‘Rabbit Hole’ Author Kate Brody’s Creative Comparisons Almost Ruined Her Novel’s Success

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Happy Tuesday, readers, writers, and shark fans! For this week’s Tuesday Tip, we want to talk about something that seems to be plaguing everyone more than ever, whether they’re in the creative space or not: the pain of comparing ourselves to other people and what we think their accomplishments say about what we have not done yet.

But for creatives especially, there’s this tremendous pressure to publish more and to publish earlier and to publish better at top-tier publications, to win more awards, to have our books come out in more editions and be translated into more languages. More more more.

Author Kate Brody recently addressed this in a mini-essay in light of her novel, Rabbit Hole, being published at Soho Crime, out at the top of 2024. As you’ll find in the essay below, Kate found herself less able to celebrate her successes and more able to focus on what her book wasn’t getting her, like not hitting every “Most Anticipated Books” list.

Tuesday TIp: It’s important to remember the goals that we have and what we’ve accomplished, even when it seems like others are achieving more and faster. Consider keeping track of your goals with a goal planner or vision board, or if you’re more analytical, a spreadsheet!

Also, it’s important to not like comparison syndrome get in the way of continuing to create. When we’re busy scrolling through someone else’s social media feed, reading about how they won a book award or got a prestigious teaching position, we might find our inspiration and urge to write waning. We have to push through that and continue our work. After all, no one can say yes to us if we’ve said no to ourselves first.

 


 

Rabbit Hole by Kate BrodyOrder Your Copy of Rabbit Hole Here

Rabbit Hole by Kate Brody

Soho Crime (January 2, 2024), 385 pages

ASIN: B0C1B8B519

$14.99

“Blistering, sexy, concentric, and dark, Rabbit Hole is the ultimate literary thriller for the digital age—a Reddit whodunnit that is at once hyper-modern and grounded by the deep emotionality of Kate Brody’s enduring questions about grief and girlhood, caretaking and identity and how, in the absence of truth, to live a meaningful life. An unputdownable debut from a writer I would follow anywhere.”— Allie Rowbottom, author of Jell-O Girls and Aesthetica

 


 

Enjoy the Ride: A Creative Comparison Essay by Kate Brody

If I could go back in time twenty-five years, to when my favorite thing in the world was Ms. Axelrod’s second-grade writing workshop, and tell myself that one day I would get to spend my days thinking about stories and characters and books, child-me would be elated.

If I could go back ten years, to when I was starting an MFA, and assure myself that one day I would publish a novel, younger-me wouldn’t have asked about the advance.

If I could go back a year to the post-copyedits, pre-pub limbo, and let myself know that the book would garner coverage in glossy magazines, national newspapers, and arts publications—well… limbo-me may not have believed myself. At that point, I was pretty sure I had written a heap of garbage.

But here I am, five days away from the publication of Rabbit Hole, living my actual dreams, and still, I am obsessing over every single most anticipated list that the book isn’t on.

This morning, I flew my family from California to New York so that we could visit with family before I start my book tour. When I walked in the door of my in-laws’ house, my father-in-law thrust his PEOPLE magazine into my hands, so that I could see my book on the “PEOPLE Picks” page. That high lasted under a minute.

A few hours later, a friend sent me a picture of my book in the Union Square Barnes and Noble. They stocked it early. My book for sale! In Barnes and Noble! What a strange and surreal thing. But wait—where do they have it? Upfront or over by mysteries and thrillers? How many copies have they ordered? Underneath it on the shelf—is there a handwritten note of bookseller recommendation? No? Why not?

At Christmas Eve dinner, a relative asked me why Rabbit Hole isn’t going to be a Good Morning America book club selection. I stammered something about advances and indie presses and the politics of book selection, but then I actually thought: why isn’t it, you failure? Despite the fact that only a handful of books a year achieve that status. Despite the fact that my book is ALL WRONG for Jenna Hager Bush, who I’m sure is not about to recommend a novel about Reddit, depression, and sickly dogs to her GMA audience.

I’ve done this all my life. There were colleges I wanted to get into until I got there, and then I started wondering where the really smart people were. There were jobs I was desperate to get until I had them, and then they didn’t feel like enough—enough money, enough challenge, enough prestige. Part of me likes this about myself. Call it ambition, call it lack of complacency. It’s motivating. I don’t want to participate; I want to win. The downside is: it makes it hard to appreciate what I have and what I’ve already accomplished. Also—you can’t win art.

I used to watch published writers complain about their book tours and publicity demands, and I’d think: champagne problems. Whiners. Ingrates. But now I understand how quickly things can become familiar.

The motto these days is: stop moving the goalposts. 

Remember that seven-year-old girl. Remember the 23-year-old. Remember the sting of writing my first novel and failing to find an agent. Remember the things I said would be enough, the deals I made with the universe. Please, please, please. Remember the feeling of the first hardcover in my hand, my name on the cover. Remember how I thought of my dad, long dead, and wished he could see it, hold it, touch it. Remember all the people who helped get me here: the teachers, my husband, my agents, my editors, my publicists. Remember how much luck is involved in all of this.

For launch week, I have one goal: to enjoy the ride. Because I know that after this comes the years of frustrating, solitary, blissful work trying to do it all again.

 


 

Ready For More? Here Are Three Similar Psychological Books with Rabbit and Chasing Metaphors 

 

The Rabbit Hutch The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Guntyby Tess Gunty

Vintage (June 27, 2023), 416 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0593467879

$13.29

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER, and The standout literary debut that everyone is talking about . . . A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times, TIME, NPR, Oprah Daily, and People

“Inventive, heartbreaking and acutely funny.”—The Guardian

 

BunnyBunny by Mona Awad by Mona Awad

Penguin Books (June 9, 2020), 336 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0525559757

$10.79

“Jon Swift + Witches of Eastwick + Kelly ‘Get In Trouble’ Link + Mean Girls + Creative Writing Degree Hell! No punches pulled, no hilarities dodged, no meme unmangled! O Bunny you are sooo genius!” —Margaret Atwood, via Twitter

“A wild, audacious and ultimately unforgettable novel.” Michael Schaub, Los Angeles Times

“Awad is a stone-cold genius.” —Ann Bauer, The Washington Post

 

What Moves the DeadWhat Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher by T. Kingfisher

Tor Nightfire (July 12, 2022), 176 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1250830814

$13.49

An Instant USA Today & Indie Bestseller
A Barnes & Noble Book of the Year Finalist
A Goodreads Best Horror Choice Award Nominee

A gripping and atmospheric reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” from Hugo, Locus, & Nebula award-winning author T. Kingfisher

 


 

Kate BrodyKATE BRODY lives in Los Angeles, California. Her work has previously appeared in Lit Hub, The Rumpus, Noema, and The Literary Review, among other publications. She holds an MFA from NYU. Rabbit Hole is her debut novel.

“A smart and edgy mystery that kept me turning pages feverishly from start to finish… this is a story about girlhood, grief, the slippery nature of memory, and our society’s true crime obsession, and Brody delivers insights on these themes in prose that is both raw and beautiful. As we follow Teddy on her downward spiral, we are forced to ask: How much is the truth worth?”— Alexis Schaitkin, author of Saint X and Elsewhere

 


 

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Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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