Just recently, someone accused me of not being a large publisher (I represent a large publisher that publishes over 75 to 100 books a year at least) because I conversed and even stood up to a cyberbully on the internet. I admit, I’m not one of the established old Big 6 publishers, but by volume of publication, I’m finding out from distributors and from vendors we work with, that we’re among the top 10% in volume. And in fact, theEDGEbooks.com is in a category almost new to many in publishing. We act and work like an indie (we’re earthy and get down to the nitty gritty like an indie), yet we have big publisher volume and even have the same marketing/advertising/pr resources. I guess that confuses a lot of people in the publishing and book world. And authors like me tend to be very interactive at the ground level just because we like people. We’re not told to stop interacting with people, even when we become a “name” in the book industry.
And believe me, many people who are my readers or are bloggers, are just like me, and have aspiring dreams to become an author one day, like I did. So, when I converse with people, it’s not so much, I’m an “author” and you are “blogger, reader _____ (fill in the blanks), but you and I are both people with daily concerns.
Well, everyone who has been following me know I am a big advocate of anti-bullying. I’ve written a book on it for teens and their parents, Shy Girls Social Club Handbook for Dealing with Bullies and Other Meanies. I’m also touring on national radio about this, as well as making some video-related media about this. I’m running a workshop for girls about self-esteem issues and are facing bullying issues, too, this summer. In other words, it’s a topic near and dear to me, and when I speak about it… it’s not about me being an “author” but me being a person – a peer, a parent, a person who want people to know that it takes just 1 person to stand up to bullying in a peer atmosphere to help the person being bullied stand up, too.
So, speaking from the heart, I stepped out of my “author” role and began speaking out against a cyberbully who has been harassing and bullying blogger and author friends of mine for months, even graphically threatening them with violence. Yes, I was also a target of these attacks. But a brave blogger stepped out and said she wasn’t going to stand for this cyberbully (who was and still is using a fake name and blog on the internet) bashing her friends and accusing authors of false accusations. I recently stood up with her, and yes, I did get some heat, and even been accused of not being a real author because why would I get involved in something so petty like this.
The thing is… it is not petty to me, when a friend is being bullied. It is not petty to me, as a parent and a responsible adult when a minor, who is a blogger, is bullied on cyberspace in front of a large book industry audience.
I may not be the conventional, traditional-type author, and I don’t aim to be, if it doesn’t allow for me to be vocal against bullies and people who aid them. Authors are thought-provokers, they are on the forefront of change and ideas. To me, it is only natural that authors have strong opinions and thoughts about bullying as well.
And for that blogger who claimed I must not be a real author or even represent a large publisher because I spent some time conversing with her over the internet, this is what I have to say about why I do take the time to touch base with as many people as I can who contacted me:
The 5 REASONS WHY I Talk to People Personally
Although I have a publicist or two, and even a financial and legal adviser, I get asked this all the time, why do you interact with your readers so much?
1) The answer is simply because I see many of my readers as friends.
They have read my books, understood the story, and have come to love the characters in these stories as much as I do.
I know many of my readers, I share their pain when they lose a loved ones, congratulate them on victories, go through their birthdays and dramas at home and work, and even lend a supporting hand when they’re trying to build their blogs or FB pages. So you see, in other words, a lot of my readers have become friends of mine. They read my books, and they understand me like a friend understands their friend.
People have said I should hire a personal assistant and a secretary to keep track of emails and people’s names. (I get about 100 to 1000 emails a day), and I try to respond to each and every one of them. I tell these people it’s because most of these emails are from people whom I have already established a kind of relationship with – through reading and sharing a love of common interests. I figure if you love my books, that’s already a big shared interest.
2) My readers are pretty darn interesting people
I know I may complain about being overwhelmingly busy (I am), but I know my readers are, too. Many of us are juggling jobs, school, parenting, and more. I feel what you feel and know sometimes that stress can get to any of us, which is why I write the type of books that I do – fun, sometimes crazy, swept-off-your-feet romantic fantasy fiction. They’re the kinds of books I would read for escapism. That being said, I do appreciate that you’ve spent your time reading my book (although it was a quick read lol) when you could be doing something else.
3) I know how reading can be time-consuming (I’m a reader, too) so I am pretty happy when a reader Facebook me and tells me she just read this or that book and she knows she’ll be one of my biggest fans. I can’t tell you how incredibly touched I am when someone tells me this. It literally brings tears to my eyes.
Not only does this feel incredible, and I am honored, but I want my readers to know from the bottom of my heart, this:
4) You Make Me, an Author, feel Warm and Fuzzy, too!
When you enjoy my books and even reach out to me to let me know or even write a review about it, it really makes my day. It makes me feel good about what I’m working hard for, and it makes my editors, graphic designer, and pr/marketing people, happy too.
5) My Readers are Not Only Interesting, but they are Fun, Smart, and Great to Hang Out with!
So, please don’t be a stranger. Come on by and say “Hi”, show up at one of the parties or contests I hold virtually once in a while, usually in celebration of a book release. And become a Facebook friend of mine and vice versa. I really do want to find out more about you, and consider it a great honor that you’re a reader of mine.