Marvel’s End Game & Cosplay Fun

I’ve been so busy I completely forgot to upload some of the really awesome photos from Marvel’s End Game viewing party with the Southern Geeks group! We had an awesome time last month with just a few of the over 5K members of the SGG. Everyone was out in cosplay (except for me – I didn’t have time to really get a good cosplay together) and had so much fun posing with some of our local southern family. The movie was seriously AWESOME and I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it yet to GO GO GO!!

We had all planned a road trip back on May 4th for the annual Free Comic Book Day but unfortunately, life got in the way for most of us, including myself. My good friend Deby and were all packed and ready to ride but we had some bad thunderstorms and tornadoes coming through the area so we decided not to go. This was to be my first road trip with the Southern Geeks but it looks like I’ll have to wait until later in the year when I hope to help them out at some of the local comicons coming up. Until next time, here are a few of the pics I snapped before the viewing party.

 

 

For even more fun photos and ramblings, be sure to follow me on social media!

Nora Roberts Sues #CopyPasteCris, But She Can’t Go After Amazon

In early March I wrote three blog articles, I Write My Own Damn Books Can We Just Get Real for a Moment, and An Open Letter to Nora Roberts, after it was discovered the self-proclaimed USA TODAY bestselling author Cristiane Serruya had plagiarized dozens of authors and books, including Nora Roberts, Courtney Milan, and EL James, just to name a few. For the record, according to the archive on USA TODAY‘s website, Cristiane Serruya has never once hit the list. And now that she has been called out on her plagiarism, she’s admitted that she hasn’t even written one single book, instead farming it out to ghostwriters she hired on the notoriously unscrupulous site Fiverr.

Now Nora Roberts is going after blood as she has sued Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya for her blatant theft of approximate ten of her books. Needless to say, authors both big and small are urging her on, happy someone is finally standing up to the cesspool of low quality books and scammers that have been running rampant on Amazon for nearly a decade now, the steady flow of Frankensteined books and half-assed rough drafts forcing many authors to quit publishing altogether while simultaneously banishing the professionally produced books to the proverbial Amazon dungeons.

Authors are sick of being forced to compete with the immoral writers who have no qualms about using every unethical and black-hat tactic they can think of to squeeze as much money out of the Amazon publishing system as possible. By them doing so, it has forced a lot of authors to stop writing and publishing as they simply cannot compete with those scammers who are able to spend $100K or more on AMS ads and other forms of advertisement each year. Those of us who have been limping along hoping the system would eventually right itself have been left with our books banished to the proverbial dungeons of Amazon, no longer able to make sales or have any visibility on our books at all.

Needless to say, now that someone like Nora Roberts has learned the disgusting ways of the publishing world the hard way, and has thus been caught up in it, we are all very excited to know she is not taking this shit lying down. Everyone is behind her, authors and readers alike, and we are all cheering her on. Many authors are holding out hope that Nora’s voice in regards to how bad Amazon has let things get will be the first step in righting a system that was built on dishonesty and greed. Many are voicing their hope that Nora will actually take on Amazon itself.

Unfortunately, I’m not as hopeful as the rest in regards to her taking on  Amazon. Honestly, she doesn’t have enough money to do it. And if you want to get down to the nut-cutting, not even JK Rowling has enough money to take on Amazon.

Before everyone gets bent out of shape, I think we all need to take a real, hard look at Amazon’s revenue and why they are able to get away with all the shit they do, why they do not bother to police their own store, or even enforce their own rules and TOS other than when it suits them. Once you look at the basic economics of Amazon, you’ll understand why it would literally take all of the Big 5 publishers and all of their top 5% earning authors making a class-action lawsuit against the Zon, followed by pretty much every single author and business that has ever been a part of their store, to truly do any type of damage to them.

