Enough with “Us vs. Them”

Aimee SalterGuest Blogger: Aimee L. Salter (@AimeeLSalter)

Historically the life of a writer was a solitary voyage. Until a writer made it, the wounds and fears of the writing life were largely navigated alone. Then along came the internet.

Now even the most isolated writers have a community of millions at their fingertips. Where before authors might have been compared to the lonely hiker climbing a mountain, now we’re each tooting our horns in gridlocked traffic, awaiting our turn to crest the superhighway summit of publishing. We’re car pooling. Journeymen. Brothers at the wheel…

Right?

Well… sort of. I’ve been grinding gears on the writing superhighway for over three years now. Many, many things have changed in that time. Except one: the habit of writers deciding to bring each other down a peg.

We’ve all been there:

→ In the comments on a blog post lauding the power of readers, the discussion devolves into an Us versus Them of self or traditional publishing;

→ A tweet from a once-successful legacy author, now turned e-book phenomenon, is thrown at the feet of any author decrying the time it’s taking to find an agent;

→“Indie” authors band together to promote and celebrate, but quietly ignore traditional publishing achievements;

→ Publishing professionals name-and-shame an independent on Twitter for “having the wrong answers”.

We’re all writers. We’re all a part of this community and dealing with exactly the same fears and frustrations. So why do we insist on erecting fences and choosing sides?

I say it’s time to eradicate “Us vs. Them”. Next time you find yourself tempted to unleash a writerly rant, or a for your information comment, here’s a challenge for you:

1. Don’t confuse constructive feedback with trolling.

Many of the debates I’ve stumbled across started with a well-intentioned author offering advice. Others then felt they were being criticized and lashed back. Things go downhill from there. So, before deciding you’ve been wounded, try reading comments (or tweets) as if the person were genuinely smiling when they said it. The difference in tone may surprise you.

2. Don’t justify your choices to those who’ve made a different one (and don’t demand that they explain their choice to you).

No one wants to write something they aren’t passionate about. A difference in taste isn’t a crime. Write and let write.

3. Don’t forget that the internet is everywhere.

Sometimes that rant is just the result of a crappy day. But before pressing send or publish, remember that your bad day will live on in perpetuity thanks to caching, printscreens and the memories of your fellow writers. Are you sure this will be important to you in three years?

4. Don’t judge.

You don’t know what goes on behind that computer screen. You haven’t walked in those shoes.You don’t live in that head. If you can’t feel good about someone else’s choice, then agree to disagree.

5. Do encourage writers of every stripe and preference.

This seems to be the biggest obstacle for writers with a voice to other writers. Everyone wants to the lead the way towards their version of the dream. But you know what? Advice on how to write (or publish) and what works (or doesn’t) is already out there for anyone who chooses to look for it. If someone doesn’t want to hear it, that’s okay. Let’s act like we’re on the same team. Because when the excrement hits the air-conditioning, other writers are the only ones who’ll truly understand what you’re going through.

In the end we’re all here for the same reason: We have a story that demands to be told. We all want to find kindred hearts to share that story. So whether we’re seeking an audience of one, or one million, the goal is the same.

Let’s be Authors-in-Arms. Instead of analyzing each other, let’s just be glad there are ears to hear and shoulders to lean on when the hills get steep. Because those ears and shoulders will also be our cheering squad when we reach the top.

That’s the kind of writing community I want to belong to.

Q. What about you? Do you have any ideas for encouraging a supportive online community?

Aimee L. Salter is an as-yet-unpublished writer with dreams of YA hardcovers. Her blog focuses on practical tips for improving any manuscript and encouragement for writers of every shade and stripe. She is represented by Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency. You’ll find her writing community at www.aimeelsalter.com or on twitter (@aimeelsalter).

  1. Mary Sutton says:

    Nice post. I’ve got a middle-grade series with a small press right now, but I’ve also written crime fiction, which is definitely for an adult audience, that I’ve shopped around and had it rejected (long short stories to novelettes). I am seriously looking at self-publishing – but when I mentioned that, another writer I know said I’d be “shooting any chance with an agent or publisher” unless I could get astronomical sales.

