The Demise of Indie Connect - A great idea killed by social media
A few months ago, I made the decision to abruptly deactivate both my personal author and Indie Connect accounts. The reasons were numerous and complicated. But until now, I've only been able to share my decision with a select few. I believe the time has finally come to clear the air of what went wrong.
Indie Connect was originally created as a continuation to all the free promo ads I was making for my fellow author friends. Instead of a hit and miss tweet here or there, I came up with the idea of establishing a permanent platform for promotions. A one stop source for indie authors to post their books and readers to browse the selection.
The idea was well received and successful at the start.
But thinking back now, I believe my first mistake was in trying to make the site an official resource for indie authors, and recruit other authors outside of my immediate circle of Twitter friends. My goal was to highlight the excellent indie books I'd found by giving them more visibility. I was looking for the “best of Indie” and created an anonymous team to help review books in regard to errors in an effort to improve the reputation of indie books. But this made maintaining a certain criterion for the site more complicated. I was now in the awkward position of acting as a "censor" for materials that were submitted - and received severe backlash for my guidelines. Even though it was a private referral service attempting to serve a specific population, authors still argued over my criteria and started slamming the project. Subtweets and trolls soon began to target the site.
I should have closed it then.
My second mistake was in having the nerve to request donations to help maintain the cost of the domain and site plan. You'd think I was asking for the blood of their first-born child over a one-time membership that I eventually implemented of $5.00 per author. Even though this small amount included hours and hours of my free time spent updating the site and creating enticing ads for their books, and promoting across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, the complaints continued. There was a select group of authors who DID continually supported my efforts. But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to counteract the stress of the bad.
I should have closed it then. But did I listen to myself? No!
Finally, after months of dealing with criticism exceeding any praise, I had several authors from Indie Connect and outside the project, unfairly attack me over various issues within a one week period. During a time of deep personal stress, it was the last straw. I deactivated my author and Indie Connect accounts on all three social media platforms without notice. It had become more of a burden than my initial labor of love in supporting my fellow authors. I had had enough.
In addition, I also changed the name of my Yelland Writer Services to Black Cat Graphic Design to get away from what I now believed was irreversible damage to my name.
A few more sites eventually popped up that were similar to mine. I thought the more the merrier! Until adding insult to injury, they emphasized that their sites were FREE and open to ALL – unlike mine. Was that really necessary? Gee, thanks for the support. And so much for "the best of indie."
I've learned a valuable lesson through all of this. I was naive in my ambition to make Indie Connect a success. The writing community on Twitter is no different than the general population. There are lots of egos and personality issues to deal with - something I thought my years in Human Resources would prepare me for. But I was wrong. I should have stuck with supporting my trusted author friends alone.
That will be my goal with promotions on Black Cat Graphics going forward.
Note: I'd like to thank the group of authors who continually supported me on Indie Connect. You know who you are. I appreciate each and everyone one of you! You made the effort worth it when I was at my lowest and discouraged. You deserve my apology for the abrupt closing of the site the most. You are all on my list for promos on Black Cat Graphics! Thank you for being a friend.