According to CNBC, Amazon reported earnings of $10.1 BILLION in 2018 alone. Gross profits for the year were over $141 BILLION. In 2017, their net profits were just over $3 BILLION, with a gross profit of over $118 BILLION. Of that, it is estimated that approximately 30% of that income came from book sales, which would be approximately $3 BILLION in net profits for 2018.

With numbers like this, it is no wonder everyone is fighting so hard to be seen on Amazon. Unfortunately, with revenue streams in the tens of billions, it is also no wonder Amazon has been completely unfazed by the multitude of authors who have been steadily calling them out for their bad practices. So while Nora may reportedly be worth $370 million and JK Rowling $1 billion, Amazon has enough revenue coming in to keep any type of lawsuit buried in the court system for decades.

While all of us would certainly LOVE to see Amazon come tumbling off its pedestal for once, it’s going to take more than just Nora Roberts to do it. It’s going to take more than just the Big 5 publishers to do it. It’s going to take more than just JK Rowling to do it. In fact, about the only way to get a retail giant like Amazon to take a step back and actually put the fear of bankruptcy into them would be if the top 20 richest authors in the world got together, along with the Big 5 publishers, and every other author who has ever done business with them, all fighting together to put the proverbial nuts in a vice.

I, for one, would happily jump on board that express train. Hell, I’d happily tap dance on the ashes that was once the Zon-Almighty.

But for now, I’m another author who is standing behind Nora Roberts hoping she is able to draw blood. It may be a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but if enough people begin beating down the gates of Amazon, then maybe, just maybe, we can take back our sagging careers and turn this once noble profession back into the proud industry it used to be.

And – you go, Nora!

Fantasy $0.99 Book Sale!

 

Love fantasy? Love a great book sale? What could be better than 24 awesome fantasy books across multiple genres, each for only $0.99 or less? Well, if you love a good fantasy book, I can’t think of anything better. But don’t wait! These books are only available at this deep discounted price for a very short time. CLICK HERE to browse and make your selection(s). As always, if you love the book, please leave a review. Or pie.

#FantasyFalls #FantasyBooks #vampires #werewolves #shifters #highfantasy #ghosts #goblins #paranormalfantasy #urbanfantasy #Gothic #gothicromance #zombies #cyberpunk #steampunk #postapocalpytic #fairies #witches #warlocks #demons #magick #mythology #psychic #magicalrealism #timetravel #sciencefiction #sciencefantasy #dragons #dungeonsanddragons

Waiting on that Series to Complete? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Wait

 

I’m going to shoot straight from the hip on this. One of my pet peeves to hear from readers is the dreaded “I’m going to wait until the series is completed before I buy any of the books.” It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Dagger: meet heart.

Before I get into the (really good) reasons why you shouldn’t wait for a series to complete before diving right in, I’m going to ask as few questions.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are a Twilight fan, did you wait until the series ended to start buying the books? Did you wait until all the movies came out before you went to watch them?

If you are Game of Thrones fan, have you not watched a single episode, waiting instead until all the seasons are complete before watching them? How about The Walking Dead?

And if you are a Laurell K. Hamilton fan, have you not read a single one of the Anita Blake series, instead opting until the series is finally complete before you start on it? (Here’s a hint, that’s her cash cow and she has no intentions of ending that series so long as it’s selling)

Anyway, you get the idea. Chances are, if you got hooked into any of these fandoms, or the thousands of others out there on both the book, comic book, graphic novels, and TV series front, you aren’t waiting – you are counting down the days until the next book/comic/episode/movie drops. It’s why I, and so many other authors, hate to hear a reader say they are “waiting” for a series to complete before they decide to buy.

If you are one of them, here are some pretty compelling reasons *not* to wait.

1.       Interest and sales versus a lack thereof: as I mentioned above, if you are into the Anita Blake series, you probably already know that series is still going strong. The reason why is because there is still a lot of interest in the books, characters, and story lines. To put it simply, it’s still making money. So long as a series is making money, or readers still show interest, then an author will continue to write more and more books in the series. And for those series like Anita Blake and The Vampire Chronicles, this means the author has no intentions of ending the series, which translates into readers seriously missing out if they opt to “wait it out” to see what is going to happen with a series.