    It’s really hard to write. It’s really hard to publish – whether traditionally, small press, or self (if you do self the right way). There are enough people criticizing our choice to write. We should have to deal with antagonism from other writers.

    I like to remember the Dalai Lama: Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

  2. Well said as always, Aimee! Thanks for sharing this – more of us need to remember this and put it into practice. I know I do!

  3. Great article. In various stages of my writing I benefited greatly by listening to constructive criticism by my writing peers. Many times I disagreed with their points, only to return after I calmed down and realized that they were mostly right. But I never ranted or made any immediate negative responses because I know that the great majority of people don’t waste their time pointing those things out just to waste their digital breath. So it pays to pay attention to what other writers say about your work. A look from the outside in is completely different than our biased, invested feelings about our work.

    • So true! It’s hard to hear our babies aren’t perfect. But my greatest growth as a writer has come from taking on constructive criticism from other, more experienced writers. My books get better every time.

  4. Catherine Hudson says:

    Lovely! All very true. One publishing company down here at the bottom of the earth (he he) has started up a Facebook community. As Authors we are encouraging one another, offering advice etc. It is absolutely lovely to be promoting one another and helping improve what’s coming out of New Zealand and Australia.

    Thanks for the post!

  5. Amy Morgan says:

    “Authors in Arms” …. love it! Thanks for this great post, good examples and the fodder for some really great commentary threads!

  6. marion says:

    “…ideas for a supportive online community” = Rachellegardner.com.
    A forum of some kind would be nice. nathanbransford.com has forums.

  7. joylene says:

    Bravo, Aimee! Well spoken. It’s time we remembered we’re in this together.

  8. Peter DeHaan says:

    At my critique group, one of our guiding principles is to “speak the truth in love.” I try to apply that to everything I say and everything I write — and even more so if it will be sent out into cyber space.

  9. Nikole Hahn says:

    In the middle of a writers meeting when questions were allowed, one person asked a question about self-publishing. Attitude dripped from his words. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who sensed the anger. Self-Published verses traditional seems to be like talking politics sometimes. We should encourage each other. Good post.

  10. Patti Mallett says:

    AMEN!!! Preach it, sister!!!

  11. Sheila Brodhead says:

    R-E-S-P-E-C-T for others with different points of view. There might be something to be learned.

  12. Karen M. Smith says:

    Thanks for posting this; I totally agree with your views.

    Also, I think we should all remember that when we read emails, texts, tweets and the like, we’re filtering those through our own lenses and may be reading things into them that the sender didn’t mean at all.

  13. I’ll just say, it’s about time…

  14. Jill says:

    Artists, intellectuals, writers, and scientists have always thrived off strife and competition. I wouldn’t dream of living w/o this kind of competition. I was just having this conversation with a friend–about the push for everybody to get along and be team players. Well, okay, being with others is inspiring and even necessary for growth, but if it weren’t for the all out fights, how many of us would descend into our basements (angrily) to find a way to defeat our team players/foes, and proceed to write a genius thesis on mathematics, etc? I have a suspicion that too much emphasis on niceness and team-playing is not going to be good for our culture in the end.

    • I don’t think anyone is trying to stifle healthy debate / competition. What I’ve observed is that the conversations online that could be helpful and challenging are often hijacked by people defending their chosen publishing model, and denegrating those who disagree. These aren’t healthy debates about issues, these are personal attacks.

      I think if we are considerate towards each other, we actually make a better environment for real debate because people stop trying to shoot each other down, and focus on presenting their arguments on the issue at hand instead.

      • Jill says:

        Civilized debates that focus on issues are not what fuelled some of the greatest discoveries/artwork/literature of all time. These people were petty and cruel toward each other, just as people on the internet are. If, for example, Newton and Hooke hadn’t been complete a-holes to each other, Newton might not have disappeared for months on end to write his treatise on math. But they were both part of a functional society–the Royal Society. The members just didn’t always get along that well. It’s what you do with your offensive position, I think, and how you decide to turn it into productivity that matters. That way, it’s on YOU the thinker/artist/writer to prove your position, rather than on cries of let’s all get along and if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all. The outcome of niceness in others is much, much harder to effect than even genius.

