This was prompted partly by my ‘You Have Memories’ prompts on Facebook, and partly by a post on FB by my mate Whiplash about the bad attitudes of some other writers.
This time last year, I was going great guns on the now-defunct ReadWave fiction site. I’d posted a mass of short stories, and was in the process of serialising my first novel, and people seemed to like the intelligent, irascible, beautiful female protagonist, Charlie.
I was posting weekly, and every time the reader figures went higher. One of the Charlie chapters breached the magic 1000 barrier in five days.
Now this didn’t happen without a bit of work from me. I was relentlessly active on Twitter, bashed my Facebook contacts as hard as I could. In summary, I was very noisy, and it paid off. Then it all got a bit ugly.
I got a one star review, when all the others were four or five star. That puzzled me until I ran a background check, as they say on cop shows. The reviewer was also publishing on ReadWave, and was having a lot less success than I was. I figured it was just sour grapes, so let it slide, though I did politely reply to him and point out the disparities between his reader figures and mine, and between his review and the others I’d had.
Then the crazies came out of the woodwork. Here was a classic comment.
‘You only get read because your (sic) popular.’
Hmm. Hang on. Isn’t that a bit arse about face? I was popular because people read me, surely?
Then this bit of tomfoolery drifted into my Inbox.
‘Why do you have to be so noisy? I’ve seen what you do, all the time on Twitter and elsewhere, and it’s not necessary. If you’re good, people will find you.’
Really? I was intrigued, so ran another background check. Yes, another writer. In two weeks she’d had 67 readers. In the four days or so before that crackbrained idiocy, I’d had upwards of 700.
When I pointed that out, things got very heated indeed, so I just left her to stew.
Meanwhile, Whiplash has been suffering from the perennial problem of peer group ingratitude. Whiplash is like me and will always offer a legup to others if we can, and she goes to great lengths. She doesn’t expect an effusive luvvie gushing thank you, but an acknowledgement doesn’t go amiss, now does it?
Moral of the tales? Be nice to writers. We’re doing the best we can.