Another Amazon Warning: Those Kids Don’t Play Fair!

(Originally published at www.sailletales.com)

This actually is both a whine and a rant, so proceed with caution…

So, you find a Kindle Discussion entitled “Why Indies Get Self Promo Wrong” on Amazon… you log in and check it out. You are a writer and self-published, an Indie if ever there was one.

You read through the posts, but instead of an actual discussion of how SP writers don’t promote properly, it seems to be a group badger-fest intended to tell hapless writers who stumble into the forum that they are not welcome. In addition, there are thinly veiled threats suggested that the diaphanous “they” can damage you online, should you persist in wanting to discuss the subject of the discussion.

You make a few posts, which are intended to express opinion based upon personal experience, but you’re told that as a “writer” you are not supposed to be here to discuss the impact of self-promotion by writers. Finally, after a few more pointed warnings, you leave the children to play whatever games they are engaged in, and sign off.

Here’s what I could glean from other writers who tried to enter this discussion about writers. First, you can’t mention your books. OK. Fine. No issues with me there. But, you have to remain warm, fuzzy, friendly and informative… oh, and funny, while not revealing you are a writer.

I decide these kids just don’t play fair, and withdraw to lick my wounds. Here’s the thing: Choose a topic title that issues fair warning. Maybe: Non-writers bashing writers with no rebuttal. How about, free author crushing? Or, No whiney authors allowed, except to whimper?

Look, I can understand that there are a lot of new writers out there who just got a book finished and are in a rush to sell as many copies as they can. Why, it almost sounds like what publishing companies do every single day. Every morning or evening, every TV-watching  or newspaper or magazine reading human being has some book talked up in their face in a talk show interview, or a big, splashy print ad, or a mailing or a magazine article, or… the list is actually endless. There are a lot of publishers, and their publicists are very, very busy. All the time.

Meanwhile, the kids on Amazon Kindle Forums don’t want to have to hear from any Indie authors. They want their book recommendations to come from the traditional, publicist- ordained channels such as book club recommends, or friends recommends, or TV talk-show hosts or free (get the irony here?) discussion… but never from the keyboard of the writer. God, no!

Maybe they want to feel like their notion to read a certain book came down upon them like a gentle rain from heaven, softly sowing the seeds of ideas of what to read, in the same way that Venus herself sprang from the Seafoam, fully formed and ready to party! Yes, that’s it!

Because of those wishes, one of the few honest places an Indie Writer has to get to know their readers, should be closed to them. Why, those Indie Writers can just be soooo annoying, can’t they? We may be reduced to whining about how unfair these nasty neighborhood kids can be, but what they don’t seem to realize is that in every way, they are simply (and quite helpfully…) promulgating the industry-serving idea that Self-Published work is dreck and those who write it, useless hacks. Right? Just what the publicists would have wanted if they had actually set out to do this. But the kids think they are being so independent, so morally just. It’s OK to trash other people if they are trash, Right?

But I get it. I’m no martyr. I’ll snuggle up in my hack-burrow and vow to never play with those nasty kids again. Well maybe not those kids.. there are other kids around town… and I’ve got a brand new ball.

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