Does any of the following sound familiar?
You’ve just bought an e-book from someone whose blog posts you’ve read enough of to make you pretty sure his e-book is worth the money.
And then you tweet that author/blogger with a message, saying you just bought his book, and you can’t wait to read it.
A day passes with no response. You think, “No biggie. He’s a busy author/blogger. He’ll get around to it.”
A week passes without the most meager possible response from the author (not so much as a “like” of your gushing tweet).
So, maybe you think, “Okay . . . so he’s really busy. And maybe he doesn’t get to check his Twitter notifications very often. Or maybe he got side-tracked and missed mine. Or he was going to respond but forgot. It’s possible.”
It is. It happens.
So, you make another attempt. Maybe you’ve read at least part of the e-book and have been enjoying it, so you tweet him again, saying, “I’ve been loving your new e-book, <title>!…”
And you wait again. For another week.
And maybe you just shrug your shoulders and let it go. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you shouldn’t have expected a reply from someone with so many followers, because they’re probably way too busy to respond to tweets from anyone but his familiars — family, friends, and those with the potential to make him more money (a lot more than the price of one e-book).
Because, hey, maybe when you’ve got that many followers, you might find yourself so overwhelmed with tweets from fans that some will slip through the cracks. You hope it doesn’t happen, but once you become an internet celebrity, there’s only so much time in the day to respond to your tens of thousands of fans.
But over time – if you’re anything like me – you might find your eyes narrowing a bit whenever you think of that author (the one who never responded). And maybe you’ll even find yourself muttering uncomplimentary things under your breath. Or even growling (John Casey style. Chuck fans, you know what I mean).
Because, yeah, it bugs you.
How long does it take, after all, to click on that little heart at the bottom of a tweet. Half a sec, maybe?
But then you think, “what if he never saw it? What if someone else handles his notifications and just doesn’t do the personal stuff. Or there are just so many fan tweets and not enough time in the day to respond to all of them.”
Or maybe you’re all zen about it, thinking, “It’s cool. I don’t need the validation of a smiley face or “like” from some guy I don’t even know, even if I have enjoyed reading his e-book.”
And on some level, at least, that makes sense to me. I don’t think anyone — thin-skinned or not — should allow herself to be dragged down mentally or emotionally because someone she doesn’t even know hasn’t responded to her carefully-worded thank-you-for-your-awesome-writing tweet.
You can be thin-skinned without being dominated by what other people think.
It’s okay to feel slighted, though. It’s okay to think, “Y’know, it does bug me. And I don’t ever want to make any of my readers feel the way this author’s failure to respond makes me feel right now.
“But enough. I’ve ranted. I’ve allowed myself to be irritated by his seeming indifference to the fact that I spent money on his e-book and took the time to tell him that I’m enjoying it.
“And I’m deciding RIGHT NOW that I will not treat any of my readers like that. I will respond to each and every one, so none of them feel dismissed by me. None of them will feel as though I just didn’t consider it worth my time to respond to them.”
I think that’s reasonable.
Allow yourself to be annoyed — to acknowledge that you feel slighted, dismissed, passed over. It’s okay to admit this. It allows you to put yourself into the shoes of those who will someday read your books. How will you want to make them feel?
Then take the good out of it — your own resolution to not treat your own readers that way.
(Because there ARE successful authors out there who take the time to respond – even if all they tweet back is “Thanks! :).” After being ignored by several others, this feels huge. And it tells me that it IS possible for an author with tens of thousands of fans to acknowledge each and every one of them).
And then . . . let it go. Deprive it of its power over you, learn from it, and move on.
No one’s dismissive behavior deserves more than this.
We can’t control how other people will treat us – in word or in action. But we can control how we deal with it.
I had kind of a stressful day at work today. We’re one person short, and it was one of those days when it felt like I was either doing something wrong or not doing the right thing fast enough. And there were some tense moments (times when I hate the sound of my voice when I talk, because I can hear the edge. You know the edge, right?).
Cash registers ….!!!
By the end of my shift, I was frustrated and exhausted. My coworkers looked tired, too. And I was thinking, as I drove out of the parking lot, that it makes no sense to pray that tomorrow will be less stressful, because it probably won’t be (though I won’t mind if it is).
I prayed that whatever tomorrow – and the rest of today – dishes out, that I’ll handle it better. That I won’t dwell on the moments that make me feel like the slowest (physically and mentally) member of the crew.
That I’ll just keep shaking off the dirt (or whatever. Choose your own debris) that keeps landing on my head and focus on being unstoppable.
Because if I keep letting it get to me, I’ll eventually grab one of the students by his collar the next time he repeats his name super-slowly-so-the-retarded-lady-behind-the-register-(that’s me)-can-understand – and give him an earful that will make his brain melt and leak out the other ear.
And then I’ll get fired. Because I’ll deserve it. And I really don’t want that to happen.
“An object in motion tends to stay in motion,” I told myself (no idea why) in the dish room. “Just keep at it.”
I can be thin-skinned and still get shit done. So can you.
(Whew! I feel better. Do you feel better? I’d still like a beer, but I’m definitely recovering.)