Author Kyle Perkins

The Indie Book Community Is Toxic.

So, I’ve been in a lot of toxic communities, from alt-right incel groups, to gaming groups and nothing is quite as toxic as the indie book community.

**I was in alt right groups to fuck with them, I was not actually alt right**

I stopped writing long ago, and have even considered changing the name of the blog, but if you write a book you’ll always be an author. So, I trashed the idea. Plus, how would the three of you that read this find me?

Why did I stop writing? Great question, Kyle. Well, it wasn’t a lack of interest or desire to write, it was the community in itself. I started to notice that it stressed me out just to log into facebook, which for most, that’s how they kill stress to begin with.

When I first became an author I looked up to so many people, and thought they were almost mystical. We all have that vision of an author sitting on a train, or in a independent coffee shop churning out book after book. However, that’s not the case. Instead, it’s almost like a multi level marketing scheme where everyone and anyone can write.

It’s big business in every sense of the word and the only people winning and making a profit are the people who advertise to authors themselves, not the actual authors. People who design websites(me), pimp books, proofread, edit, advertise and so on. Authors are mostly middle aged folks, men and women, who have disposable income, and can throw money at their book until enough people read it, and they still take a loss.

They, we, all do it for a pat on the back. A good ol’ “atta boy(or girl),” from the people who can be bothered to read our books in the first place. But, guess what? Most don’t. All of the free books that authors give away freely for exposure end up on a kindle somewhere and no one can be bothered to read it. Shit, they probably find it years later like “who was this from again?”

Exposure, no matter how great it is in theory, does not pay the bills. The problem is, and I am going back to an earlier statement, but most authors in the indie world have a disposable income, and use books as their personal blog and friend making talking piece. They don’t have the hunger and never did. They don’t even know what it means to be hungry. So, sure, they can wait ten years for options to pan out from exposure but some people want to write for a living.

Hint: You can’t make a living from the indie book community, no matter how well known you are.

There are success stories, sure. Colleen Hoover, E. L. James, etc. That is not the norm, though and you’d probably have a better shot trying out for the NFL. Statistically. However, these success stories have led normal people into believing they can do the impossible. Not only that, but it’s an “you can do it too, girl!” culture.

So, now we have a culture where anyone can be a PA(person assistant to the author), then those people seeing that authors get attention, want attention for themselves. Well, fuck it, this asshole wrote a book, why can’t I? So they write a book too, because LITERALLY fucking anyone can. Soon, they get a PA and the cycle continues.

So, in a culture where everyone gives away everything for free, how can you make money? Well, you can’t. Just to compete you have to give away everything for free. Back in the day, authors used to do deals, and give away stuff at a cheaper price to get attention and it worked. So everyone tried to undercut the next guy until we came to a culture where we not only have to give away books, but other shit as well.

Enter swag.

Now authors are literally buying shit to give away with their books just to get readers to read their shit, and that’s become such a norm that it’s not special. Shit, most authors could give a Sandals Resort voucher with their book and the recipient still wouldn’t give it a glance on their trip.

So, if you can’t advertise to fans, and you can’t even bribe fans, what then?

Well, you still have to stand out. By any means necessary. This means that authors will cut the throats of their competition to stand out. From blowing up something negative they said online and turning the community against them, to being the person who starts drama in the first place.

Like I said, the community is predominantly middle aged people, so do you think it’s an accident when a book model calls someone fat? Fuck no. It’s tactical. They know they’ll get attention when the community gets into an uproar. That’s what most have become. Good or bad attention, it doesn’t matter. As long as someone knows you exist.

However, is it all worth it? Sure. There are some authors out there who still believe. Some who still have the hunger. They are hard to find in a sea of mlm moms who think a book equates to attention, but they are out there and they’re working hard. You just have to see through all of the bullshit to find them. But, they do exist.

As for me, I am done writing books. It’s just not worth it anymore.

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6 Replies to “The Indie Book Community Is Toxic.”

  1. Truth! I’m sorry it pushed you away but your opinion matters so please stay alive for us that believe in what you say. You say what others don’t. They are afraid. I love your authenticity. Your style. Your truth

  2. On a quest to find new authors today, I came across your page on Amazon. I am not familiar with all the politics and business crap authors like you have to deal with. I only know the beauty of the books I read. Yes, there is quite a lot of garbage out there. However, readers like me don’t mind doing searches, and weeding through the junk to find the gems. We are also not swayed by things that sparkle today, only to tarnish tomorrow. Have faith in us, we are here, we are listening, reading, watching, and we believe in the true writers.

    My heart hurts thinking you will put your gift aside. I just wanted to reach out and tell you that perhaps this is just a season. True writers with a Goddess given gift can withstand fire, while those that are burning brightly at the moment, will burn away just as quickly. Stay true.

  3. I’m one of the three!! Have been since way back when, miss your books, but I get it! I’ve stopped engaging on most of the blogs and author pages now, I lurk in the background of writers I enjoy to see when they are releasing new books, I read and review, but the drama bores me, it has turned me off the Indie community over the past 6 months so, I’ve slipped into the background. The bullying and backstabbing is rife and mostly self promoting, which some of us readers, who have half a brain can recognise, hard to believe I know! But none the less true, there are those of us who can read between the lines.
    I hope the day will come when you decide to write again, but if not then I will continue to be, one of the three!!!

  4. After a recent decision to put becoming a publisher on hold to focus 100% on my writing career (as I originally planned on doing before the pressures of making money as a writer set in), I went Google searching about writing communities, and your website came up on the first page.

    I loved this post!

    Ever since I started writing, before taking a 4-5 year break (until last week) I wanted to give to readers what James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald gave me back when I first read them (the ones who inspired me write). It was never about money, popularity, social media presence, cred, or whatever else. It was about my passion to be the best writer for the ones reading my work. The hunger, in your words, is what pushed me, not tactics. For a while I was afraid that I would have to resort to such things.
    However, I’ve become, as I’ve gotten older and want to reach as many people as possible with my work, one of those people who want to make a living as a writer, while currently working a 9-5, and this post let me know that I am not wasting my time in pursuing a writing career, and that there will always be a certain group of people who check for work by someone like me.

    So, I want to thank you.

  5. Dude. I’ve come so close to giving up on writing so many times for the reasons you gave as well as others that branch off from them. Social media author groups are all just shouting chambers full of people recycling the same copypasta plugs and being totally shut off to discussion. The rare success stories sell books on how they did it, and every single one is the same. If you don’t have the disposable income that you mentioned, they just say to engage with your audience on social media and tell your friends and family. (Wow. No shit?)

    And then there’s the massive wave of Dunning-Krugers. They’re obsessed with putting off the aesthetic of an author but offer no real substance. Yet, they have the audacity to spew out TED-talk-esque coaching sessions while they’re writing their first draft ever.

    So yeah. Assholes with disposable income on one end. Inexperienced dipshits lecturing more experienced dunkshits on the other end. Half-assing service providers (editors, cover artists, etc) with a deep sense of entitlement in the middle. And self-entitled readers off in the distance somewhere. Fuck yeah, I’ve nearly given up on it.

    But then I thought… Fuck them. Fuck them right off a cliff. If I give up, they win. Instead, I quit the real problem. Social media.

    This isn’t my way of saying you took the wrong approach. I just found this blog extremely relatable and wanted to finally share my experience with someone who would actually get it.

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