2.       On the flip side of this is the “lack of interest.” There are only so many books an author can push out a year, and that number drastically decreases for those like me who are juggling a regular full-time Evil Day Job along with writing. For this reason, we have to be especially particular about what we spend that limited amount of time on. If readers take the “wait to see” attitude on our series, we view as that as a lack of interest. Lack of interest = lack of sales = we won’t continue to spend our time writing in a series that isn’t producing any royalties. This means we may completely scrap a series and not write another book in that world, opting instead of spend our time writing on a series or stand alone novels that may interest our readers more.

The best way to encourage an author is to buy their books, series complete or not. Taking a “wait to see what happens” with any series could very well spell death to that series. How many really awesome TV series have been cancelled because the ratings weren’t good enough for the studio to warrant investing the time and money it takes to film more episodes? It’s the same principle with authors, especially us indie authors. If you “wait to buy” until we finally finish writing all the books in a series, you may discover a series that gets scrapped because there wasn’t enough interest in it.

And for those wondering, please don’t “wait until the series ends” when it comes to the Before the Sun Rises books. I have no intentions of ending that series unless it stops selling. I could literally write another twenty books just with the characters and story lines I already have notes for. Who knows what I may come up with between now and Book #20!

Movie Review – Velvet Buzz Saw

 

I recently kicked DirecTV to the curb and embarked on the streaming lifestyle. After all, if I’m going to pay nearly $200 a month on unlimited bandwidth and an internet connection that supposedly rivals NASA, I might as well get something out of it besides me working my butt off writing books. So, enter in Hulu, NetFlex, & Sling TV.

My love affair began with binge-watching LOST on Hulu, but quickly spiraled out of control into watching NetFlex original series and movies. I’ll be honest – I tried watching several NF original movies, but just couldn’t get into them for a variety of reasons: bad acting, bad plot line, flat characters – the usual.

However, Velvet Buzz Saw was one of those movies that, despite not being as riveting as The Haunting of Hill House, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, like I did with The Rain. It was fairly interesting, had just enough action and suspense to keep me watching. It wasn’t exactly scary, more of a thriller than anything.

So here’s my take on it. The first thing it had going for it was the lead being played by Jake Gyllenhaal. I’ve seen this guy act in a lot of movies, and he seems to be pretty adaptable. Because of this, I was willing to give the movie a try. As usual, Jake did not disappoint. Out of all the characters I’ve seen him play, this one was probably about as “on the fringe” as his Brokeback Mountain persona. He plays the bi-sexual art critic Morph, a character that somehow managed to seem both high-strung and low-key at the same time.

Again, while the plot line was not riveting, it did have potential. I feel like maybe the movie failed to capitalize on what it had going for it. The death scenes could have most certainly been gorier. The beginning seemed to prattle on, almost losing me in the first twenty or so minutes. There seemed to be far too much dialog about art and corporate espionage and yet failing to really drive the entire thing home. The acting wasn’t necessarily bad as it was a bit more over-the-top. It really felt like the director was going out of his way to create a film that skirted all the major genres – horror, action, drama, thriller – in an attempt to be as blasé as possible.

As I said, it wasn’t so bad that I had to stop watching it, but it certainly could have been better. I feel if the director had actually chosen a genre and a rating and followed through, it would have been much better. But alas, all we ended up with was a mediocre film which made art seem both boring and dangerous.

I’d give Velvet Buzz Saw a solid 3 stars out of 5.

