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Questions/Help Section > Acquired situational narcissism and Authors

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message 1: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
For anybody unfamiliar with the syndrome listed in the title acquired situational narcissism is along the lines of somebody growing more self-centered as they experience an increase in perceived importance or attention.

After about a year I'm developing the impression that this is becoming an outstanding problem amongst authors, especially in Self-publishing. These books need no approval but the author's to get published so there's a lesser sense of "earning one's place" as a published author and nothing left to humble somebody besides poor sales or reviews.

Even in this group there are instances of authors talking at each other, condescending opinions and finding excuses to apply conversations to what they write. Being an author has become such a staple of identity that people at times forget that - on goodreads - they're addressing their peers and betters in publishing.

Not all books are equal nor those who wrote them and the novelty of being an author in mixed company doesn't exist on the internet. Nonetheless people talk like we're all fans fascinated about what their characters are doing.

Is it insecurity preying on common sense or do people assume we've all read or are dying to read a random author's books?

What do you guys think about authors as a whole? Is it everybody acting like they have bragging rights regardless of success or is it a more humble crowd than I've noticed?

message 2: by Katheryn (new)

Katheryn Avila (katheryn_avila) Hear hear!

I haven't really run across the kind of author you're describing, and I try hard not to be one of them, but I can see how they would come about.

I think writers in general are a mix - humble and braggy. You get the ones that are self-deprecating (which might just be fishing for compliments) and then you get the ones that are all "I wrote a book, what have *you* done?" or "You wrote *that*? It's not very literary." Or worse, the ones that act all important to offset how they feel about a bad reception or bad sales - "They just don't get it.". But I think that's true of almost every profession or art form, to be honest.

It might just be a people thing - not a writer thing.

I think this came up in another topic (Are writers nice people?), and I think, to an extent, there has to be some narcissism involved if you think you're good enough to bypass the traditional publishing route and go on your own. As long as that trait doesn't define you, though, it's not terrible. Authors as a whole, in my experience, are friendly, helpful, and welcoming (at least here).

message 3: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Wow, Courtney, mighty big can of worms you're holding there...

I've been active online since 2005, been using the net on and off since 1994. There has been many changes, the technology has advanced a lot, and at the same time there are many aspects of the internet that hasn't changed since 1994. Situational narcissim is one of them. It's been there since IRC chat rooms.

It's the nature of the internet. Direct from one's ego to the virtual keyboard. No filters. The filters that affects people's speech are facial expressions, body language, tone of voice. None of these things can be duplicated online.

I've always felt blaming the internet is as pointless as blaming a knife in a murder. It's not the knife's fault, it's the fault of the knife weilder.

The fact is there's no internet education. Waaay back when, the government issued brochures on how to use a telephone that's not a rotary phone. With every technoloical advancement, there's been user manuals to go with it. But online, people are essentially dumped into the deep end of the swimming pool. So what do they do? Imitate others so they won't drown. It's long since become a vicious cycle. Of course, the pool doesn't exist. It's a virtual reality.

message 4: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 517 comments I really don't notice as I don't check in often. I'm not particularly narcissistic (don't like talking about myself) but it depends on the conversation. I try to offer advice and help newbs as needed and maybe throw a book/ebook at them as I'm not that kindhearted. but the annoying ones I glaze over because my booze addled brain ain't got time for that.
I notice a lot of first timers and we all go through that stage right? I did that too once until I got smacked by harsh reality. just leave em alone and remind them with a well placed smack upside the head.

message 5: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay I don't know many self-publishing authors and vast majority of those I know happened to be pretty cool and modest. Anyway, of course there are some so self-centered, but I don't think that their fraction is any different from those non-self-publishing.

Why do they act like that? Sometimes it's insecurity, sometimes it's their (most likely the only) line of defence (e.g. when their work meets negative feedback), and sometimes... they just think they are better regardless of anything. Oh, and of course there's that percentage who flap their gums just to get any attention or any PR at all.

