Friday, March 9, 2018

Why I don't do 'Groups'

It never fails, at least three times a week I am added to a Facebook group by someone I don't know. New promo groups. Or groups for other people, not just authors, it's not an author thing. Most authors have to battle the surprise group adding monster, so we don't add without asking first, or being asked. You'll see me or other authors throw up the 'reminder' every now and then. For me that's usually when I had too many at one time and spent time going through and deleting myself from said groups. No, I don't even look at them. If I had a nickel for every group I've been added to without permission I probably could make a car payment. Not exaggerating. I'd love to say I was exaggerating. I'm not. It's just that bad.

If I stayed in every group I've been 'invited' to I'd have a couple of thousand groups. Most serving the same function. Most of them are promo groups with no real interaction. Just book promo. I see a lot of that for free on my wall. I see more on twitter. Sure, I miss a lot because both twitter and facebook like to pick and choose who we see.

The 'invite' button over at FB doesn't invite people to your group, it puts people in the group. It doesn't say hey, there's this group, you might like it, care to join... nope it automatically starts filling your wall with posts from this group and you have to figure out who and where and why and is this something you chose... I have blocked chronic offenders of the groups adding. Once or twice is an accident. Five times is offensive.


Simple answer: I don't like groups.

I don't. I don't like being in groups. I don't like having to participate in groups. I don't like to wade through nine million posts a day that I can't follow because I have other things I need to be doing. And social groups end up with nude pictures that I can't have just pop up before nine at night. I have a child. Even then, I have a family and I don't want my adult daughter to walk in when a dick pic springs up anymore than I want my husband or the rare times I access FB on my phone away from home and the first thing I see is an erect dick.

But it's more than that. Really and truly. Back in the beginning of Mercy I did all that. I joined the groups and promoted and tried to play along.

I've had two personal author groups over the years. I tried so hard to play that game. I put the groups on unfollow or ignore or no notification and I forget they exist. Because it's too much coming at me all at once.

But honestly, it's more than that. Back in the day I belonged to a couple of groups that were full on toxic. I had a 'friend' who tried so hard to keep me in my place back then. I guess she forgot that I was in some of her groups when she went full on destroy Mercy mode.

I've been in publisher groups that were more than toxic. I was kicked out of the Silver group after I blew the whistle. I still have the screen shots... "That Fucking Mercy Celeste... I want her fucking head on a fucking silver platter." I know who said it. I know exactly who went after me for doing the right thing.

I can't do groups. I can't. More often than not they become toxic little clique factories.

I can't do a personal author group because I can't perform at the level other authors can. I have tried. I can't paste on a smile and put on a show for fans or readers or anyone.

I can't play that game.
ARC groups and reward groups and adore me groups. My ego isn't that developed.

Over the years the toxicity gets to a person. I came home from GRL in San Diego three years ago and shut down. I don't have the ego or the stamina or the desire to be THAT kind of author. I can't compete with the charismatic authors who run huge groups. I write books. I publish books. I promo some. I move on. If you like my book a review would be nice. I'm okay if you don't review it.

I often feel that I'm not cutthroat enough to be in this field. I'm not even going to drag the MM community, because it's not just MM, it's all romance. It's the Sci-Fi community. I don't know about the mystery community I've never heard of any meangirlboy factions in mystery. But hell, the Sci-Fi community is in the dictionary beside the word Toxic.

Why does the writing communities feel the need to 'eat their own'?

I've never understood it.

I am an empath. I have severe social anxiety. And I'm shy. Yeah, you'd never guess that from my Facebook posts. I can hide behind words. I do hide behind words. I try so hard not to hurt people with my words. I try so hard to be nice to everyone. I don't engage much anymore. I managed four years in an increasingly toxic environment before I figured out that I can't play the game and I was killing myself trying to.

I don't understand why people need these huge groups to support anything. Fandoms for my favorite shows almost kill my love for shows. Tumblr is full of fandoms. Toxic fandoms deriding the producers, writers, actors, or whoever isn't following their preconceived notion of where that show needs to go. Go on twitter and read the comments people post to any celebrity.

I have shows and books and singers and movies that I love. Actors not so much. Authors not so much. I mean, yes I have favorite authors. And I can squee like crazy when they put a new book out. And if that book isn't something that interests me, I move on. Because it's just a book. If I'm lucky there will be another book that is more to my tastes. Same for singers. And actors. And shows and movies and life is funny like that. I've never felt this urge to be best friends with Anne McCaffrey, tho I would have liked to have met her at least once. Or Bono. Or P!nk. I have never had an urge to go out and trash anyone for doing what they do. I've never been pissed off because some author didn't answer my email or write a book exactly how I told them to write a book. Or succumbed to my threats to never read them again if they did_____.

I get more letters like that than I get warm and fuzzy letters. And I do get warm and fuzzy letters. I've never had anyone attack me for the company I keep. But I've seen it happen. Recently. To a friend. I've seen authors attack readers and readers attack authors. And the doxxing and catfishing and... it's all toxic. All of it.

I left all groups years ago because it's not new. This game we play to sell books. We pit authors against authors. We tear down others to build us up. We beg, steal, cheat our way to the charts.... for what purpose?

I am not cutthroat enough to play this game. I never have been. And the more toxic it becomes, the more I withdraw into my bubble of just me and a small select group of people who don't try to drag me down, and don't kiss my ass because they think I can further their career, when I struggle every day to keep mine afloat.

I'm writing this because it's been building in me for a long time. Since GRL San Diego. This succeed at all costs mentality. You fan a certain author... go for it. You don't like another... leave them alone and let them go about their business. Your feelings get hurt because some author doesn't know you exist in a sea of thousands... why?

What you see from me is all there is to see. I only post publicly on Facebook and Twitter. I don't have a fan group. I've never sicced anyone on anyone. Never. I've done my best to do my best and to help others and promote others... until I couldn't anymore. It all wore me down.

I write books. If you enjoy my books, that's awesome. If you don't, I'm sure there's someone out there who writes what you like. Enjoy them.

And like Bill and Ted said... Be Excellent to Each Other.



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