Three Little Indie Author Observations

I’ve been writing, on and off, for about 15 hears, but only became serious about it in the last five.  I joined a couple of social media platforms, created my website (author platform), read and followed my favourite bloggers and authors.  I’ve had a chance to develop a few opinions, and learn a few things that I can pass on.  This blog post provides three little indie author observations.  Enjoy.

Your Friends Don’t Care

I’ve often let my friends know that I am writing a novel. I’m quite proud of what I have accomplished so far, and naturally like to talk about it. You probably do the same thing. Sitting in the back of my mind is the hope they will ask to read my work so far, particularly if I have finished an entire draft.

From time to time my friends or work colleagues do make such a request, which makes me happy to no end. So I give them the manuscript, usually in digital form. And wait. And wait, and wait some more. The days turn into weeks as time crawls by as I hope for some feedback.

Finally, I ask about the piece I’ve given them.

“Haven’t read it yet. But I will, I promise you I will.”

No, they won’t. Ever.

Your friends and colleagues are lying to you. Oh, they mean to read what you’ve given them, have every intention, if fact, until something dawns on them.

Reading is work for most people. Reading an entire manuscript is a LOT of work.

And they don’t care enough to put the effort in. They’re not bad people; they just didn’t realize the commitment involved.

The brutal fact is that no one really cares you’ve written a book except your mom and your cat. And your cat’s interest is more about the fact you have finished, so you can devote your time to more important things — like feeding them.

So, by all means, provide those who ask with your work, or samples of your work, but don’t expect they will actually read it. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare, particularly if you have a longer piece.

If you want people to read your work prior to publication, you have several other options:

  • Join a Writers’ Group
  • Locate and engage with Alpha and Beta Readers
  • Pay professional editors or critiquers
  • Locate another author and offer to exchange “reads” with them

These folks are a much better bet, and you’ll get usable feedback about your efforts.

Politics is Poison

Want to kiss half your potential fiction audience goodbye?  If that’s your goal, I give you one word — Politics.  Or rather, commenting on politics using social media or on your website.

Politics is so divisive today that it is almost impossible to take any kind of stand without being attacked by legions of trolls. Left, right, centrist, social justice advocate, anti-racist, your position doesn’t matter — there are more than few people on social media willing to hate you for it.

These people will not buy your book. These people will not leave positive reviews on Amazon. These people will not support you in any way.

In fact, there is a good chance they will work actively against you.

Even the most anodyne political comment on social media can lure a troll horde to attack, with many of them making it their life’s work to turn your life’s work into shit.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course.  If you write about politics or current social issues, then commenting upon them is natural.  I’m speaking of fiction writers.

I don’t comment on politics, ever.  It’s just not worth offending potential readers.  Of course, people may be offended by your book, but that’s a different issue, and why invite potential vitriol until you have to (i.e. your book is published)?

Twitter Handles can be Hard to Find

I have lost count of the number of blogs articles I have read and subsequently wanted to share in a tweet, only to discover the author’s Twitter handle is no where to be be found.  This happens most often when the article author is posting on someone else’s site, not their own. 

There is almost always an author bio at the bottom of the article for guest posts, but frequently there is no Twitter handle.  Links to their web site, yes, twitter handle, no.  This matters to me because I like to include the author handle when I tweet out the article. 

Why many blog posts and even indie author websites make the Twitter handle difficult to locate is beyond me.  One of those weird little mysteries I’ve run across.

There, you have three little observations I’ve made in the course of my writing, blogging, and tweeting. 

What have your discovered as you’ve pursued you indie author career?  Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and I will see you again next time.

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