I don't think authors as a whole are like that. Most of them are probably humble enough, it's just the narcissistic minority that barks so loud.

message 6: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments I haven't communicated with any narcissistic authors personally. I've heard about them, seen evidence of their existence...but everyone that I've spoken to has been polite, nice, humble.

So far.

I don't think that narcissism has to come with success -- again, I point to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, a married couple who are ridiculously famous for writing/music and who are constantly using that platform to help other people -- but I do understand that you can't be a shrinking violet if you want to "succeed." As an author, I have to be willing to say, "I think you would like my book because..." The difficulty is, when do I say that? When is it appropriate in a conversation to bring up my book? If you're browsing similar books at the local B&N, should I mention my upcoming book signing, or is that rude?

There aren't rules for these things. Some people will see that as a go-getter attitude while others as a breach of privacy and of trust.

And people will always talk about what they're interested in. I'm interested in writing. I want to talk about writing. I want to hear about your writing and tell you about my writing. It's true, and I make no apologies for it. Does that make me narcissistic (god, I'm making myself type that word because it's tripping me up every time!)? I hope not, because I don't want to be, but there have been people, in person no less, who made comments to others that they thought I was.

message 7: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Jason: from what I've noticed, in most cases writer's narcissism is inversely proportional to their writing skills. Not a rule but... somehow those who bark the loudest are usually the ones whose books I certainly wouldn't recommend.

message 8: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
It's interesting to think people aren't "socialized" for the internet and possibly presenting themselves in a way that comes off far worse than intented.

Honestly, I know there are nice authors. Even a narcissist can be nice because they might not see how alienating it is to not be able to express an opinion in a group of authors without reminding everybody they happen to be an author who wrote something they will compare/contrast to the subject to validate their own point.

Maybe it's me seeing authors citing their own work instead of things they've read to prove a point. Or can't answer questions like "what makes a strong protagonist" without describing a character they wrote or joking "can I say my own book :)" when asked something like their favourite book world would be to visit.

message 9: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Courtney wrote: "It's interesting to think people aren't "socialized" for the internet and possibly presenting themselves in a way that comes off far worse than intented.

Honestly, I know there are nice authors. ..."

Oh! Now I understand!

Okay, here goes: if I'm in a group of authors and we're talking about author-y things, like how a strong protagonist should come off, I'm more likely to mention any protagonists I have written than those I have read. Why? Because I'm talking to other authors and I expect them to be likely to do the same. If I'm in with a bunch of READERS and we're discussing protagonists, I'm not going to do that -- instead, I'll mention Lyric, from Through the Gloom. Or Ivy Granger from Ghost Light. It's about the company and the discussion norms.

When I'm with other authors, I think of it as a community where we are all sharing to help one another. Like painters discussing technique, or teachers sharing their stories about what worked and what didn't work.

Does this make sense?

message 10: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Jacek wrote: "Jason: from what I've noticed, in most cases writer's narcissism is inversely proportional to their writing skills. Not a rule but... somehow those who bark the loudest are usually the ones whose b..."

Interesting, and likely true. I'll have to keep my eyes and ears open :)

message 11: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Okay - maybe it's some context issue I've completely overlooked or fail to get since I've yet to finish my own novel.

It doesn't occur to me to reference my own writing because I would rather use an example people have likely heard of all around rather than explain my own character/story and hope that also justifies my point of view without sounding like a plug for what clever characters I have and how my book is an example of writing done right.

I honestly hope I refrain from that even once I'm done because it never comes across right to mixed company unless the topic is "as an author". Like keep the reader me divorced from the author me so people won't think I praise my own books before any others.

message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Jason, community is a good keyword. It's lack of community online. Because it's a virtual reality, a blank slate if you will, social rules and community are created, as opposed to grounded in reality.

I think we do a pretty good job offering an established community in this group. More often than not, whenever there's a conflict, it's because the user has brought in the created community from other, not so nice, groups.

Courtney, that's exactly what I'm seeing. Many users are not socialized for the internet. That's the only thing that's new. People raising themselves on the internet.

I actually think it's worse than situational narcissim or the tall poppy syndrome or many other psychological syndromes. There's a lack of personality to begin with. Blindly copy and paste.

