I will begin this post by warning you: you don’t want to live in a place where the thought/speech police exists. You know how I know this? Because where I live it existed for 50 years. It’s not really gone now, either. It wasn’t metaphorical, they were real people beating five shades of nachos out of you for saying something that wasn’t approved of. You were defenseless before them, they could just come into your house at whatever time, pick you up, beat you dead and leave your body in a forest. It didn’t matter who you were or what you thought you were entitled to, they’d be there regardless. They’d beat conforming to their wants into you or kill you trying. No consequences. Because they were the thought/speech police, and they could do whatever it was they wanted.
Great minds have died because they refused to bend to someone’s arbitrary decisions on what should and should not be thought/said or how. You may be aware of this in some abstract form perhaps, and I’m glad for you. You have it incredibly easy because it’s only abstract, be thankful. Act like you’re aware of how lucky you are and allow the rest of the world as you know it to bask in the same pleasure.
History is full of monstrosities because there were people out there, throughout the ages, who thought what they wanted/thought/said could and should be beaten into the rest of the world. Because they thought their puny little mental products were absolute truths, and the world owed them for their spectacular work and brilliance. You know a few of these people because history remembered them keenly. They invariably ended up killing ridiculous amounts of people and/or cultures, they killed ideas or beliefs. Or at least gave it their best shot.
Everyone is entitled to say whatever they want and however they choose to phrase it. You know why that’s important? Because based on that you’re able to write and publish your writing, by whatever means you deem fit or are accessible. I trust you have a deep respect for that. I hope you do, you should. Because this whole activity is based on everyone else’s deeply rooted belief that you are not only allowed but encouraged to write/speak your mind. And as unique a snowflake as we all are, that right is of all of us equally, there’s no one of us that has more of it then others.
I keep childishly hoping that all authors, self-pub or indie or traditionally published, will someday come to that conclusion alongside the rest of the world.
As an author – self-pubbed as well as any other – you must remember the basic thing about the world: it owes you absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter what you do and how you do it, you see? It doesn’t matter how hard you work at whatever, or how firmly you demand things of it. It still owes you nothing. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, it will give you things like respect, admiration, even love. Never because you ask for it or emphatically demand it, not really because you do or don’t deserve it either. That’s how the world goes.
Now, when I read something like this it makes me dreadfully sad. I’m not a conflictual person by nature, and I dislike people who enjoy and endeavour to be – I won’t hide the fact. I generally refuse to focus my attention on petulant reactions. Some of us are still children deep inside, we want the world to tell us we’re doing marvelous things most often because we need convincing ourselves. Or we want others to think we’re doing marvelous things so we can gain benefits from it, of whatever nature.
This is not me speaking in favor of a friend (though Liz is one), this is me speaking my mind as I always do, based on my surely limited understanding of the world. Because sometimes it just make me stomp my feet, like the child I am, and I need to speak my mind about it. That’s why I have a blog, you know? Because I have that deeply rooted need to speak my mind about things. And because there’s no blog police to stop it, though there are some trying to be the thought/speech police. But I can and do speak my mind. That’s why you, whoever you are, read this. Because you know I need to speak my mind and you’re kind enough to grant that your attention. I don’t take it for granted. You, dear author, should never take it for granted either. The worst thing that could happen to you is to be ignored. I will not read things by people who prove to be drama seekers, I will not speak of them or their work, they just don’t exist. But maybe that’s just me.
When you write something you make a ‘contract’ with yourself to do the best you can with it. Writing a novel, a short story, a blog post, a note to your spouse about getting more milk because you’re all out – for each and every one of these, you do your best.
If and when it gets published, no matter how it happens, you’ve filled your end of the bargain. You know you’ve done your best, that you’ve given it your all. Then you want people to find out about your work, and read it. Your ego will push to add ‘like it’ to that list, because we’re all human and we need that little boost there. You’ll want to sell that work, sometimes – some don’t. After you’ve given this process your all and you have a novel/novella/short story etc , you go to people who’ll spread the word about it. Because you wrote wanting to reach people. Or to make money – as good a reason as any, we all need money don’t we? So someone offers to help spread that word for you. I’m not talking about the virtual blog tour organizer – they are offering you paid help. The ones you try to buy your way to via blog tours are the book bloggers. Because you feel only through them will people find out about your work and maybe, just maybe, decide to give it a chance. Or buy it. Hopefully both.
