Authors Behaving Badly
Writing is a passion. It is a way of life for me. it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is an art-form and the phrase Starving Artist is highly accurate. I have a different view on what this phrase means. I’d rather starve than do anything else. And the other holds true as well; you will NOT become successful unless you work hard.
New Authors and aspiring Authors have a skewed view on the industry. The opinion is split down the middle: That an Indie Author can’t make a living off their royalties and a successful Author is rich. Yes, a few people get ahead by pure luck, but the majority don’t. You need to work for every penny you earn.
Some new Authors live in a bubble with other newbies and it stunts their growth. It is a trap and one that is nearly impossible to get out of once ensnared. They see minimal sales and fellow authors pat them on the back and this “Atta Boy,” is to their ruination. NO, it’s not good enough. It should never be good enough. I want to surround myself with Authors more successful than myself so I have something to strive for- to reach. The newbie bubble makes everyone complacent and they don’t rise up because they feel good with those false pats on the back.
My advice to the new Author *by the way, I still place myself in this category* WRITE! WRITE constantly. The only way to get ahead is by working your craft and growing, learning, educating yourself, and producing a product. You will only make money if you have a product to sell and a steady flow of said product.
The newbie bubble creates monsters who behave badly on many fronts. They scheme on ways to make money instead of creating a product. They work in collaboration while crawling on each others backs trying to get ahead. The only thing this accomplishes is pushing the Author you’re climbing on into the mud. And the one on their back pushes the lot of them deeper into the mud. Once there, you are officially trapped into that way of thinking.
In the beginning they give each other glowing reviews and it makes them feel invincible, which leads to this horrible behavior- review slamming. The afterglow dims once you receive a real review from a paying reader. The review may or may not be warranted, but the Author attacks the reviewer and it turns nasty and all Authors get a bad name from the atrocious behavior. My policy: I never respond to a reviewer no matter how strongly I want to. I grit my teeth and deal and move on. If it was constructive, I learn from it and adapt.
Spamming is a huge issue with me and I draw from my information from being a page owner of a review blog and site. I do not spam. I am not against posting links on pages and your own sites as spam as long as it as in moderation. Bi-weekly or less I believe is acceptable. I remove anything on Wicked Reads if I receive it more often that. There is a reason behind this. A reader will see the link so often that they won’t even see it anymore. The eye just roves over and catches what is new. It is subconscious. I won’t allow spam on my page since it runs my fans off and I lose likes and viewers. This leads to another bad behavior, disrespecting the page administrators by viewing them as your minion. If you give them swag, you do not own them. They pass the swag off to readers that benefit the Author, not the page. Pages are run out of love and dedication to the written word. Do NOT take advantage of them or disrespect them. Follow their rules, participate in their giveaways, and interact with their fans and your sales WILL grow. It is a harmonious cycle that everyone benefits from- Author/Page/Reader. Just because you published a work doesn’t make you entitled to use their services.
Reviews: Giving a free copy of your book is par for the course to obtain reviews in the beginning of your career and for each new release. This is my advice as a reviewer. Reviewing is stressful. Yes, the author gave them a free copy, but their review pays 10x over the cost of the free copy. You are not buying a review, so do not expect a glowing review. I nearly quit reviewing from the stress Authors put me under when I said I didn’t like it. I was concise with my reasoning, usually stating that it was a matter of taste, or I was explicit in what I found lacking. I never attacked the Author. It is bad behavior to attack the reviewer or even try to defend yourself against the review. It has given all Authors bad press as of late. A reviewer is entitled to their opinion and that is exactly what a review is- opinion. As a reader who loves to read reviews, I’ve often read the low reviews or ranting reviews and read the book because of them. They forced my hand for a sale for the Author. They stated things that I enjoy or look for. A bad review isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Use the advice contained within if it is constructive. However, if you have a thin skin, avoid the reviews. Why stress yourself out and behave badly, which breeds more stress.
I will NOT pay for reviews. I will NOT engage in blog tours that are geared toward guaranteed positive reviews where you pay for the service for X amount of blogs and X amount of reviews. I find this unethical. As a reader, I don’t like knowing that the review are bought and paid. I feel scammed. I won’t do that to my readers. I want a group of fans that understand me and look forward to my books and I don’t want to do that through schemes. Paying is the mentality of the BUBBLE. If you work hard and push your product to its target audience you will get a true following. If it is good, you wouldn’t need to pay for it in the first place.
Authors giving Authors a helping hand or a leg up.
This is wonderful, but it leads to expectations and entitlement that isn’t warranted. Bloghops, posting links on personal/author/fan pages, and on blogs for your nearest and dearest, fellow Authors is an amazing, rewarding experience that leads to sales. <— When it’s beneficial to you or you believe in the work of the Author, otherwise it is total chaos. Bubble Authors think we all are one big, happy family and they want you to do…do…do for them with nothing in return. And you may not even find their product a good product. We all need help. I’d prefer to do as this group was formed to do, give and take advice and information to get ahead. We don’t have to be friends; we are colleagues. If you hold a day job, are your coworkers your best buds? No? Exactly. Another issue with the bubble is the bubble itself- you post, spam, promote within the bubble because the bubble only has those within the bubble. How would you get ahead trapped within? You don’t!
My product will sell my product. As you hone your craft, your product will become more valuable. A strong bond with Authors that are in your genre is more valuable then being trapped in a bubble with thousands of authors. Think of it as American Idol or Survivor. The bubble is cut-throat and vicious in a passive-aggressive sort of way. How do I know about the bubble? I was draw to it like a moth to flame with its promises of warmth and comfort from the storm. I was snapped at a few times for my opinions and small successes. I quickly realized I didn’t have the mentality for the bubble. My sub-genre is dependent on one canon- Respect. I found no respect in the bubble and I crawled out because I couldn’t respect myself if I stayed in that false warmth with the “atta boys,” good reviews, and link sharing. I wanted to EARN it!
The ridiculous nature of the Bubble if put into a different context. Writing is an art-form. Imagine we are no longer speaking of words on a page, but rather, brush strokes on a canvas. Would it behoove an Artist to live within a bubble? Do artists sell only to other artists or do they sell to art lovers? When another artist sells a painting for more money do they run up to the canvas with a knife and slash? Do they add their own strokes to increase the integrity of the painting? They may share techniques and mentors, but they never elevate one another. Their art sells their art. They paint because they must. Painting for them is their life and they spend their life perfecting it.