Queen Bees and Wanna Bes

All writers experience this, though it’s usually not talked about in public.  At least, I think it isn’t.  So, let me be one writer who doesn’t mind bringing it to the forefront.  If a friend of yours had hit the big time and suddenly didn’t want to acknowledge you exist, what would you do?

A few years ago, one of my crit partners told me a friend of hers had hit the big time by landing NY and her attitude toward her “lesser” writing friends had changed.  While I won’t go into details, let’s just say she knew this person when and leave it at that.  Because of her snotty treatment, she had lost herself a fan as well as a friend.  In fact, she had lost two fans because even I refuse to buy her books.

At this point, most people might think it was jealousy on my CP’s part or her screaming sour grapes.  Trust me, that wasn’t the case.  However, it had left me thinking for a long time about how I’d react had I been in her shoes.

I’d feel hurt.  If we had bonded over this treacherous road to publication and so-called friend decided I needed to get my own ride the rest of the way because her limo was full with her and her big head, there would be a whole slew of emotions coming from me.  Hurt would be the biggest of them all. 

My CP’s friend had landed her first NY contract a few years ago and has been banging them out of the park ever since and my CP is very happy for her.  From what I understand, this writer has earned her bumps, bruises, and stabs to the gut.  But what I don’t understand is why do some writers feel they need to change after making that big sale to NY?  It’s like they have this image to uphold and their chin goes up right along with it, snubbing the rest of us little folk.  Said writer can’t afford to associate with anyone who hasn’t obtained NY-published status yet because she acts as though it will ruin her precious image. 

For the longest time I’ve felt like there was this clique that existed among all genre writers.  We’re right back in high school again where this large chasm exists between the Queen Bees and the Wanna Bes, and so-called writer friends are doing everything to make sure their status is maintained in the QB crowd.    Sorry, but I don’t play those kinds of games.  Never have.  Never will.  And if I’m “inducted” into the Queen Bee crowd when I land NY, rest assured, I’ll continue my rogue ways and associate with whomever I please.  To hell with the status quo.  I like me just the way I am.

One thing I’ve been desperately trying to do is not to lose contact with the friends I’ve grown close to during my writing stint.  Regardless of where they are in their careers, I think it’s important to maintain those bonds because they keep you grounded and they will most likely be the last ones to desert you when things go wrong. 

While I might disappear out off the internet radar for a while, it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring anyone.  It’s a matter of trying to balance the  full-time job, writing, and just plain motherhood exhaustion.  If I don’t hit you up via email or your blog after a month, then I give you permission to remind me that you’re out there even if it’s just a “Hey.  What’s up?” on my Facebook page.  So while I’ll always make new friends along the way, resassured I’ll be doing everything to make sure I don’t lose my old ones in the process.

So given the above situation with my CP and her NY-pubbed friend, what would you do?  How would it make you feel?  Has it happened to you already?


23 thoughts on “Queen Bees and Wanna Bes

  1. Oh this would be a tough one to answer. I can’t say that I ever experienced it in the writer sense, because I have no steady crit partner relationship so far, but I do have a lot of people I can ask to take a peak and tell me what can work better. I pick them based on genre and how well suited is my piece for them in the vein of a small scale target audience test.

    It would sting, but not too much in my case. I have been betrayed in this manner several times over in pure human sense. Friends, who have been true to me, suddenly did the worst to me in treatment and I am more or less with my heavy armor on, when it comes to human contact. Thankfully I have a short memory and soon I erase them from existance. The short term memory helps with not worrying about submissions [I forget, where and what I submitted] and people that life is whisking away from the online sea [I forget temporarily about them too, but not in the sense that they never exist, just not a poriority to wait to resume connection]. I have learned to let go [okay I lie, but I am perfecting the tecnique] and hope that people will return to me.

    • Thankfully I have a short memory and soon I erase them from existance.

      That’s pretty much what I do. Though I tend to have long-term memory, it becomes very short-term when it comes to people who treat me wrong. I let them go and have done it enough times for various reasons that I’ve become very good at it. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

      It’s sad that you have to put on your heavy armor to protect yourself from those you thought were true friends. I’d think you wouldn’t have to do that, but you never know. Stranger things have been known to happen.

      • Oh your memory has settings. I would love to have mine fixed so that I would be able to remember birthdays and appointments and street names or names in general. And I think you learning to let go is a handy skill. Life is as complicated and stressful as it can get without letting other people have power over you like that.

        It’s more of a habit now and I do feel good about it. I rarely click with people and become the soul of a conversation, but when I do click these friendships tend to last.

        • And I think you learning to let go is a handy skill.