Of course, from what I've seen, the good, the bad, the ugly, I would have to say it is a minority. They just happen to be freakishly annoying and give everyone else a very bad name.

message 13: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Courtney wrote: "Okay - maybe it's some context issue I've completely overlooked or fail to get since I've yet to finish my own novel.

It doesn't occur to me to reference my own writing because I would rather us..."

There is definite separation necessary. I never plug my book "as a reader," but will reference it "as an author" when I'm talking to authors or about the craft.

Ah! That's another thing! It can occur that, when people are talking about HOW WRITING IS DONE, I slip into authorness and reference my own work...because that's the only work I know. I can't talk about how J.R.R. Martin creates his characters because I don't know. I can't talk about whether or not Dan Patterson or Anne Rice plot their novels ahead of time because I don't know. I can talk about my own characters and plotlines because I built them.

message 14: by Suzanne (last edited Oct 24, 2014 01:13PM) (new)

Suzanne | 5 comments For the most part, the authors I've encountered on GR have been genuinely kind and sweet.

Speaking as a recently published indie author myself, there is a great deal more to humble an indie author than just a poor review or poor sales. The success of our work rides solely on our shoulders. Writing, editing, publishing, marketing (a huge undertaking) as well as public relations are all parts of a self-pub author's life. Those new to the process are still learning how to juggle all the hats of self-publishing — and it is obvious that some are better at writing then selling themselves … some rotten at all of it!

I agree with Katheryn above, there is some narcissism involved in feeling justified to publish a book. But confidence in one's work goes hand in hand with most career choices — whether you're a painter, a mechanic, an interior designer or an author — you're selling your work. Would you hire someone who's not confident of their ability? Not likely.

This is my take: Authors crave readers. All we want is to get our books into readers' hands. Readers feed a writer's soul. For what good is any writing if no one will ever read it?

I commiserate with you on authors who push his/her book aggressively or within random conversations or improper forums — that gets old fast! When that happens, may I suggest giving them a simple, courteous reminder. (i.e.: This is a promo-free zone) Or simply ignore their comment. It usually does the trick.

message 15: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Suzanne wrote: "This is my take: Authors crave readers. All we want is to get our books into readers' hands. Readers feed a writer's soul. For what good is any writing if no one will ever read it? "
And, more important, readers feed a writer's bank account. There has to be a little of egocentrism (because, if you're too shy, you'll most like sell nothing), you just need to keep it healthy so you won't be seen as a narcissistic prick. ;) I guess.

message 16: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne | 5 comments Jacek wrote: "And, more important, readers feed a writer's bank account."

lol, I've given away more than I've sold. At this stage in the game, my efforts are mostly a tax write-off at the end of the year! But yes, keep it healthy. No one benefits from being a pompous ass!

message 17: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments I would like to believe most people, deep down, aren't self-serving or narcissistic, if given the chance. I said MOST people, not all. You'll find your self loving people anywhere you go. It has nothing to do with being an author, just being themselves.

I'd like to believe that the problem described in this topic (and without knowing the nature of the people behind this topic, this thread's existence could be lumped into the same category it's lamenting) is a combination of several points already made.

Lilly's first point is spot on, as are Suzanne's and Jason's. There's no owner's manual for how to interact, nor are their visual or tonal filters to help other online users know the intention behind what someone is saying. What could be construed as a very mean spirited or spiteful comment could actually be sarcasm or innocence. I've always been told sarcasm doesn't translate online.

Also, Jason brings up a good point that people might just use their own characters and writings when talking about certain subjects because that's what's easiest for them, and perhaps that's what they believe others are expecting.

Suzanne has the best point of all, and it marry's well with the fact that no one will care more about your book than you. There are billions of different articles online, all with dissenting opinions on how an indie should market their book. If you're not proud of your work, why should other people give it a chance? After all, I think anyone who writes, engages with peer to peer interaction on Goodreads, makes a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, or whatever, are all looking for some sort of affirmation. They're not necessarily turning their nose up at people.

