Rantus Interruptus Continuous: In which the Universe has a lesson for me

Arg, I am an idiot.

I do things I know I shouldn’t do, because I know I’m just going to frustrated and pissed off, and that’s just going to make my whiny and depressed. And I have no right to be whiny and depressed.

But then, as I was writing this post about how I wasn’t going to rant about this, the world shifted again. And people, when the Universe gives you a sign, you need to work through what it means. Which is what I’ll be doing, should you choose to continue reading this.

And now that we’ve had THE most confusing beginning to a blog post EVAR, I’m going to go back to the beginning.

Last night, in my email, a Twitter notification of a new follow by @JamiGold. So because Twitter can’t just give me everything I need in the email, I have to actually go to Twitter to read her bio and follow her back. And what’s her latest tweet?

I know, I know! I should never have clicked that. What was I thinking? I was thinking that I should not be clicking that. But I’m just going to peek.

And then it’s scroll scroll scroll through a lot of opinions that are making ZERO sense to me, and I am taking it WAAAAAY too personally. And it wasn’t a mean, nasty angry thing AT ALL. It was just…insensible.

I mean, what I kept reading, over and over, is that because the books aren’t vetted, self-published books aren’t a good risk for these readers. They acknowledge that there might be great indie reads out there, but trad-pubbed books, while not a sure thing, are a safer bet. Ok, yeah, that’s totally logical, if you’re looking at a new trad book vs. a new indie book, all things being equal and no buzz, no reviews, etc. But here we have people saying I wouldn’t buy a book by an indie unless I met them first.

So you can see how this would make me sad. I just don’t get out much.

And the problem is that when I read this stuff I take it whack-job personally. In my head, I’m whining at these people going, what the hell? Compare my sales rank, compare my cover, compare my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, check out the page of links to blog reviews I have on my website, READ a few pages to see if I’m literate. Judge my book on the things that matter in a book. And then decide if you want to sink the whole 99cents and a few more hours of your time into it.

Maybe it just comes down to this: no one likes to be dismissed. And I think that part of the way these comments touch me is because that feeling of dismissal, that what I can do (write an entertaining book) doesn’t matter because of what I am (an indie author), feels so much like the frustration of being a powerless child.

Here’s what I came to when I decided I wasn’t going to harp on this– and I’m sorry to cuss because that makes me sound angry, but I’m trying to have a personal power moment over here, so indulge me: This shit does not apply to me. Not in some way of I put the awesome IN the mutha-fuckin’ sauce! and this shit don’t apply to me, but more in the way of this is not my readership right now, and their opinions are not relevant in my world right now.

I’m not going to win these readers over by arguing with them. (Oh don’t worry, I didn’t get involved.) There are so, so many literate people in the world today, you guys. Do you know what’s been the most surprising thing to me since publishing? How many non-writing readers are out there embracing indies, supporting indies they love, and how many more just aren’t aware that we’re even out here, that there’s really a difference. If a book looks crappy, they avoid it. If it looks good, they try it. So many readers out there judging books on the book stuff. I think you’ll find, overwhelmingly, that the people who are most negative about indie books are other writers, for whatever their reasons, which are not my business.

Part 2

So yeah, all set to just let this all go and write you this quickie post about how I wasn’t going to rant about what I was going to rant about. And then the Universe stepped in.

Last night, after reading a lot of those disheartening comments I got whiny and tweeted (is there a word for a whiny tweet, like twined?)

A few friends showed up to say cheering things to me, and remind me that I had nothing to be depressed about and I did feel better. And while I was worrying about this crap that I can’t fix, I sold my 3,000th copy of Hush Money and totally missed it. I mean, how far up your ass does you head have to be before you notice you’re being an asshat?

Nevertheless, this morning, I found myself still ticked off enough to be composing a ranty post in my head. Then I got hold of myself, decided to post the Rantus Interruptus instead, and move on with my life. And then, as I was writing this post, @JamiGold shows up. And she says,

And I’m like…Really? Seriously, I was rendered kind of panicked and speechless. Which, if you’re an introvert or social phobic, you might understand. Or if you can imagine Joss’s reaction to, Well heck, Joss, everyone knows who you are. [cue garbled choking sounds]

And also a little…Really? Like, I’m doing this right, this marketing/platform stuff that I was so sure I fail at and would be the ultimate reason for my bookfail?

Oh yeah, dude, it’s totally all dramarama like this in my brain all the time. You do not want to live here.

Ok, so now my brain is totally melted. There are people on Twitter I want to attempt light banter with, but everything’s scrolling by while my mouth is doing floppy fish thing. And @JamiGold says,

(There was one in between where she said she hasn’t read mine yet due to the scary TBR pile from Hell with which we are all familiar.) Wow, Jami, condense all my effort into 140 characters of pure validation. :sucker punch:

No, this is not hyperbole. I’m very emotional. Quit rolling your eyes and embrace this special moment we’re having together, dammit.

