jackie: Normally. Unless she’s a complete diva, in which case, you shouldn’t be hanging around with her in the first place.)
Just because she’s accomplished one of your mutual goals won’t change her. (Jackie: Normally)
She’s going to need you, just as much as she needed before she signed the contract. Staying published is just (if not more) stressful as becoming pubbed. She’s going to need your support. Bad reviews. Bad sales. She’s going to need you just as much as you’ll need her when you get yet another (23,393 and counting) rejection letter.
Jackie: 2. Don’t be afraid to talk about the same things you always did.
Before either of you is published, one of the things CPs tend to do a lot is commiserate about being unpubbed. You complain about how fickle the industry is, the unfairness of it all, etc. When one of you gets published, that avenue of discussion may dry up. It can be hard to reestablish that feeling of being “in the same boat.” The published partner can say she just doesn’t understand WHY you haven’t been offered a six-figure contract yet because you completely deserve it, but in the end, it’s cold comfort. (Emma: Sometimes a cold comfort is better than no comfort a at all)
But remember, the publishing industry is still as unfair and inscrutable to your published CP as it was before she was offered a contract. She doesn’t understand any better than you do why she got an offer and you haven’t. She’s just as puzzled as you are…and wants your success for you as much (or even MORE) than before.
Emma: 3. Don’t get so wrapped up in your own misery you alienate a good friend.
Like Jackie said, if you truly love and respect your partner’s work, when all is said and done, your happiness for her is going to trump everything else.
Jackie: 4. If you’re the published partner, it’s fine to share your triumphs with your CP, but be wary of drifting into smugness.
Your CP is happy for you and she means it when she says so. Don’t beat her over the head with it at every turn, though. When she says “Congratulations, I’m thrilled for you,” believe her and let it lie. Don’t ask for more strokes than you deserve. (Emma: Hehe. Don’t ask for more strokes… *snickers*)
Jackie & Emma: So remember:
1. In a CP relationship, leave your publishing status at the door. It’s irrelevant to the support and guidance you’re providing each other.
2. She’s still the same uber nutty, fabulous person she’s always been. No matter how many contracts she signs.
3. A sympathetic shoulder works both ways.. Her rejections won’t stop at the print publishing door. She’ll still hear plenty of “No’s” and just because she’s in print doesn’t mean they’ll sting any less than yours.
4. And last but not least, don’t lose sight of why you do what you do. Sure this business is hard, but if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be worth it, would it?
Thanks again for having us, Shiloh. And never forget guys to keep the CP fires burning bright.
Jackie Barbosa and Emma Petersen
thank you, ladies!