Lilly has a newsletter, and it sends out messages to people who are interested in her work. She's not getting bashed because people knew what they were signing up for. Not everyone is that savvy, or capable of lending the time to go through the "appropriate" mediums such as she. It gives her a leg up. Other's may not have the forethought to create such a marketing tool, and therefore treat every interaction like an elevator pitch, not knowing there will be other interactions in the future.

We write to be read, and we WANT people to like it, to find some value in it. If one person could pick up your book and feel the same way about it that you felt about your favorite book growing up, then the sales wouldn't really matter.

I think that all gets lost. We're all a bunch of cynics because of the online world. We're afraid of false web pages giving us a virus. We're afraid to download the wrong thing because we don't want windows popping up with flaccid a penis. We've read about so many people proud of their accomplishments, and then read their book which made no sense, and we're the jaded ones. At a certain point, it'd be real easy to be nasty and condescending, almost to the point where we think we're better than the "narcissists" because we don't toot our own horn.

I think it's funny that the common consensus in this thread seems to be that the most narcissistic authors are the newbies. Maybe that's because they've not hit the wall like so many weathered veterans have? Rather than smack them in the head, like K.P. likes to do, maybe help them out and help them direct their enthusiasm in the best way possible?

I remember a while back Courtney started a fantastic thread about creating an Indie authoritative board to help self-pub authors. It would be a stamp of approval, helping readers know which books are worth their hard earned $2.99. I liked that idea, even though the logistics of it would be quite daunting. What would qualify someone to sit on the board? I would say the willingness to do it. To me, that's a better answer to unabashed eagerness of new authors, rather than rolling our eyes.

I look at my 5 year old daughter, and how she is so excited to show off her new dance moves. She barely has the choreography down, and can hardly catch the beat, but she loves it. I can smack in her in the head and tell her she sucks, or I can encourage her, channel her enthusiasm, and watch her get better (hopefully) after she's had more than 3 practices. It's the same way with new writers.

So, what really qualifies as thumping your chest? What earns an indie a pass? What if you wrote the next Great Gatsby? That would qualify, though not likely. I would settle for someone who constructed a coherent plot, originality, entertaining characters, and at least 80% mastery of spelling and grammar in the language they wrote in.

Keep up the enthusiasm. Without it, we don't get new and creative works of art.

message 18: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Aw, why thank you, Nathan :) Personally, I am very selective. I pick and choose words carefully to place in the newsletters as well as any promotional material. Then I change my mind a hundred times. Is it all perfect? I'm not really sure. I'm just doing the best that I can.

Though, I will admit, going back to this topic, that a small part of me keeps waiting for the bashing, the anxiety that I'll be lumped in with every narcissistic author imaginable. Annnnnny time now...

message 19: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments Lilly, I think eventually those people will show up at your doorsteps with pitchforks and torches. Not because it's deserved, but because most people don't have plans, and therefore dislike people with a plan. They think it's fake, or stupid, but really they're jealous they don't have one.

"Oh she thinks she's so smart with her news letter, and graphic novel. Oh, he must believe he's the cat's meow because he has his series planned out."

I think it's human nature to be proud of your accomplishments, but not to draw attention to yourself. The number one fear is public speaking, but true narcissists don't have that problem.

It is, however, very much in human nature to be jealous or get snippy when you feel slighted. Enthusiasm or a plan can draw the ire of many people.

message 20: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) True enough. I think this goes back to the nature of the internet. No filters. So many time people (in general, absolutely no one specific) automatically post whatever they're feeling right away.

Sometimes you have to take a step back. Balance is the key. At the same time, some will get it, some won't.

message 21: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Lily wrote: "Aw, why thank you, Nathan :) Personally, I am very selective. I pick and choose words carefully to place in the newsletters as well as any promotional material. Then I change my mind a hundred time..."

You have a newsletter? How do I sign up?

Back on topic, I think it's a lot like talking about anything. If people are interested, then it's interesting. If they're not...natter natter natter yawn yawn. Nathan makes very good points as well and an excellent summary, so thanks, Nathan!

