The Freedom to Type

Warning: This is a Rant.

So, I belong to numerous Yahoo groups that focus on various things. Some of them are just for fun, others I rely on for networking, industry news, and learning. Recently I have discovered that on a couple of them that claim to be for industry professionals, those professionals don’t seem to be able to stay on topic, focus, or acknowledge that someone other than them could know something. There are four in specific that I will not name.

So the first one is a genre group for readers. However, if you are an author and a reader you are not allowed to mention your books or the books of anyone you know personally as it is considered promoting and that is against the rules on the group. Um…WTF? When you go into a readers group and you talk about the books you are reading, you are pretty much promoting that book…just make sure it isn’t anyone you know or you are gonna get yelled at…every time!

The next one is a group for authors to learn about industry news and writing opportunities. However, if you are a publisher, you are not allowed to mention or promote your own company because it is considered biased and is not productive for the other members.

The third group is supposed to be an industry discussion group on a certain aspect of the industry. However, most of the people on this group lurk, another big portion use the group as a place to market their own work, and another large portion only post when they have something to argue about, which seems to be frequently. Now, this is the group I wanted to be most active on because the topic is very important to me. Problem is, my notes only seem to get through every so often. I recently posted something that could have been very helpful to almost everyone in the group at some point, and it managed to incorporate the actual topic that is supposed to be the focus of the group. Why was I censored? I have no idea.

The fourth group, my personal favorite, is a group that focuses on a specific item. However, you can only discuss that item if you don’t mention your direct connection to that item, the connection of anyone you know to that  item, or your actual opinions on that item. This is NOT a moderated group so all the notes go up, but there are people who are moderators who go through and if they think you have stepped over a line they delete the text of your post. I recently had every single thing I posted censored. When I asked why, I was told that it’s because I was blatantly promoting myself. When I explained that I had not written any of the books I had mentioned, I was told that they knew I had published 3 of the 10 books I posted about. Okay…still not my books. I was then told that I had a personal stake in those three books and I was not allowed to post about anything I had a stake in. Huh?

So my question is, why the hell do people start groups where you aren’t allowed to talk about anything that is of any value or relevance to the topic of the group?

That said, I have opened a new forum for authors, publishers, publicists. It is meant to be a place where authors gan go to brainstorm marketing, network, and give and get ideas and help wit marketing books. It is not a readers group, it is not a device group, it is not a genre group. The only rules are that there is no discussion of religion or politics (not the place and it always ends badly) and no flaming of fellow forum members. Simple enough.

If you fit into one of the three categories, feel free to join us. I would love to actually talk about marketing in an open forum. Marketing Masters:


4 responses to “The Freedom to Type

  1. Karen,
    I love your rant! Don’t you just hate it when groups are not the groups they profess to be, or maybe they once were & lost their way. I’ve ran into a few of those – one of my pet peeves! As the first commenter said, I love it that you took some action! A 2nd Kudos to you! I’ll be joining your group & look forward to getting to know you & the other members as well as learning some new things & sharing information.

    • Thanks Debbie and Widdershins. I often wonder if my rants do any good or if I just annoy people. I honestly don’t do it to be a pest, but in this business, everything you learn, you learn from your peers, and if your peers are only taking information and never offering any in return, is it any wonder there are so many problems in the book industry?

      I want my books to be the very best they can be, but I have so much to learn and I have to say I am getting tired of being one of the few to actually go look something up on Google.

  2. What’s wonderful about reading a rant like this is that at the end you took it somewhere other than just saying, “Thanks for listening (reading) to my rant. Kudos to you!

  3. I’ve loved your comments on several groups and I’m delighted you’re staring a new group. I’ve signed up!
    Thanks, Karen

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