        • I disagree.

          While some are definitely motivated by negative input, I don’t believe personal vendettas or attacks are the way forward in any industry. Most of us can take a challenge, but will walk away from name-calling and mockery with nothing more than a bad taste in their mouths. You won’t convince me that trolling is the way to move our creative juices.

          That said, I think perhaps we’re defining “nice” differently. For instance, I disagree with you. That doesn’t mean I can’t nicely disagree. That doesn’t mean I can’t challenge, or say no. It simply means I’ll talk to you about why I disagree, present my arguments, and enter into dialogue, rather than throwing accusations or insults in an attempt to shut you down.

          To me, “nice” means polite. Respectful. Treating people like they have feelings. But still intelligent, confident and able to debate.

          Personally, I think challenge is critical for creative innovation. Constructive criticism, too. But insults and mockery? No.

          • Mira says:

            Well, I sort of agree and disagree with both of you.

            I think that too much pressure on everyone to be nice can lead to a pressure to be silent. It’s important that people say what they really feel.

            On the other hand, I agree that personal attacks tend to be destructive. Although – if two people really want to go at it, then fine. Just make sure everyone involved has given their consent and wants that.

            The problem I’ve run into is that people interpret my thoughts as a personal attack, and they are not.

            I do not agree with the Traditional model, as it currently stands. It treats the author very badly. And I will speak out about that.

            But I support all authors, I’m not attacking an author, just because I attack a model of publishing.

            And I don’t think it is reasonable to ask me to stay silent about my thoughts, which are important to me.

          • Jill says:

            I’m out of the publishing game (for right now), so I don’t actually have a dog in this fight. However, my argument is a historical one. From the earliest days of the novel, vitriol went back and forth in journal type publications. It wasn’t nice. Ad hominem attacks were the name of the game. And they were capable of saying the worst kinds of things, too, that our more polite society would never dream of saying to/about other people. This environment created a whole lot of great literature. It’s the same idea of having rotten tomatoes thrown at you–deliver the goods, or you get pummelled.

  15. Elissa says:

    When writers start slipping into an “Us vs. Them” mentality, it might help to remember that readers don’t care who published the book or how it was done. All they care about is a good story.

    I personally don’t understand artistic competitiveness at all. Believe it or not, there are more readers in the world than writers (and nearly all writers also read). No one writer can write faster than a reader can read.

    When you love, love love, an author and
    buy all his/her books, do you never buy/read books by anyone else? Of course not! Writers should never be fighting each other like a pack of hyenas over a carcass. Or like anything else.

    Writing is not a competition. Putting other writers down does not make anyone a better writer, and it never will.

    • So true! I’d go so far as to say when an author is successful, they whet the appetite of readers for more. So technically, a good book creates sales for other authors, rather than ‘stealing’ them.

  16. H.G. Ferguson says:

    Bravo. As a historical note, human nature being what it is (sinful and depraved), internet trolling is nothing new. During the Protestant Reformation preachers, teachers and pundits galore unleashed torrents of tracts, treatises, etc., etc., etc., decrying any and all who disagreed with them, denouncing the dissenters in language so fiery and vitriolic it is most difficult indeed to understand how a CHRISTIAN could use terms, much less justify it. Today this sort of behavior is at our fingertips. Christians should not be trolls. Let no rotten word — or deunciation — come out of our mouths. Again, bravo!

  17. Excellent post. I agree with everything you’ve said. No judging. No blaming. There’s room for everyone.

  18. Thank you! I so appreciate you words of reconciliation and healing.

  19. This is a very wise post of yours. Thank you.

  20. Tim Klock says:

    Rachelle, I can see why you invited Aimee to guest blog. And Aimee, I couldn’t agree more. I’m an aspiring author myself. Haven’t submitted my story yet, but your insights are really helpful and encouraging.

  21. I love this. Those of us who follow Christ as our model should do just that in all walks of life, not just our writing life.

    The great thing about the Internet is as you stated: it allows us to find others who we’d have never met otherwise.

    The downside: We sometimes assume we know someone based just on one comment we see. Words written on a page can more easily be misinterpreted than when people are speaking face to face. And because of this, we need to use caution and assume the best of people, like you said.

