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Adventures in Sharing Authors’ Books & Connecting with People – My Shocking Findings

Story time!

So, this past week I was reading about the importance of backlinks and sharing links to external sources, as it helps Google identify what your site is about, as well as benefiting the owner of the external site with a backlink. A win-win for everyone. I was like, cool, that’s awesome. Nothing new learned here, but a great reminder that it’s something I should seek out to do.

I write as an independent author who has chosen, purposely, not to pursue a traditional publishing book deal. I like having creative control. And I know how important it is to have your work shared, re-tweeted and pinned by others. So the other day after reading that article online about backlinks I decided to do something nice and beneficial for everyone. I was going to open up a page on my site and share the work of others and give them that opportunity to be seen by my visitors.

After writing some personal messages to my contacts, I invited them to share their link and a quick snippet with me. Nothing long or complicated, just a link and a snippet. My inbox got overwhelmed and bombarded with messages. By and large, my contacts and friends were entirely supportive and excited that I offered some of my domain space to mention them on my site. For some, I had made their day. Others were glad to hear from me and get a personal note. What was shocking, however, was how a specific group of people responded to me.

I was belittled. Chastised. Looked down upon. Questioned. It was the equivalent of having someone look down their nose at you. I also received some veiled, thin responses.

And this was a group of people that I would not expect this type of treatment from. The Christian Authors. You know, the authors that have a God-centered focus? The ones that focus on Biblical teachings to love thy neighbor and treat those how they would like to be treated? Yeah. Everyone else was positive, receptive, shared, and expressed gratitude except for the majority of authors in this particular genre. Why?

Some of the emails I received were actually rather rude. Some had replied with “I would never put my book on the same page as a book about smut.” After giving many an additional gift of some templates and graphics I had created, I got messages like “I don’t want that. I only want you to post my book and advertise it. That’s it.” Wow. Since when do we reject the gifts of others? Is this what Christian authors do to people at Christmas time? Reject gifts?

I was criticized for the use of the word “karma” by a few people. I had used it as an expression. No religious intent, but rather, spreading positive feelings and goodness around.

There were some “I will decline.”, “Thanks but no.”, “Your site clearly isn’t Christian.” (Like, what is that supposed to mean?) and “What qualifies you to teach a non-fiction writers course?” replies. As if to say I wasn’t qualified to have a course with my array of publications, books and existing courses that I have rave reviews on. No one needs permission to teach a course, I might add. It’s not like you need a certification in today’s online course market.

Keep in mind, this adventure I set out on of reaching out and connecting with other writers like me was intended only set out to help other authors and bloggers, because I know how tough it is out there. I was willing to share some of my domain space, which gets a LOT of traffic from Pinterest, and I belong to a lot of tribes, so it was a perfect way to have some authors gets some click-throughs and maybe even some book sales. After all, Pinterest users have 18% higher disposable income than non-pinners.

What I found in the Christian author community was shocking. Not everyone was quite so haughty in their response from this group of people, but out of 22 of them that I encountered, 19 of them were less than receptive and kind of rude. Would it kill them to say “Oh, hey, that’s nice of you to offer” or “Thanks so much for considering me!”? Nope.

Is this a genre-specific attitude the Christian authors have with other authors and writers? Snotty? The thinking that they’re somehow better than the rest of the writers because they write on God-focused material? Because gosh. I was not at all impressed by people I encountered who advertise themselves to be Christians. I found that the Science Fiction, romance, and writers of zombie stories to be solidly entertaining, full of words of gratitude and fellowship, and genuine. Authentic. And most importantly, simply kind.

I am a Christian, too. But I don’t shove it down peoples’ throats or use my business emails to promote that fact. I feel it’s a personal matter. And just because I support all authors (including erotica) does not mean that Christian authors can’t be listed on the same page as them. It’s like being in the same room as an erotica author. You can get along just fine and discover commonalities without judging others. The Christian books are not “better” or “above” erotica authors. After all, wasn’t Jesus forgiving of a prostitute?

I never force anyone to share their links on my page. It’s completely optional and it was merely an invitation to share with my visitors. But remember the intention – it was an invite to share. To be discovered by my audience. Not an invite for them to criticize me, my work, or put down the works of others.

So to those of you that were excited, grateful, and exchanged not just one but a few emails with me to help this Internet world seem like a smaller, more friendlier place, THANK YOU! You make me proud to be writing right along with you and you’re more than welcome to seek me out for any help at any time. THANK YOU for being good receivers. THANK YOU for returning my email. THANK YOU for corresponding and talking to me. I appreciate it, and I’m happy to share my space with you. Friendship online means a great deal to me, and I’m happy to call you a friend.

 


Also published on Medium.

Comments

  1. I am also shocked and appalled! I guess I’m one of the three Christian authors that replied positively. Thank you for including me on your journey and allowing my Christian romances to find a new audience with your readers. Truly, marketing is the hardest part of the book writing experience and just because you are Christian doesn’t buy you an audience, as you just experienced, Kerrie. Keep on keeping on, girl! Like I said, let me know what I can do for you!

    • Thanks for the comment and support! I actually confessed to Robin Patchen yesterday that I had never read a Christian romance novel before. I’m starting this weekend. I’m not going to let the experiences I had with these people, although it’s hard to ignore the stats, deter me from reading and discovering books in that genre. I’ll be reading yours, as well. Don’t worry! I’m excited to discover something new.