#BitchPleaseIWritePorn

I recent kerfuffle via FB got me to thinking when a few authors who insisted they were not “elitists” because they took offense to some authors referring to some romance books as nothing more than word porn with little to no plot and shirtless abs on their covers. First, I’ve written both romance that had plenty of action (no, not that kind) and a hearty plot line, as well as the aforementioned “word porn”, complete with hot abs on the cover. And I’m here to tell you – I do not take offense to it. What I do take offense to are the authors who want to be offended. Like, who cares? Yeah, I write it, and my readers love it. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

This is the very reason why I started the #BitchPleaseIWritePorn hashtag. I write it. I call it for what it is. I’m not ashamed. I own it like a boss.

Let’s face it. The simple truth of the matter is, “porn” is not a valid genre on Amazon. Trust me, it should be, but it’s not. For this reason, those of us who write such literary masterpieces as The Taming of Andy Savage have no choice but to improperly label our creations as “romance.” If “porn” was a valid genre option on Amazon as an actual book category, I’d slap up some of my stuff into it faster than you can say “holy abs, Batman!”

As I said, I do write the occasional piece of porn that has zero plot line. They’re fun, they are entertaining, and honestly, when you get down to the nut-cutting, people read “word porn” for the same reason they watch porn, and it’s not for the great acting and riveting plot lines. There’s nothing wrong with it. I write it, I read it, and yes, I watch it (hey, a girl’s gotta do research, right?).

To be honest, if I had to cut out all the action (yes, I do mean that kind) going on in the Sweet Seductions books, I’d have to rewrite so much of them they wouldn’t even remotely resemble the same book. They’re fun. They are written that way on purpose. And no, I don’t think they are some earth-shattering literary masterpiece that will change lives. They may make you laugh, they may get you a little hot under the collar. But earth-shattering they ain’t. As I like to say, you can dress a goat in a tuxedo, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a goat.

Bottom line, if your “romance” book had all the hot scenes removed and you would have to do some major rewrites, overhauls, and serious character development, then #BitchPlease, you write word porn, too. Don’t go getting all offended, girl. Own that shit. You know I do.

An Open Letter to Nora Roberts (and other authors, too)

 

 

I’ve been following your blog as the #CopyPasteCris saga has unfolded, and I’ve tried so many times to comment on the posts, but words have failed me. Not because I couldn’t think of what to say, exactly, but because there simply is so much to say on the matter, and honestly, words cannot express how happy I am that someone with some clout has finally had their eyes opened to the atrocities us “small fry” authors have been enduring for a good five years now.

I do not mean that disrespectfully. What has happened to you with #copypastecris is beyond deplorable. I’ve been plagiarized myself, on more than one occasion, although not to the extent you, and so many other authors, have been suffering at the hands of this most resent, high-profile plagiarist. Even a single line taken is like a knife through the heart. Entire sections, entire books – that’s more like the proverbial sword through the midsection.

I say this because honestly, I feel like now maybe someone will actually listen. For years I’ve sat and watched an industry I grew up in, an industry I absolutely loved, de-evolve into nothing but back-stabbing authors, con artists, scammers, and wannabe “writers” who are more than willing to step on anyone and do anything, and I do mean anything, to make a quick buck through the self-publishing industry. I’ve watched no less than a dozen really great writers from my social network toss in the towel in 2018 alone.

And I may be next. Although quitting is the last thing I want to do.

The truth is, I’m tired. And with so many scammers skimming off 6+ figures a year through shady tactics, I simply cannot compete. Not when I’m barely drawing in $100 in royalties a year, and losing thousands on publication and marketing expenses.

Like so many other authors, I work full-time. Writing is my escape from the drudge of the dreary 9 to 5 I do every day. Nothing makes me happier than to sit down at my keyboard and enter into the worlds I’ve created.

But, I’ll be honest. I do expect to get paid for the hours upon hours, the weeks, the months, sometimes the years it’s taken me to write a single book. And I thoroughly expect to be reimbursed for the thousands of dollars I’ve paid out-of-pocket to have my books properly polished before publishing. If I was doing this just for fun, I’d stick with my WattPad account and stop clogging up the proverbial slush piles that Amazon has become over the past few years.

