I was not only a proud but also a true believer in self-publishing and have been championing the Indie authors since my 1st day as an author. I have become an Indie author by choice, did learn the trade somehow, and despite all the odds, I did actually pretty well on my own.
Needless to say, the sailing wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked at the beginning and I had to go through pretty rough stages during my early years as an author. Just to name a few, I was berated by a fellow author with a one-star rating without even touching my book, another one humiliated me by saying my only motive of offering a review was to pirate his book after obtaining a free copy, and the third one insulted my intelligence by calling me a student who was pretending to be a professor in the international literary world. In addition, snubbing by so-called elitists was a norm, resentment was nothing new, and many fellow authors have written me off on many occasions.
However, I didn’t pay much attention to them at all, did my utmost best on what was in my hands, and persevered. And I have come a very long way since then and I should be really proud of myself as an Indie author.
That was, of course, before that unfortunate event of last two weeks and everything has changed in a great deal since then.
What happened was this – I was accused of using paid ads in order to push up my sales rank by a gadfly through his regular blog post, haters and zealots zeroed in with vengeance and my Amazon page was littered with nasty reviews and comments. Before long, my book was killed off and I was declared guilty without a trial.
The subsequent events were pretty nasty and ornery, I was declared a scammer, and hanged and left out to dry on my own. The remarks were pretty mean and scathing, many so-called friends have distanced themselves from me, and some fellow authors have unfriended and blocked me on Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, just a few of my fellow authors did openly support and defended me, and I will always remain grateful to them in life.
I intentionally didn’t comment on the accusation for some reasons. First of all, I don’t comment on negative views for two reasons: one, it will only make the situation worse as fuel to the fire, and two, I have a self-disciplined policy of using social media – if I have nothing nice to say, I rather say nothing at all. Secondly, I genuinely thought that people have already made up their mind, nobody was in the mood for listening and my explanation would have no use at all. Thirdly, I thought that it would just go away in a few days’ time, people would forget about it, and we could just move on.
But it took a turn for worse, my whole Amazon account was put under review and I had to write a statement why and how am I going to avoid that in the future before my account was reopened again. It was undoubtedly one of the horrible and gravest periods of my career as an author, it has dented a scar on my soul and it will probably remain there for the rest of my life.
I don’t see any points of explanation, the damages have already been done and I have no intention whatsoever of seeking out for a redemption for myself as well. But I still want to say some words to you all and here is the reason why.
Yes, I have bought many ads, who doesn’t? If you are a new and Indie author, we all know that without ads we are going nowhere, and each and every author buys ads for exposure. We also know the fact that most of the paid ads don’t work for many reasons and we must keep on trying. I was no different.
After many ads have failed, I took a master class from a popular author and learned many new things from him. I spent the next six months reworking on my books, not to mention the thousands of dollars I spent on them, and when I had a new book launch, I did almost everything that I could possibly do and made the bestselling list in one category for the very first time in my writing career. In order to keep up the buzz, I had bought almost 20 more ads (Big or small) for the next few weeks and had no tap on when they were running.
All I wanted was to make the top 100 list and when it went to the top of the pile, I was totally shocked, and as the saying goes, the rest is the history.
The 1st mistake I made was buying the ads without knowing how exactly they work and my 2nd mistake was to share my success on the social media. All the ads that I bought were the most common ones and used and recommended by fellow authors. What’s more, it’s almost impossible for us, authors, to know precisely how they work and the service providers won’t tell even if we had inquired beforehand. On the second one, if I were not to share it with my fellow authors, why would I work for so hard at the first place? Making the bestseller list is a dream of every author and what’s the point of achieving it if we cannot share it with the world?
I just have two grievances with this sorry episode, first to the fellow authors who have started it, and second to those fellow authors who have reacted upon this call. You might be doing the right thing, at least from your own point of view, but you should have at least wrote to me a short email before shooting it from the hip like a cowboy, and I would have done my utmost best to clear your doubts if there were any. You could have still proceeded with your plan if my explanation was not good enough. Besides, who gave you the right of declaring yourself the judge and do you know how dangerous it can be when one exercises power without responsibility? To those who have called names and left a nasty, one-word review on my Amazon page, I have nothing nice to say. It was one of the lowly, childish and irresponsible acts only losers like you can do and you called yourself a writer and acted like a high school teenager? Well, I am utterly gutted and ashamed of myself for being in the same group as you. I have always thought writers as a group of intelligent, compassionate and honorable, the lowly act from you have utterly shocked me, and it was nothing less than a disgrace for us all.
For God’s sake, I was a proud indie author, I was supposed to be on your side and did tearing apart the flesh and blood of your own type make any sense to you? I still want to ask you all is this – Did I murder anyone from your family? Did I steal anything from your home? Or did I do anything wrong to you personally?
One person left a 1* review because I didn’t mention about African atrocity and my answer to this person is I am not writing a history here my friend. Another author labeled my book as a children book, well, if you think the Israeli-Palestinian issue like a child-play, then, I have nothing more to say. More importantly, if you read a book with a pre-determined set of mind, of course, you will find problems with that book. If you ask me to read a book by any famous authors out there and find my dislikes, I can easily do that to any given books out there and so can you.
I do admit that my books are not for everyone out there, if you don’t have the slightest interest on global and social issues, you won’t like my books and I will be the first one to tell you that. My books make you think and I know many of you out there don’t want to do that. My earlier books were also criticized for being too long and difficult reading and that was the reason why my new books are written in the simplest way possible so they can be read by all. And they are way shorter than my previous books too.
By doing so, you have not only ruined my bestselling book but also destroyed the future of a dozen of poor children back in Nepal and gave a bad name to my project for which I have been devoting my life. I am a self-made man, took writing only after I turned fifty and I have been writing only for my charity. The charity helps provide financial support to the poor children back in Nepal and we have been supporting 27 children since 2015. And I have a dream of expanding the project throughout the nation, so, one day every one can go to school.
No wonder people look down at us as indie authors, it’s this sort of disgraceful act that justifies the treatment, and we have no others but ourselves to blame for our downfall. If indie authors keep on fighting each other, you will never get the respect from outside world and the sooner you understand it the better for indie authors.
The unfortunate incident has certainly caused great pain and indignity to me but I am not among the one who will run away from challenges and I will continue my journey until my goal is achieved.
Please just keep in mind that I will never stop writing, I don’t have to pull other writers’ leg to move forward, and you weren’t and you will never be my competitor.
Yet, one thing is pretty certain. My trust, respect, and support for the indie authors have changed once and for all and it will never be the same again. Thanks to you, I have become a rather skeptic person now on almost everything including this indie thing, restraining myself from social media, and I have already stopped all the promotions.
I even hate the word ‘Bestseller’ now and it will probably be a very long time before I can make myself ready to embrace it again. Until then, I wish you all the best and God bless you all.
I just wish that you had spent time on improving your own writing, that way you could have at least improved as a writer, and never had to belittle fellow writers to make yourself feel better.
Please read and share it with your friends and fellow authors so it won’t repeat again. It’s such a sorry and pathetic event that no soul deserves to go through that pain again.
Writers without a heart and compassion will never understand it. They don’t have to, because, without it, they can never become a good writer anyway.
Last but not least, I am not going to pull my book off the market. I want to keep it live on Amazon as a reminder to myself, so, I will never be able to forget about the unfortunate event for the rest of my life.
And ha, I am definitely going to look for a new agent as well.
TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com