Social Media, Venting and the Importance of Finding Author Friends

We’ve all been there. You have a really horrible day or someone says something offensive. Or. if you’re in the book industry, you get a bad review, your sales are down, a blogger says you’re the worst author on this planet and your publisher turned down your latest manuscript.

The list goes on. We’ve all had those days, and if you say you haven’t, you’re lying.

Staring at the cursor with a twitch in our eye, wanting the world to side with us, wanting the world to say YES! You’ve been wronged! HOW DARE THEY! Because the one thing about social media that will always be true is that there is always going to be at least a handful of people that will agree with you (even if they don’t privately) and tell you that your anger, your rage, your rant is completely and totally justified.

Now here’s the truth bomb. Nine times out of ten, I’d like to think that rants come from a very vulnerable place where we probably are justified in ranting, but social media platforms aren’t the best place to do that. It may seem like the best place. After all, last time you ranted you had something like one hundred people comment. But what about the rest of your “friends” list? Or the private messages people send to each other? The screenshots? The gossip?

Honestly, I truly think this all comes back to cockygate.

Stop rolling your eyes and bear with me here.

Social media is like a really bad game of telephone, where you post one thing, and hours later you’re sacrificing puppies in your backyard and claiming to be Harry Potter. Because for every one person who’s agreeing with you, there are many more that are wide-eyed and staring at the screen in absolute horror. It sucks and it’s unfair, because in this day and age, those people are sometimes your closest friends and confidants, and it’s not like you can take everyone out for drinks and complain. But you probably should.

The problem isn’t that we aren’t justified in needing to vent, the problem is that, when you do it online (via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) it’s almost always taken either the wrong way or it reflects poorly on you as a person. Does that mean that we have no choice but to smile through everything and pretend that everything is always perfect and okay and then snap another Instagram photo of us smiling when inside we’re dying a little bit?

It’s hard. I get it. Because if you are in this industry, you face rejection every day, whether it’s from readers, family members who don’t understand, bloggers, other authors, publishers and/or review magazines. The list goes on and on and on, and sometimes you just want to be like, “REALLY!?!?”.

So what do you do? Who do you talk to? How do you find a safe place?

I know I’m venting to the choir as I type this, because as I said over and over again, we’ve all been there, and most of us have done it (ie vent online) at least once in our lives. So, in a stressed-out world, how do we “get it all out there”?

I remember a post someone wrote about finding your tribe (forgive me for not being able to remember the lovely author who wrote it), but the entire theme of the post went something like this: When you don’t have a tribe, other author friends who are close to you, people you can trust and talk to and bounce ideas off of, you become this island, and in being an island it’s very easy to have miscommunications with those around you.

So how does an author find other author friends? It’s not like its easy to email someone you look up to and go, “oh hey, yeah would it be cool if I ranted for at least three hours about that one-star review? Yes? Awesome, strap in, it’s about to get real.”

I mean you could do that, and you’d probably get a few that would be like, “oh honey…” [*pours all the wine*], but what’s a more practical way to–not just network–but build lasting relationships with other authors and bloggers and people who get it who you can trust and talk to? People who will tell you that posting that one thing about that one-star review and that blog is a really, really bad idea?

A good place to start would be:

  • Local writer groups
  • Online critique groups
  • Facebook groups
  • RWA (if you’re a romance author)
  • Bloggers;
  • Websites dedicated to authors and their crafts.

We live in this amazing technologically advanced world where we can basically use a search engine for anything. If you don’t want to use the internet, I guarantee you can find something close by, maybe a sprint writing group that meets at Starbucks every Friday for an hour. But whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself, because you’ll only end up doing more damage when you rant where you shouldn’t.

I know that authors, for the most part, are shy by nature, but because of the sort of work we do, and because of how vulnerable it is, it is crucial that you open yourself up to others and allow them to help you carry the load. Otherwise, you’re going to snap and it’s most likely going to be on a social media platform.

This is also why I love the idea of book signings and conferences. I know it’s easy to want to hole up in your room, but this is how you are able to meet people JUST like you, who are going through the same sort of rejection and heartache and excitement and ups and downs. If you do ONE thing after reading this post, might I suggest taking a look at any of the local conferences that are close by? Or signings? Or anything that will put you in a position of success where you have AMAZING men and women who are willing to hold your hand and also talk you from that cliff that we all face on a daily basis.

Until next time!