Toxic Positivity

Well, I did it again. I said something on Twitter that made a lot of people really mad.

Over the weekend, I saw a Twitter comment say something about the term published author, that even if you’re self-published you can still call yourself a published author.

I respectfully disagreed. I said that that term comes with certain expectations, that the average person would assume it means you’ve beaten the gatekeepers and signed with a publisher. I said it’s like giving yourself a literary award and then calling yourself an award-winning author.

Is it true? Technically, yes. Is it a fair characterization? No.

Well, Twitter didn’t like that answer one bit. Several people immediately jumped on me, insinuating that I was just some snobby, published author looking down on self-publishing or accusing me of belittling their worth as authors, or just outright insulting me.

This was a perfect example of what I call toxic positivity, where a group of people are so 100% positive on everything all the time that even the slightest criticism is taken as a personal attack. I never said self-published authors are worthless than those signed to a publisher, I never said it’s a lower form of publishing. But because I didn’t gush with support for the person who made the original post, I’m a terrible person.

Toxic positivity is prevalent in the writing community on Twitter and it’s a big reason I’ve mostly pulled away from those people. Because they are toxic as Hell. I really only keep a Twitter account because I know that’s what publishers and agents want to see if they’re considering publishing your work.

So yeah, that was a fun issue to deal with yesterday. But in other, better news, I’m going to begin shopping out my latest manuscript Creed: Mandate of Heaven to agents and publishers this week! I’m very excited, the feedback from beta readers has been excellent, and I’m actually kinda hopeful for this one to get picked, so fingers crossed!

Oh, and I apologize for not posting anything last week. I could come up with an excuse but the truth is I simply didn’t feel like posting. I’m sure you understand 🙂

Published by Peter Martuneac

Marine, Boilermaker, husband and father. I'm here to share my thoughts on all things political or philosophical.

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9 Comments

  1. I brought this “published author” question up to a couple other indie writer friends of mine. Both of them agreed with our position: calling oneself a “published author” sounds kind of insecure. Why not just say “author”?

    I’ve made a lot of friends in the writing community on Twitter, so it definitely has a lot of positives, but there is also a sizable group of Twitter-folk who seem to just want to start drama over every little thing. 🤷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And that’s really all I was saying, that insisting on the ‘published’ part comes across as slightly dishonest. If you’re proud of your self-published work, then be equally proud of calling it self-published.

      Yup. I should have known better than to jump in haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s not toxic positivity, it’s just toxic period. That’s par for the course with Twitter though. I gave up on it’s “wonderful, supportive” writing community a couple years ago. I got tired of hearing how one isn’t a real author if they do this or write that kind of story, etc… I suspect they know people are getting tired of their sanctimonious crap too, and that’s why they’ve started circling the wagons.

    OK, rant aside (ask me how I really feel, lol)… You’re more correct than they are. I’ll give them a minor bit of credit in that even getting to the point of self-publishing takes more than most people ever accomplish. NONE THE LESS, if you tossed Wonder WOman’s lasso of truth around them, almost all of them would confess that deep down their dream is to go beyond self-publishing and get that big listing with Simon and Schuster or whoever. Attacking people who openly say it’s a bigger achievement to be truly published is just their fear and ego acting up. Nothing to do with being positive and supporting each other, just lashing out in fear against anyone with a different opinion.

    It’s the twitter way after all.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Bingo. I spend more time on my sports Twitter account these days than my writing account. And of course self-publishing takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, a fact several of them pointed out in very rude fashion, but I never said it didn’t *shrug*

    I suspect the same as well, it’s just rooted in insecurity and a desire to have that Penguin Publishing logo on the inside of their books one day. I get it, what writer WOULDN’T want that? I do too. But I shouldn’t be surprised that Twitter is toxic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve gotten bad at Twitter. What finally stopped me from going on as much was someone saying something on the order of “All white people are evil and need to die”, then everyone jumped on people who said that opinion was harsh. I was like, “The fuck?” and just quit.

    Liked by 1 person

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