          It is, but a hard one to learn. I won’t say I’ve mastered it quite yet because there’s always that linger “I wish” in the back of my head. But at the same time, it’s also a self-defense move. I’ve had enough unnecessary stress in my life, so it’s not like I want to entertain anymore. So when someone gives me the cold shoulder, I have no problem with stepping out of the picture. When their shoulder warms up again, then maybe they’ll come find me. If not, then I’m not losing sleep over it. I’m moving my time and energy in a more positive direction where it will be appreciated.

          And I’m the same way as when it comes to armor. I always feel people out before I say anything because I don’t think I click with a lot of people either. Two peas in a pod, I guess. 😉

  2. An aside: LOL, Harry, on your short-term memory. It has its pluses, doesn’t it?

    Okay, on with my comment. I haven’t been shunned by published friends. All my writing friends have remained supportive throughout, no matter how busy their lives are. I’m truly blessed.

    It sucks that your CP’s friend had sudden amnesia due to success. However, if said close friend let success dilute the relationship, I’d just wish them well and move on. Sure, I’d be hurt, but in a sense it’s their loss, not mine. I’m a true believer in Karma/paying it forward/what goes around comes around, etc.

    • Kath, I admit that it has its perks, but not when you are forced to stop working on your WIP for a week or so, because of tests of what not. Then I have some problems getting back in the groove…

      Anyway I am a firm believer of Karma as well, so I know that these people with get some kind of obstacle in their life that would inflict the same kind of emotional statement.

    • I’m with you, Kath. I’ve feel truly blessed with the friends I have. Either I know how to pick ’em or I know how to kick ’em…to the curb, that is. 😉 While I’ve done my share of kicking with the emotional vampires in my life, I haven’t had to do it with my writing friends.

      I told my CP that she needed to wish this chick well on her writing endeavors and then go about her own writing. I hate that she spent time building up a friendship with thsi chick only to be let down, it happens. It’s best to let it go and get back to the writing task at hand. Like you said, Karma will eventually catch up with her and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around that when it does.

  3. A former CP of mine is a bestselling writer. Though she’s moved on, she’s never snubbed me or our other CPs. And look how supportive Karin Tabke is to unpubbed writers. She’s a fabulous friend!

    I think as we get pubbed–and you’ve experienced this firsthand, Marcia–your universe expands. You meet other people going through what you are. It’s not that you’re leaving people behind, it’s that your life is getting bigger and so is your circle of friends.

    • Your world definitely expands. In fact, I would expect it to expand. But I would like to think I’ve done a good job with handling the expanse because I won’t be able to live with myself if I had chucked friends aside for other friends just because of something like stature. I certainly give Karin her kudos for handling her expanse of friends both pubbed and unpubbed.

  4. Just wanted to add that that’s my experience. I’m sure there are people who feel they’re too good for their old friends. I’ve been lucky enough not to be close to them.

    • I’m sure there are people who feel they’re too good for their old friends. I’ve been lucky enough not to be close to them.

      Here. Here. I’ve chosen my friendships carefully over the years and it’s definitely paid off. I don’t know if I have a knack for staying away from those who are two-faced or not, but so far, so good. I’ve got wonderful friends regardless of where they stand in the publishing arena and I have no complaints. 😀

  5. I’ll have to say, yes and no to your question. I meet a couple of writers in a couple of on line writing classes and I’ve noticed that some of them have stopped responding to me via e-mail after getting published. (Not even a Ny contract.) And I have to say that, yes my feelings were hurt at first.

    But, then I don’t know if they aren’t responding because they are busy trying to balance real life with their new writing life or what so, I can honestly say that I really don’t feel hurt anymore and wish them all the best.

    My only thing is, I hope they didn’t stop responding because they thought I was trying to attach myself to them and somehow work my way into the publishing world. I know like I’m sure you know, the only thing that will get you published is hard work and a well written story.

    I like connecting with other writers and authors because I find that we usually have a lot in common and I find inspiration being around like minded people.

    My first short story is coming out in Nov. and the only reason it’s coming out, is I worked hard on crafting it. (And you Marcia for the suggestion for the publisher:)

    I’ve met quite a few local aspiring authors and I can promise you, if I ever sign a NY contract, I won’t forget old friends or the new ones I’ve met on my way. I just don’t roll that way.

    • You bring up a good point, Melissa. Suppose they stopped responding because they realized that a deadline keeps them from it. In a case like that, I could be very forgiving. Being in their shoes, I completely understand what it’s like. You’re nervous. You want to make sure you do everything right. You want to get things in on time. You don’t want to let anyone down. It happens. There are other ways–I’m sure–if knowing it’s a deliberate snub or if it is a deadline, but the only way to find out is to keep feeling them out.

      Like you, I don’t want to forget where I’ve come from or the long road I’ve traveled to get here. One thing I love is helping other writers where and when I can to get to where they’re going. After all, we’re all in this together. There isn’t any cap on NY contracts. Editors want fabulous writing by fabulous authors. Period. No need for the competition or to keep a nose up in the air.

