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Home » Advice, Two Midlist Indies

You are not a special sunflower – sorry.

Submitted by on August 11, 2012 – 12:05 am One Comment
sunflower

sunflower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ok, before I put my foot in it – I want to say – this is not aimed at the average indie, or the average blogger.  To those I say ‘you’re brilliant’.  Those that know it’s a marathon, not a sprint, behave professionally and are easy to work with – to you, I want to say ‘thank you’.  You can safely skip this rant – unless you’re willing to be a bit depressed and have an opinion.

Seriously, this ‘I am entitled’ attitude on both sides of the reader/writer/reviewer wall needs to change.

There’s two parts to this rant – one about entitled indies and one about bloggers, who, having made their point, are now driving it home with a howitzer and being petty.  And while I agree that everyone is entitled to be angry, what isn’t allowed is the tarring and feathering of everyone who hasn’t automatically sided with you and patted you on the head and somehow engaged in what you’d hoped your rant accomplished.  Watching people have meltdowns on writers lists means one thing – they’re not getting what they want and are planning on continuing to push till someone does what they want.  As both a mod and a list member, I’m tired of the negativity.
And let’s face it, this is negative too – and for that I apologise.

First up – you will always find an idiot in every community

It’s true.  For every community of lovely people, your’e going to find those who are the proverbial squeaky wheel.  The list of things that count as acting as an idiot as an indie is actually quite lengthy – and the problem is, focussing on them just perpetuates it.
But, in short – you’re not gods gift – sorry, you’ve got to work for your publishing credits, and no one else is responsible for your career bar you, unless you hire them to be.  It’s not true that not being allowed to advertise is bad for your career, and, let’s face it, you are one in a million writers currently publishing on Kindle/Kobo/Nook and other platforms..

Here’s the thing – the first time you rant about not being allowed to be an exception to a rule, you’re demonstrating entitlement.  And mailing a mod to ask them to reconsider? Waste of time.  We’re writers too y’know – we get the privilege (and it is, don’t get me wrong) of looking after people and juggling our own careers.
And while we’re at it – this is not junior/high school – most of us are at least mentally older than 15, and it might be a good idea to act like that.  Try acting like you understand adult behaviour.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers (Photo credit: Aiz Baig)

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I’m sorry to say it, but having spent time in the traddie and then the indie community, it’s those people that are ruining it for others.  You have to be pretty big to get away with diva behaviour – and with the rise of social media, be prepared to have your behaviour possibly go viral.  And no, contrary to popular belief,  bad press rarely sells books.
So, don’t be one of them.  Behave professionally, and write.  Promote responsibly, give back when you can, and most of all, don’t be a dick.

Moderators are vollunteers – treat them with a bit of consideration

I’m a moderator – I take time out of my writing to help other writers.  But, let’s face it, I spend more time putting out fires and answering questions.  I rarely get to write anything beyond blog posts right now.  And the biggest rant against us?

Deleting your ad is not taking money out of your mouth, preventing you from hiring an editor, and making you likely to suffer foreclosure. And laying that at the feet  of moderators is unfair.  If you can’t do your job as an author – or producer of books – it’s not our fault.  Perhaps you might want to explore other methods of advertising?
But back to the fact in hand – advertising when you’re told not to.  If you weren’t entitled to advertise before you mentioned (x) issues, why would (x) make a difference?   I am genuinely sorry that your life is tough, but societal rules mean that you can’t plaster your ads all over say, Wal-Mart’s windows, so why would this change online?  Facebook is not your own private domain.  Knock yourself out and advertise on your own wall, but keep it off mine, and make sure that if you’re group posting, the group is having an ad day.  It really helps, because it means us mods aren’t slavering at the mere thought of dealing with you.
And yes, I’m sure I can come up with other things to help you.  Advertising outside of the rules isn’t one of them.
An easy rule of thumb is ‘if you wouldn’t say that to your boss, and would be unlikely to say that in front of your traditional publisher, it’s really NOT the place for it on the indie community.  Though I’d also like to highlight that if you genuinely think that advertising as a drive-by is a valid promotional technique, you may struggle to gain traction as an indie anyway.

And while we’re on the subject of idiocy…

Reviewers are our bestest buddies.  Even if they hate our books – because they’re one of the bridges

English: A barnstar for people who review arti...

English: A barnstar for people who review articles on Wikinews (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

between writers and readers.  One of – not the only one.  So, if a reviewer is talking about how they hate working with indies, and how they’re going to quit (and this isn’t just the brief discouraged rant that many take on) and, probably most importantly, hang around to keep saying it, it’s a fair and safe bet to say that you probably don’t want them reviewing you – let’s face it, if they’re writing posts of this length, then it’s likely they’ve spent hours doing so, and are more interested in drama or controversy.

You might say ‘Kai, that’s unfair’, or ‘are you talking about x’.  And to both, I’ll just sigh and shake my head.  This specific entitlement rant, I’ve seen 14 times since coming back from my holidays, six days ago.  That’s an average of two a day.  So, even if you know of a blogger saying this – and it’s their right, don’t get me wrong – then I may not have seen them and probably don’t want to be depressed by more of them.
So, there’s two problems here.  One, indies are scaring off bloggers.  And two…bloggers are trying to be deliberately antagonistic to generate traffic.  ‘I’m a blogger and I deserve’ is not the way to start a post, trust me.

There are thousands more fish in the sea – and to be honest, if you’re having problems with a reviewer, perhaps you need to look for new reviewers. Or maybe, look at your own behaviour.
And reviewers – if you’re genuinely sick of indies, perhaps you need to fix your guidelines.  Ranting about it constantly will only put off people not already friends with you, but will place you in the unenviable position of being warned against in places you can’t see.  You might be being well-meaning, but really – you’re not a special sunflower – any more than the indie that wrote the book you’re pissed about is.  We all cherish you, dearly, but please stop looking at us like we’re the problem when most of the time, you’re taking out the behaviour of one, or two, on others.
And, let’s face it – if you’re behaving like that and shouting down indies that misbehave, are you really any better?  And that leasds me to another point.  In this i’m also no better I guess – because I’ve let it get to me, but it’s time for people to put on thier big girl/boy panties and say either ‘enough, I quit’ or ‘y’know what, I’m going to make this work, and my professionalism is just going to be a beacon for others’.  There is no ‘scream as loud as you can until someone gives you what you want’.
I want to take this opportunity though, to say thank you to the professional reviewers – those that keep reading and writing reviews, and offering us indies a chance.  You’re our heroes!

And finally…

Be very careful when diving on dog-piles on other people.  Both Valerie and I are frequently – dare I say – bullied, because we moderate groups.  We’re seen as ‘nasty people’ and have to work twice as hard to get anything done, because we’re always in the thick of it.  How unfair is that?  And I’m not going to say that we’re entitled to be treated differently because we’re not, but I’d like to say that we’re not entitled to be treated differently – we don’t deserve to be punched in the gut whenever we do something nice because it’s not going exactly as YOU want it.  We’re here to help, but we’re not just yours to use and abuse.  If you’re interested in leveraging what we’re offering, go for it but please remember we work too.  I’m not available full time to support people, though I’d love to be dearly.
If i could ask one thing of those on my lists – read the guidelines.  We won’t need to smack you down if you just read the rules 😉

 

From Rich Meyer and added later – Fear Mongering among indies

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