Friday, 23 October 2015

The Paradox of the Self Published Writer caught on the Web

The indie writer had become caught in a web within the Web. Yes, self publishing has created a revolution in the publishing world. Now anyone can publish their books online. And this is great, because the reason most writers write is because there are stories within the head vying for a way out. So the writer writes, edits, conceives a blurb and designs a book cover. And once the novel is complete, it is self published somewhere.

Getting Reviews isn't easy
Chances are, the book will be found on KDP Amazon, Smashwords, Createspace, GoodReads, Lulu and other such places. Every writer wants their work to be read. Not to be unread. Not being read is the writer’s nightmare. Not being read takes away the point of writing. Writers like to be read. After all, writing is about communication. Many writers even put their books out for free just to be read.

How Not to Get Your Book Read

Now what happens? Chances are, there will be a few or no sales because there are millions of books out there and you will remain undiscovered. So the writer surfs the Net for ways of getting readers. And customer reviews are gold.

Naturally, the writer might peruse Amazon itself, looking for threads where readers congregate, perhaps discussing books on a particular genre that matches yours. The writer might contribute in the hope of piquing interest in his/her book. A similar approach might be used for GoodReads and LibraryThing and other such sites where readers congregate. But after a while, the readers get annoyed, saying, butt-out, stop spamming us about your book. This thread is for readers, not for writers muscling in, trying to sell your sci-fi or erotica!

Where to Find Readers of Your Novel

And what else happens? New threads are set up just for writers to congregate, because they can’t annoy or spam each other, only offer advice about writing, book cover design and perhaps lick each other’s wounds if a negative review is posted.

The result? There are sites and threads only for readers and sites/threads only for writers. The two are separate.

The writer cannot get easy access to readers, the very group the writing is aimed at. And the readers remain oblivious to the writer’s existence.

This has happened everywhere. Self published authors are at risk of being burned by GoodReads, the Kindle Boards and discussion threads of Amazon. So the writer keeps away in fear of reprisals, perhaps of getting bad reviews for the behavior rather than the quality of the book itself. Having said that, GoodReads is great for keeping a log of books I have read, but do little in the way of promoting my books there.

Causes of Bad Book Reviews

But this polarization of writers and readers is no doubt due to the bad behavior of the few, giving the majority of self published authors a bad reputation. I have learned the lesson by proxy, seeing other writers getting burned for over promoting their work online.

With this realization, the self pubbed writer gets caught on another web. Social media. The writer cannot spam himself, so he sows the seeds around the Net hoping to get noticed. Twitter, Facebook, GooglePlus, Linkdin, YouTube, Blogger and more. And yes, I have created such accounts myself for the same reason.

Rather than spending the time writing which is the writer’s prime passion, the writer falls down the rabbit hole of social media. Yes, such-and-such loves writing crime too and has favorited your comment. You have ten thousand followers. Perhaps you will buy another ten thousand to look more popular.

But where is the humble notebook and pen during all of this? In the drawer collecting dust along with your creative juices.

The self published writer is caught in a web on the Web where readers and writers are polarized and the jaws of social media are waiting to consume all your time. Getting noticed as a self published writer is now harder than ever. And here I am, blogging and tweeting this post within the paradox.

But here is something the self published writer should always remember...

The off switch to the computer is just few a inches away. And that notebook and pen is still in the drawer.

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