  6. Marcia – when you are a QB author, not if – visualize, visualize, visualize my friend.

    If one of my writing friends began to act like I no longer existed after striking the big time – I guess I’d account first for the changing dynamics and expectations before giving up on her. And if she were truly moving on – it would be disappointing for sure especially as I can’t imagine doing it myself. I mean I get that they have a time crunch – still, you’re there for your friends maybe just not as often.

    • Ryshia, you’re a hoot! No way am I forgetting about you.

      I understand the time crunch and it’s expected. Heck, I’ve found that I had a lot more time on my hands before my published days. Nowadays, not so much. My only hope is to keep the lines of communication open and hope that I don’t get lost in the shuffle. My biggest worry is that I’ll go to a conference and meet said friend who doesn’t remember me or pretends like we never met, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time in them. Now that would truly hurt.

  7. Hi, Marcia! Your words have often left an impression on me when I’ve read your comments at other blogs and you’ve made an impression on me here as well! I feel incredibly blessed to have made the writing friends I’ve made. I never thought when I started on this journey that I’d be met with such unselfish support, kindness and guidance. And no matter if and/or when I’m published, I’ll always treasure every friendship I’ve made. I’d like to think I’ll get the same in return.

    • Robin? I know you. I’ve seen your name splattered all over my usual haunts. Okay, perhaps “splattered” is too loose of a term. 😀 Nevertheless, it’s great to see you here. Now I have one more person’s blog to check out. Woohoooooooo!

      And thank you so much for your wonderful words. I’m with you. I plan on keeping the friendships I have and cherishing them until the end of time. They’re worth their weight in gold, if not more. Anytime I’ve had to rant, cry, or be joyous, they’ve always been there for me. I do everything in my power to make sure I return the same shoulder whenever they need it.

  8. I’ve been fortunate that some of my friends who have made it to the big time have remained my friends. As Edie said, two of our crit partners are now best sellers and are still there for us.

    I know for a fact that if I ever hit the New York crowd that I’d still hang onto my writing friends. They are, afterall, who helped make us who we are. How can you forget that?

    • Same here, Liz. Every friendship whether long lasting or not has helped me become the person who I am today. Those friendships who’ve lasted the longest have taught me the most valuable lessons of all. To me, that’s priceless. No way am I letting that go so easily regardless of NY-pubbed or not.

  9. Ya’ know, Marcia, I’ve heard NY-pubbed writers complain about their non-NY-pubbed-writer friends getting “jealous” and distancing themselves, and I’ve heard of jealous “nons,” too.

    Overall, though, I have noticed that when people first get NY-pubbed, they go a little crazy for a little bit. Seriously, they become intolerable sometimes, LOL. I’ve seen it so often that I don’t bother worrying about it, and most of them recover after a few months or a year. Some don’t, ever.

    This is probably the number one reason I quit RWA. All that NY-pub stuff is just ridiculous, seriously. It’s so ridiculous, it makes me very, very sad. They are missing out on so much by their insistence on dividing and segregating writers into groups merely to make NY-pubbed writers feel better about themselves. It’s silly.

    • You bring up a good point. Jealousy runs rampant in groups like RWA. I’ve seen it and it’s not pretty. Anyone who doesn’t believe me, then I’m sure there are a couple of blogs out there that will tell the tale. When non-pubbed authors–or anyone for that matter–get like that, then it makes total sense to build a wall to guard against that. I know for a fact that I would. When the jealousy claws come out, I’m gone. I know my limits. Nobody should have to defend their career, good fortune, or whatever you want to call it.

      And as for the whole segregation thing that’s going on with RWA, I don’t support it. There are other, more constructive ways to go about meeting the needs of those who are making the big bucks and those who are not. All that does is generate more animosity between writers.

  10. Love the frankness of this post. You preach truth.

    True friendships should last beyond all the other crap. Yet I know that doesn’t happen. Been there and done that. For me when I make a friend it is a true friend. I just like you don’t have time for the games. No matter where any of us are in our careers we need each other. Once all is said and done you will know who true friends are or those just pretending to be. It hurts when those you believe were true friends don’t turn out to be. But those friends who stick with you through it all and stay there no matter where either you are – they are true friends. True Friends = Priceless.

    • No matter where any of us are in our careers we need each other.

      So true, Taige. Getting to NY is one of the hardest things a writer will have to do in their lives. It helps tremendously when you have someone backing you through thick and thin. Things can turn on a dime in this business. I’ve known authors who’ve landed NY and then it took them another five to ten years to sell another book. While this might sound a little harsh, I’d find it extremely difficult to muster up any support for them if they had left me flapping in their wind.

      True friends will always be there no matter what stage of life we’re in. We get busy, which is a given. We get sidetracked. But in the end, they will always be there for you. Period.

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