  22. Great post, Aimee! I agree wholeheartedly. I’m also about three years in, still grinding my gears in the fiction department after getting onto the highway with my inspirational articles. It’s a long, wearying journey, stretching, put-you-on-your-face-before-God, patience-provoking, and faith-producing. These decisions are tough! We need to extend grace to one another as fellow workers—brothers and sisters on the same road, all useful in the Master’s hands.

  23. Michelle says:

    Well put! Too bad the people that are usually the culprits won’t ever read posts like this. I try – key word try – to be accepting of everyone and be supportive while offering help. Most of the people I have tried to befriend usually don’t have the same mentality and end up only giving criticisms, oh and no they weren’t smiling, I know because I was there 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful post. I think it is important for us all to keep these little tidbits at hand. We are all writing for the same reasons!!

  24. Sarah Thomas says:

    Be a Barnabas, not a Judas. Thanks for the awesome post!

  25. Joe Pote says:

    “Write and let write.”

    “Always err on the side of encouragement.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

    Thank you, Aimee, for a great encouraging post! 🙂

  26. Twenty years in ministry taught me a lot of things. One of the biggest was how to deal with people: those who pat you on the back no matter what you say, and those who attack you no matter what you say. I learned to treat both the equally. How? By coming to an understanding that it is not an “Us vs. Them” at all. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

    I just self-published my first book. If a publisher wanted to talk with me about publishing a book, then I would talk and decide what is best for me, and the book. If one writer wants to go the indie route, then good for them. If another, the traditional route, go for it. Who cares?

    Each should not allow the other to draw them into an argument over which one is best and their chosen path is the better. If one or the other throws a line out there that upsets you, remember, there’s a hook at the end of that line. You can either take the bait or swim away. Usually, when you ignore the bait, the issue is dropped.

    Just my two cents. Agree, disagree, or ignore.

  27. Great post! I am a newbie, and just self published my first eBook. I think that new writers can be especially impressionable – as we work out our insecurities and try to find our voice. Encouragement, and constructive feedback are a must. We need to learn from other writers, and help those that come after us…

  28. Thank you, Aimee. I’m going to Tweet and G+ this post so that it goes out beyond this writing community (which overall is a remarkably respectful, supportive group). I especially appreciated what you said about–before deciding to be wounded–imagine the person who made the comment smiling. I’ve adopted this motto in order to decrease my own defensiveness (in regular life, not just when interacting with writers): Presume the Positive. While there are people who can make cutting, intentionally hurtful comments, I think that most of our defensiveness and many of our wounds come from projecting our own insecurities onto others. Of course, I probably shouldn’t use the “we” word, so I’ll back up and say this is what I do at times–and I suspect I’m not alone. The other thing that seems to bring about this “Us Vs Them” dynamic is the belief (again not exclusive to writers) that in order for my side to be right, your side has to be wrong. This is a fallacy. We can both be right and just have a different way of following truth.

    Anyway, thank you for your excellent effort at peacemaking. I hope that it works.

  29. Erin Reel says:

    Amen! Great post, Aimee!

  30. John says:

    I think this goes back to a piece of advice I heard long ago and surely cannot accurately reference or quote: when receiving advice, feedback, and criticism, simply say thank you.

    I don’t need to defend my choices to anybody. It’s none of their business. But I do listen, write down what they have to say, take it offline or home, ponder it, and decide what’s best for me and my writing. And when people ask me for my advice and they get all hot and bothered, I simply tell them that was my reaction, my feeling at the time, or my opinion. Deal with it as you will; this is not a debate.

    Now debates, that’s another ball of wax.

  31. I so agree. I recently signed up for a number of groups on Linked-in. Then when I saw the critical and rude way people posted to each other, I stopped reading them. I was very disappointed since I thought that a “professional” site would be more respectful than the other ones out there. If everyone, not just writers, could stop leading with their ego, the world would be a much better place.

  32. Jeanne says:

    Great post, Aimee. You bring up great points for maintaining good writing relationships and other relationships. Not talking poorly about another person, especially in a public setting, is crucial.

