Imagine for a moment what it’s like being an indie author. It’s not that difficult I think – especially when put into the pretty harsh light of marketing. Basically when you’re indie, it means that if you don’t market yourself, you don’t get marketed at all. Social media plays a vital role in this self-promotion process, and especially (unfortunately), Facebook.
The unsocial media platform has groups – oodles of them – dedicated to fans of particular genres of writing. I doubt anyone has ever counted or taken stock of them all.
At first glance, all a writer needs to do is to join some of them – those that lend themselves to helping that writer market their work. It’s a great way to market your books if you’re an indie author – and there are many that do.
Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as it could be.
Each Facebook group is run purely at the whim of its creator and admins or “moderators” – who have the power to make up any rules they like as they go along, or as the fancy strikes them. The fact that most do not is often almost overshadowed by the minority who do.
Of course one might feel perfectly entitled to set the ground rules in one’s own group – if members don’t like them, they can always leave – or be made to leave if they don’t toe the line. This isn’t about that – specifically it’s about the hypocrisy, unfairness and oft nit-picking pointless pedantic i-dotting, t-crossing prevalent in many groups which appear to be biased against indie authors in particular.
Imagine again, that you’re an indie author – waking up one morning, as I did today – to a notice from an admin on a Facebook scifi fan group to tell me that my share of one of my marketing posts yesterday was declined… apparently I broke one of their group’s rules – by posting an ad for one of my scifi series during the week. Apparently, according to the nameless admin – whose sanctimonious little letter I received this morning sent my blood pressure soaring like a skorpiad fighter hitting its rocket boosters hard – I should have waited until the weekend!
First off, bear in mind that when you share a post on Facebook, it’s just the name of a group you select from the list – all the groups you’re a member of. Do they really expect one to keep a list of every Facebook group’s little rule books, caveats, ifs, ands, ors, or buts?
How should a writer keep track of groups that only allow authors to market their books on a Monday, a Tuesday, alternate days of the week, just once a month, or just when all the planets in the solar system align?
Secondly, I’m just trying to market my books – my posts are on topic, being sci-fi – it’s not as though I share posts about bloody RayBan knock-offs or fidget spinners, religious fantasy, erotica, or other unrelated bullshit, is it?
Why do these groups exist? To discuss and share news, items, snippets, images, inspiration drawn from or relating to scifi – yet whenever a writer tries to promote their own SCIFI in some of these groups, their admins light up and go into spasm – decline or delete the post and spit out cheesy reprimands or warnings – or arbitrarily hit the block button!
Why restrict writers from sharing their books and updates in groups about writing or the genre they write in? It’s all so unnecessary.
It doesn’t make any sense!
To illustrate why this has me so upset, I was once asked by the admin of a scifi fan group I innocently asked to join what my “intentions were” – and he told me I was “flagged as suspicious” because of all the book promotion & marketing groups I belonged to!
“I’m a writer,” I explained. “I write scifi.”
“Oh dear,” he replied. “That is a problem. You’re not going to try peddle your shit in our group are you?“
No, he didn’t quite say it like that, but he used words very much to that effect.
That group in my example
welcomed allowed writers into their group, but did not allow them to share their own work in there – and I got the idea that while it wasn’t spoken in those exact words – the admins (and members) of that group enjoyed reading and books a lot – but looked down on the people who actually wrote them! They honestly didn’t give a sideways fuck if the poor writers starved for lack of marketing opportunities, but they were allowed in their hallowed group just as long as they essentially kept quiet!
This was explained to me in no uncertain terms – join and comment – just don’t post or share anything at all about my own writing or published books, links! Not even a mention of them or my author website was allowed – it was considered “self-promotion”!
This naturally led to a no-holds-barred argument – with me telling him where to jam his fucking Facebook group and blocking him – because why the honest-to-all-the-gods FUCK would anyone have a scifi fan group and NOT welcome scifi writers and shares about their works? Don’t they want to be exposed to more new scifi? Scifi writers are welcome to join, but not to share news or links to their works? Yet they claim to “love” scifi and to support its writers? Hah!
They believe they’re supporting the scifi genre by actually excluding the part of the genre that’s actually growing and building the genre?
As you might imagine, every time I see sanctimonious little messages about my shares being declined in a group for silly bullshit reasons, which I joined solely for the specific purpose of sharing my posts in anyway, this all comes back to mind. This glaring hypocrisy and sanctimony causes me to see red!
…That – and the impractical totally silly notion that “you can’t share ads for your books in this group today, it’s a Tuesday in a leap year and I’m wearing blue shorts“. I understand the need for group rules – being respectful to other members or at least not starting all-out flame wars in arguments over idiots making homophobic or transphobic posts for example – but frivolous group rules like that make no sense to me at all – not unless what they’re really saying is “just because I, the admin, say so!” Jump, Alfonso, jump! Simon sez!
I don’t need to be in groups like that.
I will leave them.
I will never return.
In which case, they can fuck right off. Further. Off to the horizon and beyond. And once they’ve fucked off to there, they can fuck off some more. And then just keep on going.
There are plenty more similar, better groups where they came from – I know, because they have zero problems with my shares – and they at least value the writers who grow and feed the genre and make it what it is.
Now… I’m on holiday, I’ve just enjoyed breakfast in the company of my love, I’ve done more marketing for the day – and had a healthy rant and got it all out of my system! 😉
Have a great, bright cheery day! 🙂
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2020.