Please note: The following post is both my personal opinions and feelings.
My relationship is falling apart.
I’m considering a formal separation for the first time…in ever.
The Indie Book World and myself have been in a committed, loving relationship since 2014. Now, my affections are wavering.
There’s so much strife, talking behind EVERYONE’S back, and conflict, you would never believe we are all readers and writers involved in the pursuit of the HAPPILY-EVER-AFTER.
A field of predominantly women, we were/are/continue to be pioneers of new territory, yet we can’t get along or support one another to save our last breath.
Of course, there are pockets of authors who support one another, but mention one to the other, and you will get a whiff of how divided the industry is.
Bottom line: Authors pen stories. They’re the byproduct of hours, days, months and sometimes years behind a laptop. Countless eyeballs help with beta reading, proofreading, and editing. Investments—both financial and time—are made toward covers, swag, promotion, marketing, etc.
Readers/bloggers/reviewers either love or hate them. They don’t want the book to end or they feel they could have written it better. We hang on to the top of the cliff by one hand while waiting for the reviews.
They trickle in or come in a windfall. We read them even though we say we don’t or can’t or won’t. They make us feel good or horrible. It doesn’t really matter—this is our business, our livelihood, and we must go on.
We send early copies to fellow authors and big-name bloggers in a hope someone, anyone, or just one damn fucking person will read our book. We vaguebook when they don’t. We shout from the rooftops when they do. We gush, and oooh-and-aaah, and make everyone else feel bad (not intentionally – it’s just happens). *If you deny ever feeling upset over this sort of thing, you’re lying. I’ve felt it. It’s a deep sadness like none other.
Fifteen years ago, I lost a baby half-way through a pregnancy and no matter where I turned a pregnant woman turned up. It was a constant reminder of what I couldn’t have. During the time, my husband and I were shopping for bicycle carriers for our toddler. They only sold the trailer with two seats—the possibility of being able to carry a second child to term was extinct in my mind. I cried, raged, and stomped out of the bicycle store in a hormonal fit, demanding a seat for one child or no seat at all.
Point being, each and every week, books on top of books are released. EVERYONE is literally releasing books. Our colleagues are almost always releasing alongside us—sometimes you’re the one to hit it big, other times, you’re not. This has happened to me more times than I can count on one hand. I eat a cookie or five, put on my smile and thinking cap, and try to understand what I can do differently on the business end.
I say I’m not going to read reviews, but I do and eat more cookies.
It’s fine. I wake up, run a few miles, and begin brainstorming. There is the creative side and the business side. My story needs to come to me, simmer and fester in my brain. The business stuff is less complicated.
At least it should be.
So why is everyone fighting?
AND you know they are. Marketing budgets, are they in KU?, Such-and-such blurbed them, or they must know the algorithm become major points of discussion (to name a few).
AND why? Reality is: Authors have different marketing budgets. Take your local bakery and Dunkin Donuts—do they have the same advertising budget? No. They can’t possibly. But maybe the local yokels think strategically, place ads smartly and involve influencers, so they can expand to two stores or three——> grow their business IN BABY STEPS.
I firmly believe at the base of all this fighting is this: Somewhere along the line we forgot this wasn’t just for fun but it’s business.
Take for example this email I received the other day.
(Editor’s Note: In my other life, I freelance write and blog for various media outlets and companies).
A particular company wanted me to cover something. It was a product/services in return for coverage, something I don’t often do but this one I’m considering.
They asked me this:
Monthly Unique Visitors:
Average # Comments:
How long you've had the blog:
Purpose/main topic of your blog:
# Instagram Followers? Send Link:
# Twitter Followers? Send Link:
Twitter Handle: Send Link:
# of Facebook Fans/Likes? Send Link:
Any other Social Media stats you would like to share:
Chew on the above for a minute and what it means.
Yes, I know for a while, there was some discrimination in handing out Advanced Copies to bloggers, which of course led to arguing. Smaller bloggers were being ignored (***wrongly, because it’s an engagement issue – number of unique visitors/comments/likes combined type stuff).
What it means is much larger. This is business people. BUSINESS. And if done right, feelings are left out of it. Even the ones we feel when we read bad reviews!
Business based on a creative product isn’t easy.
BUT the business side is not founded in creative blah-blah. IT’s founded in numbers, stats, budgets, reach, frequency, click thru ratio, etc. IT’s based in reality.
So, when we fight, we make ourselves look like we don’t take publishing seriously. When we bash, vaguebook over stupid shit, and go after one another, we take away from the hard work our industry demands.
Being an indie author is like leading a double life. We have a creative side to us, but in order for anyone to actually read our creative stuff, we need to put on our business hat.