I promised in the previous post that I would talk about the one word that will cause half of all writers on Kindleboards to instantly not like you. And that one word is . . .
I'm sure most have heard of the program known as Kickstarter, but if you haven't you can read about it here. When I first started my Kickstarter program I did everything within my power to get the news out and hoped that it would spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. It was more like that spark of static electricity that nips your fingertips when you reach for a doorknob. On my short adventure I encountered many that were supportive and willing to help get the word out, but there were others that seemed as offended by the notion as if I had been clubbing baby seals.
The former were wonderful, but it was the latter that got me thinking. What were they so angry about? What had I done wrong? I always try my best to be cordial and polite, especially during my online encounters, but suddenly I found myself being grilled from all sides as though I was running some kind of scam. That was fine. I understood. It's important to be transparent and honest, so I did my best to explain my situation. But for some that wasn't good enough.
These people were usually writers that already had several books published and were making at least okay money and were able to front the needed cash to self publish their other books. They seemed to look down their noses as if I (and all that would stoop to using Kickstarter) was some filthy beggar that needed to vanish into the sewers instead of muddying up their golden sidewalks. I'm being a bit over-dramatic here, I know, but I'm trying to make a point. There are some that aren't happy unless you travel the exact same path that they traveled. Any other way is the wrong way.
The literary world is no stranger to clicks and elitism, but up to this point I hadn't experienced it in the indie author neighborhood. It made me realize something. Even though writers are infinitely complicated souls, you can generally break them down into two groups. And no, it's not Genre vs. Literary.
The two columns are WRITERS THAT SEE OTHER WRITERS AS COMRADES and WRITERS THAT SEE OTHER WRITERS AS COMPETITION.
Writers in column one are always willing to blog, Facebook, Tweet, go stand on the roof and scream or any other means necessary to help other writers get noticed. They are not threatened by other writers or their books. They know that there is plenty of readers to go around and that we all have to stick together in this new digital world.
Writers in column two usually say things like "Why should I help you?" and "What's in it for me?" or even something like "I'll help you if you can get X number of people to buy my book." They get offended by other writers' successes. They blog, Facebook, and tweet about how it's unfair that so many crappy books are making money but their masterpiece gets no attention at all. Perhaps we are all just too stupid to understand it.
This is why I have lost my taste for message boards as a whole. Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great writers roaming around Kindleboards that are firmly in column one. The problem is most of the column ones are busy reading, writing, self promoting and helping promote other writers. That leaves ample space for the column twos to move in and pour their petty attacks down on newbies just looking for some help.
So, what can we do about it?
No much, I'm afraid. The only thing I know to do is to examine yourself and see which column you fall under. If you find yourself in column two then it's not too late to change. Scrooge made a complete turn around in just one night. Sorry, I've got Christmas on the brain.
That being said, the wonderful Cate Gardner has a new book out. You can buy Theatre of Curious Acts here. Go out and buy the book. Write a review. Like it on Facebook. Tweet away. Share it on your blog. I would scream it from my rooftop, except I have a bad case of acrophobia.
I have a small bit of news of my own, but I'll save the self promotion for the next post. I will probably wait until next week, so to all of you Merry Christmas.