I need to get something off my chest. I’m not sure how these practices developed, or why they did, but at the core of them is the belief held by a growing group of authors that we are in competition with each other. Brace yourselves… I’m about to toss a monkey wrench into that concept.
This is NOT a competition. No, really, it’s not. It’s not a zero sum game. In other words, there isn’t only room for a few of us in the publishing industry. There is room for ALL of us.
Our readers don’t only buy books from one or two authors. They buy books from as many authors as catch their interest. It’s true. Writing is one of the few industries out there where that is true. Music is another one, although in music an artist has a tougher time staying timeless than a writer does.
Romance as a genre has been around since the late 1940s. And it’s STILL the number one selling genre by a margin of 2:1. Yes. Think about THAT for a moment. There is no music genre that can claim such longevity. There are no TV programs that can make that claim, either. Only in publishing do we have such a phenomenon.
Here are a few recent stats from the RWA – The Romance Writers of America:
In 2013, the romance genre as a whole made approximately 1.8 billion dollars in sales. 1.8 BILLION. That’s a lot of books!
Females continue to out-number the male readers at a percentage rate of 84% to 16%, and the average age of the romance reader is 35 to 54.
Those are your target demographics, writers. Oh, and ebooks? They make up 39% of the share of how readers buy books. Mass market paperback is second at 32%.
And, regardless of format, 61% of romance readers are reading the same number of romances per month as they were twelve years ago. And what was the top activity done in the last six months? SEARCHING FOR A NEW ROMANCE AUTHOR TO READ.
That’s some seriously impressive staying power. It also speaks to the fact that readers love to check out new authors! So why, then, do some authors find it necessary to be so incredibly nasty to other authors, and even to readers?
I have no clue, but I wish they’d all go play in someone else’s sandbox because they give the rest of us a very bad name.
I’m talking about the authors with “street teams” (I use the term loosely, because gangs of thugs is more appropriate!!) who go out and one-star an author’s book or books on every site they can. Or who pick public fights on social media with other authors and their readers. Or who do dozens of other really horrible things to fellow author and/or readers.
The reasons are childish and petty. An author “said something” about the author who directs the street team. An author has a hair color the bully author hates. An author just released a book the bully author is jealous of. Blah, blah, blah, on and on and on. Sound like middle school? Yes, it certainly does. What it does NOT sound like is a MATURE author who takes pride in her work, or who even understands what she is part of.
These bully authors are blatant with their hatred and their harassment. They and their gangs of thugs will go after other authors, or even readers, for almost any reason, whether it’s real or not. Every time I hear about yet another incident, I truly do wonder if this world has lost its ever-loving, collective mind.
In addition to being the absolute WORST advertisement for romance authors possible, these bully authors cause untold pain and heartache for authors and readers alike who can’t deal with such massive abuse, or who haven’t been around long enough to realize this is not the norm. But even though the majority of romance authors are nothing like these bullies, the bullies are loud and proud, so their nonsense gets paid attention to.
There is no subtlety here. Not even close. They don’t care how they come across to others, which blows my mind when I think about it. I mean who in their right mind would even want to support an author like that???? I’d drop anyone like a hot potato who pulled that bully diva shit.
This is not a competition. Romance readers are loyal, and once they love an author’s work, they will buy all of it. I’m proud of the authors and readers I know in real life and cyber life who SUPPORT and ENCOURAGE each other. We are mature enough to realize we don’t need to tear down others in order to lift ourselves up. THOSE are the people I choose to surround myself with.
And as for the bully authors? You need to find a new outlet for your anger and envy because you’re polluting the entire genre with your playground nastiness.