    I have found that words of grace, truths spoken carefully and “in love” ease a difficult message. When in a touchy situation, I find myself praying for wisdom.

    Sometimes, depending on the person and situation, no words will be received well. It’s in those situations where I tend to stay quiet. Thanks for the exhortation to see others in a good light, even when we have differences in method.

  33. Just something to think about as we discuss this: You all are being mighty supportive of me and this view, which warms me. Sincerely. There’s no doubt when writers are on board we are a warm and fuzzy lot!

    But what about if I (or someone else) was being more contentious? Or supported a philosophy less in line with your values?

    I’m as guilty as anyone of being dismissive or ill-tolerant towards people I disagree with. In those moments, i generally stick to the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” approach. But I’d love to hear any communication strategies or clever ideas for dealing with conflicting ideas online that doesn’t fall into the choosing-sides trap.

    Anyone?

    • Joe Pote says:

      Frankly, I don’t have enough investment in someone else’s book or writing career to bother getting worked up about it.

      For those topics where I do have a large emotional investment, I tend to deal with differing viewpoints in one of two ways.

      To the extent that both parties can express differing viewpoints, listen and learn from each other, and walk away satisfied we were both heard, if not agreed with, that’s a good thing. After all, the fundamental goal of any writer is to aid others in gaining a new perspective of a given topic.

      However, if it is clear the other party is determined to force their view on me, and has no interest in gaining an understanding of my perspective, well…the great thing about social media is that the end of a conversation is only one mouse-click away! 😉

    • Mira says:

      Hi Aimee,

      Great question.

      There are two things that I’ve found can help, and I’ve found it’s best to do them in this order, although I don’t always feel it’s safe to do b.

      a. Reflect back to the person exactly what you believe their opinion is, and acknowledge any parts of it you agree with. This can take several go-rounds for them to feel like you really hear them. If you help them feel like you understand where they are coming from, once they feel heard, they tend to relax. Sometimes they can hear you in return, but even if they can’t, the conversation will end pleasantly.

      b. Get vulnerable. Again, it’s not always safe to do this, but if it feels safe, if you can explain the emotional reasons why you take the position that you do, people can identify and are more likely to listen.

      Hope that’s helpful!

      • I think it’s key when establishing author platform to narrow your audience as soon as possible.

        When I first started blogging, I hadn’t locked myself into the CBA. So I tried to keep all my posts/comments sort of generic. I found that when I landed a CBA agent and narrowed my audience, I was able to be more honest about my views on things, from homeschooling to marriage, etc. People know what they’re getting when they come to my blog.

        Being honest about your views up-front is a great way to avoid argumentation. People know I’m a Christian, and I’m not going to attack them if they’re not.

        That’s a round-about answer to your question, Aimee. But good manners and genuine openness and willingness to listen to arguments are important for any writer. Doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions on things and try to explain them logically. Just means you play nice, avoiding name-calling, bandwagon and all those other argumentative fallacies.

  34. Encouraging a supportive online community begins with a post like this. Well done, Aimee!

  35. So true! I’ve been against self-publishing … FOR ME, but have found many great authors who have done it well, and for a variety of reasons. It’s why I decided to do a series about it on my group blog at the end of November. Some choose to do it for creative control, others to resurrect a backlist and some because the timing of the story being released was crucial. I’ve chosen to continue my search for a publisher because I WANT the opportunity to work with a team of individuals to hone my skill. That’s how I learn, so it’s my number one choice … at present ;o). But who knows what the future holds.
    There are a lot of things that make authors different from one another. I like different. Keeps things interesting. Like you say, we don’t need the “us” vs. “them.”

  36. Lisa says:

    Thank you so very much for this, such beautiful encouragement. This is so needful to read and take to heart.

    Always err on the side of encouragement. Hearts are tender and meeting them in that way is a beautiful act of grace 🙂

  37. Angela Brown says:

    I’m still not understanding why there had to be an “Us vs Them” mentality in the first place. But I haven’t been in the game very long, not carrying the battle scars of those who have been on either side of the debate. It would be nice to simply live and let live, encourage writing so we can all enjoy a good story and not make such a big deal on the road the story took to get to everyone’s hands. The journey differs. Embrace the difference and skip along. Yeah 🙂

    • I think if you keep walking that way, Angela, you will be a part of the solution as Andrew described. Then it won’t matter why there are sides. The fewer of us there are who care about the fences, the fewer fences there will be, I think.

