The other day I was on Twitter and some guy posted a tweet saying that indie books were rubbish and he hadn’t come across a decent one yet so I replied, yeah, I had the same problem and, see image above. Because the guy was being sarcastic and meant exactly the opposite.
Should probably work on his sarcasm but that’s fine, I shouldn’t have been so direct because, Holy Hannah, the “Twitter writing community” just exploded. No, not over the initializing tweet which apparently the “Twitter writing community” understood as sarcasm because they know the guy– I don’t. Silly me — but, instead, that I agreed with it.
It was like criticizing the Politburo. And the response was very North Korean.
Accused of creating a false issue to get publicity, that I thought I was better than everyone else, that I was an asshole … well, I am, but that’s reserved for my wife to point out. I haven’t seen a reaction like this since I told the head cheerleader her hair dye looked weird. It is an 8th grade world.
So what exactly is the problem here?
Well, it’s two fold: the demand for support, and Twitter as a writer’s group.
Twitter. As a writer’s group. Oh, please.
You want a writer’s group, go to Facebook, or better yet Backspace.org, which was, for years, the best writer’s group on the web when Karen Dionne was running it. Or go to your local library ‘cause they usually have a writer’s work group of some kind but, Lord, not Twitter.
Twitter is the devil. And the devil cares nothing for your feelings.
But the “Twitter writers’ community” sure does, and thou shalt not criticize! Thou shalt support and nurture and encourage and ohmigod, I can’t stand it. What are these people going to do when they finally release their opus magnus into the wild and readers get ‘aholt’ of it and start ripping it to pieces?
Well, they’ll pout and cry and accuse readers of being assholes. Because they are making the same mistake every starry eyed with-dreams-and-visions bestseller wannabe makes: if their support group likes it, then it must be good.
Got news for you, cupcake.
There is a vast, unbridgeable difference between your support group and the reading public. The reading public demands a scrupulously scrubbed manuscript, copy edited and developmentally edited and rewritten a hundred, a thousand times, until it is logically and semantically tight and readable. And that’s before they decide if your story is any good or not. Trad publishers offer such products. Well, mostly, with exceptions (I’m looking at you, Dan Brown). Unfortunately, many indie writers do not. Far too many.
Because they confuse nurture and support with good writing.
Writing is anarchy. It is a Visigoth invasion, slash and burn, and you have no friends here. That is, if you actually intend to publish your 1000 page elf orc saga, or do you simply tweet about how much you wrote today and, ooo, I have this new character! and the rest of the Twitter writing community is all ‘you go, you go!’ If that’s it, then you’ve found a home. But when you add a cover and upload to Amazon, your lovely bunch of friends on Twitter aren’t going with you. You walk this plank alone.
And far too many of you indies are leaping off that plank with a deflated duck float and the inability to swim, because your Mom and your friends and the Twitter writing community urged ‘you go, you go!’ But your book is so unreadable I can’t get past the first page without turning it into a frisbee.
I have encountered far more of these unreadable indies than ones I could actually finish, at about a 3:1 ratio, to the point I don’t read an indie book anymore unless it has been vetted, like through Indies United Publishing.
Of which I am a member, because I need vetting, too. All of us do.
Highly recommend you join.
And highly recommend you stop relying on Twitter for your writing support. Find some asshole to review your drafts, someone with impossibly high standards who will brutalize it and make you cry, questioning your career choice.
Gold comes out of a crucible.