Okay, after a short while in the writing community, I am really grateful about how much I learned.
I learned about myself, my writing habits, my writing mood and what interests me.
I learned not to accept every possible manuscript exchange for an honest review. I learned new fancy writing words. And many more I still don’t know the meaning of. I found people like me. And weirdos. And people sooo unlike me. And other stuff.
Other stuff as in, writers can be absolutely annoying. And dense. And totally clueless about it. Especially indies.
Some time ago, I caught myself opening tab after tab of Facebook Groups, and pasting my Amazon link, sometimes with a little inviting comment, sometimes with nothing whatsoever, doing that ‘the more people see it, the more it gets stuck in their head’ marketing thingy. I had been doing that for three months. And yet, I made most of my sales during days when I did none of those abominations. Tweet after tweet, witty comments, winky faces, heeeey, wanna read my boooook….?
And then, I saw my notifications button on Facebook, showing like, 20-30 new notifications. And I knew exactly why.
I had a friend (not a person I knew, a person that added me writer to writer, I guess) who EVERY DAY, NO EXCEPTIONS posted in every writing group ever in the world, and everywhere she posted the SAME thing that was actually ‘LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, BUY MY BOOK, READ MY POEM, LOVE ME!’ And Facebook notified me every time she posted in a group that I was a part of.
I fucking deleted that person.
And then it dawned on me.
I DID THAT. (We all do it, shut up.)
Me, a person who uses a pseudonym and a drawing instead of a profile picture, which helps me be a little shameless in promotion, who is never someone to intrude, and was annoyed with that mass shouting of ‘buy my book’ around me, I was that annoying, deleted Facebook friend to someone! And I understand now, completely, and if anyone felt annoyed by what I did (and I did mechanically, after seeing how other people do it), I totally get it! We are buddies in annoyance!
I mean, indies can be so… ugh!
Okay, Twitter… I try to be more personal on Twitter and not bother everyone with buying links only, but you simply lose motivation there! Like, the whole timeline, everyone you follow either posts about their own books, or they retweet other people’s books (probably because there something in it for them. (One of them goes: GO LEAVE A REVIEW OF MY BOOK AND I’LL RETWEET YOUR BOOK TO MY BAZILLION FOLLOWERS. Jeez.).
I get it, we’re indies and all, and we really need the promotion, but really, every day, every hour, do I deserve a quote from your book that you tweeted about 367 times since this morning? And with no feedback at all, like talking to a wall! Sometimes I retweet and I help, but occasionally I get annoyed with the truly shameless behavior. So I start unfollowing. Especially those preposterous characters that write you a robot message as soon as you follow them! Really?! You’ll ‘jump off a bridge if I don’t like your Facebook page’? Fuck off, please.
I mean, you’re a writer. Engage with the reader. You don’t have 10 million readers. You’re an indie. You only have 10.
So, like I said. I start unfollowing. I unfollow 10-20 pitiful excuses for marketers and voila! I myself have 10-20 followers less in the blink of an eye. I mean, these people have special apps that tell them who dared to unfollow, and that same second, they go there and vindictively UNFOLLOW BACK! Imagine that! This is no news, but still, gets me every time.
Or the 90 000 followers Twitter profile. It’s every author’s dream to have many thousands of fans and followers. But if you follow many thousands of people (especially a similar number to the one of your followers), how am I supposed to believe that you’re following me because you genuinely like my stuff, and not because you have a clicking goal of 1600 today. I mean, yeah, I did this too, seemed okay so I can jumpstart my account, but it’s simply wrong. You don’t just follow people to follow people after a while. It loses every sense. I’ll go clean my Twitter after this. And if I unfollow vindictive and vain people and that leaves me with 7 followers, so be it. I’d rather have 7 valuable ones, than be a part of someone’s moronic machine.
Let’s take the writing Facebook groups. Some of them are lovely and supportive, but most of them are DUMPSTERS. You know, everyone comes and throws something in, but the difference is, here you hope that the other garbage throwers will be interested in your shiny garbage bag and that they will pick it up. But, as it usually happens with dumpsters, NOBODY DOES. I mean, seriously, I sold books after author interviews, after blogger reviews and obvious word of mouth, but not after posting it in a Facebook group. Dumpsters. People just go there, throw something and leave. NOBODY looks inside a dumpster. Nobody says like, ooh, hey, I left mine here, but let’s see what other people brought. That works for bloggers, but as I came to realize, not for writers.
I did this too. Now, I’m not saying I’ll forever stop posting in groups, I’m just saying that nobody really cares. Make a strategy and find different approaches, because these don’t work, from reasons stated above. Or at least post it two groups today, then two groups tomorrow…. Just be decent. You can never be decent enough when you’re trying to build your career from scratch, but you know, try.
So yeah, there’s all the beauty in the world in being a writer, but communities are made of people, and people simply do stuff. And more often than not, they do it wrong. I’m so glad I stopped to think about this.
Don’t be a dick. We’re all dicks when doing self-promotion, at least try to be aware of it.