Tag Archives: twitter

Rising Tide (again…)

Yes, again. Because a rising tide still raises all ships. That’s never going to change. The only thing that changes is the height of the tide, which is something we (you and I) directly control.

You can read the original #risingtide post here

This post was supposed to be up Wednesday, but never made it. You see, my father had a stroke late Tuesday night and I pretty much dropped everything I had going on to rush back to St. Louis. Now, I didn’t post anything specific about my father on social media since it’s not anybody’s business and I don’t want fake fucking sympathy from the online world. However, while I was at the hospital on Wednesday morning, I was treated to something special by pure chance: two Cardinal baseball players (Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta) were there pitching and hitting with the cancer kids and their parents. The kids were all laughing and smiling and just generally have a great time, enjoying their life despite the shittiness of dealing with cancer (fuck cancer, btw)… yet fifty feet and two turns away, my dad was in the ICU, suffering through the effects of his stroke. It’d been a mere 12 hours and the probability of having another was still pretty high.

imageI snapped pictures of the players and posted those to Facebook with a short blurb about being in St. Louis unexpectedly and watching the Cardinals’ players. Because it’s just damn cool of any professional athlete to do something like that, to take time out of their personal lives and career responsibilities and play with kids they don’t even know. Not nearly enough of them do.

This got me thinking about how I had originally been disappointed in the lack of enthusiasm for #risingtide and now, after this last week, and seeing the juxtaposition of life and (near) death in the hospital, I wondered more whether or not I was being an idiot in thinking that writing about #risingtide again was smart or would be met with anything other than the usual TL;DR bullshit. I should actually clarify that last thought; my thinking was more about whether or not anyone really cared about #risingtide in general, or if anyone cared about anyone outside their own little circle.

You see, out of the maddening crowd of hundreds of “friends” I don’t really have on social media, only three people actually messaged me with a “what the fuck is going on” and offered me assistance and, you know, human empathy. It only reinforced the “little circle” idea, and then I thought, is that such a bad thing? It’s nearly impossible to promote or help everyone, I realize this, and I certainly don’t promote every writer I know. Some of them aren’t my kind of asshole but mostly, for me, it’s time. If I shared or retweeted everything from writers I knew, that’s all I’d do. So instead, I focus on those writers I’m really friends with and that seems to work well enough as far as time spent vs assuaged guilt.

But I’ve never turned away anyone who’s asked for my help. As a matter of fact, I’ve offered help to complete strangers at conventions who were “writers” and asking a metric fuck-tonne of questions. I’ve always given them my Facebook information and told them to message me, let me know where we met, and we’d go from there. Sure, I’m a small guy (reputation wise, large in every other sense) and I have a lot of growing and improving to do, but I’m still published. I still get paid for my writing. I bring things to the table, and by golly, people like me. By and large, though, these convention writers never follow up. Sometimes I think I should go find them, but I don’t.

Maybe those writers are like me? I don’t ask other writers for help, unless I know them personally. It’s why I don’t have blurbs on my books or too many cool stories about some of these bigger named authors… I just don’t invade their Facebook, their time at conventions, or their email boxes. First off, I’m too shy for shit like that, but I also know time is valuable and not every author feels the same way I do about sharing their time.

All this has led me to the conclusion that a #risingtide, instigated by a few people, is still entirely possible. We all pay attention to our own, first and foremost, and go from there. It’s like any other movement, where it starts small, catches fire, and grows. When you retweet or share an author’s work, review, their post, anything… it’s simple. Add #risingtide to your post.

Let’s flood the coastlines.

I hope you’ll be a part of it.


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The Rising Tide (#risingtide)

Today, we’re going to talk about the rising tide hashtag.

I think, to a certain extent, it’s self-explanatory, but I also believe it’s much deeper than its surface connotations. I believe, if enough of us get on board, we can change things. Hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve seen the Facebook and Twitter engagements I’ve done with it, and you’re curious. I hope you’re curious; I want you to be curious. Truthfully, I want more than your curiosity. I want your anger, your fervor, your engagement. I can’t express how much I want those things and how much the independent market needs it.

Ready?

Okay.

The weekend of September 27th, I attended the Context convention in Columbus, Ohio. During one of the few panels I listened in on, an author named John Hornor Jacobs attributed the following quote to Chuck Wendig: “A rising tide lifts all ships.” Wendig didn’t come up with that gem on his own, as I first heard it in an economics class many years ago in college. But the principle is sound and its application to the independent press market is twice as important.

You see, we, authors and small, indie publishers, are in the unique position of being both the tide and the ship. Most (most, mind you, not all) small press owners/publishers are also authors, and any self-published authors are obviously publishers as well. But more than that, we all have one thing in common, which is a distinct lack of backing from one of the “Big [insert remaining number here]” publishers. That brings with it a certain sense of community and while both big, traditional publishing and small traditional/self-published authors are both responsible for a good portion of their own marketing, those of us on the small side of the fence certainly have to do more. It’s expected and, if you don’t, quite detrimental. I think we all know most publishing houses check an author’s social media presence. Shitty? Yeah. Sad? Sure, but true. That begs the question why aren’t we helping each other more?

Lack of time? I don’t think so.

Lack of compassion? Maybe.

Lack of desire? Most likely.

And that’s the desire to help a fellow author, mind you. I’m not sure how many times I’ve retweeted or shared this or that for people (I have certain people I do this for, though that number has dwindled) and never got any sort of quid pro quo. It used to piss me off (and, really, it still does), but I realize now that there’s nothing really there for anyone to invest in. Someone may retweet me today, but not again for three weeks, or a month, or ever.

This is what we have to change.

An author friend, Violet Patterson, and I, have started the ground work for an author co-op here in central Ohio, where we share the costs of booth space, time, transportation, and the other miscellany involved in attending a local event. So, even if I can’t make it, my work is represented by whoever is there. And if I can make it while another co-op member can’t, then I’m going to be doing my best to sell their work to people who want to read it.

We’re artists working together to elevate each other to the next level. This is a group of people I’m proud to throw my hat in with, a talented sect of writers who can only make me that much better, not only at my craft, but at being a decent human being.

That, my friends, is the definition of a rising tide lifting all ships.

And it’s what we need to do for each other online. Form a social media co-op with a couple close friends or with people whose work you’re passionate about, then form another with different people, and always be there to share, retweet, and promote what the people in your co-op are sharing, retweeting, and promoting. Exposure starts growing exponentially at that point. While I understand exposure doesn’t always lead to sales, it’s never going to hurt sales. If you’re sitting at 0 and no one buys anything, you’re still at 0. It’s a win/win situation, so long as everything isn’t a “BUY MY BOOK” post. We can’t forget the general rules of social media etiquette. We need to engage with a broader audience, not drown them in bullshit sales pitches. I’m currently interviewing authors, cake sculptors, a musician or two, artists, and even web designers. Anything to help promote creative people, so if you want in on that, drop me a note. We can do this.

Why?

Because we’re not in a zero sum game.

We’re not playing Shirts vs Skins or Blue Pinny vs Red Pinny. This isn’t grade school, gym class, the back of the bus, or the local swimming hole. This is the publishing ocean we’re swimming in, ladies and gentlemen, and it is our future.

We’re not going to change it overnight, or in a week, or possibly in a year. But two, three, even five? If there’s a ceiling here, it’s made of glass, and we can bust through it. Join me, use the hashtag #risingtide, and share this blog post, retweet the fuck out of it.

Bring your friends, and let’s lift our boats high.