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.
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.