  38. As much as I want to, I can’t be friends with everyone. Some people are reading this and thinking “GOOD!! Cuz you are odd!”
    But I CAN be polite. Unless it’s midnight and I’m debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with a handful of button-pushers who need a good reality check. Or body check. From my son the hockey player who plays D and can send them OVER the boards. Dontchoo mess with Mama!
    Ahem.

    The friendships I have made through this and other writer/industry blogs are extremely important to me. I have 4 people in particular who are life lines. I’d name names, but some people get all weepy and beg to send me money, so you can chat amongst yourselves and figure it out.
    Three of them are officially adopted, one is in the process of a deep cover FBI investigation. You can’t be too safe.

    It’s C-a-s-s-e-l-m-a-n, right? Not T in that?

    • I agree w/Jennifer. I have tons of writer friends that I’ve met online, but only a couple I share my deepest writing fears/pains/dreams with. I’m all for supporting our fellow authors (unless they’re writing the next 50 Shades of Gray…sorry, I don’t support that) and building rapport.

      As a Southerner, I think it’s good manners to acknowledge your blog comments (kinda like those thank-you notes we were forced to write every Christmas). But not everyone does this. And I GET that.

      We won’t frequent the same list of blogs, just like we don’t post the same sorts of blogposts. And we don’t all write the same genre/POV/time period.

      I think there’s a subtle “I’m published” mentality that sometimes creeps in, making authors less likely to acknowledge/encourage newbie writers. And yet those newbies might write just as well as the published authors. We need to encourage/mentor our writing peeps every step of this journey. Those who are ahead need to prepare and build up those who are a couple steps behind. And that’s a wonderful way to build rapport–invest yourself in others.

  39. Erin says:

    Hi Aimee-

    I always knew I loved you!! And this is exactly why: Honest, uplifting, humble, strong. Thank you for wise words and a great reminder.

  40. Well said, Aimee!! You make such a great point. It is so easy to jump to a wrong conclusion when you read something in a moment of frustration. I like your suggestion to step back and imagine the person smiling when he/she offers the advice.

  41. A leaning toward contentiousness, and a healthy ego, are perhaps written into the DNA of most people who stay in writing long enough to write a novel.

    Contentiousness, because we have to be ready to defend our choice of this often non-renumerative career against those who might claim to see a better use for our time.

    An ego that allows us to keep believing that the message we carry is supporting, regardless of how threadbare its flag, and worn out its boots may become.

    Because of this, I’m not sure we’ll ever really pull together on the ‘micro’ level of writing and publishing forums like blogs.

    Perhaps it will be helpful to recall that the Impressionist painting community in 1870s-1880s France was torn by internal strife and personal pettiness…but presented a largely united front to the outside world, in the presentation of their exhibitions.

    But, that said, the best way to effect change is to BE the change. Resolve not to be divisive, and to always be supportive.

    Resolve to realize that those with whom you may want to cross swords are not merely writers. They’re people.

    Handle them with care…and love.

    • An excellent plan! I’m in!

    • “Resolve to realize that those with whom you may want to cross swords are not merely writers. They’re people.”

      Amen, my brother!!

      They are people.
      People who wake up with aches and pains. Who have heavy hearts for the people they love.
      Men and women who are all slogging the trenches in the same army.
      Some of us can shake off the arrows, some of us feel every hit.
      It is through this blog and a few others that I have made some seriously deep friendships. I know for a fact that there are writer friends, no, sorry, *friends*, for whom I’d do just about anything.

      Unless it was going to a Southern Gospel concert. Or hip-hop.
      Come on!!I have to draw a line somewhere!

  42. Mira says:

    Yes, thank you, Aimee. Good points.

    It happens quite frequently on this blog, actually. As a supporter of the indie movement, when I read the comments here sometimes, I’m often taken aback by how insulting they can be toward indie writers.

