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Why you need to stop comparing yourself to other writers

Are you ready for another Monday Marketing post?  Good, because here it is!  🙂  Today I want to discuss that insidious habit we all have of comparing ourselves to others, specifically in regards to Marketing.

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Comparing is not all bad

Let’s start off with a quick reminder that comparing ourselves to others, isn’t all bad.  After all, if we do it objectively, we can use it as a learning tool.

  • What are they doing that I’m not? 
  • What is working for them that isn’t working for me?

Though this can be useful, it’s all too easy to get swamped in self-doubt and jealously and neither of those things are good for you.

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Comparing is not all good

One of the reasons comparing ourselves to others is so detrimental, is that most often we are comparing our “beginning” to someone else’s “middle”.

I see it time and again, often with new writers who lament how their marketing tactics are failing whereas [insert more prominent author]’s tactics, that are similar, are working great.

This is why comparing is insidious.  It blinds us to many things.  Take actual writing.  I know several writers who churn out multiple books a year.  I would love to be able to do that.

I don’t get jealous or berate myself for being unable to perform to that level.  I don’t know their situation, maybe they have great support from family members, maybe they have a tighter level of discipline, maybe they have the ability to write full-time, maybe they don’t have the same responsibility level, maybe they just type a whole lot faster… it doesn’t matter.

The likelihood is, we don’t have the same variables in our lives, not to mention our differing personalities and abilities.

I know writers who can write at any time of the day, during any amount of noise and distractions… that gives them an edge I don’t have.  Some have incredibly organised time management skills.  There are so many reasons for the differences.

So I don’t compare my output to them or anyone else for that matter.  It does nothing to benefit me sitting here, comparing myself to others.

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Not everyone’s Marketing is the same

I’ve seen writers compare marketing tactics of authors who aren’t even in their genre.  This is ridiculous.  Different genres, different target audiences, different types of books (stand-alone / series etc) can affect how a book is marketed.

Also, what works for one author might not work for another for other reasons.  Say you know an author who writes the same genre as you.  They do a Virtual Book Tour and it’s a raging success.

So you decide to do the same and yours completely tanks.  Why?  You did everything they did.  So it should have worked, right?

Nope.

Because in the end we never know EVERYTHING about someone else’s strategy, their following, their system etc.

That author could have done a lot of word-of-mouth marketing you didn’t know about.  Maybe they have been building up a following longer than you have.  Maybe they chose a strategic date that had an effect. Maybe the majority of their followers are in a different timezone that was taking into consideration.

After all, everyone keeps some of their strategy private.

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Work out your own system

The best advice I have is to stop stressing about what other people are doing and how well it’s working for them.

Develop your own Marketing Plan, come up with ideas or learn from other authors but track your own progress.  Don’t get caught up on comparing your results to theirs.

If something doesn’t work, analyse it.  Was it the wrong venue/location/social media for your target audience?  Did that type of marketing technique require a larger following?  Have you missed a vital step?

Treat any marketing tactic, that doesn’t deliver, as a chance to re-strategise or a chance to try something new.

As a writer you will (I assume) write more than one book.  So you have plenty of time to figure out what works for you and your audience.

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I’ll start it off, I 100% have compared myself to other authors, often fully-published, well-established authors.  It was a very bad habit I picked up years ago but I have worked hard to stop myself.

 

So be honest, have you ever found yourself doing a little too much comparing?

Share your Thoughts image.

Happy writing

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Why you need to stop comparing yourself to other writers, in regards to Marketing. Image: Woman on a starting line.

29 comments

  1. I think we’ve all compared ourselves to others at some point. But I realised that’s a counter productive thing to do. Now I watch bloggers/ writers like you for inspiration and support, it’s a far healthier approach.
    I hope you’re taking a little time to relax over Christmas. 💕😊

  2. When I first started, I compared myself a lot to other writers and bloggers. On the one hand, it is great to see what they’re doing and even try it for yourself. However, if it doesn’t work for you then you can’t get update. It’s not that you didn’t do anything “wrong,” it’s just that you need a different approach for your own work.

    Once I found my blogging voice and figured some things out, I was able to figure out my own marketing tactics for the blog and such. Though I’m still learning and still playing trial and error with certain things.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your insights. I think you’re right, seeing what others are doing can help but it’s definitely important to find your own voice and test things out.

      Once you figure out what works and what doesn’t it is so much easier and definitely keeps us aware from the dreaded comparing.

  3. This is a good article.

    I came to fiction writing from content writing, and before that, I was writing product reviews for fun, so I guess that’s been helpful for me. With content writing and product reviews, I would always look at what other people were doing and then recreate that… “how many articles did the people who got such and such recognition get?” etc. Of course, there were always people that got paid more for their articles than I did, but I figured that part of that was because they were writing about more popular topics.

    As a fiction writer, I feel like I’m in the very beginning stages, and I’m still at that point where “wow, so and so actually talked to me?” LOL. I just hope that I can stay in that place, because then I’m just amazed at any success that I do have.

  4. I rarely compare myself to people who started blogging long before I even thought of starting a blog. I mostly compare myself to bloggers have achieved a lot more than I have even though I started blogging long before they did. I always find myself wondering what they’re doing that I didn’t do during my first few months as a blogger. I have tried to stop comparing myself to this set of people, but it’s so hard.

    1. But then you still don’t know where they started. Do they have a background in marketing? Perhaps they have another blog that you don’t know about. I’ve really only been working on my book blog since May, but I’ve been writing since college. You might think they’re new when they actually have been around a lot longer than you realize.

    2. Thanks for reading. It is hard. I did the same thing with my blog. I had to keep reminding myself that there are so many things in the background work that we all do and now try to keep my focus on just my own work

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