      PLUS – I’m working on my blog over at rainbowbabykids.com this weekend and I am planning a book section for moms and one for dads, too. So I’ll be sure to link yours up over there, as well. (PS – all my babies are rainbow babies).

  2. Wow. I don’t even know what to say. I thought I was having a hard time with my first published book of poetry. But it seems that any creative individual with a dream or goals is being attacked. I pray that things get better. Keep fighting the good fight; you have my support. That’s for sure. 🙂

    • I’m not exactly sure where all the hostility is coming from. Stress of creative block? Disappointment with their own writing careers? A perceived threat? Someone has more time than them to accomplish more? Surrendering of creative control? I have no idea why people act the way they do anymore. This world confuses me more and more everyday. The Christians are emerging more and more as portraying non-Christian behavior while we attack religions who have a foundation of peace and acceptance of all forms of life.

      Thanks for the support!

  3. Kerrie, I hope I didn’t get lumped in with the people you’re criticizing here. I am a Christian author, and I thought we had a nice discussion. I’m sorry to hear you weren’t treated well by others. That breaks my heart.

    • Hi Robin –
      Absolutely not, as you were one of the exceptions to my experience in communicating with people writing in this genre. In fact, I’ve been very complimentary of you on LinkedIn (did you see me tag you?!) and also when I brought the issue to my pastor for his thoughts. He read some of the emails and said there was a theme of self-righteousness happening, to the point where their black and white mentality turns to hurting others instead of being able to realize real connections and friendships by people slightly different than themselves.

    • Hi Robin –
      Absolutely not, as you were one of the exceptions to my experience in communicating with people writing in this genre. In fact, I’ve been very complimentary of you on LinkedIn (did you see me tag you?!) and also when I brought the issue to my pastor for his thoughts. He read some of the emails and said there was a theme of self-righteousness happening, to the point where their black and white mentality turns to hurting others instead of being able to realize real connections and friendships by people slightly different than themselves.

  4. Kerri, your blog post was brought to my attention by Robin Patchen and I hope you don’t judge all Christian authors based on those folks. As a Christian author who writes for a more general audience, I’ve found that it’s the dogmatic types who are most critical and complain that my books aren’t “Christian enough.” Well, they weren’t written for them. I got to a point where I try to avoid any Christian label for my books, even though I’m a believer and write from a Christian worldview. When I was in private medical practice, I had a number of people come to my office expecting free care because I’m a Christian. Expecting it, even though they had jobs and an income. There are true Christians who try their best to live life to honor Christ, and cultural Christians who have appropriated the name ‘Christian’ but haven’t the foggiest idea what it means to live as one, or what He teaches. As you stated, Jesus went out among the sinners–the prostitutes, the tax-gatherers, etc.–and criticized the Pharisees. The Pharisees still exist today.

    • I’m not going to go and say that all Christian Authors are like the ones I experienced. What saved my view was that I found diamonds in the rough. Genuine people who were friendly and actually dialogued with me. That was so nice! I refuse to believe in negative stereotypes because there are always a few that contradict that theory.

      In discussing the situation in an attempt to gain clarity, my pastor did in fact bring up the Pharisees in reference to self-righteous issues plaguing the hearts of so many people that desire to be Christian in all walks of life. So it’s funny you brought that up because I’m in complete agreement.

      I also hear you on all fronts with religion as being used as a means to obtain products and services for free or highly discounted. I’ve seen that and it saddens my heart.

  5. Robin Patchen mentioned your blog on a loop I’m on and hopped over to read it. I’m always disappointed when Christians act the way you’ve described…but I’ve come to the conclusion some Christians were baptized in vinegar. Or legalism. And if there’s one thing I hate it’s legalism. So sorry for your experience. I think your offer was very generous and those author missed out on a good deal. Wishing you the best in your writing!

    • Hi Patricia! Good to see you here! You know, I’m taking it all in stride. Not everyone is going to like you, appreciate you or even want to talk to you. It’s fine. I just thought at least as writers and peers there could be a sense of civility and not so much iciness in the response. And what’s the saying – no good deed goes unpunished? LOL How dare I make human connection with people and focus on their needs and aspirations! Shame on me. LOL

      I ALSO wish you the best in your writing – what are you working on right now? I feel like a publishing fiend right now with the projects I have stacked up. May your writing be authentic, swift, and wise. Wishing you the very best, as well!

      • I’m working on my 4th book in my Memphis Cold Case series. The last one dealt with Elvis impersonators and this one delves into the emotional aftermath of human trafficking.
        Patricia Bradley
        http://www.ptbradley.com

  6. Wow. I’m sorry you’ve had such an awful experience, Kerri. What a generous offer you made, and what a rude response from (some) authors. There is no excuse for people responding in such a way. Thank you for the work you do helping others – through classes, your books, and reaching out to other authors. Your heart is far bigger than those who responded to generosity with hostility.

    • Silliness! Especially around the holidays when our hearts could be open and accepting, forgiving of imperfectness. I’m an imperfect person, myself. I’m working on that as a wife, mother and business owner. I like reading words and chatting with people about just about everything when it comes to writing, learning, and design. I’m fulfilled. As an educator, wife and mom I feel I have a purpose. I’m on a mission to help!

      I’m glad you’re here. And I’m really hoping my post does not infer that I think all Christian authors are the worst. They’re not. They’re people, just like me, and we all behave less than desirable from time to time. It was interesting connecting the dots, though, I have to admit! I was like, what? Why are these authors hating on me?! LOL

      Keep on being you and don’t strive for perfection, strive for purpose. YOU are here for a reason!

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