So I’ve been wanting to create a thread about this topic for awhile but wasn’t sure where to start. Then this topic happened, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to continue discussing on a separate thread so that we don’t go off topic on this one:
This is a necessary discussion we need to have because I think there’s been a lot of tension building up for…years? And it would be great if we could have a healthy discussion about this so that we don’t continue having misunderstandings among each other.
I want to start with something that @Briana_M said in the thread above:
I’m not saying this to call her out. In fact, I’m glad she said it because this is what I think many smaller authors may feel. And I had to start a separate thread so that we could discuss this more freely since conversations in the forums aren’t allowed to evolve naturally into broader discussions.. So let’s discuss.
When a popular author you all look up to doesn’t respond, it’s often taken personally and hurts. That’s understandable. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ignored. But I think it would help if everybody kept this in mind when it comes to expectations of popular authors: some authors can get a bit of an ego and purposely ignore people who don’t have a certain amount of followers. Not everybody can handle fame well (especially the ones who can’t handle Episode fame. It’s not even real fame ffs geez), and it shows in they handle getting extra attention. However, as Briana said earlier, it’s important not to generalize all popular authors and assume that this is what is happening when a popular author doesn’t answer your DMs or “support” you all the way you’d like. It’s not always a matter of somebody being stuck up or full of themselves. Most of the time, It could be any combination of the following (disclaimer- you have probably heard some of these before and promptly dismissed them. Please listen):
They have too many DMs to keep up with. The more followers an author has, the more DMs they get. This point has been made many times, and usually the response to this is “yeah, I understand, but I would still try to answer everybody who reached out to me because I would appreciate their support.” Do you really understand though? Have you really sat down to take the time to figure out how much time it would take to answer 50 DMs in one day, on top of fanmails and your daily obligations of work, family, or school? 100 DMs? Over 100? On top of also having to keep up with directing and writing? This isn’t an excuse- this is an impossibility. It is not possible to keep up with so many requests on a daily basis. It just isn’t. Not if you want the story updated too.
Your question or comment may have already been addressed in the story or a post. Can we re-customize? When’s the next update? 21? I messed up my choice and picked the wrong love interest, can I have another chance? Listen. Listen closely. Please. Please listen. This goes with the first point. You’re not the first person who asked this question. You’re probably the 20th. And the question has probably already been answered publicly. Is it an efficient use of time for somebody to answer the same question over and over and over again, especially when it’s been answered? Is this really how you personally would like to spend your time all day? Be honest. It’s easy to brush this off when you haven’t been on the receiving end of these questions while being pressed for time. Is this a realistic expectation?
You DMed them to ask them to check out your story and give it a shout out. This is a big one. Again, this is connected to the first point. The more followers an author has, the more story read requests they get. You are not the first person to ask them this. You’re probably the 20th. Seriously. There isn’t enough time in the world for one person to answer every DM, read every story, write and update frequently, and meet their daily non-Episode obligations. It’s often not anything personal when an author doesn’t answer these requests. There just isn’t enough time to do so. There are tons of stories to keep up with on this app. They’re more likely to read stories that stand out or come as recommendations from friends. Again, they’re one person with a normal 24 hour day. They don’t know you. They are not obligated to spend any of their time reading a story to help a stranger out.
They’ve already read your story and they’re not feeling it. This is an awkward situation because a lot of people can’t take the truth. I know I personally am not going to tell somebody I’m not shouting out their story because it wasn’t good, especially if I don’t know them. I’m just not going to promote it. And no, an author does not have to spend time giving you constructive criticism to help you improve your story if they didn’t like it. That’s what review pages are for. There is just way too much potential for drama here. Aside from that, if your story isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how many authors shout you out. Your story is probably going to struggle.
They’ve seen you talking trash about their stories or their friends’ stories or some other user story in the forums and have the impression that you’re trying to use them to get followers and reads. I’m pretty sure this is self explanatory. And by trash, I’m talking…trash. Mean, nasty things. Not constructive criticism (And please let’s not get off topic by trying to define what constructive criticism is. Google exists. Go look it up and then be honest with yourself about whether or not your comments fall under that definition. We’re not arguing about it on this thread).
Aside from all of this, I think we also need to keep in mind that popular authors can’t be held responsible for the success of other people. While it’s important that we as writers support one another, people are placing entirely too much weight and responsibility on popular authors. I’ve been saying this- the problem isn’t big authors. The problem is that this platform is over saturated with stories. It’s hard to gain visibility. That responsibility lies on Episode, and if I’m being perfectly honest, they’ve made some slight improvements over the years with reaching out to the community and making sure smaller stories have a shot. But statistically speaking, not every story is going to be a hit on this platform. It’s a fact I had to learn to accept too. And oftentimes we forget that popular authors started out at the bottom too. Some skyrocketed immediately. Others have spent years working hard to be seen and are finally getting noticed. But either way, it feels like maybe this community has been placing too many unrealistic expectations on popular authors. Their word can certainly help get your name known, but there are a variety of factors beyond their control that won’t guarantee your success, and it’s not going to fix the overall frustrations that the community has about more stories gaining visibility.
What do you all think? Are there too many unrealistic expectations placed on popular authors? Did I leave any other reasons somebody may not get a reply back? I’d like to hear from all sides here. A few reminders: this site is for everybody in the Episode community, no matter how small or popular. Please keep this in mind while you discuss. I’m saying this because often there are discussions about popular authors without actually including those who are considered popular (honestly I don’t even think there’s a set qualifier for “popular” here, which makes the situation even messier), and I think often times due to the tone and words used, these popular authors don’t always feel welcome or like they can speak without getting attacked. Please be respectful of each other here and try to listen to each other. We all have different perspectives here and we all need to be empathetic towards each other. I want this thread to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.