The Indie author does much more than write. There are all the learning curves, fiddly bits, and marketing. We are our own publicists. Hugely successful authors like Ann Rice can have as many wobblies as they want to online, but they’ll still be selling lots and lots of books. She’s also traditionally published anyway, so what she does doesn’t besmirch Indie world. I’ve seen enough shame inducing, call your mom a donkey dramas lately from some Indie authors online to wonder what the spectators who just read for pleasure must be thinking.
If you’re online as much as we must be, and on so many various sites, sooner or later you’re going to stumble across a comment or an article that will insert itself firmly up your nostril, and it’s possible that you will then dive right in there and firmly express your opinion. Before doing that though, try and dial up your inner public relations department, and see what that lot have to say first. If it really is something close to your heart, and commenting would be of some benefit, go for it. I’ve been known to get into scraps when it comes to animal cruelty, and that isn’t likely to change, because it’s hugely important to me. Otherwise, take a little breather first, and ask yourself if your getting loudly or publicly involved is worth it.
These past few weeks have been quite tumultuous in Indie world, with authors taking sides about Amazon’s reviewing policy, that whacky Twitter thing that E L James did, and the KU payout barney. A large group of authors is signing a civilised petition about the reviews to formally submit to Amazon, I’m sure E L James doesn’t give a hoot, and the KU payout is done and dusted. Unfortunately, many authors are using their platforms to really make some noise. This is fair enough – we can all say exactly what we want to on our own sites, and we can always delete posts later if we change our minds.
Not so much though. I’m pretty sure that Amazon is very well aware of some of the really strong things being said about them, and by who too. I noticed that the authors shouting the loudest about Amazon being criminal, thieving, swine still have their books with Amazon for sale. It’s never a good thing to try and bite the hand that feeds you. Rather get your views across in the calmest, most civilised way you can. Also, even when you delete a ranty post, you’re not guaranteed that it’s gone forever. The review that Ann Rice wrote on her own book’s Amazon page has been long deleted, but it’s still very easy to find on line if you want to read it.
So before you go in all guns blazing, ask yourself if this would be something you’ll fondly remember when you finally whack out that bestseller, and all your adoring fans want to know every little thing about you. The internet is for keeps, and dignity and respect are kind of nice to have in our Indie world.