Tuesday, August 23, 2011
"Writers are Sleazy and Annoying."
Some people hate writers.
They think we are self-absorbed assholes with no clue about how to interact with the real world. We can’t fix your car, we can’t balance a checkbook, we don’t know how to talk to girlies.
And yeah, that’s all true, for the most part (and before you comment, saying, ‘hey, jag-ass, I’m a writer and my checkbook is perfectly balanced and I’m composed and charming with the lady-folk’, please remember I’m talking about everyone except YOU, okay?).
But that’s not really the point, and it’s not the main reason the writah-hatah-playahs hate. They hate because on the social media sites, we spend a lot of time posting about writing—our own writing and the writing of others we admire.
And that just ain’t right.
None of this hate has actually been directed at me, understand. I haven’t had any first-hand encounters with people who gave me hell for posting about my work. But I actually saw this on Twitter once, a couple months ago: “I don’t follow writers, because all they do is try to shove their book down your throat. They’re just sleazy and annoying”. It made me a little sad, because the solution, the thing that would satisfy the writer’s need to get his work out there and at the same time not alienate anyone, doesn’t present itself very easily.
In my case, it comes down to this—a good chunk of my FB friends and Twitter followers are also writers. And as an avid reader and Fan-Boy, I actually WANT to know about their work. I really do. So it’s hard to get my head around someone who is put off by that… but I guess I get it, to some extent. The writers who post absolutely NOTHING but stuff about their latest novel or story or review can be obnoxious, yeah, okay. I’ve learned from watching other writers who’ve been doing this longer than I have that your best bet is to keep the self-promotion stuff down to two or three times a week, if you can. Just so you don’t annoy the people you’re trying to get to buy your stuff.
But here’s what it really comes down to. I don’t have two separate personas. There’s not the “Writer Heath” and the “Average Fella Heath”. It’s the same guy. My posts about writing (whether it’s MY work or someone else’s) don’t come from a different head than the posts about how we went to the museum or how my daughter cracks me up or what I had for breakfast.
So I have to assume that, if you know me, or if you like me at all, you might be interested in knowing that I have a new story out. Or that I’d really like you to buy my book or write a review or something. Just like, if I know and like you, I’m actually INTERESTED in the fact that you got a promotion or saw a kick-ass movie or that your kid is sick this week. I’m not being facetious. If we’re connected on any of the social networking sites, I actually consider you a FRIEND of sorts.
I suspect the problem comes from writers who actually think of themselves as two different personas. They're in it solely to promote their work, and nothing else. But if you're a writer, or artist or dancer or what-have-ya, the people following you are doing so because they want to know something about you other than that. This is not solely a professional venture. Let them know you're a human, and not just a writing-marketing machine. Share something about yourself. Be a real human being.
I bet that would make all the difference.
By the way, come back next time, so I can try to get you to buy something, okay?