Someone is wrong on the internet!
Last night, Alan posted a link back to a very excellent article on his blog about social networking. In it he gave a few examples of why “online activity and social media is by far the strongest influence in readers these days.” And it’s true. It really is worth it for self-published writers to put ourselves out there on places like Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, Amazon message boards. We should utilize our own blogs and comment on others’ blogs as well. The numbers prove that it’s worth it. But I’m going to talk today about the kind of social networking that won’t do you – or anyone – any good, is a big, fat waste of time, and can actually reflect badly on self-published authors as a group.
Yep, you probably guessed it. It’s all the damned bickering.
There are people out there who don’t like self-publishing. There are people out there who don’t like self-published authors. There are people out there who think we’re a bunch of gullible, untalented wannabes who clothe ourselves in respectability by giving ourselves the phony, pretentious, undeserved title of “indie.” And I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
You’re not going to change their minds by bickering with them on the interwebz.
You can go to their blogs and leave facts and figures in their comments section. You can site instances of Self-Published Authors Who Made Good. You can give them your own sales numbers and recommend well-written self-published books until your fingers are raw from typing…and you’re not going to change their minds. We’ve seen so many of these kinds of conversations that the responses are predictable.
- That author only made money after NY picked her up.
- Most of your sales probably came from family and friends.
- The majority of self-published books are crap.
- Your mama wears combat boots.
Back and forth, back and forth it goes for days, sometimes even weeks. And when all is said and done, nobody’s mind has been changed and you’ve just wasted precious time that could have been spent writing or editing your book, networking on Twitter, or reading this blog.
Even worse is the sudden surge of bickering amongst self-published writers. Obviously we’re all individuals, and independent minded ones at that, and obviously disagreements are going to come up. It’s the nature of the beast. And it goes without saying, although I’ll say it anyway, that we each have the right to air our opinions, and honest discussion is a good, healthy thing. But bickering back & forth with another indie writer, in full view of the public, isn’t just a waste of time, it makes you look bad. By reflection it makes every serious self-published writer look bad. It makes us look unprofessional. It just proves to the naysayers what they’ve been saying all along: that we’re a bunch of gullible, untalented wannabes. And that isn’t good for anybody.
I’m not about to tell anyone what they can or can’t say on their own blog, or anywhere else on the internet. It isn’t my style and it isn’t my place. But I do urge all of you to consider the points I’ve made here today the next time you feel the hair on the back of your neck start to rise when you read something that pisses you off. Because the only real way we’ll ever prove to those people – eventually – that we’re talented and professional is to act like it.