*The picture is for those that really don’t want to read the rant. It looks kinda mean and thorny which is how I’m feeling, but it is still on the pretty side so you won’t have to suffer. Much.
I have tried. I really have, but apparently cranky is going to be it for me today. I have a lot of thinking to do on what I’m willing to do and not do with regards to trying to be a part of the indie author community and get exposure for my book.
I will say again, that most of this crankiness is thanks to Twitter, so it may not apply to the community as a whole. The very little experience I have had with that platform really does make me think that it is mostly a toxic cesspool. I say mostly because I have run across a few, truly genuine people that want to do good for the community and aren’t just after boosting some random view that more followers equals success and the stupid little games people play to get there. But those are VERY few and far between. That and most all of this is from observation (hello! raging introvert here!)
I had originally decided to follow people I was actually interested in what they were posting, mostly favorite authors and a few bloggers. My feed was, mostly, full of interesting things. For about a day. As soon as I attempted to learn the rules of playing on Twitter, my feed suddenly became a mess of ugly, some of that even coming from authors I liked.
I stepped away from a lot of stuff on the internet several years ago with a few exceptions because of the ugliness, the drama and the negativity. I have tried really hard to bring more positive things into my life. Sure, there will be negative shit going on, because that is life. I am going to rant every once in a while to get something off my chest (this post is a great example) because that is part of the reason for this space. That said, I try to think about whether I really need it or if I can let it go, keeping the balance on the positive side. So, having my feed filled with that ugliness dropped me back into the middle of all that I hated about a lot of online socialization before. I don’t want that in my feed, so I’m going to be picky as hell about who I follow.
Then you have that stupid little petty game of “follow me, I’ll follow you” and two days later, they unfollow you. If it was because they truly weren’t interested, fine. Cool. I totally get that. It really doesn’t do me a damn bit of good to have a ton of followers that aren’t even a tiny bit interested in my book or images or the blog post links I’ll share. But it isn’t about interest or lack thereof. It is all a numbers game and popularity contest. I don’t enjoy games unless they are meant to be fun. Like Exploding Kittens. Petty games like this just piss me off. Popularity contests are for high school and I get enough of that drama from my kids. What makes all that worse is these are people in the indie author community that are attempting to sell their books.
I have spent the last couple of months watching big authors do nothing but complain about interacting with their readers and post almost nothing but negativity. While they do have some point, it is constant and leaves a bad taste in my mouth about their attitude towards those readers. I’ve unfollowed at least one because of it. I have seen where people do these jump through a thousand hoops and I’ll buy/read your book, get tons of people spamming their book to that person, lots of times ignoring all genre preferences in the process, and then not get any reads and end up pissed off.
There are a few people/groups that genuinely attempt to help the indie community get their books noticed by calling for submissions and then retweeting them. But even that is now becoming ugly. These people are doing it FOR FREE and only asking that you follow a few, very simple rules, some of which are made to make it a fun process. Yet, people are assholes. They refuse to follow the rules then get pissed when they don’t get retweeted. Going so far as to threaten the authors running the page with negative reviews, as well as doing the same for those that did get shared. It got so bad, that particular resource is shutting down all retweets for the rest of the week while they re-evaluate.
One of the problems that I’ve seen with sources like this, as awesome as the idea may be, is that the only people that seem to follow them and see their tweets are other indie authors and they are not necessarily the readers or audience for those books. That and the same authors/books are getting posted nearly every single day. I don’t really see how that is helping much.
I have gotten more interest and followers based on my photography than on my book. That isn’t exactly a bad thing because I am trying to sell those as well. I can’t say for certain that being on Twitter hasn’t gotten me a sale on my book, but I can’t say for certain that it has. I put so much work into removing as much negativity from my life, the last thing I want to do is open the door for a source that seems to produce it like bunnies in heat. I just don’t know if it is worth it. There are just not that many resources for an indie author to get out there. Not that don’t cost a small fortune.
Sadly, these things I’ve ranted about aren’t nearly all of the issues I’ve seen. Do I continue to drag all that ugliness back as a constant part of my day, or do I step away from it, letting go of that potential resource? I honestly don’t know. I promised myself when I decided to go through with self-publishing that I would do everything I could to give this the best chance possible, including stepping out of my comfortable hermit cave to attempt to interact with actual people. Does stepping away from that resource mean I haven’t done the everything part of that commitment, even if I did try?
So, the rant part is out of my system for now. I can, maybe, put the cranky pants away for a while. Maybe. If I can figure out what I want to do.