(It's weird typing your name because a book I'm helping someone edit has a Nathan as a main character).

message 22: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Maybe the reason it seems to be the newbies is because all of us — young, old, newbie and old hand — hear, consistently, that we've got to talk about our work, get comfortable with talking about our work, get our work noticed, let people know about our work, if we don't tell people about our work nobody else will.

So it's confusing. If we don't talk, offer examples, etc., then we aren't doing those things. If we do, are we being perceived as ASN?

Being the daughter of a malignantly narcissistic mother, knowing how horrible an NPD is, that's a hard charge to absorb without feeling gut-kicked. Makes me want to just write my book and never tell anyone about it, ever, rather than have someone think that of me.

The only truly narcissistic author I've ever run into so far has been David Madden (Bijou, The Suicide's Wife). Supposedly he's a big deal, especially as he tells it, but his preening, tantrums and supercilious treatment of his audience was unconscionable. But he's not an Indie.

Indies, too, are under a constant barrage of "you're just self-pubbing because you're not good enough." That's not necessarily true, historically or in the present, and it smacks of elitism and insecurity, but it sure as hell works to get defensive reactions. Sometimes loud ones.

message 23: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
The thing about this situational narcissism is it is basically something that can correct itself with an attitude adjustment - like rarely self-referencing and as appropriate - or a wake-up call. Nobody wants the latter because that's likely getting knocked down half the ladder compared to a couple pegs. Look at some if the asses who end up celebrities and think about who you considered only somewhat self-absorbed. If you're coming off better than that you're probably doing alright ;)

message 24: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments There's a backlash, too. People who ARE narcissistic never see themselves that way, so it doesn't really affect them.

People who aren't, but have perhaps been reaching out, helping or encouraging others who are stuck on something they've struggled through, are now faced with "oh, wait, this might look like I'm a self-absorbed ass . . . better to shut up and tiptoe away."

I don't know what the answer is. How much of it is real and how much of it is the perception of the reader? Maybe that's where the real question lies. I don't know.

Guess I will shut up and tiptoe away ;-)

message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Renee wrote: "There's a backlash, too. People who ARE narcissistic never see themselves that way, so it doesn't really affect them.

People who aren't, but have perhaps been reaching out, helping or encouraging..."

Considering your hysterical Godzilla Facepalm contribution to this group, which I'll never forget, you're more than validated enough to continue sharing your thoughts. :)

message 26: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Aww, thanks. I feel better :D

 photo anigif_enhanced-buzz-5660-1355938677-10_zpsc83f2285.gif

message 27: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Love it!

message 28: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Renee I wouldn't worry. The fact you wonder is a good sign you take your actions into consideration and don't want to put people off. I'm sure anybody putting that much thought into "does anybody want to hear this" isn't bothering people when they do self-reference

message 29: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
I like to think at times we all can be self-centered. I know I myself tend to be self-centered and narcissistic at times but to a certain amount as in I keep myself in check. I certainly don't go around throwing my book in peoples faces or go around on hear preaching the good word of it. Heck, I know what my books are and I know what they aren't, and I'm sure as hell not going to try and convince someone while making myself come off as a huge tool.

I do know what you mean though. I have seen a selective few here on Goodreads and even some on Amazon who have devloped this Kanye West like ego about themselves and their work and go around telling us expecting us to either go out and buy their work, praise them for writing it or perhaps even bowing to their feet. No, no thank you!

Remember, if it looks like crap and smells like crap...It's CRAP!

message 30: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Oh man - if any author talked about how they're "the voice of a generation" I don't know what reaction I would

message 31: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments Jason wrote: "Lily wrote: "Aw, why thank you, Nathan :) Personally, I am very selective. I pick and choose words carefully to place in the newsletters as well as any promotional material. Then I change my mind a..."

He sounds like the most awesome, sexiest, and dashing character ever.

message 32: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Nathan wrote: "Jason wrote: "Lily wrote: "Aw, why thank you, Nathan :) Personally, I am very selective. I pick and choose words carefully to place in the newsletters as well as any promotional material. Then I ch..."

