I wrote this yesterday while the power was out, and continued it this morning as a two days in one spread. Just a couple issues I think need to be addressed, because people are going to people.
Why is everyone so threatened by having a place where they can’t just rip on someone? As most of you know, I help moderate a Goodreads board, Support Indie Authors, where we try to help authors, both new and old, to find the tools they need to help spread the word about their books. We don’t have a lot of rules, but there are two in particular that are ignored, and I don’t understand why.
The first rule, no bookwhacks, is supposed to help limit the amount of drive by bookings we have where someone joins, drops their book, and never looks at the group again. It’s not 100% successful, but we have managed to have a lot of authors that participate in conversations versus trying to sell their books to others. However, there’s always that one guy…comes in drops their book, says read me, and then you never hear from them again. I don’t understand this thinking, do you really think this is going to get people to read your book? You have to interact! You have to show an interest and willingness to help others! Just dropping your book like that is a good way to get ignored by people that might otherwise have given you a legitimate chance.
Afterall, which are you going to read, a book from a random stranger that posted on a message board but has no other interactions with you? Or someone who has helped/asked for help and you have some interactions with that person? Part of this is related to the “Great Review Experiment” of 2016, so I’ll go much more in depth on this at a later date.
The other one is, “No Negativity”. People seem to have the biggest problems with this rule. They say, “You’re doing a disservice to other authors by not telling them their work stinks! Tell them it sucks and maybe they’ll get better!”
I don’t understand this line of thinking either. There are tons of places on the internet where you can bash your fellow writers at will. You can insult and name call all you want. Heck, if it really bothers you, you can buy their book and leave a review that is scathing. Your opinion is your own! But what’s wrong with trying to set up a place where authors can receive constructive feedback in a positive environment?
That’s not to say you aren’t entitled to your opinion. You are, and we don’t want to take that away from you. But if sharing your opinion has you calling someone a hack, or saying they have to do something like get an editor or a professional cover designer, these are not constructive feedback. Offering specific examples in a private message is usually best for cases such as this, if it really bothers you that much and you can’t say something nice.
Saying, “Your font blends in too much with the background and I think the colors could pop more.” Is different than, “You cover sucks! Font is wrong, colors are wrong, do it again!” See, one offers constructive feedback with helpful opinions not filled with dripping malice and spite, while they other may drive someone away from writing for good.
Too often I still see authors looking at others as rivals instead of the allies they could be.