One of the first things that drew me to the indie world was the community of like-minded authors who understood that being an indie (or self-published) author was … a rocky road. Do you remember those days? I first self-pubbed my first novella last 2010 and I remember how…secluded I felt from other authors. Until I met the ‘community’.
Self-publishing, back in the day (this really makes me feel old) wasn’t accepted – by writers, readers and the publishing world – and yet there were those of us who still did it. We got it – we saw the unlimited possibilities and were excited by the challenge. Since then, more authors have ‘joined the community’, have left their publishing contracts or realized their publishing dreams have change – all to ‘boldly go where few writers have gone before’ and are seeing success. Some are even seeing huge success!
The ‘community’ was intoxicating. We shared knowledge, we helped one another out, we grouped together to help each other reach that success … it was amazing and breathtaking and gave birth to what we have today.
And yet, from what I can see, that community, that world of indie or self-published authors, is fracturing. Maybe you don’t see it. Maybe you don’t agree. Maybe you’re still intoxicated because you’ve just jumped on board. But it’s there.
There has always been a small degree of jealousy, especially as we see the successes keep reaching new heights. We have the million dollar club for example – a group every author should attain to join. I mean, who doesn’t want to be making millions from writing? I know I do. Jealousy – or competitiveness – is healthy, to a degree. It spurns you on to do better, to dream higher, to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
But lately, that jealousy is becoming toxic.
In the past I’ve tried to turn a blind eye, to ignore it, keep my nose clean and not get sucked into the politics of what being a self published author entails. But it’s hard when suddenly it hits too close to home.
In the past I’ve talked about being an ‘author stalker‘. But I’m seeing authors do it for the wrong reason. They’re not watching their fellow authors to help them succeed, they’re doing it so they can ruin careers.
Yes, you read that right.
We have writers tearing one another apart. We have authors contacting Amazon and accusing others of ‘buying reviews’. We have authors participating in the awful practice of leaving bad reviews, or commenting on poor reviews and tearing that reviewer apart. We have authors sending out newsletters to those who never signed up for their newsletter in the first place.
And yes, you read that right. Authors are doing this. Not reviewers. Not Amazon. Authors.
I can’t wrap my head around it. Why? Why would they do this? They, more than anyone else, understand how hard it is to do this as a career? Don’t they understand that what goes around comes around? Don’t they realize that they’re not just hurting one author, they are hurting everyone? Every action has a consequence that unfortunately will affect everyone.
Maybe these authors are ‘new’ authors. New to self-publishing. New to writing. New to something at least that has them making these poor choices.
The self published community is amazing and I’m so proud to be a part of it. I love that if I have a question, I can go to any FB group or Yahoo loop, ask and get an answer. I love knowing that I’m not alone in this journey, that any situation I come across has no doubt already been experienced by another.
If you are an indie author, can you do something for me? Can you tell me what you love most about this indie community? How has it helped you? Maybe if we focus on the good things – and do it loudly – those other authors who feel alone and unsure and lash out because they’re not sure what else to do – maybe they will realize there is this community ready to welcome them with open arms and forgiving hearts.
Shall we try it? Tweet why you love the community and use #loveindie as a hashtag. Post it on your blog. Share on FB. Let’s spread the love and see it go viral. And maybe then this fracturing will disappear. It’s worth a shot, at least.