Dear Indie Writers:
There’s plenty of room for you regardless of what you write: LitRPG, LitFPS, GameLit or anything in between. Write what’s in your heart because more often than not, you will write better and fans will follow your creative efforts in time. Although, I am a fan of writing to market, don’t let that consume you or your talent.
If you enjoy writing sexy virtual reality stories that, by chance, have a game element—go for it. I wish you all the luck and success indie publishing can offer.
For over a year, I have seen the LitRPG genre and tropes change: sometimes for the better sometimes not. But in the end, it is all opinion. And opinions are like assholes—everybody’s got one, and sometimes they enjoy showing off.
Don’t be bullied by successful writers jockeying for position to corner the market. I’ve seeing it happen for years. In fact, writers are seemingly some of the more catty people I’ve ever met. This is just my opinion. I’ve also met writers who were more than willing to help out newcomers. They enjoy the camaraderie in an effort to give something back to the community. In fact, the good writers outnumber the bullies by a large margin. I know it doesn’t always look that way. The bullies seem to get more attention because they are louder and often more ostentatious.
Ignore it—and ignore them. Find, or create your own tribe that is not only appreciative of your work but is supportive of your career. They’re out there—you just have to look.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, forums, and websites are simply vehicles to get your projects noticed and get your name in front of readers. Never be afraid to block someone on any social media venue when they are doing you more harm than good. It’s the nature of the beast.
If social media is giving you heartburn, it probably means that you’re spending too much time there anyway. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. And, is easy to take the opinions of others to heart. It is human nature.
It’s true that authors need to have a tough skin for criticism. I’ve often heard it said you won’t last long without it. But it’s also true that writers have to draw a line in the sand when it comes to bullying. There is a difference.
A few years ago, Goodreads (owned by Amazon) got so bad with bullying tactics that some authors simply gave up and left the business. Sad. Amazon reviewers are sometimes no better. There I said it. An author does not necessarily live and die by the reviews posted on Amazon. Always take it with a grain of salt. And my suggestion would be to stop reading them completely.
Although marketing is a tremendous part of the publishing business, successful writers spend at least 40% of their time actually writing. If you’re spending time on social media—you’re not writing.
The way for indie authors to succeed is to help and support each other. To some writers, that may sound counterintuitive, but consider that a rising tide raises all ships.