Bursting on the Internet a scene a while ago now, you were starry-eyed and full of vision, determined to make a difference in the world. You shared your story and invited us to tag along with you on your journey. You hustled long and hard, finally making a name for yourself. Handing out promises like you were running for student body president, you swore things would change for the better if we only supported your cause.
You repeatedly asked for our input. We shared our hopes and dreams with you. We shared your posts with those we know and bought your courses and other services. But recently, we’ve started to notice a disturbing change in your message and it’s aimed directly at us.
It appears we are wearing you down with our constant attention-seeking. We are annoying you with our endless questions and requests for advice. What we write on our blogs sucks to you. And you’re quick to point out how much better you are than us because you make more money than we do. Um, hello? Where do you think you are making the money from?
It’s our fault, really. We have placed you on a pedestal and it appears the power is going to your head. It would seem you want us to remain silent until you feel the need to have us open our wallets for your next product or course. And it really grinds my gears.
We respect your hustle. We really do. You wouldn’t have built up such a massive audience without it. And deep down inside I believe you still care about us and want the best for those who are following in your footsteps.
The problem lies in the false assumptions you have been making recently. No one is perfect. We are all bound to make mistakes from time to time. But before you go pointing fingers at your audience, it might help to take a few moments and look in the mirror first.
Allow me to share a few of the mistakes that I think you’re making. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in my assumptions. I have never claimed to know it all, and I’d be happy to learn a thing or two.)
Money does not determine a writer’s value or seriousness.
Not every writer is in it for the money. Some of us just want to share our thoughts and ideas with the world and use day jobs to support us while we do. There’s nothing wrong with that. Stop tearing us down because we don’t make our money solely from writing or make it seem our writing is “less than” because we support ourselves in other ways.
It doesn’t mean our writing sucks or is less valuable because it doesn’t make large amounts of cash. I deeply appreciate the posts of many writers who never made a dime yet from their writing. They sacrificed their time to share something beyond value to make an inspirational difference in my life.
That doesn’t mean that they won’t become massive sensations later on. We all need to grow at our own pace. Some people aren’t ready to handle the pressures of fame and fortune. It’s no reflection on their seriousness as a writer.
Stop the intimidation, bullying, and sensationalism.
As teachers, you have the power to build or destroy. When you call out the embarrassing mistakes of other writers with specific concrete examples, you are purposely destroying the dreams of another person through public humiliation. It isn’t hard for those of us who want to know who you are talking about to find out that information.
I’ve heard the horror stories of some of the shameful things you’ve done. Publicly shaming a writer’s work on blog posts and ridiculing on webinars, and I’ve been forwarded those awful nasty emails you sent.
Perhaps you are right in the opinion that their work is terrible. But in the end, what have you accomplished really? It’s hard enough to overcome the natural doubt and rejection we already feel as writers. Why add to that?
It doesn’t make you look good at all. So why do you insist on giving others an awful impression of you as a condescending know-it-all with a huge penchant for drama-seeking attention? It’s okay to show me what I am doing wrong. You just don’t have to approach it in a condescending way. You were in my place at one point in time. Were you treated that way?
Now you may be getting the impression that I feel this way about all the big names out there (or that I’m being a whiny, arrogant douche). Let me assure you that is far from the truth. There are plenty A-Listers who are not acting this way. In fact, some have been making stellar moves that I personally hope trend long into the future.
They treat their readers as a community of friends instead of potential sales conversions.
We know you need to make a living and deserve to get paid. But sometimes we just don’t have it to give. But we do have the potential to help you in other ways. And the true rock star A-Listers keep that in mind at all times.
When you don’t pressure your audience to hand over money with every interaction you have them, it makes you all the more endearing. I may not have the money for your product right now, but there is a writer in a group I know that could use what you have to offer. But I’m less likely to share you with him or her if all I see from you is constant requests to buy, buy, buy.
Please keep in mind the joint ventures you have with others as well. You aren’t the only A-Lister I’m subscribed to. If all 10 or so of you send me the same message in my inbox about how I desperately need this new course you are offering, be aware that I have now tuned you out.
They fuel your engines and make your engines purr.
Instead of belittling your flaws, they inspire you to take action despite the imperfection. They know that your writing doesn’t have to be perfect. The journey to success is taking one small step at a time. What matters most is that your writing strikes a genuine human emotional connection with others. Resonate right with your audience and you’ll have followers for life. The rest is just added bonus.
Treat me like a friend and I’ll introduce you to mine. Remind me how much you care for me. Treat me with respect and I’ll do the same. Make me proud to share you with my friends. Encourage me and lift me up. I’m watching you. Don’t let me down.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below.