Why? ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn

PBA_Sunday_Spotlight

Why?:

I have three small children. One of whom is special needs. One of whom is homeschooled (pre-school). I have a house to maintain. I have a house to sell, and a new one to buy. I have a family dealing with various health crises. I am dealing with my own “life-changing injury”. I have bills to pay. I have a life. I do not work outside the home, but I have more than a full-time job at home.

I have many hobbies. I used to knit. I used to watch TV. I used to sew. I used to take pretty pictures. All my time for those tasks has been reallocated to running the blog. I am not complaining about the time I take for the blog. I give of my time freely. I want to see this genre succeed and grow. I want to see the message of “Love is Love” take hold in the world. I want the world we leave for my children, to be better than the one in which I live now.

I can’t do much for the world at large, but this is something I can do.

Having people on the inside undermining all the good this genre can do leaves me questioning the time and effort I put into the blog and the genre. I used to believe in it. But all the drama is making me question.

I don’t talk about how much it costs to run this blog. But let me put this out there for you. Here are my annual costs (rounded to the nearest dollar):

Website hosting, design, and software – $655
Advertising, Swag, and giveaways – $3140
Shipping for Giveaways, Swag, and Cons – $350
Sponsorship of UKMeet – $450

I won’t add in the cost of conventions. If you also go, then you know how much those can set you back. I also won’t talk about how much I spend on books in this genre. Again, as readers I am sure you know the costs there.

Now let us talk about time. Basically, all of my free time goes into the blog. Granted, over the last seven months, that time has been greatly reduced due to doctors visits, healing, surgery, and general pain management. In my absence, however, Katie “PizzyGirl” and the rest of my team have stepped up and given of THEIR time to keep this beast running. I consider their time even more important than mine. However, before the disaster that is my leg, I easily gave 50-60 hours a week to running the blog. That doesn’t count the time I spent reading and writing reviews.

We all have our battles. We all have built-in potential excuses. We all have “reasons”. However, most of us don’t morph those battles into stealing or playing on other’s emotions.

The few are hurting the many. The few are causing us to question the honest. The few are showing us liars, cheaters, and generally the worst of society.

This isn’t about pen names. It isn’t about gender, or privacy, or plagiarism, so many other topics that blow up into the drama we don’t need. We have the same arguments about every month or so. These arguments aren’t going to be resolved. For some reason, we simply must make sure that everyone knows our opinions and make sure those that don’t agree feel as small and insignificant as possible.

Let’s talk about what can happen if you fall on the “wrong” side of whatever the drama de jour is. Unfortunately, that “wrong” side, doesn’t seem to have any consistency. Sometimes you are “supposed” to side with the liars, cheaters, and thieves. Sometimes you are supposed to be against the same. If you choose wrong (regardless of your ACTUAL feelings… because those aren’t allowed no matter what they are), you are painted with a brush you didn’t intend.

Then someone decides it is time for the “truth”. I put the word “truth” in quotes for a reason. We never know what is true and what is fiction. Let me give you a hint… fiction belongs between the covers of a book. You can still be private online without making up a life that isn’t yours. You want to make up a world in which you live and love separate from your own? Write a book. Make a movie. Write a play. Cosplay. LARP. You have many options that involve like-minded individuals and do not harm others.

Playing with the hearts and minds of others is wrong. Let me repeat that. PLAYING WITH THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF OTHERS IS WRONG.

There is an onus on those who interact online to do so with some caution. Many of the recent “outings” could have been avoided if people had put the signs together (trust me, they were there if you wanted to see them) and not chosen to trust blindly. Well, blindly isn’t the right word. They chose to trust what was told to them. They chose to trust what their “friends” were selling. They gave of their hearts, minds, and trust freely. A trust that was neither earned nor valued.

We still live in a world where people trust first. You want to know something? I don’t want to live in that world where we can’t.

All this drama makes for a hostile working environment. And don’t doubt for a second that this genre is one big working environment. We may live all over the world and go to work in our PJs, but we are all coworkers. We are work friends. Last time I was in a hostile working environment, I moved on. I became a stay at home mom. The toxicity in this genre has me thinking of taking those same steps again. It makes me not want to give of my time/money/energy/knowledge/opinion.

