The problems come when the jealousy turns into something more bitter. If you keep this bitterness to yourself or to yourself and friends, it probably doesn’t hurt anyone. But the problem is, I see a lot of people not keeping it to themselves, and not being very nice about it. It doesn’t matter if you’re anonymous. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know someone. It is still incredibly easy to find forum posts or nasty tweets, even if you aren’t looking for them. And it’s not helping you or anyone else to say horrible things about another person based off petty things like the size of their deal or the fact that you read their PM announcement and thought their book sounded dumb. Justify it all you want, but if you’re being hateful, you’re being hateful no matter what you think they did to deserve it.
Of course it feels a lot better to say, “God, nothing good gets published anymore! Apparently to get a deal I have to have a badly written ripoff of [insert latest big deal book here]” and to have people commiserate with you about it, and to feel like this is a scenario where it’s not you, it’s them. But saying stuff like that, honestly, it doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help anyone and frankly, it’s insulting to both the readership and to published authors. Maybe your book does deserve to be published. It’s true that great books just don’t get picked up sometimes, and that’s hugely disappointing. And I certainly won’t pretend I’ve never read a published book and wondered how on earth it got through an agent’s slush pile, let alone all the people who have to approve it at a publishing house. But I have read so many great books. SO many! I read new, great books all the time. And I have to wonder why, when I see people lamenting the crappiness of an entire genre, they are writing in that genre at all (or reading it, for that matter).
This is not a post to say that I don’t think anyone should ever criticize YA novels. Or that no one should ever discuss problems they see in the industry. Or that no one should be able to lament rejections. This is a post to say that if you’re a writer, feeling blue and jaded is part of the process. Hating others for their success isn’t going to bring you any closer. A shorter or easier journey doesn't necessarily mean a less well-earned reward. Your career is the only one you have any control over, so that’s the one to focus on.