    This thread, about what to call Publishers, is a good example of it:

    http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/09/full-service-publishers/#comments

    Jokes were made about indie authors being loud and obnoxious, etc.

    That really bothered me.

    • Hi Mira, the joke that was made was from someone who self-pubbed. Actually, Joe self-pub’d, Andrew has, TOSK does and I did too. None of those in the thread are anti-indie. Just the opposite is true. Sorry if we gave the wrong impression.

    • Joe Pote says:

      Yep…what PJ said…

      You not only have to see the smile…you have to also hear the laughter.

      We do a lot of joking around, but it is intended to encourage. I apologize if my adimittedly bizarre sense of humor offended you.

      I’ve published one book, totally self-pub (CreateSpace, Amazon KDP, and B&N PubIt).

      At this point I have absolutely no intention of pursuing traditional publishing, not because I have anything against that route, but simply because it doesn’t fit my situation and goals.

      I’m in favor of writers writing, improving their craft, and publishing.

      Have fun with it! 🙂

    • Mira says:

      Well, guys, I appreciate the response! But I would ask you to please consider whether those who read your ‘jokes’ are going to take them seriously. Sometimes a site seems really intimate, but actually Rachelle’s site gets alot of traffic. And if people aren’t in on the jokes, you may have inadvertently insulted someone and added to the division – like what just happened with me.

      Also, honestly, mocking jokes are often the way that put-downs are presented. So, saying that something is a joke doesn’t let it off the hook.

      And it’s cool that people here come from both camps, but the fact that some people who frequent this site have been or are self-published doesn’t mean they won’t say things that can be insulting.

      I pulled some of the other comments from that thread in particular, although I see it on this site on lots of threads, so you can see exactly what I mean:

      “Those that go straight to E-book are Hybrids, so we’ll leave them out of it”

      “When I read self-published books, the most common weakness I see….is a lack of editing at all levels”

      “Wait a minute, if I self-pubbed, does that make me loud and obnoxious?”

      “Maybe “publisher wanna-be” is too rough, but when the real deal is called “traditional”

      (response to this)”Ya calls it as ya sees it…
      …and ya sees it pretty clearly”…

      (and another response) “Agreed. What you said is a breath of fresh air”.

      • Mira says:

        I want to add one thing. One of the reasons I’m pushing this, is it’s really easy with posts like this to point the finger and say “yeah, they should stop being so divisive”.

        Which gets us nowhere. Self-reflection is important, because otherwise nothing will change.

        For me, I’m extraordinarily divisive – not against other writers, never against them – but against the Big Six. I won’t stop, I feel I’m fighting for Social Justice and it’s important, but I do want to get better at being less hurtful, making it less personal, and harsh. That’s important to me.

  43. Your post is both true and well written, Aimee. Encouragement is what a good community does best. Isn’t that why people of faith are told to meet together? (Heb. 10:25)

    I don’t as much have an idea for improved community as I’m seeing one unfold. People from this blog have started binding together with critiques, beta reads and encouragement. It’s been swelling for months and is getting stronger. The principles you listed are being practiced. Cool, eh?

    • Jim, hopefully next year at ACFW, there will be a table reserved for the various trouble-makers AND the peacekeepers from this blog.
      With plastic cutlery, bibs, extra kleenex for the tears of laughter and the shared pain, more chairs than are meant for the table and most likely, extra security. And a revolving roll call for just about anyone who wants to drop by and lay claim to fair/poor/good behaviour since they rode into this little town known as Rachelleville.

      But we do need to have someone outside in the parking with the getaway bus running for when Rachelle comes along, finds the crowded table, points her finger and yells “YOU!”

  44. K.L. Parry says:

    You are so right! 🙂

  45. Andrew Phillips says:

    Amen!

  46. Pure. Genius. Awesomeness.

    • Wow. Thank you, Nancy!

      • B D "Mac" MacCullough says:

        I appreciate your “Us vs. Them” comments, particularly the one about thinking before hitting the ‘send’ or ‘publish’ button [#3].

        Maybe we need another button – ‘pigeon hole’, a file we can examine from time to time and reflect upon our attitudes.

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