I’m hoping with someone with as much pull in the industry as you, that maybe, finally, authors and readers alike will pull their heads out of the sand and finally start demanding better. I’ve been begging, screaming, and pleading with everyone for years now to stop giving their books away, to stop pricing them so cheaply, to stop pushing out a new “junk” book every week or month and realize how much damage all this has been causing authors, to the industry as a whole.

This revolution, this epiphany if you will, it must come from the authors because honestly, readers will only continue to demand what authors are willing to give them. If all the cheap and the free went away, maybe readers would start demanding better books. Maybe they wouldn’t mind paying for the books they want to read. Maybe that $5 for an ebook wouldn’t seem so pricey if it was once again the norm. If Amazon and the other platforms would finally start manning their stores, if they would put some type of quality controls into place, if the writing world would right itself so the really good authors would once again rise to the top of the rankings instead of the top being dominated by whoever has the largest pocketbook, then maybe, just maybe, authors like me won’t have to give up on their life-long dream.

I’ve been screaming it from the rooftops, but alas, I am just a nobody-author who has been pegged as “jealous” because I’m no longer making money.

But you, my dear Nora, please keep fighting the good fight. Please give those of us whose voices have gone ignored for years now a chance to finally be heard. I’m tired of fighting this alone.

Because after more than thirty years of fighting, clawing, and having my butt handed back to me by editors, by publishers, and now by the very authors I’ve helped support over the decades, I’m not sure I have much fight left in me. There’s only so much any one person can take before they are forced to give up on their dream.

Today, I do not want to join the ranks of the really good authors who have been forced to quit.

Tomorrow, however, may be the day that I am finally forced to face the staggering odds that have been stacked against me by others in my profession.

All because no one wants to listen. After all, if it’s not affecting their bottom line, then what do they care?

 

Also on #CopyPasteCris:

Can We Just Get Real for a Moment?

I Write My Own Damn Books, Thank You Very Much

Why BookBub & FreeBooksy Aren’t Really Kosher

If you tend to be a big reader, chances are you are constantly being fed sponsored ads in your social media feeds for BookBub and FreeBooksy. While these sites promise lots of free books, there are a few things you need to know as a reader.

First, the “free books” is a bit misleading. First, a lot of people misunderstand their ads and think you are getting free paperbacks. That’s not accurate at all. What you are actually getting is a listing of ebooks that can range in price from free to regular price.

The price of the book it is advertised for is also only good for the day of that newsletter run. So don’t be surprised if you find a supposedly “free” book being advertised in the newsletter only to click on it a day or two later to discover it is now regular price.

Second, there is no “vetting” process. Authors have to pay to have their books featured in these newsletters, and the price tag is hefty with a book that is selling at $3 or more costing the author a whopping $3983 for a single newsletter run.

 

 

These sites aren’t vetting books for anything other than to see if they currently have a high rank on Amazon, and how many reviews they have. As previously discussed, a high-ranking on Amazon does not necessarily mean the book is any good. A disproportionate number of the high-ranking books are scammy, half-assed word vomit pushed out by book-mill “authors” looking to cash in and are paying click farms to “buy” or “borrow” their book in KU, thus artificially inflating their rankings. Also as previously mentioned, a lot of these books with an over-the-top number of 5* reviews are facilitated through fake accounts.

For this reason, those authors with the largest marketing budgets are the ones who get to apply for these spots. This means you are not always guaranteed a quality book. Add in the fact that a lot of authors purposely mis-categorize their books, and there is even less guarantee of what you will end up with in your newsletter.

So what is a good alternative? First, follow your favorite authors on Amazon to ensure you get updates on their new releases. Better yet, FOLLOW them on Bookbub rather than signing up for the BookBub newsletters. Whenever an author has a new release, you will get a short email from those authors you follow alerting you to a new release. Now, you need to understand that following an author on BookBub will only alert you to a NEW RELEASE from the author. Unfortunately, BookBub does not offer any way for authors to alert their followers of sales, etc. without actually paying BookBub for a newsletter spot.

