Back in June I blogged about dropping out of all my writing newsgroups. I was going through a really busy period, not to mention being distracted by living in Oxford, and I needed to simplify my schedule. As a midlist author, I wasn't finding much of value on them. Most newsgroups are filled with aspiring writers all asking the same questions and having the same conversations over and over again. Ebook or traditional print? Should I self-publish? Is website xyz good to write for? This sort of thing is good for beginning writers, although they should be careful of all the poorly informed advice out there. For a midlist author there's not much to learn from these groups.
I even had trouble getting more advanced topics discussed. I brought up the Google Books settlement a couple of times but nobody wanted to talk about it! Perhaps this was because there were so few published authors on the lists, but you'd think it would still be a topic of interest.
I also got tired of all the egos. There are always people trying to hog all the attention, and a lot of mutual back scratching. I don't need to see some guy trying to make his reputation on the internet by bragging in front of a bunch of fellow writers in the hopes he'll sell some books, and I don't need the group dynamic either. I can provide all my own encouragement. For good advice I look to fellow midlist authors who are friends of mine. While writing newsgroups are good for the rank beginner, they're are something you grow out of sooner or later.