Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Community or A Middle School?

Hi everyone!  My name is Melonie and I run this blog . (Not Your Average Book Blog in case you didn’t know what page you were visiting.)  My blog has been inactive for most of the last eight months for a number of reasons.  I felt the need to address these in a post before I start back up with a brand new outlook on everything.  If you take the time to read this I want to thank you!

I was introduced to the Indie Author community 5 years ago, but have only been really active for the last 3 years.  When I first started talking to authors and bloggers everyone was very welcoming and I met some great people/friends.  I became involved in two different review teams and a number of street teams.  I am still involved in a few of those street teams and almost two years ago I started this blog.  I also have beta read for a few authors, but only one on a regular basis.  I have been to several events and once again for the most part people were very welcoming.  Things were going great!  As with every part of life not everyone was as nice as they seemed, but those people were few and far between.

So now you are probably wondering if things were so good why would my blog be in active and why would I have to take a step back from the Indie Community.  Well over the last year and a half I have seen a change in how the community has changed.  Before I get into that let me just say this is not directed at everyone, but a few bad apples can ruin things for everyone.  

As a reader and reviewer I have always been honest with my reviews.  If I had major issues with a book I always tried to contact the author and sometimes would not even post my review.   I know not everyone likes the same things so I did not want someone seeing my two star review and deciding not to read the book.  Just because I don’t like something does not mean that someone else won’t like it.   Most authors were very accepting when I explained why I couldn’t rate a book higher.  Then I was asked to read a book before it released for an author that I considered a friend so I did.  I was not a fan of the book and I explained to the author why and my thoughts on the whole thing.   I was very professional with the email, but the author was very upset that I couldn’t give a five star review and eventually just quit talking to me.  I couldn’t believe it.  Why ask for my opinion and then get mad because it wasn’t what you wanted to hear?   That is okay though it is your loss.  

That one review set off a huge chain of events that left me questioning a lot of people I considered friends, and also how some of the authors, bloggers, and readers act.   While all this drama was happening with the author I noticed on facebook more and more of authors, bloggers, and readers verbally attacking each other and more and more little cliques popping up.   People posting things about people they don’t even know just because one person doesn’t like them.  I began to wonder if people had decided to go back to middle school, but it never had anything to do with me so I stayed out of it.   That was until I had this one issue with the previous mentioned author.

I began to notice several people treating me different after that.  I also noticed that those same people had kicked me out of their street teams and other groups without even talking to me to tell me why.  I also got slack for staying friends with someone that other people had decided to unfriend.  This pattern has just gotten worse over the last year.  One person gets upset or mad at someone and a huge group of people ( authors, bloggers, models, and readers) jump on the train.  I understand wanting to stick up for your friends, but I see people who have no idea what is actually going on commenting a posting just so they can be  a part of the “in” crowd.  I myself just recently received hateful messages and was unfriended because I refused to make a statement on my blog about something that happened that did not involve me at all.  
With the some people in the community acting more like teenagers than adults I began to question why I even wanted to be involved in the community at all.   I keep seeing posts saying “ Can’t we all get along and support each other?”  In a perfect world this would be a great idea, but our world is far from perfect.  There is always going to be someone who doesn’t like someone else, and there will always be people who take advantage of other people.  

After a break from everything for a while I finally have an answer as to why I still want to be involved in the community.   I have seen this community ( authors, bloggers, readers, models, photographers) rally around people who needed help.  I have seen this community do amazing things for people.  I love reading and love supporting the authors who write those books.  I love supporting everyone who has a hand in putting that book together.  So for me the good is far greater than the bad. That is why I will continue running my blog and being a part of the community.

That being said the community really needs to make some changes, but that is just my opinion.  Not everyone is going to get along and I understand that.  That does not mean that groups of people need to attack that person.  While we can’t like every single person we can respect them.  We can respect that our opinions are different and that is not always a bad thing.  I also understand that there are people who take advantage of others and by all means you should stay away from those people and if you feel the need to warn friends from using their services do so in private.  There is no need to post names and declare war on them through social media.  That does nothing but cause more drama and take away from all the good things about this community.  You don’t have to support everyone you come across, but just because you don’t support them does not mean you need to make public posts or post in groups tearing them down. That makes you no better than them.  I always see posts about bullying but when you react to a bully by making public posts tearing them down and calling them names that makes you no better than they are.   

We need to quit acting like teenagers and act like the adults that we are.  You can be friends with someone who is friends with someone you don’t like.  You don’t need to exclude people just because of someone they choose to be friends with or because of their career choice.  Be respectful  even if you don’t support them.  All the shaming that you do only reflects bad on you and not anyone else.  

If you took the time to read all this I want to thank you.  My blog will be back up and running soon, and it will be what I want it to be and not anyone else!

Melonie