A second good alternative is to follow the authors on social media. However, given the state of social media these days, the best way to find out what is going on is to sign up for your favorite authors’ newsletters. This ensures you stay up-to-date on all your favorite authors, their books, their sales, and what they are working on. You may even find yourself able to snag a coveted autographed paperback for less than the cost of a burger meal!

I Write My Own Damn Books, Thank You Very Much

Back in January, I unofficially announced that I was “taking a step back from publishing.” I feel there has been a lot of misconception on exactly what I meant by that. A lot of my readers took it to mean I was no longer going to be writing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In all actuality, I have the next two books in the BTSR series ready to go to print, and am currently working on book 7 of that series and I’m plotting out what could turn in to another paranormal NA series. So, if I didn’t stop writing, then you maybe wondering exactly what I meant when I said I was taking a step back from publishing.

If you haven’t read my blog post Can We Just Real For a Momentthen I strongly suggest you take a look at it. This post helps identify a lot of what is currently wrong with the self-publishing industry right now. For all intents and purposes, Amazon has basically become the get-rich-quick poster child for indie publishing at this point. It’s the new-age MLM (multi-level marketing) scheme that thrives on hiring cheap ghost writers off of fiverr and other websites like it, shoving the atrocious books up on Amazon as fast as possible, putting them up on KU among other “stuffed” books (books that are actually several books bound together to look like a single book done so to max out the number of pages that KU allows so instead of getting a few pennies off of a 200 page book that legitimate, honest authors are making, they are raking in upwards of $15 per book for each KU read because the book is 3000 pages long), and running up the click bids on AMS ads (Amazon Ads) so legitimate authors can’t afford to run ads any more. So when you do a word search for popular categories such as romance, paranormal romance, paranormal fantasy, vampire romance, shifters, alpha romance, etc. all you get shoved into your search results are unedited pieces of drivel with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of fake 5* reviews also purchased off of fiverr.

It may surprise a lot of readers to know that such horrendous, bestselling books by the likes of Bella Forrest, Amanda Hocking, and Melissa Foster, just to name a few, have been padding their books with fake 5* reviews for years. Some of these authors have been known to hire ghost writers as well so they could push out more and more books each year, resulting in an over saturated market that has made it increasingly harder for legitimate authors to be seen on Amazon. Then we have the Chance Carters & Cassandra Dees of the world stuffing books and getting awarded All Stars bonuses from Amazon even though he is reported to have used click farms to artificially inflate his page reads. Let’s not forget the whole fiasco with Faleena Hopkins for trying to trademark the word “cocky” and force authors who had been using the word in their own book titles to re-brand books that had literally been out for years before Faleena even decided to start writing. And now we have #copypastecris going on where a self-proclaimed USA Today bestselling author (she’s not, by the way. You can actually search the list and her name has never appeared on it despite the fact she claims to be a bestseller) plagiarized at least five books by Nora Roberts and dozens of other books where she basically hired ghost writers to Frankenstein some books together for her using large sections of other, popular books that had been copied and pasted directly.

Guys, the list of the shit going on in this industry is endless.

So, let me make this as clear as possible. Every review you see on my books, and heaven knows they aren’t many, are all legitimate reviews from regular readers or a variety of beta readers that literally signed up through BookSprout to review the book. I do not hire ghost writers. I have a degree in business management and work a full-time 45-hour-a-week job. I agonize over every single last word that I write down. I have to foot the costs of editors, proofreaders, and graphic art work out of my own pocket. Taking all this into consideration, this is why I only manage to hammer out two books a year.

And nothing is going to change that.

