Recap: I want to expand the audience for my books and games. Marketing is an essential function of being a writer and publisher in the 21st century. This means getting better at social media. For tabletop roleplaying games, it also includes participation in groups and forums. While this appears to be conventional wisdom, I question the objective validity that this approach is a necessary task.
Going to forums and groups also fills me with dread. While long ago and far away I participated in several online communities, the world has changed and I have changed. There’s a lot of pointless drama and hate out there. My time is valuable, and I need to be frugal with how I spend it. There are also issues of introversion and anxiety disorders that I have to account for.
In Part 1: Deep Work, I did a cost/benefit analysis based on the anecdotal evidence of my own past experiences, as well as the lack of hard data to support the direct correlation between social media presence and success. This led to questioning why I still feel compelled to pursue communities, bringing us to the topic of Part 2.
Fear the Forums – Part 2: Tribes
On my list of things to do in the very near future is to re-read Seth Godin’s book Tribes. It’s about leadership, yes, but it’s also about finding and surrounding yourself with the right people. The relevance to my quest to find groups and forums that will not only be effective places to market my books, but also places where I feel comfortable and happy, is really about trying to find my tribe.
I recognize that not everyone will enjoy my work. It’s not written for the general tabletop roleplaying gamer. My goal was not to create more of the same sort of thing that’s already out there. I have specific design goals, and I’m trying to find the people with whom these ideas will resonate.
Part of my reluctance to get onto groups and forums is fear of toxic criticism. Not helpful feedback or general expression of dislike, but getting slammed in the manner the internet has become so good at. I have no desire to muck about with trolls who can’t simply say “meh, not my thing”, but feel obligated to attack you because the apple you offer is not the orange they were looking for.
Sifting through the trolls is a waste of my time. I could be writing, editing, reading a book, or taking a nap. All of those things would do far more for my productivity that arguing with people who aren’t ever going to like, or possibly understand, my weird ideas. Given my elevated states of introversion and anxiety, the drain to me both physically and emotionally is counterproductive.
Yet I still have the desire to interact with people, and in spite of objective data feel that there is value in interacting with potential readers and customers. On both a personal and professional level, I know that I have to get out there in order to find that tribe. It will fulfill some needs that I have as both a writer, a publisher, and a human being. This brings us to Part 3: Blink, the conclusion to this series.