Because this is why I decided to tell you the whole story of my stupidity in reading that comment thread. Because we don’t ignore the things the Universe tries to tell us. Especially when the Universe talks via Twitter, because then you really know it means business. Maybe. Whatever. Fine. Have we learned anything?

1. I must not read comment threads about prejudices against self-pubbed books/authors. Evar.

2. Those are not my people. You are my people. Later on, some of those people will hear about my books, be intrigued. They’re NOT the unreasonable people I thought I saw last night. That’s silly. They’re people who love books. They’ll look at my books, at the fabulous cover art, at the reviews, and they’ll judge us on the book stuff. Someday.

3. Until they do that, I’ve got a lot of other things I need to put my energy into. Like getting you guys Heroes ‘Til Curfew. And, to that end, I’m leaving you with a link while I go work on finishing the shit that I started.

The above link is mandatory for all writers, although adult language and beverage warnings do apply.


Filed under book blogs, books, goals, insecurities, Laws of the Universe, me me me, rant, self-publishing, Signs, what not to do, writing

27 responses to “Rantus Interruptus Continuous: In which the Universe has a lesson for me

  1. Part 1: Some of the people keeping indies in business this year were making those kinds of comments last year. ‘Nuff said.

    Part 2: Okay, do I need to take medication or has the voice in my head started a blog of its very own? (I mean, aside from the great ranking, sales and professional covers πŸ˜› ) I’m always shocked to the point of an odd kind of devastation when I hear I’ve done something right. Even the small, tiny, miniscule stuff and I’m done for the day and swimming in overly happy camper mode.

    Also, are you serious? How can you, of all people, not know this about yourself? I’m astonished. LOL. This is such a weird day, what a scarily accurate depiction of my mental state. I am social phobic so that might explain it. I always thought I was crazy then I come online and there’s all these other crazies running around, it’s bloody brilliant. πŸ˜‰

    The point of my comment was supposed to be good job, I swear. πŸ˜€ I’m still laughing at you not having a clue how you’re perceived. In case you’re still doubting yourself, you are one of the writers making indies look good. Thumbs up.

    • Part 1: Brilliant, and thank you for the perspective upside the head.
      Part 2:
      a) No no, of course not. Your voice hasn’t started a blog. I’ve just been reading its diary and set out to mess with you. How’m I doin’, huh?
      b) Speaking of messing with, are you freaking trying to kill me?
      How can you, of all people, not know this about yourself?…I’m still laughing at you not having a clue how you’re perceived.
      My laptop and I are now under the kitchen table trying to figure out who’s lurking about, perceiving us. Us. I mean me! (of all people) Geez.

      Until next time, Susan Bischoff, under the table, making you look good. :cheesy wink and hand gesture for the camera:

      PS, if it didn’t come through, I really appreciate you and this comment. Thank you. And please remember, that just because we all seem crazy, doesn’t mean you’re not. (I know I am and believe that self-awareness is important.)

  2. Kait Nolan

    The industry is changing. Period, end of story. And depending on how things proceed, I expect to get to a point that unless a reader actively goes looking to see who the publisher is/was, that if there’s a good cover, good copy, etc., there will be nothing to separate the indies from the traditionals and these people are going to have to–GASP–admit that indies don’t all suck.

    • You’re right, as per usual. And there are tons of those readers already out there. It’s a small percentage of readers who actually make contact, write reviews, etc, and yet I’ve read a small number of times where someone’s written that they didn’t realize I was indie until they looked for more about me and I was giving myself away somehow. That’s more than likely representative of a larger number. And that’s why these charming debates just don’t matter, they’re not hurting us, and we’ve got to stop worrying about them. (I’m still talking to myself, but you’re used to that.)

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I read that conversation about self-pubbed books yesterday and had a mild panic attack about my decision to go indie. I’m finalizing my first novel, and I have had multiple beta readers and now a couple of editors proofreading it. I’m not going into this lightly. I have no problem marketing and promoting myself. I have very talented friends who are helping me edit, creating cover and inside art, and shepherding me through the technical side of things. I don’t see why I can’t make a go of it as an indie author.

    And yet… When I read that post I freaked a little, too.

    So… Thank you for talking me off the ledge. And congratulations on the 3,000th sale — that’s fantastic! I’m new to the indie world and just discovered you, so I’ll be popping over to Amazon later to read more. πŸ™‚


    • Thank you, Amy, and welcome to me. I’m so glad you commented, because really, it was mostly for new indies that I went through with publishing this bit of crazy today. The better you do, the easier it is to shrug that stuff off. But when you’re new, it can feel like these are sales you’re losing, right here, before your eyes. Like everyone on the whole freaking internet is going to see these comments and go, oh yeah, I totally shouldn’t try indie books. And all kinds of wacky et cetera that doesn’t make a bit of sense to a rational person.

      Even though I think I’m doing well, I’m obviously not a pillar of self-confidence, and I was thrown by it. A few months ago, that kind of stuff was a lot harder to shake, but I’ve learned a lot, gained some perspective, and that’s what I thought the Universe wanted me to share today. (Or else.)

