A cautionary tale from my continued adventures in the self-publishing trade.
In the indie author community, there is a lot of reciprocal arrangements designed to manipulate social media. You like my page, I’ll like yours and everyone’s a winner. I was a little wary at first, as my sense of fair play tingled at such underhand shenanigans. Like Major ‘Bunny’ Colvin in The Wire, I refused to juke the stats, but my feeble organic ‘likes’ were crying out for a little genetic modification. Could I justify liking books I’ve never read, and having others do the same for me? Some writers’ communities advocate only agreeing with amazon tags to improve the chances of a self published book from showing up in a search, not dishing out undeserved likes – however as an indie author I’m adrift in an ocean of books, and without the buoyancy aid of a publisher to help with promotion, I’m inclined to take any help I can get from my fellow authors. I draw the line at fake reviews, but I’ll happily take some likes on my amazon and facebook pages to increase my visibility and get the ball rolling.
So the other day I was merrily liking some fellow indie authors’ work when I noticed an odd post at the top of a facebook page. I had been on autopilot, clicking away merrily without really considering what I was endorsing. Anyone observing my amazon reading habits will discover I have recently developed a penchant for self-published erotic fiction – I haven’t read any, but it seems that a lot of self published literature is rather steamy in nature. I have no problem with being seen to advocate stories full of sex, although I hope none of it is violent or degrading in nature. Perhaps I’m naive to assume that it’s all just healthy expressions of adult sexuality. However the page that stopped me in my tracks was not erotic – it was religious. A self-publishing Christian author, whose facebook page espoused anti-homosexual views that are abhorrent to me – and there I was hovered over the like button. My self-promotion was bordering on the shameless.
Lesson learned – indie authors, even if it slows the process, look before you like.