Just to clarify my last post. Ever since I went on my cleanup campaign I’ve been on a mission to do everything right as far as internet ethics are concerned. I’ve been following what I’ve obviously wrongly construed was the online etiquette for small self-published scribblers. I’m not talking about the websites of guys who tweet or blog about belly busting humour, or offer sound eating advice, like my namesake and Google page one nemesis, Jo Robinson, author of Eat Wild. Fashion blogs, hilarious Twitter accounts, and advice columnists are welcome to my slavish following, and I wouldn’t expect their notice any more than I would expect Dan Brown to pop in for tea and biscuits. The same applies to readers, amazing friends who happen to also be tireless and supportive book blogger’s, and other innocents who are supplying a much needed service to the millions of unknown independent writers out there.
I saw a blog rant a while ago where someone said that people who go around “liking” blog posts without commenting are basically sycophantic tools. I like to leave a “like” to let the blogger know that I’ve read and liked what they have to say. I think it shows my interest and support. What’s the “like” button for if not to like? Why should I have to think up a comment when I don’t really have anything in particular to say, but still enjoyed what I read? Regardless of my current temper-driven wordiness, I am terminally shy, and I have an underlying fear of saying something – however seemingly innocent – that will end up with some sort of wrath being rained down on my head. It has happened. Liking is a lot safer. There are so many nebulous blogging, tweeting and general “how to behave online” rules that the mind boggles.
This is how I see things. There are blog and Twitter sites that have a million followers and follow back three only – their granny, their BFF and one other site that is so awesome that it doesn’t follow even them back. That’s cool – nothing wrong with that. They have no need to make friends and influence people, and I’m more than happy to follow their awesomeness because they really are rock stars. Then you have the indie writers. There are millions of us. Some have achieved some level of success, and have so many followers that it would be impossible to have a squiz at what their fans are up to. That’s cool too. Happy to follow for gems of advice or some of Chuck Wendig’s hilarious F-bomb humour. Some try, like Toby Neal and Hugh Howey – he actually will try to answer or respond to his fans every time. Lovely guy. Then you have the small indie writers who make the time to interact with their entire following on every site – this is me – and apparently this is the wrong way to go about things. Good thing to find out because it’s tiring.
I don’t know. I’m probably wrong again. I generally am. I wonder what we’re up to though. I do feel that any other small member of the millions strong indie scribbler club, who takes the time out of his or her hectic life to notice me long enough to follow me on any site, or like anything I have to say, deserves the same attention from me. My rant was directed purely at my own club, by the way. Small self-published writers, struggling to be noticed. I do get the concept of content blogging that’s so awesome, you don’t ever need to follow back or interact. But not all blogs are that brilliant, and some indie authors end up stuck in an incestuous group of fellow indie buddies who they solely interact with, ignoring all new comers, and grandly accepting new followers in the manner of established famous writers. This is probably cool too. They could be hobbyists, and genuinely not care about what their followers and fans are up to. That’s what they do for fun. They have a place to hang out with their pals. Then again, I believe that the world of self publishing is a totally new animal. Logically it doesn’t make sense to convince yourself that you’re already big enough to sit back and accept any love coming your way without reciprocating, when it’s obvious that you aren’t. When you are unknown and not selling thousands of books every day, why on Earth would you pretend to be doing that very thing? Reach out and make new friends. Help, or at least interact once or twice, with new friends and followers.
Am I doing it all wrong? Am I giving the wrong impression by taking an interest in those who take an interest in me? Am I a terminal groupie? Probably. Anyway. I won’t ever stop loving those great blogs who make me laugh every day, or those of famous scribblers who teach me about writing or blogging, and certainly not those of those guys who tirelessly support indie writers with little or no benefit to themselves, and most of all my friends – my indie writer friends who do the work, write, market, and still take the time out of their lives to notice others who take the time out of their lives to give them a boost, a word of encouragement, or just a simple “like” now and then.
So…. This is what I’ve figured out:
1. Everyone has different reasons for interacting on the old interweb.
2. They’re all entitled to their opinions.
3. It’s not my place to crap on anyone for doing what they’re doing.
4. I’m entitled to my opinion too, and I need to wo/man up and act accordingly.
My original intent for this blog was to post excerpts from a fictional character’s diary. That never worked out, but I found that I loved blogging in general and interacting with other bloggers around the world. Not just book bloggers, but bloggers who scribble about all sorts of things.
New Rules for Me:
1. I will always try to interact with my followers, and see what they’re up to, even if it’s only occasionally, and even on the snowball in hell chance of me ever becoming a famous scribbler.
2. I will continue to slavishly follow the funny and informative guys even though they ignore me or sometimes respond to my comments in hilariously rude and offensive ways.
3. I will always support in any way those awesome bloggers who give their friendship and talent freely and lovingly.
4. I will no longer interact with bloggers that I’m trying to interact with in a mutually beneficial way if the interaction isn’t mutually beneficial. My likes and shares are probably irritations to them anyway, and there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
5. I will not be afraid to share my opinions just because they’re a little different, and because they are likely to get me unfollowed in droves.
Beginning with a fact or two – 95% of traditionally published authors ever, sell fewer than 500 copies of any given book. 98% of self published authors sell fewer than 5 books other than to friends and family. Considering the millions of self published books, the two percent that do is actually quite a lot of scribblers. Most wallow in that 98 percentile chasm. So, unless you actually are part of the awesome 2% club, and even so, why on Earth would you ignore a potential ally? That opinion’s just from a marketing perspective, and not my main reason for blogging. I do it because I enjoy it. I especially enjoy that the bloggers I follow interact with me as a person, and appreciate my comments and interest in what they have to say. And unless they are in fact Hugh Howey, I enjoy seeing their opinions on my humble opinions now and then. That’s what I believe, and that’s what I’m going to carry on doing, together with my friends and any other followers who didn’t squeeze their nostrils shut and jump ship following my original whinge. I’m just going to carry on being me, and even though I obviously will carry on following blogs that really interest me on a non-writer level, like recipe, real life issues, ghosties and funnies, without for a second expecting any of them to notice me, I’m not going to carry on supporting small indie writers struggling up the ladder, unless I really do think that they are the next Phillipa Gregory if they don’t return that support.