      Happy to talk you down any day. Best of luck with your novel!

  4. Claire

    Your post was hilarious. I chortled muchly.

    The great truth of your post is in this line: “I’ve got a lot of other things I need to put my energy into.”

    You’re absolutely right. Stay working and ignore the negativity. There seems to be a lot out there re: indie-ness, but even that’s diminishing every day. Paradigm shifts take time. Meanwhile, you just keep taking care of business.

    You’re doing just fine.


    • Another great truth, buried somewhere beneath the post, is that I really needn’t ever waste my time in worry. I can go take care of business because if I ever need help, my bud is a bad-ass Ninja Librarian who will kick trouble in the FACE!

  5. Ha! Yes, I’m *THAT* Jami Gold. The one who sees the point of a lot of the commenters on Roni’s blog yesterday (about the built-in vetting process of traditional publication), but that also knows self-published does not equal crap. πŸ™‚ (And there’s one imprint I will never read from again because they’ve proven to me that their published stuff *is* crap.)

    Honestly, as you’ve said yourself on your blog, people *do* judge a book by its cover. And your covers are gorgeous. I lurked by here a few days ago to check out your new cover. And the reader part of me would never have known you were self-published unless I hadn’t heard about here. I’d already heard good buzz about your story (I think from a blog interview?) a month or two before I stopped by here the first time. So when I learned it was self-pub’d, you know what my reaction was? A big *shrug*. That fact wasn’t suddenly going to make me suddenly *not* want the book.

    And thanks to you pointing out the ebook version of Hush Money wasn’t in danger of adding to my TBR suffocation when my pile fell on top on me (seriously, I came home from the RWA conference with 80 – yes *80* – free books!), I went and bought your book. So there. πŸ˜›

    BTW, I just did a post on my blog today about Twitter for introverts. I hope it’s helpful.

  6. Stacey Wallace Benefiel

    Okay, Susan, grab your lady balls and repeat after me: People who say Never about anything are not my people. I am awesome and their opinions will cease to matter to me. My people are Never say Never kinda people and I write for them. (After yourself, of course.)

    Seriously, we could all glean more information from lurking on a Bieber message board. Don’t give the haterz the time of day.

    Yay! 3000!!!!!

  7. Yes, you are the Master-Ninja-Self-Pub’d-Sales-Guru. LOL!

  8. Andrew Mocete

    Glad this rant had a happy ending.

    Maybe there’s a point you get to where you really don’t care about someones negativity. I’m not quite there yet. Even though I feel like I’m moving in the right direction, when someone tells me or I read advice that I’m already taking, it feels good.

    So . . . when’s the next rant?

    • There is a point. See: Zoe Winters. I am telling you, she’s making stupid money this month, and, ever since her vacay from the internet, she is a completely different person. I cannot get this girl riled. Oh, Zoe, they made me so mad, do you know what I just read?

      And she’s got this whole Warrior turned Guru untouchable air going, like: Be not angered, my child, for I have seen it all and can tell you they are all filled up with shit.

      Ok, yeah, really she just told me not to listen to tards, but it totally sounded like that.

      The topic for the next rant is: People who are STILL saying self-publishing is a last resort for the not good enough. Query letter virgins and those born again are welcomed to join me in making stabbity motions at their screens. This silent rant is ongoing.

      • By the way, don’t think I don’t notice what an instigator you are. “When’s the next rant?” indeed. And don’t tell me it’s ’cause I’m cute when I’m mad or I’ll have Joss kick your ass.

  9. Great post Susan!
    And fwiw, it’s you and Kait and the others I look to guide me in this whole self-publishing thing. Just don’t have the nerve to try it myself yet… I’m daunted by self-marketing. Also don’t have a twitter account yet [blush]

    • Thanks, Deniz. I was really nervous about the marketing stuff too. For me, though, once things started to get moving, it started to seem like the things I was doing myself didn’t really have that much impact.

      • Susan, are you saying it’s kind of a matter of the “snowball theory” — that once you got the snowball rolling it kept going on the momentum of reviews, buzz, and the quality of your work? Because that’s very reassuring… πŸ™‚

        • More or less. It’s not a sure thing, and a lot of indies are still working to the top of the first hill, but my experience has been that, past a certain point, each thing that I did just didn’t matter as much as being seen on a popular category list or featured on a popular blog. Getting found by those bloggers and up onto the lists is part of your job, but sometimes it’s groundwork you laid earlier finally paying off.

          I think the term “platform building” is very intimidating for a lot of us because we sure didn’t run for homecoming queen in high school and we’re not suddenly going to be great at shaking hands, kissing babies, and winning popularity contests. But really it’s more about deciding who you’re going to be, and then just going out and being that friendly person, helping other people out, and talking about your work when it’s appropriate. It’s much less “marketing” and “selling” than it seems like it’s going to be before you get started.

          And if you haven’t picked up Kristen Lamb’s We Are Not Alone, I really recommend that book.

  10. “Dramarama.” Love it!

    That is all. Everything else has been said already. πŸ˜‰

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