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Okay guys, I’m about to play devil’s advocate here. Why? Because when I see everyone jumping on the bandwagon to completely trash someone’s career, be they author or blogger, I’m not going to sit back and watch the shit hit the fan. After thirty plus years in this biz, I fucking know how hard it is to be an author, how much money it takes to properly launch a book, and how much money and time and energy it takes to try to keep that book in front of someone, anyone, who is willing to pay for it. I also know that you can literally do everything possible, literally move the earth, and it still not be enough to get your book noticed.
So I’m going to try to lay this out as clearly as possible and show the problems I have with how all this went down. First, the jest of it. To put it all into a nutshell (which, honestly, you can’t really do that and get the full story, but we can at least try to recap) a blogger wrote a review on a ARC copy they had received. Blogger did not like said book and gave reasons. Author got butthurt over a bad review and proceeded to post on her blog about her getting butthurt over the bad review. Blogger finds the post on the author’s blog and gets butthurt over the butthurt.
First, I’m going to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, in their own damn space. And I do mean everyone is entitled to their opinions. Personally, I think this whole “authors aren’t entitled to get hurt over a bad review and should grow a thicker skin” is a bunch of BS. If bloggers and readers are entitled to express their opinion publicly over how bad a book was to them, then by all the gods authors have the same damn right to express how much it pisses them off, or how much it hurts, to know that someone hates something that took them months, even years to write. Sure, we need to go about it with poise and grace and not go all crazy hunting down bloggers or readers who leave us bad reviews. We have to draw the line somewhere.
But in our own space, among our own fans and tribe, then yeah – we have every right to voice our butthurt.
Now granted, there are limitations to those rights. I said everyone has a right to express their own opinions in their own space. That means if you come onto MY blog post on MY website or onto MY social media thread and make a comment on MY threads, then you bet your sweet ass I’m going to defend myself. It’s my space, it’s my fans, and it’s my tribe that I’m moaning to. It’s my right to be bitchy in my own space. They get me. They understand.
It’s one thing to go into MY space and moan about my butthurt. I find nothing wrong with that. It’s when authors or bloggers go outside their own space and invade someone else’s to moan about the butthurt that I find unprofessional. And this is why I find this whole situation to be suspect.
The blogger in question admits her fellow blogger confronted the author after she came across the author’s butthurt post. And then she confronted the author herself. Let’s make this clear. The author posted a blog post on HER OWN WEBSITE. She was in HER private space, on HER website, expressing HER feelings about a review. The blogger admits to this openly, and has said this on at least one thread about all this.
Everyone on social media is calling out this author for acting unprofessional, yet the only unprofessional behavior I’m seeing here is a blogger who confronted an author after said author expressed how much a bad review hurt. In her own space. On her own social media accounts. The fact of the matter is, what started this whole thing was the author posted on her own personal blog about how much it hurt to get a bad review. And this is what happened, according to the blogger:
Okay, let’s make sure we have this straight. The blogger posted her review up on GR’s the same exact day the author posts her butthurt post on her website about seeing a bad review. Now, here is where I’m having more problems about all this. The author states the review she was referring to in her blog post was one she had seen on Booksprout, a website specializing in ARC reviews. Below is the author telling one of the bloggers this:
For those who do not know, when an author offers ARC copies of a book through Booksprout, we have access to see those reviews DAYS before they actually hit the platform they are being posted for. In the case of Amazon and GoodReads, I’ve seen a lag time of as much as four days from the time the review showed up on my Booksprout dashboard til the day it actually showed up on the platform it was posted to. So yeah, I absolutely believe the author when they said they were talking about a review they saw through Booksprout. The blogger assumes the author is speaking about her review because it was the first one posted on Goodreads. However, it is very possible the author was looking at her Booksprout dashboard and seeing a review on THERE that hadn’t actually posted to Goodreads yet. I know the blogger has said she knows it was her review the author was talking about because hers posted to GR first. But, as I said, when you do your ARCs through BookSprout and the reviews post through there, they show up on the author’s dashboard as much as 4 DAYS before the review actually posts on some of these platforms. So, yes, it absolutely is entirely possible the author really was talking about a completely different review that only she could see on GR at the time.
These “assumptions” being made are the very reason why no one should ever confront anyone about a bad review. It wasn’t okay for the blogger to confront the author over her posting in her own space about the review, any more than it’s okay for an author to confront a reviewer or a blogger or a reader about a bad review. Sure, bemoan about it on your own website, page, social media, private groups, etc. but do NOT call out or confront whoever left you the review. By the blogger’s own admission, that is not what happened here. The blogger actually hunted down the author and confronted the author on the author’s own social media pages and platforms. Despite the author apologizing and trying to tell the blogger she was misunderstanding which review she was speaking of, the blogger just wouldn’t let it go.
This is not okay. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why people think it was okay for the reviewer to do this.
And honestly, judging by what was posted on the blogger’s website about all this, if the screenshots taken are as bad as things got with the author, then quite frankly I honestly do not see what the problem is. The author was in her own space. The blogger invaded that personal space to call her out.
If this is not what happened then someone please fill me in. Cause I’ve been all over the blogger’s website and from what I’m reading, this is what happened.
Now – the fall out. The author was dropped by her publisher. Great. The author has been forced to completely erase her social media accounts and start all over again – from scratch. I find it ironic that the blogger specific states on a blog post over all this “I’ve seriously considered giving up everything I’ve spent years working my ass of [sic] for with our blog.” And yet this is EXACTLY what the author in question was forced to do – all because she defended her right on her own blog to post what she wanted to on her own blog.
Hell, maybe the author went totally ape shit and said some really shitty things. I don’t know. Since all her social media is gone now, I have no way of looking into this any further. All I have to go off of is what the blogger herself posted and the screenshots she took. And as I said, from where I’m sitting, I only see one person who was behaving unprofessionally – and it wasn’t the author.
The reviewer struck first, and if someone comes after you in your own space, then I say all fucking bets are off. You would get upset if someone came into your house and started badmouthing your family, right? Same damn principle. From what I’m seeing, the author was merely defending herself.
But as I said, maybe I’m missing something, or a lot of somethings.
But I will say this.
The blogger keeps saying we need a change in the book world.
We absolutely do.
We need for everyone to stop thinking they are the only ones that matter. If authors aren’t willing to write, then bloggers won’t have their review blogs. If authors aren’t willing to give away ARCs, then a lot of reviewers won’t have their blogs or be able to read books for free. And if bloggers and reviewers aren’t willing to review then authors won’t have nearly as many reviews on their books.
Let’s face it – we need each other.
But we also need to respect each other’s right to voice our opinions.
Stop confronting each other. Reviewers, write your reviews and be done with it.
Authors, don’t read the damn reviews and if you stumble across one, take the butthurt with a grain of salt.
Yes, it fucking hurts. Bloggers, do you hear what I’m saying? You know how much it hurts when authors get pissy about your bad review? Yeah, we’re hurting just that damn much because we opened ourselves up to ridicule when we opted to publish – kinda like you did when you decided to post your review. It fucking hurts when someone pisses all over your hard work, regardless of whether that hard work is in the form of a book or a book review.
So everyone, please, can we just pull our heads out of collective asses and get back to what matters – writing?
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!
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!
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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!
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.
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.