By Kyle Perkins.
I have compiled a list of things that authors need to stop doing. It is hurting the community, as well as their own business. Some might be unaware of how grating these things are, so I have decided to list them out in hopes that it ceases immediately. This list is not an attack on authors, it’s more a wake up call to problematic ones.
If you are unfamiliar with what vaguebooking is, it’s when a person posts some dramatic status about their life, but remains entirely vague about what or who it is so that people have to ask them about it. The usual response of course is typically, “nothing,” or “it’s private.” It’s all a ploy for attention and it must be stopped. Fans of your work do not want to have to sift through fifteen posts about how your life is being made shitty by some invisible entity before getting to your books. Some people, they have to vaguebook because they really have nothing to say. Seriously, they have nothing of value to say, so they vaguebook hoping it strikes up a conversation. Fans do not want to see that shit, or have to deal with it. It only shows that you lack the capacity to deal with things directly like an adult, and need constant attention.
2. Playing the victim.
This goes hand in hand with vaguebooking, and neither is exclusive from the other. There are so many authors constantly whining about sales, people being mean to them, or some injustice they have faced on a daily basis. Truth is, if you have problems that are so big that you need to shout them out across social media every day, chances are, you are the problem. Nothing makes me unfollow an author faster than this. It drives me absolutely crazy, and again it is just another ploy for attention. For the life of me, I can’t understand what adults get out of being a victim, or why they’d want to be. Who wants that kind of attention? I would have thought before getting into this industry that authors would have had enough self respect not to want pity as their sole form of daily attention.
3. Acting entitled.
I have seen so many authors taking their stress out on fans, and being demanding of their fan base that goes out of their way to do things for them for free. It is truly baffling to see an indie author have the audacity to talk down to, or demand anything from fans that are offering their time and support, at no cost to the author. You guys aren’t rock stars selling out stadiums, so stop acting like divas. It’s appalling and gives the entire community a bad name.
4. Taking advantage of your fan base.
Your fans are here for your work, and if you’re really lucky, they’ll keep buying what you put out there. That’s the best case scenario. That’s all you can really hope for from fans, that they like your work. They owe you nothing. So, stop expecting them to pay your bills, fund your gofundme, or dedicate all of their free time to your pet causes. These people have lives of their own, along with their own goals and everything they do does not revolve around you. You could look into their interests and help support their causes since they are already supporting your dream, though.
5. Using excessive improper grammar.
You may hear from a lot of readers that grammar doesn’t matter. Hell, even other authors may tell you that it’s not important. However, it’s fucking important. If you represent yourself as an author on social media, but post three page long rants using no punctuation, you make us all look like a joke, and it hurts your sales. Think about it, if you were a reader and you cringed your way through a Facebook post, would you want to read a book by that author?
6. Expecting your fans to do all of the work for you.
Again, your fans have no obligation to you. Fans are fickle, because fans are not friends. Now, while some fans can be friends, some are just fans. So don’t expect them to carry you to the top of the indie world. While many of them will help you, don’t expect them to be your mule. It only makes you look like an asshole.
7. Treating reviews as if they are the reader’s duty.
Feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, but readers owe you absolutely nothing. When readers do decide to leave you a review, think of it as a gift. They already bought your book, which means they have done more for you than 99.999999999% of the population. Expecting them to also leave you a review as if they are obligated is like ordering at a restaurant and then the restaurant messaging you personally to ask why you didn’t review their business. That would be off-putting, wouldn’t it?
8. Whining about quitting.
If you need constant positive reinforcement to the point where you are willing to unpublish then publish your book over and over every time you’re feeling bad about yourself, this isn’t the career for you. Writing is full of ups and downs, and your fans are not a depression support group. Will some beg you to stay on as an author? Sure. Though, why do you need that kind of attention, and why do you want your fans to see you as some emotional cripple that can’t get by without constant reassurance? If you’re going to quit, just quit. Stop making a spectacle of it and having your fans beg you to stay. Can’t you just watch sad movies and eat ice cream like a normal person?
9. Adding people to groups without permission.
Look, we get it. You’re excited about your new book/group/fan club, etc and you want to add everyone you know to it. The only problem is, it’s fucking annoying. No one wants to wake up to a thousand notifications from a group they didn’t even ask to be in. Honestly, Facebook needs to remove this option, but since they haven’t, stop doing it.
10. Getting nasty about all criticism.
It’s inevitable since nobody writes perfect books and there is no book that pleases absolutely everyone. Of course it stings at first, and the knee-jerk reaction is to defend, but you have to learn to sort through it. Some stuff should be disregarded, but there is constructive criticism that can really help an author evolve.
11. Reneging on agreements.
I have heard from so many readers that authors do not fulfill their giveaways, or that the reader buys a signed book but it never arrives, and the author offers no refund or way to fix the problem. So, someone went out of their way to buy a physical copy of your book, and you have the audacity to not send it? Disgusting. Equally disgusting is having someone participate in a game or competition that gives you exposure, then not come through on a prize that was promised. You should be ashamed.
12. Releasing unedited books.
Stop treating your fans as beta testers for your book, especially when you’re charging them full price. Releasing an unedited shitty book is a slap in the face for people that have entrusted you to deliver them a flawless copy of a book. This is another form of abusing your fan base, and makes you look like a fraud. Would you buy a car if they hadn’t put in the seats yet? Of course not, so stop expecting readers to buy unfinished books. It’s shady as fuck.