The Nano Vent Post

Maybe this is going to sound like a flounce post but I need to be completely honest – I’m starting to lose faith in this group. Like Jaime in Rise of the Guardians, sitting on his bed waiting for proof that the Easter Bunny really does exist, I’m sitting here waiting for some sign that the average person can find support in a group like this. My serious questions go unanswered. My self-promos get no likes, no sales, no responses of any kind. I’m not one of the half dozen “chosen ones” who get their promotional links bumped by admins because they are loved.

I wouldn’t be saying this if this was the first time. But I’m sort of nearing an edge. What’s the point of belonging to a writing group if you ask a writing related question and everyone ignores you because there’s a “post your pet” thread posted a minute later? What’s the point of self-promo Friday if we’re all just shouting into the void, unheard? That makes us no better than the mass promo pages.

I’m not an unrealistic person. I understand that everyone likes different genres but there are thousands of members in this group and you’re telling me that not ONE of them likes contemporary realistic fiction? I understand that people can’t always fit a new book into the budget, even when it’s on sale. But I was under the impression we were a group that supported each other, a group that replied to promos with “good luck”s and “looks interesting”s and other such nice things. I thought this was a group where we all wanted everyone to succeed. Can’t buy it? Bump the thread, share it. I get it, it’s Camp Nano, y’all are creating, not reading, but we all brag about TBR piles so buy now read later isn’t a new concept to any of us.

I love this group. I haven’t had the time to do Nano in a while but I stick around because I’ve made friends here, names I recognize. I like to interact with other people, other writers. I offer help, answer questions, answer polls, like pages, follow people on Twitter and then actually interact with their pages and their twitter accounts. But after six years of Nano, and a lot of them spent as a part of this group, I’m starting to feel like “what’s the point?” You can only give your time and attention and support for so long before you feel drained. It’s mutual support that keeps you feeling like you’re a part of the group.

Yes, someone noted that I have a small publishing services “company” and offered to list me in the new group being set up. But again, what’s the point?

I’ve lost faith in writing groups.

But no. I’m not leaving just yet. I just needed to vent.

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21 thoughts on “The Nano Vent Post

  1. I have to agree with your rant. One thing that doesn’t make sense is that peeps get on and ask for a character name and give a description and they get hundreds of suggestions. That person should’ve instead used a search engine to find a name or check out a naming book from the local library. I did and found perfect names for my characters with definations too.

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    • I use 20-000 names for that task – but last names are harder.
      I often ask for opinions from people in different age groups. Like what are teens listening to today. Or I asked about teen fashion in the 90s when I was 6. I find that experiences from real people can be more accurate than doing an image search on google.

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  2. I have been feeling much the same way. I try to be positive. I promote the books from group members I have enjoyed. And, yet, I find my questions get lost and go unanswered. I have stopped posting promos because they are ignored and die. I don’t mind the cute posts and the fun stuff, but the group is starting to feel a bit like high school, and I am not one of the cool kids. I am not leaving yet, either, but my participation has gotten less lately. Which I know some will argue doesn’t help but, honestly, I don’t feel things are worse than when I was on the group all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some good advice I have received is changing what time of day you post your stuff. It is an international group after all.
      I would like to see some consolidation of the promo stuff – one thread for facebook pages, one for twitter accounts, and one for book links – less clutter that way but also harder to manage.

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  3. Feelings about any group activity can wax and wane. Sometimes it feels great and inclusive and the next you’re sitting in the corner twiddling your thumbs. Maybe it isn’t a good fit right now, maybe it is time to seek something different, or maybe it’s just a trough between the good bits. Only you can answer that question. I find some days I pass by a lot of the fluff and others I add a remark. I do try to contribute to more serious discussions when I feel I have something useful to contribute, but sometimes things pass in and out of my feed before I can think and often I can’t find them again. Good luck whatever you decide is right for you.

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  4. Try the forums over at Absolute Writer Water Cooler. A lot of serious critique goes on there. I only joined recently and everything I have posted got immediate, varied, helpful, and very supportive responses. I’ve been a longtime lurker in the Nano FB group but find I vastly prefer the message board format to Facebook for seriously engaging with other writers. Hope this helps!

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  5. It is also important to remember that despite the way it is named, the group isn’t official. (The NaNo powers that be tried to change the name, but FB said it was too late.)

    But you’re totally right. The group has good moments, but it has a LOT of awful.

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  6. I agree with both of you. Self promos have gotten lost. I used to do it and at least look at the blogs, book previews or book reviews. I thought the “post your twitter account” self promotion was great. The problem is so many good posts get lost in clutter. I’ve gotten great advice/opinions from members of the group when I have put a question and I appreciate the articles on writing that are shared. That being said I am uncomfortable with the level of personal sharing, memes, and the “help” requests for character names, plot devices, characteristics, etc. I hadn’t thought of high school, but I have wondered at the age and maturity level of some of the posters. I have been on Social Media less in the past few months and I have never been that active in the Nanowrimo group. I am starting to use the hide button to help declutter my Facebook. I wonder how many posts from Nanowrimo will go this way.

