Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Universal Texas Speak aka BULLSHIT

Now, before I even go into this “ton-o-words” post, let me make one thing very clear.

There is nothing in the world that applies to all persons that are upon it. No fact, no reasoning nor subject that can be fed to every single individual who might digest, graze or consume what is said and be considered a nice filling snack.

It will most likely give many of you a case of the bubble guts.

What does all that mean you ask? (I heard recently that Texas speak is a very rigorous one to learn and use…hah. Silly people.)  Basically—this is not directed at any one person or entity. It may not apply to you, some of you or hell, all of you. It may or may not piss you off. It may or may not hurt feelings.

Or it may or may not change one damn thing. But here it goes… (by the way, before you judgers, and you know who you are, say it’s just another bitter author who is upset that their books aren’t doing well...wrong. My books/sales do fine and I have not a single complaint about that—hence not a single damn sales link in this post).

Selfishness and Pity

I’ve been in this writing biz for decades, in one form or the other. But I have never been witness to the current downward spiral into self-centered and serving mentality as I have for the last year or so. When did we, as authors, become so focused on getting one more penny or dollar than one of our peers that we resort to negative reviews, bashing, gang attitude street teams and the saddest part of all…

The complete lack of support and encouragement to other authors?  Heaven help us if one of us becomes successful and we helped that happen. What would the world come to? (That’s sarcasm for those that don’t know me.)

I remember the days when we were all thrilled when one of our fellow writers were able to give birth to a new “book baby”, or were featured on a blog post or hell, anything. I remember when one of us had a way to spotlight, feature or focus on another, people jumped on that. Get the word out—in a good way.

Now, you have where if someone gets bashed, negative reviews THAT gets more attention than someone having a positive event happening. And even worse—when one of us has an opportunity to give an avenue to promo or support others, no one responds. Are we THAT paranoid that we are isolating ourselves in hopes that we won’t become fodder in some possible scenario that MIGHT turn bad. Or we are afraid that the person offering has some hidden agenda and might cause us harm? Whether they actually have done so to anyone in the past.

Bullshit (Universal Texas speak).

Sure, that happens. Face it—life is life. Good, bad and the in between. There are good people, there are bad people and then there are those you just can’t tell. Trust me, I know all about that.

But isn’t just PUTTING a book out there for others to read and critique conquering a huge hunk of fear? Yeah…believe me it is. So, as an author you’ve already jumped the biggest bump in the scary road—why would you then be so closed off to helping not only yourself but others?

I know—in the world of free books, $.99 books and books that barely equal the page count of a bad travel brochure, the publishing world is in a tailspin of quality and the readers are aware of it.  No one trusts reviews and some blogs are nothing more than a popularity contest or just a way for free books. When readers see authors bashing each other, street teams ganging up to discredit an author so maybe they can hurt sales, our readers are losing faith faster than the elastic in a cheap pair of pants 2 sizes too small lasts. We ask ourselves every day how we can make our mark and get notice.

Folks—negativity is NOT the way to do it. (The fact I have to say that is frustrating in itself since most all the authors I know are older than 18.) Sure, you can whine and say that people were mean to you, that you were attacked and people may do some sympathy purchases of your book. A sale is a sale, right?

You can cry and say that negative reviews are LIES and your book is the best ever, so if you got a negative review it can’t be sincere. Because no way would anyone NOT like your book. It’s like (insert mocking tone here) the bestest ever! Its Amazballs (or whatever 12 year old saying you would like to use).

Oh good god…no. Please…don’t.

I can honestly BET that no bestselling author ever hit the lists having “pity” sales.  And I can also pretty much promise that not every reader is going to like your book. I can also solidly confirm that most pity sales or pity reviews are just that…


Where did all this come from, you ask?

I’m so glad you asked.

My publisher as well as I have offered several avenues for spotlights, highlights, promo and publication. We’ve tried doing author spotlights and so few responded (we’ve done NY Times Best Selling authors as well as indies) so we stopped that.

We’ve offered Positive Post days where all you have to do is say something that is RIGHT about the publishing world and NOT A SINGLE PERSON RESPONDED.  And say what you will about FB views, etc.—when you blast it across 4-5 profiles as well as Twitter etc. and you see 100+ views—among those fellow authors—you know it’s just a lack of trust, fear or whatever, not a “no one saw it” issue.

HELLO? We want to HELP promote you. To give you a chance to maybe find one real, genuine reader that may find your book the one they need that day. For the readers to see that there are some GOOD authors out there. That there are POSITIVE ways to find a good book or read. That they CAN TRUST that it’s not a trick or a way to bash another.

Most recently, we decided to get an anthology out there for suicide awareness. My anthology in the past did fairly well and I really wanted to give something back. So, we did an open call for authors to submit stories, art and poetry for another anthology—this time the proceeds going to Suicide Prevention organizations. The parameters were easy and we left it so open to be creative as long as hope was the thread of all the stories. It was open as far as genre as well. It would be NO cost to the authors. They would be featured as much as everyone else was—completely equal. The anthology would be put in for book signing in their area as well as professionally edited and printed at no cost to the author. AND it would be sent through DBP’s 30,000 retailer distribution list. And we would give the authors copies—AT NO COST—for being a part. AND any additional copies they could order at COST (the same price DBP has to pay) rather than through a retail outlet like Amazon, etc. Sounds amazing right?

