Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Epiphany

Lately, there has been a lot of worry and wonder about the reception that Indie Authors receive whenever they attempt to join in on the various forums around the web. To say that Indies are met with a less than friendly attitude by fellow posters, would be a gross understatement. I have personally watched some of the forums for these vicious attacks and have witnessed some that were totally IMHO unprovoked on the part of the author. In these instances, the author had made no attempt to promote his/her own work, but had been simply making relevant comments in pertinent threads about topics of interest to both readers and authors and yet, the 'reader' portion of the thread immediately decimated the author and sent them packing. When I first witnessed this, I was appalled and like many of the authors who post on the Kindleboard forums (the only safe place on the web for Indie authors) I wondered why.
After much discussion wherein the probable causes were debated endlessly, several conclusions were reached. Spammers, it was decided, were definitely worthy of scandalous attack and deserving of the ire of the readers. Then there was great gnashing of teeth and many discussions as to what constituted spam. Again, it was decided, that spamming the forums referred to an Indie Author who promoted his work with cookie cutter posts in every thread in every forum, regardless of the topic and without adding anything significant to the thread. Most Indie Authors do not do this.... it was also decided.
But we could not assume that the Indie Authors who were spamming would cause readers to indiscriminately attack any Indie Author who dared pop into a forum. There had to be more to it.
Suddenly, I thought of something while looking over my page on Facebook. I discovered that at least three people had 'liked' my page in order that they could post their own ads on my page's wall. This infuriated me. The ads alongside the Facebook wall infuriates me daily. The ads in the middle of the wall postings infuriate me. They are ugly, big, nasty, yucky, redundant and totally inappropriate at times, not to mention aggravating and downright insulting to anyone with an iota of intelligence. Of course this is the price we pay for having free and frequent access to Facebook. This is where the money comes from. This is a necessary evil of free enterprise and capitalism. I am quite sure that I am not the only person on Facebook who abhors these ads and shudders in disgust every time I see a set of false teeth or a fat belly or I accidentally run my cursor over an ad and have it pop up without having actually clicked on it and NOW THEY HAVE ADDED VOICES!!! Suddenly, a voice just pops up on your computer and you have no idea where it's coming from. Egad!!!!
This anger, this irritation, this frustration I felt must be the same thing that these readers feel when Indie Author Spammers hi-jack their threads and forums and act like used car salesmen. The thing is that unlike that used car salesman on late night television, screaming at you three times as loud as the program you are watching, the reader has direct access to the Indie Authors on these threads and forums. It must be this combined angst and frustration that drives them to attack the nearest thing they can, Indie Authors in general.
I know that there is a great deal of trash generated by persons who want to be authors, but just can't quite make it, but when the material is published for Kindle, the sample option almost guarantees that the reader will not make a mistake and purchase trash and then there is the return option as well, so it cannot be the fact that the market is overrun with junk, it has to be that Indie Authors like myself, who crave nothing more than meaningful dialog with readers and would love nothing more than communicating with the people that read their work, make ourselves sitting ducks for posters with axes to grind. Maybe this ire will eventually die out sometime in the future... maybe...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is it all about?

Sometimes I get bogged down in existential questions like "why is the sky blue?" and "what is the meaning of life?". Actually, I have already learned the answers to these two questions, but this blog is not about that. This blog is about writing.

Isn't it strange that some people never pick up a book and read while some people read constantly and can never get enough? And isn't it stranger still that some people can barely write their own names, hate writing and won't even write a check while others pick up a pen or turn on a word program and start writing and never stop?

What is it exactly that makes a writer write even though he/she has no idea if anyone will ever read it?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I used to love the essay questions on tests. I loved writing letters to friends and family even though I rarely even received a postcard in return. In most cases, they told me that they would rather just call and talk on the phone, but I hate talking on the phone. I really do. Even when I was in high school and utterly 'in love', I rarely enjoyed those long, long telephone conversations with the beloved. Now in the age of cellphones, iPhones, webcams and every manner of electronic communication, I still love the written word best. There is absolutely no way to fold up a phone conversation and put it in a little box on the closet shelf.

That brings up another question. Why do some people keep old letters, newsclippings and other written mementos in boxes on the closet shelf? Do they ever go through and look at them? I do. Sometimes, usually when I'm cleaning out a closet or moving or some such, I'll come across my boxES of mementos and invariably I will take some time to sit down and sift through the memories. I can't say what exactly comes of this, but it always makes me feel good to look at them and sometimes sad and good at the same time.

I have said before that I write because I HAVE to write. I have no choice. I've tried not to and I actually get sick if I do not sit down and write or at least edit my work. I have to work on my stuff every day in some way or another or else I get all grumpy and people notice. My good friends and close family can tell when I haven't had my writing fix for a couple of days. Not good!

But the question remains: What is it all about? Why do I need to write about worlds that exist only in my imagination? Why do I NEED to have others read about my fantasy worlds? What is so gratifying about getting a good review or a favorable comment? I can't answer that question, but if you ask any true author, you will probably get the same non-answer.