I am an independent author of three books, which means my books are self-published. Some people say that’s not real publishing, but that’s debatable and not what this article is about. I am writing this article to address some of the issues I have had to deal with being a female author.
The most difficult part of becoming an author is not writing the book; that’s the easy part. Writers love what they do and, as Mark Twain said, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.” No, the most difficult part of being an independent author is marketing your book.
If you are published with a big publisher, they do most of the promotion for your book and help to arrange book signings, etc. As an indie author, though, there are many scammers out there. Some offering to give you hundreds of book reviews as, apparently, books with more reviews sell more copies. Also, they will include your book in their weekly newsletter and email mailouts to thousands of subscribers. These ad campaigns can cost from twenty dollars to thousands. As a new author you desperately want to get your book read. After all, that’s why we write—to share our stories. And possibly to help others to get through similar experiences. You can also choose to promote your book through Instagram, a Facebook Author page, or your own website.
So, after a few months of modest sales, I thought I would try to create an ad and post it to Instagram and Facebook. I included a button where the readers could message me for more information. Maybe I am naive, but I was floored by some of the responses I received. One was a emoji of a dog doing his business, while others were comments like “who needs your f….ing advice.”
While these were slightly annoying, everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I quickly removed them. The remarks that were most disturbing to me were from men, and judging by their profile pictures, they were older men, and they were written in the wee hours of the morning. Some were accusing me of selling sex online under the guise of books. Others were inviting me to join them in their hot tub, and those are the comments I can repeat. Most were extremely disgusting, and it makes you wonder what kind of men are doing this.
I wonder if perhaps these are the men that are out hunting for women to fulfill their sick fantasies. I fear for the missing indigenous women and girls and all women and girls who have been victimized simply because they are female.
Becoming an author and sharing my stories has been a lifelong dream for me, and I was shocked to have to deal with this disgusting behaviour. But it won’t stop me from writing. I will continue to share my stories with the hope of providing a voice for women and girls everywhere.
A couple of students suggested this article for inclusion, even though it was only published recently in Mid-December. Bringing up an issue of injustice that most of us are mildly aware of but probably don’t think much about is, of course, classic Voice material. But making it have a visceral and personal punch? That’s what makes it part of the Best of the Voice, 2021.