Help out a good cause…
Get your work and name out there…
Maybe hit the best seller list via wide 30,000 RETAILERS distribution…
Be put in front of brick & mortar retailer sales teams for shelf placement…
Be included in all promos and book signings…


Guess…can you guess how many inquired or submitted to be involved?


Seriously people?

Have we become that self-centered and only think of ourselves? Are we all cowering in our writers “caves” trying to pimp ourselves out or find ways to “market” in a market that is so flooded that even the readers are afraid to dive in and figure out what floats and what doesn’t?

I always told myself I was going to write and do my best, no matter what—and that will never change. But my quest to be positive and encouraging to others is difficult when I see how others around me behave. I have always prided myself on helping anyone that needed it—no matter my time restraints of having a pressured 9-5 job, a complicated personal life and writing. Add to that being a part of DBP’s management? Yeah…

It would be really easy for me to say screw you all—I’m going to worry just about myself and mine and the rest of you do the same. I mean, my books do well, I have a great fan base and critical acclaim.

I could be like so many others out there….I DON’T NEED ANY OF YOU, IT’S ALL ABOUT ME! I HOPE YOU ALL FAIL…as I smile and play nice to your faces.

I HATE even thinking that way. I really do. It actually causes a twist in my gut at the thought of becoming “one of those” people. But my gut is twisting regardless in the behavior and lack-of-care that I am seeing all around me.

It truly makes me want to just give up. Not give up writing—nah, I need that as much as I need to breathe. It’s my outlet and my therapy. But it does make me want to change how I get my works out there. With blogs taking their free review copy and never giving a review OR giving it away to dozens in giveaways without my permission to people “helping” by sharing my book via file transferring and not being aware of that being pirating, it’s incredibly frustrating.

IF I wanted my book given away for FREE—hello, I would do that. But I don’t. Nor do I price my books (and they are ACTUAL BOOKS with more than 300 pages, professionally edited with original covers) for $.99 unless it’s a special event, because to be honest? I worked on a book for six months to a year and nothing in the process was free either in time or cost, so my works are worth more than $.99 and I think the reader both understands and respects that. Luckily, my publisher does too. I VALUE my books and all the hard work I’ve put in them, so they are priced accordingly. Sure, I could do the whole freebie or $.99 all the time…but it would have made my book and effort and well, talent, worth so much less than it merits.

Nor do I believe in the other practice—put an ebook at a high price to get the most money from friends and family that are going to buy it for no other reason than… well…they are friends and family, knowing once that pool of purchases has gone dry, the book won’t have sales. AND IT DISGUSTS ME THAT SO MANY EBOOK PUBLISHERS ARE DOING THAT TO NAÏVE, NEW AUTHORS…they should be ashamed in using the “pyramid scheme” of marketing with books. And they’ll do it for just about any book where they can make a quick dime—where they use AMAZON for sales. THEN, and only THEN, if they get their bucks back, they’ll release the work as print…USING CREATESPACE?? Hello…why EXACTLY is the author giving you all the profit if you’re doing what they could have done themselves?? It’s downright shameful.

Oh and let’s not forget incentive based reviews. I WILL never partake in that process—either like/love my book or hate it. Just be sincere and honest about it. I’ll take it...hell, I’ll appreciate it. But don’t tell me that if I give you a gift card or offer you some cash you can “review my book” favorably. (See word that means BS above)

And blogs? I love bloggers. The good ones. And trust me, there are a few decent, ethical ones out there. But there are A LOT more that are out to scam not only authors but readers with various tours and “packages”. Young writer beware—blogs can mean bog as in sucking you under and never letting you see the positive light of it all. Not to mention just taking advantage of an author who is desperately trying to find “what works”. Too many don’t work—they don’t work for you, they don’t work with you and they just don’t work. Stick with bloggers you trust. Bigger? Doesn’t ALWAYS mean better (yeah, yeah, Texas—everything is bigger. That’s not true either—sorry, thought we needed some Texas speak, and it had been awhile).

And guess what? Books I put out a year ago are still getting sales. One hit the bestsellers list for top ten on Amazon for almost a week and that was because quality is quality.

Without negative bashing. Without pitiful “buy my book please” posts. Without my going out and telling someone to buy my book and not this person’s book. Without spamming a hundred groups where authors are just trying to sell to other authors selling (that…is just ridiculous).

Maybe I’m old school. Maybe I just don’t understand the current publishing world (maybe I really DON’T WANT TO) and the negative and selfish attitude of authors is just the way it is.  I don’t know…and I’m really sick and tired of trying to figure it out.  I just want to write and I just want you guys to enjoy the ride in reading it.

So, as I work on my books I have several trains of thoughts and one of those is just releasing print only versions of my books. My limited autograph copies always do very well (pays for the cost of printing, editing, etc. in 48 hours alone) so I know my readers love the printed copies. I might then release an ecopy later and Amazon ranking and reviews be damned (I’m not sure how much faith I have in that either since I can pay someone $50-$200 bucks to get me 100-500 reviews...and trust me…A LOT of authors go that route. Label more shame on this too).

Like I said up there—I am old school. So I am starting to think promo via old school methods are best since so little faith and trust is put in the “new school” ways.

Until then…if you truly are a good, positive author who cares about not only your books and readers but OTHERS…contact me. Please help restore some of my wavering faith in this wonderful world of literary endeavors and publishing…


MAYBE THAT, will get more than TWO people that give a damn. 

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