And I thought politicians were the experts of spin.
Let me start by saying that I love the indie community and I am so happy to be a tiny part of it. There’s really nothing like it, and I owe bits and pieces of any success I see to the awesome people who keep this network alive and thriving. I’ve made friends that I hope to keep for years to come, and I am so grateful for them on a professional as well as a personal level.
So, what’s this all about then?
Well, it kind of has a lot to do with that friend thing. It’s inevitable that when you work so closely with people, you become friends. It’s also inevitable that people who are fond of the twists and drama in fiction might allow some of that to spill into real life — or e-life, more accurately. Common knowledge is that mixing work with family and friends is a bad idea, but it’s unavoidable in a community like this. I’m learning first hand what kind of complications arise from this sort of thing.
Basically, a little while back after some communication errors (admittedly on my side as well as hers), a helper-turned-friend and I agreed (I thought amicably) that it was best to just take our separate paths since she was busier with new and exciting endeavors, and I needed more help than she had time for. I told her I was grateful for everything she had done, and that I still had love for her. (That’s still true, by the way.) She agreed, and that was that… or so I thought.
Then came the passive aggressive statuses, which I did not respond to other than to try to open a dialogue in private to try to address them. She felt wronged, I did not want her to feel that way. I said as much and tried to see where she was coming from since the 180-degree spin from our private conversation baffled me. The one-word response I received told me she did not want to discuss it. I didn’t know what else to say — additional messages would have felt like harassment — so I left it alone. I thought, maybe it was settled now that she got it off her chest and I explained my perspective. I was not going to publicly sling vague accusations back because that sort of thing is damaging and unprofessional. Despite the hurt feelings, I do still consider this person a friend and I want good things for her. I haven’t condemned the work that she did — she helped me out with a ton of stuff when I was just getting started in the indie world. I’m not about trashing people just because they are working on new things, that kind of attitude doesn’t make sense to me. Burning bridges ain’t my style.
So why am I saying something now?
Yesterday, I was with family all day. Sleep-deprived and stressed, I sign on to see a little bit of drama that I had nothing to do with, and to find out that my friend had blocked me (along with many other people who weren’t involved) over it. After sifting through the confusing state of things, I find out that she took an isolated incident in another group and spun it to paint everyone associated with me with the same unsavory brush, leveling accusations of things she claimed we are saying and doing that we are not saying and doing. The comment was thrown out into the world in such a vague manner that the reader was left with their own assumptions as to who the person in question was talking about, and what exactly it was about. So, a ton of friends are on the receiving end of hate, all because they stepped up to help me out when I was panicking because I couldn’t do the marketing I needed to do while writing what I wanted to write.
I need to do what I can to clear the air. Honestly, I have a million things I should be doing right now, but it seems this is that thing that just won’t go away no matter how hard I try to take the high road. I’m going to be vague here, forgive me, but I do not want to sling mud or make this more dramatic than it should be. Maybe it’s a bad idea to post about this, I don’t know. It’s truly a catch 22. If I say something, I come off as petty, but if I don’t, I allow other people to control the narrative and they just won’t let it go. So here are the facts:
- I have stated, probably hundreds of times, that I am grateful for any and all help I have ever received in this community. I understand people have real lives, they get busy, and sometimes they can’t do as much as they once were able to. I do not begrudge, hate, or suddenly consider a person an enemy just because we have to go our own ways. I don’t know why words have been put in my mouth to indicate this. I have nothing but love and appreciation for all the people I have worked with within the indie community.
- Some people have recently stepped up to help me out with marketing my new releases because I am positively swamped with books I am trying to write and personal life stuff right now. These people stepping in to help me are not and were never part of a nefarious scheme to oust anyone else. The friend in question CHOSE TO LEAVE my network after being virtually inactive in it for a very long time. There was a vacancy at a time that I seriously needed help. The indie community is doing what the indie community does — noticing that someone needs help, and volunteering to give them a hand. They should not be trashed or shamed because of it.
- I heard about the question that was asked that spurred the recent bout of drama. If the friend had messaged me to talk about it, she would have known that those are the kinds of questions that I (and my coauthor… yeah, he gets bogged down with this shit, too. Another reason I need to just get ahead of this and end it) have been fielding for quite some time from many different sources. “What happened to so-and-so?” “Does she still work with you?” “Why doesn’t she do this-and-that for you anymore? I see her around doing this for others so I figured you split.” People are observant, they ask things when they notice a change. Regardless, I never responded to such questions in a negative way, simply told them that she was just a little busy so she wasn’t as active in my network. I didn’t trash her, or begrudge her for expanding her network — why would I? I firmly believe that your success is the success of those around you, just as much as it is your own accomplishments. My point here is that these kinds of questions did not come about because of gossip, they were already being asked long before our paths split. Those who have been around since the beginning noticed a change and wondered what happened. So the assumption and accusation that they are only because we all are just sitting around talking shit at the behest of some cackling ringleader is overly dramatic and blatantly incorrect. (Not to mention, the response she gave to that question painted my fans as selfish and greedy, which they are anything but. That bothered me the most, I think, and I hope any fans who read that did not think that that is how I feel, because I don’t.)
So, friends… I didn’t want it to come to this. I didn’t want it to get ugly and dramatic. I’ve spent all day asking myself some pretty disheartening questions.
Am I undeserving of help? Should I have let my dream die because the friend who was helping me had other obligations to attend to? What should I have done?
I didn’t want to hurt feelings, but I don’t know what she wanted from me. I tried to have a thoughtful conversation, I tried to open the floor so she could tell me how she felt and I thought I did that until the repeated shade and accusations kept surfacing.
I could have just waited a while longer to accept more help, I suppose, but that would have damaged my dream even further for someone who was not willing to even message me about her concerns before jumping ship. I don’t understand how someone leaving my groups and publicly washing their hands of me, before even voicing their grievances to me, can somehow be twisted around to put the blame on the people who stuck around and stepped up to help me out. I just don’t get it.
If you are done with an author and you choose to no longer be a part of their support base, that is okay. But hurling accusations at them and their fans because of that choice… well, that is just… not okay. Not everything has to be us vs. them. It’s just life, people work together until they don’t. They can still remain friends afterward. At least, I’d like to think they can. Maybe I’m naive.
Alright, I’ve already spent way too much time on this. Maybe it will help, maybe it won’t. I don’t know. All I know is that I’m ready to get back to what I want to spend my time on — writing stories.
Until next time,