Absolutely. And since you didn't write him, it's not even narcissism!

message 33: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Everson (authorthomaseverson) I'm with Justin here. Writing something and publishing (even self publishing) is a feat because it means you had the drive to follow through on something that is a big deal. This can certainly create a little narcissism. It does take will power to keep it in check so that you don't come off as pushy or egocentric.

The most humbling thing after reviews and lack of sales is the number of self published books in 2012 (391,000+) and likely more in 2013 and 2014. It should be at the forefront of every authors mind that yes it would be fantastic to be a successful writer, but we're fish in an ocean.

Thankfully my interaction with those that feel super-important has been nil. Everyone I know is calm about their work and promoting it.

message 34: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
Believe me, when you hardly sell any copies, it keeps you in check! lol.

message 35: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Maybe it's me being on the readers end still that makes me feel bullied at times by authors self-promoting because I'm not doing it for myself. There are times I feel "I'm talking about books, not you or your books so don't make it about that" and it makes me wary to interact with individuals who can't drop the salesman persona for the sake if a conversation.

Like that topic we had a while back on why authors offer copies of their books to random strangers who might never read such things. It's taking zero interest in readers who might support somebody who appealed to them as a person or was considerate of their reading preferences. It's making it really about personal gain and authors who can't figure out a) when it's appropriate to mention their work and b) who their audience is deserves to be rejected for being lazy and annoying.

If you wrote the next Silent Hill then see if there are horror groups with fans of that and frame it to that effect, not "entice" people by just "slipping" it in. Authors get ignored that way or even blacklisted in the minds of readers because everything is just a promotion tool, not a friendly chat, in the minds of some authors.

Again, this is what I've observed and been made to feel on GR between groups and PMs at times. I have sympathies as an aspiring author but even that perspective makes me wonder why people feel entitled to wave their book in any face.

Seriously - start a thread somewhere saying "what are some great books with strong female characters" and see how many totally unbiased authors recommend their own great book with strong characters to you.

It gets old and immodest pushing sales and agendas.

message 36: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Everson (authorthomaseverson) I dropped out of a lot of FB groups because all that was being done was posting a book and running. No interaction. I think that might be the stem of at least some people having that importance feeling. The idea that you can post your stuff and people will happen upon it and look at it just because it's there. Those groups foster a false idea that people will immediately care about you because you exist as an author. Twitter is just as bad. I mostly stopped following people on there unless I've had some sort of personal interaction with them because the book promos were just destroying my feed.

The threads that ask for good books...I avoid them like the plague unless I have someone else's book to recommend.

message 37: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Absolutely Thomas - it does foster this lazy confidence that you can post something and word-of-mouth will appear.

message 38: by Renee E (new)

Renee E | 395 comments I think a lot of it stems from writers — who are manifestly not adept at marketing and haven't found, taken the opportunities to learn about how to go about it, or even realized there are such things to learn or people who will help them learn — finding themselves in marketing mode, or what they think is marketing mode because that is how things are marketed to us all, out in the big world.

Think about how many times you see a commercial repeated in the span of an hour. How many billboards for the same thing. A salesperson follows you around the store or lot where you're shopping.

That's what we've (collectively) learned that marketing is, and we know it's effective because it works on us. Even though it annoys us.

And there's "if you don't believe in your books no one else will."

The five star ratings, well, rating my own work is something I sincerely hope to avoid, but, conversely, I'm not going to put it out there until I truly believe I have it to a 5! Not compared to anything else, but compared to what it is should be — as Itself. My psyche says, though, that giving yourself a five star rating . . . *cringes in mortification*.

Now, Holly Lisle (a GR author) gets it right, and she is generous in teaching what she's learned, often for free, like her "How to Not Be An Evil Marketer" webcast. Free.

message 39: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) There's definitely a societal influence. When a salesperson follows me around the store I want to punch them. I don't of course, but the immediate reaction is there. I feel it's exactly the same effect when an author follows me around online. I'll want to punch them.

There's marketing, promotions, and then there's psychotic stalking.

I feel it's related to the "me too" thing. That's something I've seen and heard both online and in person so many times I've lost count.

"Phew, I just worked my ass off and managed to write a multiple character thrilling fight scene with a lot of blood."