Because I actually give a damn about the books that get published in my name. I’m not out to get rich by shoving out as many half-assed books as I can a week and dupe unsuspecting readers into buying them because I hired a bunch of click farms to buy the book, thus raising my ranking on Amazon, and I certainly do not buy a bunch of fake, 5* reviews to make readers think they are getting a good book. I’m a real person, with real social media accounts. I go to book signings. I’m not a nameless, faceless stable of ghost writers hiding behind a fake persona on Amazon. I post pictures of myself, I post pictures of my kids, I tell funny stories about what happened to me.

I am a real person, writing real books, at a real person speed. And I’m not going to apologize for that. When you follow me on social media, what you see if what you get. When you read my books, you know I worked my ass off to write them, and that **I** actually wrote them, and then had them polished by editors before they were published.

So, when I said I was “taking a step back from publishing,” I meant just that. I am still writing, and from here on out I am no longer going to sit idly by and let the Bella Forrests and the Chance Carters of the world ruin the industry that I’ve busted my ass in for the past thirty years for. When I see shitty tactics going on, I’m going to start calling bullshit, just like Nora Roberts.

Because I’m sick and tired of getting shit on in this industry. And that’s exactly what is happening to good, hard-working, legitimate writers. We are being told to stop rocking the boat, we are being forced out of the industry, we are having our books targeted by backstabbing, bitchy writers whose scams we are threatening.

Well, enough is enough. I’m going to continue to write, and at the end of the year I will once again begin publishing after I’ve got a few more books written.

And from here on out I am going to start calling a scam a scam when I see it.

I am Nicola Chey Matthews, and I write my own damn books, thank you very much.

Can We Just Get Real For a Moment?

Honestly, as much as I write, as many times as I have addressed this, I do not believe I could possibly have explained how bad the publishing industry has de-evolved as well as what Nora Roberts did in this post. 

What I do find enraging is the number of authors who are still choosing to stay in total denial about the harsh reality staring them in the faces. Yes, authors who are pushing out cheap, quick, badly written ghostwriter books are ruining the system. A real writer, one who writes their own books, cannot possibly shove out a decent book complete with developmental line editing, proof reading, copy editing, rewrites, and all the many, many necessary steps that goes into getting a book ready, in a month, and certainly not in a week. While I believe it is possible to write the first, unpolished rough draft in a few weeks to a month, it’s going to take as much time, if not longer, to adequately polish and rewrite the book. Add in the fact that most authors are working regular day jobs and are staying up late into the night to get a few words in, and you’ll quickly understand why it takes so long to write a really great book.

Authors who are consistently giving away their catalog for free or at ridiculously reduced prices are ruining the system. And yes, readers who are demanding the free and the fast and the cheap are helping to feed the beast. I know readers are on a budget, but so are the authors who write these books, and they are often having to budget the production costs out of their own personal paychecks they get from their regular jobs, forcing themselves and their families to do without so they can publish that next book. They have bills to pay, they have kids to feed, and they deserve to be paid for the work they put into these books just as much as anyone else does for the work they do for any other company.

 

The problem is, this is an ugly, cheating, greedy beast with many, many tentacles. You can’t kill the beast by ignoring any of those tentacles. because it’s going to take another swipe, and the other tentacles will regenerate.” -Nora Roberts

 

Add in the book stuffers, the scammers, the rings of so-called authors who are joining secret groups and teaching each other how to game the system, teaching each other how to lie, to cheat, to steal, all in the name of making a few quick bucks. I’ve seen this going on for years now. Run up the click bids on AMS ads from a few cents a click to a few bucks a click, choke out your competition with the sheer volume of crap. That’s been the modus operandi for years. I’ve been screaming this from the rooftops for literally five years straight at this point.

But no one has wanted to believe me. Again, just shove your head into the sand and pretend it’s not happening, because so long as your own little boat isn’t rocking, then what do you care.