Now that you’ve reached these book bloggers, big part of the reason you paid for a tour, they’ll react to your work. Some of them might be snarky – and all of their readers read them because they like their blogging, keep in mind -, some might be kind, others kinder and some won’t be kind at all. They have no moral, material or otherwise obligation to nurture your delicate artistic nature or sell your work to their readers.Because you paid for the chance or asked for them to react honestly to your work – and the only way their readers will care about whatever it is they’re talking about is if they are themselves when they react. You did not pay for control over the content in any manner whatsoever. Guess what, you don’t have that control. Deal with it and understand that or you end up acting like a petulant kid who didn’t get to say what color the candy wrapper is.
They’ll react however they see fit. You asked for their thoughts, take them and go. Use what you can, drop what you can’t. Take it like a grownup, and keep in mind: the world owes you nothing. It owes them nothing. Emphatically demanding it to give you things only makes everyone look at how you’re stomping your feet like a kid because you didn’t get something you wanted (but weren’t entitled to, mind you): positive attention. Attacking those who didn’t give it to you won’t win you any, either, you’re only hurting yourself.
You’re pushing for sells through their time and blog space, what they get out of this is being kind enough to lend that attention without any sort of benefit whatsoever. Because getting a review copy isn’t really that big of a benefit. They buy books all the time, they have mountains of them lying around aside any review copies they receive (and there’s lots and lots of those, too, most often). Trust me when I say this, there is no shortage of reading material for a book lover, and they blog about books because they’ve loved them for far longer. Books are stuffed on endless shelves, under their beds, in their desks, against their walls, all over the place. They do not need one more book, but they’ll love it because they love books. That’s what you’re counting on when you ask them to take into consideration yours. You do need their time and attention, which is why you buy your chance at getting it.
Now, this may come as a shock. But brace yourself for it. Book blogger don’t owe you a thing. Not a one. You know why? Because they’re a part of the world, and just like the rest of it, there’s no owing you anything. It’s tough to wrap your head around this perhaps, because you bought your way into their attention so you suppose you’re entitled to something. But you’re not, see, that’s the thing. You’re only entitled to the chance of getting their time and blog space with some sort of book tour stop that they were kind enough to offer. You wish for reviews, because you want them to like your work and say so publicly and then people reading that would decide to buy it. It could go that way. It might not. Stop thinking of blog tours as paid advertising that you can control. The only way you get to decide what’s being said is if you buy add space wherever it is you think it’ll be a good investment. Blog tours are not paid advertising, they’re the equivalent of buying a chance to get that book blogger’s attention and hopefully their readers attention in the process.
Whatever it is the world will give you, it’ll be its choice. It owes you nothing, regardless of how hard you’re trying to get whatever it is you want. You know how you can tell? Because there are people dying of hunger right now, as you complain about your ego’s booboo. There are people persecuted for what they’ve dared say in the privacy of their home, there are people killed for what they believe in or because they love the person they do. There are people and all sorts of creatures being abused in disgusting, unimaginable ways. All these tragic, heart wrenching things are happening right now, this very instant. You know why? Because the world doesn’t owe any of its inhabitants a thing. Why would it spare you any kindness? Because you’re better then everyone else? Are you? Do you think it matters, even if you were? Don’t expect or demand things like children do with candy. When you’re lucky enough to get positive attention, be appreciative – it’s not something you are owed, it’s something that was gifted to you for whatever reason. It’s not your due.
So if you’re able to take a step back and think about your inflamed reactions, and this would require great maturity and wisdom I grant you, then you’ll understand where you went wrong. It’s ok, growing pains aren’t supposed to be easy. We all know, we all went through them or are going to, as the case may be. But we all do need to grow up.
If you don’t understand what you did wrong, and why it was wrong, there’s no amount of telling you that will fix it. You can’t understand things from the outside in, the only way you’ll ever really get it is from the inside out.
I hope you’ll get there.
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