"Omg, me too! Read my middle-grade sci-fi novel!"


message 40: by Renee E (last edited Oct 26, 2014 10:58AM) (new)

Renee E | 395 comments Yeah, that's a photo-bomb with words.

Not cool.

If it's a discussion of various work, or you're citing examples to illustrate something, or you're finding common ground, it's one thing, but what you've described is just . . . not cool. Not cool at all.

Most people don't know what marketing or promoting is. Most of the time it's genuinely ignorance, I think, not asshattery.

message 41: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Sadly, I was quoting... from many times... just insert random unrelated genre, and that's my experience.

And I agree. Mostly, just unaware that what they're doing is not promotion.

message 42: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments Thomas wrote: "I dropped out of a lot of FB groups because all that was being done was posting a book and running. No interaction. I think that might be the stem of at least some people having that importance fee..."

I think a lot of Facebook marketing is dropped quickly because it really doesn't pay off. You have the initial spark of starting something new, and you have energy, but after posting several things that Facebook doesn't deem "important," and therefore they don't show to other people, you just kind of give up.

This why, according to everything I've read, the best thing an author can do is put out the next book. It shows people you're serious. Of course, this is counter intuitive to what somebody said in another thread I read. Supposedly agents and publishers cringe when writers claim to have a series. Evidently, the establishment says writers who debut with a series aren't very good.

So, I think the problem now being described is the lack of tact when promoting one's self on Goodreads and other platforms.

I joined Goodreads for one purpose: to help sell my book. That's what all the blogs and everything says to do. Have an online presence, interact and "offer substance" and people will be drawn to your book. That's not why I'm still here, but I'm being honest about it in that it's why I joined. The problem is, you really can't win for losing.

The one group I latched onto has about 20 core people who do about 80% of the posting and interacting. They're mostly indies, or aspiring indies, with the same goals. I've noticed most of the interaction on my Facebook page comes from other indie authors in this group. We're reaching each other. We recognize the struggle, and most of us probably joined GR for the same reason. But, we're not reaching anyone else.

Go to another group on GR and see what kind of reaction you get if you say "buy my book." You're made to feel like this:

They relegate you to a small section of their group, a folder no one reads, and if you try to mention your Urban Fantasy Detective series is a grittier Dresden, you're black marked.

Take a look at it this way. Renee is deathly afraid of being labeled a scuzz-bucket, narcissistic indie. She's not going to blast people about her book. It could be the best thing ever written, but now she's afraid to promote it. And if she quietly and politely promotes it in the right places, maybe she makes 2 or 3 sales and gets one review.

Meanwhile, Joe Dirt emails everyone. Posts in the wrong groups. Rates his own book a 5 to artificially inflate his rankings. Gets his friends to do it. They blast you with emails as well. If he reaches 1000 people, and 1 percent buy his book, he's made more money than Renee. And maybe, if his book is good, then those people give him high marks.

What are the chances you rate a book 1-star just because the ass hat delivered you an onslaught of emails? Not very likely. MOST people aren't spiteful.

I don't think there is anything "acquired" about this narcisism. Unless I am way off about the turn this thread seemed to take, I think most of what we see is created by the world of indie publishing.

391,000+ indie books were published in 2012? Unless they're poorly written, pornographic love letters to Twilight with cringe-worthy name drops about the latest fashions or cool cars, you're probably not going to get noticed...unless you bombarded people with pleads to read your masterpiece.

message 43: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Yeah... but we're not talking about marketing. We're talking about authors who do self-promotion the >wrong way. To be honest, I doubt a single author in this entire group knows the exact right answers to fame and riches in indie publishing. Let's fact it, if any of us knew some kind of exact right trick that would magically work, we would all be rich right now.

And that's where I think many authors go wrong. All of these things can be argued any which way. There's only what's obviously the wrong ways. That much can't be argued.

message 44: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments Yeah, I was talking about self-promotion.

message 45: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I know I'm about to point out a "duh" but I always take more interest in a recommendation made by somebody who DID NOT WRITE the book or is likely a relation.

