There will be some people who drive by and ignore you. There will be others who roll their eyes, and blame you for not being prepared (where's their jack, where's their spare tire, where's their lug wrench, why can't they handle this themselves, etc.). There will be some who outright mock you because they aren't broken down on the side of the road, and it provides them a moment of mean-spirited joy to kick you while you're down.
As Mr. Rogers said, look for the helpers when times get tough. And if you can, do your best to be one of said helpers.
|That review really helped. Thanks, man.|
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Authors Aren't Self-Made (No Matter What You've Heard)
Without fail, whenever an author (or any creator, really) asks for help from their audience there's always one asshat in the back who sniggeringly replies that if they're asking for help maybe they shouldn't be doing this for a living. Which, honestly, has very big, "If you want a living wage, go get a better job!" vibes to it.
And just like everyone who's worked in food service, retail, and every other genuinely necessary job during this pandemic, I would like to raise a point here. Because if you are consuming the content someone makes, then you are directly benefiting from their efforts and energies. Whether you're reading their stories, checking out their guides, watching their videos, listening to their audio tracks... you are benefiting from them. The same way that you benefit from a server taking your order at a diner, or the cashier ringing you up at the grocery store. And a lot of the time creators are making stuff for free (this blog, for instance, has no paywall. Neither do the videos I've contributed to the Azukail Games YouTube channel over the past few months), or just asking for a couple of bucks to enjoy something that took between a few months and a few years for them to create.
And for a majority of creators, that doesn't pay the bills. Not because we aren't putting in the effort, and not because of quality (which is completely subject to audience taste), but because we don't have people giving us the hand up we need.
Because finding helpers is hard.
|Seriously, take a drink friend. It's rough pitching on the con floor all day.|
Creators are doing our best to create a good product, and to put it out in front of people. And with startlingly few exceptions (and those of which are usually based on accidents in the algorithm), we cannot force our vehicles to go under our own power. We need our audience to reach out, and help however they can.
I've been talking about this for a while, and those who would like to help but aren't sure what would make an impact should take a look at Why Your Likes, Shares, Reviews, and Follows Matter To Creators. It's not all-inclusive, but I tried to give people some insight as to how their actions can make a difference to those of us who make content for a living.
Doom Posting (My Way of Being a Helper)
I generally try to help my fellow creators as much as I can. If someone has an idea for a project, and I know a publisher who would be interested, I try to set them up together. If someone has a new release, I share it on my channels and try to drive some traffic their way (incidentally, if you haven't read the brilliant Team Murderhobo: Assemble from Clinton Boomer, you owe it to yourself to check it out). I host reviews on my blogs to try to give people shout-outs, and I mention folks wherever I can.
There is something else I've been doing recently that anyone out there can do as well, and which I would actively recommend if you really want to help out the creators whose work you care about.
I call it doom posting.
|Clock's ticking. Time to help some sorry sons a' bitches!|
What I do is I pick a platform (usually Reddit, but Facebook sometimes gets this treatment as well). I then pick a creator whose work I like, and who needs to reach a larger audience. I will then find as many groups and communities as I can (ones I'm a part of and new ones) just to share the content they've made and try to boost their signal. This can lead to me making two or three dozen posts at a time when a work appeals to a lot of groups I'm already part of, or only making half a dozen posts if it's a little more niche.
I call it doom posting because I know that no matter how many posts I personally make, I'm just one individual. So it feels sort of hopeless, kind of like doom scrolling. There's always the chance, though, that these posts reach fresh eyes, get new people interested, and that even making a post that seemed like an outside chance of being noticed could lead to a much-needed landslide of attention. And since I know that admins and moderators get on creators' asses for posting their own work (often banning us from groups if we attempt to do so), I'm happy to act as the cat's paw to share other people's work so they don't have to face that kind of backlash.
And since we're on the subject, in addition to Mr. Boomer's book, I'd also suggest some of the following places for you to check out if you want fresh, free content from talented creators!
- A Vox in The Void: A YouTube channel that does spine-chilling reads and performances of classic horror and sci-fi stories, as well as Warhammer 40K fiction (official and non), going through the archive will take you a while. Trust me, it's worth it... so go like and subscribe!
- Alice The Author: Alice Liddell is a talented author who works in romance, fantasy, RPGs, and more! Her channel is great for authors, aspiring authors, and even for Game Masters looking for occasional bits of inspiration. Could definitely use a boost in followers.
- Azukail Games: All right, I'm cheating with the third one. As folks know I've been contributing a lot of content to the Azukail Games YouTube channel, but I'm not the only name and face putting stuff up there. So come on by, find some stuff you think is cool, and subscribe to help us hit our goals! It takes 1k subs and 4k hours of watched content in the last year (or 11.5 hours a day), so we need all the help we can get.
Like, Follow, and Stay Tuned!
That's all for this week's Business of Writing!
If you'd like to see more of my work, take a look at my Vocal archive, or at My Amazon Author Page where you can find books like my noir thriller Marked Territory, its sequel Painted Cats, my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife as well as my recent collection The Rejects!