Guys, we get it. Trust me, when it comes to reading on a budget, or doing anything on a budget, authors totally get it. Indies are solely responsible for footing the bill for the thousands of dollars paid out to editors, to proofreaders, to graphic cover artists, and then there’s the bottomless money pit that is marketing and promoting of the book once it’s finally ready to go to print. We are the poster children for “tightening your belt.” But if all you are looking for is a cheap, free read and you don’t care if it’s been properly edited or not, then there is WattPad, Booksie, FanFic, Fiction.net, and a whole host of other freebie websites where you can read free books and stories until your heart is content.

Going to Amazon and downloading these trainwreck books for free or cheap should not be an option. These books have no business sitting next to books that have been put through the wringer with editors and proofreaders. Amazon should be where the real books are, written by real writers who are serious about their craft. It shouldn’t be a get-rich-quick scheme populated by word vomit slapped up for sale by scam artists out to make a quick buck. Amazon should not be turned into a “book mill” farm designed to part readers from money. And unfortunately, every time you download these books, you are just feeding the beast.

Wondering what you could possibly do as a reader? First, READ THE REVIEWS. Popular books that are constantly being shoved into your search results on Amazon generally have a lot of reviews (most of which are fake reviews purchased from fake accounts, but that’s another story entirely). Look through the 1 and 2 star reviews. If a lot of the reviews point out the immense number of typos and grammatical errors, then give it a hard pass, especially if you are having to pay money for it. As noted above, there are plenty of free books and stories on other sites you can read that are probably better written and with fewer typos than the books pushed out by the “book mills.”

Second, take a peek inside the book using the LOOK INSIDE feature. You can read the first few pages of a book to get a feel for the author’s style. Granted, some authors will polish just this portion of the book so you may not find many errors. But, if you do happen to get suckered into purchasing a book that is riddled with typos, grammatical errors, and/or is a virtual trainwreck that is really difficult to read, then you can always report the book. I don’t think most readers realize this function exists on Amazon. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the book page on Amazon, there is a little blue box with the heading Feedback where you can report a book for poor quality or formatting issues, as well as report it for inappropriate content or copyright violations.

However, and I cannot possibly stress this enough, please do not go reporting books all willy-nilly. Keep in mind in the trad publishing world, one typo/error per page is considered acceptable upon publication. For a 300-page book, that’s approximately 300 grammatical errors and/or typos that can sneak through without any problem. So seeing a misspelled word here and there is fine, but if you come across one that is littered with errors or incorrect formatting, please do report those books. Unfortunately, Amazon will only take action once the readers start to complain.

So please, if you are a reader, take back control of your reading material. Demand better. Stop feeding the beast. If you want cheap, free, and do not care about a polished product, then please browse WattPad or Fiction.net. When you go to the virtual shelves of Amazon, demand better. Expect to pay money for a book, and then expect that book to be polished and readable. No, demand it. And if it’s not, report it.

You may not think it’s really hurting anyone. I mean, if you are an author and it’s not hurting you, then why try to stop it? You’re making money, so who cares?

I care because ten years ago I was making money. I was easily bringing in as much money a year as what I would have working a regular, full-time job. My first few books were selling hundreds of copies a day. I had that beautiful orange bestseller sticker on more than one occasion, on more than one book. And then slowly, it began drying up. My books went from selling close to a thousand the first day to not even getting a dozen pre-orders. I was a forgotten commodity, tossed aside for the cheap, the fast, the free books. I, like so, so many authors, went from being on top to literally going months without a single sell despite having a back list of over 20 books.

This is why you should care. Because if it can happen to a former international bestselling author, then it’s just a matter of time before it starts happening to everyone else.

Authors, it’s time we started demanding better as well. It’s time we stop trying to play nice and stir in the shit pot. Maybe it’s time we dumped out the shit & started calling out the Chance Carters of the author world. Because when Nora fucking Roberts starts to take notice of just how fucked this industry has become, then you better believe the shit has really hit the fan.

 

#bookscammers #bookstuffers #copypastecris #tiffanygate #cockygate #indiepublishing