I'm aware that's basically saying every author needs a PR ninja to drum up interest and direct attention like traffic - which isn't an option for most - but I think that's what separates successful indie from unsuccessful.

Are you persuading people to read (not BUY) or do others do it?

message 46: by Nathan (last edited Oct 27, 2014 08:43AM) (new)

Nathan Wall (goodreadscomnathanwall) | 181 comments Is that an in general question, or direct?

As a fellow author, and this is probably a personal thing, but I respond more to the direct query rather than a related suggestion. Again, I'm looking through a writers eyes. I know what other authors are dealing with. The more sales and reviews they get on Amazon and goodreads, the better their chances that they get moved up the sellers lists, or people take the quality of their books seriously. That's the goal, right?

Unless you somehow get someone completely unbiased to fall in love with your work, and religiously work for you for now personal gain, how likely is someone to recommend your books to unsuspecting readers? The odds are slim.

I get that it's counter intuitive to blast emails to someone who has zero interest in your genre, but then again you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

I don't think this situation can be killed by simply educating the rookie authors. I think it's only something that will get worse as the market becomes more and more flooded, and desperate.

That is sad because I believe there are some genuinely good indie authors out there.

message 47: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I guess all that can be done is keep it classy and clever because it's only getting more competitive. Which is a shame and why I'm hoping traditonal publishing doesn't die out in favor of self-publishing. That would be like if film and television became pure indie projects that are really important to whomever told the story but less so to everybody else looking for entertainment.

message 48: by Rachel (last edited Oct 27, 2014 09:49AM) (new)

Rachel Mars (goodreadscomrachel_mars) | 210 comments People in general I find are less and less humble these days. You’ve accomplished something, level up. You’ve accomplished two somethings, level up again.

I’m an unpublished writer, among other things, and so maybe my perspective is not as keen as other’s who have their work out there and are trying to promote. But I do see it a lot in internet-based discussions where authors randomly slip in and tag their own work and then slip out without contributing much else to the actual topic at hand. Shady business. If you're going to promote your work then don't just frisbee the damn thing into someone's face and peace out.

Personally, I'm much more likely to be interested in someone’s work if I've seen them actively participating in a group, discussion, or other interaction (and they don't come off as a balloon-head). Or if they have started a topic with the purpose of plugging their new book. I have a choice then, I can give it a shot if it sounds like something I would enjoy, or not. I've seen some great pieces from people who have taken the time to write a personal message and asked me if I'd be willing to read it because they relate it to other titles that I've liked. Understanding that not many people have the time to do that to a large number of potential readers, there are still better ways to promote than making someone feel like you just tried to cop a feel.

The narcissistic aspect here is also common with other types of people. That guy who just looked down and sideways at you because they can play a mean keytar and are contributing something to the world that you in your small-minded kazoo talents would never accomplish. You can buy a copy of his cd even though you’ll never truly understand the music.

message 49: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Perhaps it's the case of semantics. People get used to slang or made up words and assume the meaning, but the meaning gets lost.

Indie is short for indepedent. Whenever I see or hear, the market is sutuated. Or the competion is fierce. I always scratch my head and wonder, what competition? I'm not seeing it.

Am I trying to compete with Marvel or Vertigo by publishing my own graphic novel? Hell no. I'm just doing my own thing the best that I can. Then I hope for the best. Marching to your own beat, to me, is being independent.

Anyway, I do have a point. So many times I've seen indie authors not being independent, yet still calling themselves indie. Honestly, I think the meaning has been lost. Indie isn't some kind of special status. It means doing a lot more work mostly by yourself.

message 50: by Renee E (last edited Oct 27, 2014 04:04PM) (new)

Renee E | 395 comments I so agree with you on the *competition* stuff.

That smacks of other business arenas and their circuses being transferred into the literary world. Once upon a time there was GOOD competition in publishing, when old fashioned publishing houses that bore their founders names, run by the founders or those who followed in their footsteps, competed to find the best writers, and were actively involved in revealing their work to the public.

Those days are long gone. Confusion reigns. They're looking for the next Twatlight.

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