I love the stories (the ones in books)… I hurt for those duped/stolen from/taken advantage of. I hurt for those who are following the rules and getting painted with the same brush. I hurt for the genre as a whole, who cannot seem to make headway with being taken seriously thanks to all the in-fighting.

This genre can come together and do great things, both for individuals and the world around us, when we try. The in-fighting, deceit, and general over-reaction to every perceived slight is making people turn away. Readers and authors alike.

By and large this genre is a great place to call home. Most of the people in the genre are genuine with their intentions and affections. Please stop ruining it for them. Please be upfront with what you can and stay silent with what you can’t. Don’t make-up stories that aren’t in a book. Don’t take advantage of people. Make sure your work is original — your own. Don’t play with people’s emotions. Think before you speak. Above all DO NO HARM.

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10 thoughts on “Why? ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn

  1. In response to your post, I do understand. I tell everyone I know, that running a blog is like a full time job. I have to work, so I have no time to run one. I enter giveaways, because I barely make ends meet. Then I see a lot of women, who have grand houses, married well, and have assistants to help. I admire anyone that can do what you bloggers do…and you all do it pretty good.

  2. AMEN. It is so difficult to remember why we enjoy giving so freely of our time when we are being bombarded with negativity at every turn. It says something when two of our Sunday Spotlights in a row are commenting on the hurt we feel or the hurt others fell over the fighting that has become the norm lately. Thank you for this post. I thought I might have been the only one who was not able to just overlook the damage that is being done to the many by the few.

  3. Every time I see that something else has happened in the genre, I cringe, because it hurts us, all of us as a whole, readers, authors and bloggers, as a whole. The reason I say this is because it makes people outside the genre say, “see, I’m not surprised, this is why we don’t need books about gay men and women”. It makes people think twice about picking up a book written by, say Damon Suede or anyone else, because they don’t want to be drawn in by the drama surrounding us.
    I kind of got drawn into the drama surrounding this latest fiasco, but not as much as if it would have came out a couple of years ago, because I had moved on. But so many others were hurt, deeply, by what happened, it wouldn’t surprise me any if they moved on as well, completely away from it, because they are fed up with everything and honestly, I wouldn’t blame them.
    I have made so many friends and some of those friends have become family to me. I welcomed the genre with open arms 5 1/2 years ago and I’ve never looked back. Every time I go to grl, it’s like coming home again. I feel comfortable around most everyone (there are a couple of exceptions) and I don’t have to pretend, I don’t have to watch what I say, I can be me.
    So, while there have been problems in the past and I’m sure there will be again, I love this genre and everyone involved in it and I’m also grateful to have found it. So please people, stop with the stealing, stop with the lies, because if you don’t, we might just fade away and that wouldn’t be good for any of us.

  4. Excellent post, Brandilyn. I wish yours would be the last word on all the drama going on, but I suspect it won’t be. We can only hope the drama will lessen over time. I hope we don’t lose your awesomeness or your team’s awesomeness because of the few that behave badly.

  5. I hear you, Brandilyn. I have no idea how you and other people who have blogs manage to find the time to do so and with such dedication, even in good times. While I haven’t been hurt directly by the drama going around the last few months, watching others tear each other apart is heartbreaking. As a reader, I only see so much of it, I’m sure that you have seen more than most of us are aware of. I’ve stayed out of most of it, rarely commenting for the reasons that you’ve stated so well above. I am glad you and your team are here and do what you do, but I can understand that it’s getting hard to remember why you do it with everything going on lately. I keep hoping that things will get quiet and the drama will slow or cease, but I’m skeptical.

  6. Well put Brandilyn. When I first came into this fold, there was a sense of community and acceptance. Now and days it’s anything but. It’s saddening to see such change occur because the actions some have decided to take. Hopefully the new year will be better.

    I know running a blog can be a full time job (even though I’ve never run one myself). I’ve seen it in the way you all run things here, the dedication, all the giveaways, interviews, reviews, book deals you share with us and lets not forget all the promoting you all do on the blog and at conventions. I, as a reader, appreciate all the effort and time y’all put into the blog to keep it running.

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