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  7. A part of the equation of being unheard isn’t that people are consciously ignoring promotion posts or writing questions. It is that people don’t even see a large fraction or even a majority of the posts in a such a big and active FaceBook group on any given day. And it isn’t just kitten posts. FaceBook reorders and effectively filters the posts any of us see based on current likes and comments (which is why bumping can be effective) and also past history of topics and posters. True, it is easier for many people to comment on a kitten post than to answer a serious writing question, and that helps skew it. But even on days when I see none or hardly any of those posts, the flood of writing posts floods out certain others. Sometimes the ones that are lost are yours, sometimes they are mine, and sometimes they are even those from otherwise prolific posters and popular people. Nearly every day I see several posts that had been posted within the past day or two and in the past week or two that I had not even *seen* the first time around even if I scroll through the top fifty or one hundred (or more) posts every day. Some posts simply aren’t seen. I have experimented with using WordPress as a forum platform, and the biggest problem with even small group adoption is that “I am already in enough groups on FaceBook, and I am already on FaceBook; I can’t take the time and effort to learn and use WordPress too.” I love the global NaNo group, but it is mystifying at times. Sometimes it is the herd and hive mentality of the people. But often times, what you’re expressing sounds like fighting the technology is also a major factor. I hope you stay with it— there are great people, and great writing group value.

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    • You definitely have good point about FB’s filtering. I see the same thing on my personal feed. Posts that were written two days ago (by the timestamp) I see for the first time today. And, of course, there is the general busyness of the group. Lots of people, lots of posts, stuff gets lost. It’s probably just me right now. We just moved, I’m still unpacking crap, and I am tired as all get out. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am even crankier than usual when I am tired!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally hear what you’re saying. It’s an issue that’s been discussed far beyond this one particular group and effects social media in general.

    IMHO, promo posts have no place on the NaNo group and should take a backseat on social media in general. There could be one master thread per month where people post promo in the comments, and that’s it. The deluge of “MyBookMyBook” posts on socia media causes reader burnout and buries posts of relevant interest, like questions or writing advice.

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    • I agree, it’s a broader issue with social media – what is its purpose, what can we use it for, what is it going to be effective for?
      Mostly I don’t advertise on social media, I much prefer starting conversations and sharing information.

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  9. I am an outsider looking in within most of the writing groups I am a part of. I don’t tend to ask a lot of questions within the writing groups – especially if it’s for something specific with law enforcement or medical responses. I have found that some practices are different for different states for one and well-intentioned people have given me false information. There’s also the fact that some people will say what they “believe” to be true, and it ends up being false as well. So unless it’s about marketing, I tend to avoid asking questions within the group.

    I also don’t have internet at home and only show up online on my phone most of the time. Even when I am on an actual computer, I miss half the important posts. I tend to browse through the writing groups a lot and read the posts more about marketing and those that ask questions, but a lot of time I don’t answer them unless I know for certain that I can provide a well-thought-of answer or can point the OP in the correct direction.

    Lack of internet does make it harder to see everything as well. My cell phone tends to show me what posts IT deems are important, which are usually the ones I could care less about. It sucks, but that’s the way FB’s algorithms work. Even Twitter is such a fast-paced community where most people post the dumbest stuff that I miss some of the things I’d really like to read, or I spend most of the little internet time I have looking for the kind of posts I want to read rather than actually replying to them.

    Being sick off and on (or having other family members who have been) over the past two months hasn’t helped either. It means less energy to do anything beyond what I have to get done to prepare for two new releases this year – one in April for an anthology I have a short piece in, and my second novel in July. I help out where I can and I’m quick to share a post if asked, but I’m foggy-brained and have to be constantly reminded about stuff too.

    I have already purchased one of your novels, I believe, as an eBook. I’ll have to double-check. I know I haven’t read anything lately and I’m trying to fix that. If you ever want me to post something about your book(s) or even do a guest post, let me know. I always have slots open for Fun Friday. 😉

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  10. Your problem is probably the times you’re posting. I have posts that go unanswered, and I have posts that get 500 responses. It all depends on when you post. I really wouldn’t have put this on the nano page however, because you’re coming off as yelling for attention. They’re vindictive people, and you’re going to catch hell for it.

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  11. Sorry you feel that way! If it helps you at all know that even though I don’t comment a lot I do recognize you thanks to your Nano posts, so you are getting some promotion at least. Good luck!

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  12. I often don’t get responses when I post in the NaNo group or I’ll just get a couple. What I’ve found has been really nice is finding a few people that I like and connecting with them outside of that group. I generally post in the group later in most people’s day (or really early, depending on where you’re located) so I know that sometimes with me timing is essentially off. If I get a few responses, I’m always amazed. But that’s in any writing group I have, including the tiny one that I moderate. (#writestuff if you want to check it out.)

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  13. Hello,

    I checked out your ebook. From the blurb it looks like a high quality ebook. If you are interested in some real promotion and exposure for your book , I have a few offers for you. Email me at pluxedo AT gmail.com if you are interested in screenshots and samples. (I DO NOT check messages here, email me for fast response)

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    If you need any other service, let me know.

    Like

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