Envy is a part of being human. I'm certainly guilty of feeling envy at times. What I don't understand, as it relates to being an author, is how some authors can become so envious of another's success that they try to sabotage that success. For example, I've heard stories of authors leaving bad reviews for other books in the same genre, books they haven't even read, just to bring down the ratings of other authors' books.
When I hear about another indie author's success, I'm happy for them. Success stories like Amanda Hocking are what inspired me to publish my books. When I heard about Hugh Howey's big publishing deal, I congratulated him on it. (It's great how the Internet lets you do that!)
That's not to say that I don't envy other authors. There are two things about some authors that I absolutely envy: productivity and great writing.
Dean Wesley Smith is an author that I've learned a lot from. One thing he's preached over and over is for an author to spend time writing, not marketing. Recently, he even posted a daily log showing how he wrote a novel in ten days! Another author who is unbelievably productive is Elle Casey, who has written 18 books in 15 months! She recently wrote a post describing how she does it. It's quite an eye opener. It typically takes me about ten months to write a book. I would love to be able to write faster because I've got a lot more story ideas than the bandwidth to write them.
I also get envious when I read a book that's so well written that I immediately fall in love with the writing. I start wishing that I could write as well as the author, and oftentimes, I refer back to their works when I'm writing. For example, it's no secret that I love The Hunger Games. When I was working on Beyond New Eden, I re-read The Hunger Games and kept going back to it because Beyond New Eden was the first book I wrote from the first person POV, and The Hunger Games is the best first person novel I've ever read. A couple of other writers I discovered this year who fall into that category are Susan Ee, author of Angelfall, and Katie French, author of The Breeders and a guest poster on this blog earlier this week.
For the authors I envy, I wish them all the success in the world because I believe they deserve it. I can only hope to learn from them and become a better writer myself.