Category Archives: Diary of an Angry Indie Author.

Author Musings-When Your Family & Friends Don’t Read Your Book

I came across an interesting discussion on Twitter the other day. A fellow author had posed a question to us in the writing community.

Why doesn’t my family or friends read my work?

I was shocked and amazed at how similar everyone’s answer was and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. It was as if the silent question that had reverberated through my mind for years had been exposed and I realized it wasn’t just me asking the question.

Now, before any of my family or friends gets uppity-I love that word. Uppity- this is not a bashing blog post. I know someone is bound to get their panties in a knot, but just chill out, okay?

I came to several conclusions as I read responses and I suppose I wanted to share those as I finally address the somewhat forbidden question.

Your family and friends see you differently.

Your family has known you all your life. They know the good and they have witnessed the bad. To them you are not an author who actually has fans that anticipate your upcoming books. You’re the person they saw on a daily basis for many years and to even contemplate the notion that there are some out there who find you clever, amusing, or interesting is not something they can wrap their head around.

They may have a tinge of pride, but to them, they have watched you grow up and have read your Facebook status, complete with spelling and grammar errors.  To them you are a sister, a daughter, a cousin, or a mother.

Your friends have also been there for many aspects of your life and they have probably been privy to more than your family on some aspects of your character. They might support you and inquire every so often on what you have been up to, but are your friendships built on what you, or they do, for work or is it something deeper?

I know, for me personally, because I’m a writer, that if someone in my family or one of my friends wrote a book, I would read it.  If someone wrote a book that I knew, I would advertise it and share the links because that’s just what you do out of respect.

But on the other hand, do I like every photo or blog post that they share? No. I don’t.  Do I ask them all the time about their work? Nope, not really.

So, at the end of the day, am I just as guilty or is it because our work shouldn’t define our relationships with other people?

It’s an interesting question to pose because although our profession shouldn’t define us, it is still a big part of our lives. Perhaps we’re all guilty of discounting our family and friends’ work because we are more interested in other things that are going on with their lives.

They May Be Worried They Won’t Like Your Book

Let’s just get this out of the way before we move on. Guess what? Your family or friends may not like what you wrote and they don’t want to read it because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

I write fantasy/paranormal romance. I write stories with profanity and sometimes graphic sex scenes. Do I think my male cousins or religious friends are going to want to read that?

Yeah…no.

It’s cool. I get it. I think the issue with your family and friends not reading your stuff may also be because they don’t think they will be able to differentiate the main character and yourself. We all put something of ourselves into our writing and perhaps the images of you being the heroine may not be what they want to picture or read about.

Especially if there are sex scenes.

You may argue that’s not very mature and they should still support you, but let’s cut them some slack.

Moving on…

They Read Your Work and Hated It, But They Don’t Want to Hurt Your Feelings.

I’m going to put this out there right now. I read my first book and all I could see were errors. I have since had my first book edited heavily and I am now happy with it, but I can never go back to when it was first released.

After taking the time over the last few months to reformat my books, I can see a massive difference in my writing from when I started, but will your family and friends only remember the bad and that’s what’s holding them back from reading or supporting any more of your work?

Perhaps they have and they still don’t like any of your books. Maybe they just want to spare your feelings and are actually being kind. I can respect that, but do us self-published authors a favor. At the very least, share when we release a new book. Who knows? Maybe one of your friends will enjoy it more than you.

The Validation Question

Why do we write to begin with? Everyone may have a different philosophy. We may not want to admit this, but we do it for some kind of validation.

I can only tell you why I write and it’s not an easy admission for me to write down for everyone to see but here it is.

I write my stories because I want to read them. I do it for me and no one else. I started this journey because I was lost. I was a wife and a mother and for a long time those two things defined me. But I wanted more of an identity and I felt like my brain was bursting at the seams with stories.

I wanted to share them and I suppose, in a way, the more I wrote, the more I started to understand myself. It’s truly amazing. I found myself in my writing. That may sound corny, but it’s the truth. I felt more comfortable in my skin that I ever had before and it was empowering.

It still is actually.

I guess I have this need to share it with my family and friends because I want them to get me and get who I really am because I’m there in every line and every chapter that I write. I have shut myself off a bit since embracing the fact that, yes, I’m a writer, and I suppose this is my way of having a deep desire to give something of myself back to my loved ones since becoming distant.

What our family and friends need to realize that this is us. These words that we write are ourselves, open and bare for all to read. It’s deeply personal and as raw as it gets. You only have to look to realize this and that is why we want those closest to us to read our work.

We want them to know who we really are and we want to let them into our brain the only way we know how.

With words.

Perhaps we don’t express our feelings effectively, but everyone needs validation of their existence on some level and this is our way. You may not realize this and that’s okay. I don’ think we even admit this to ourselves very often.

Is it Really That Important for our Family and Friends To Read Our Work?

Yes and no.

It’s important for us to have our family and friends interested in our work. Just as it is equally important to be interested in theirs. We have to ask ourselves if we have also given our full support in their lives before we question their lack of enthusiasm.

After much research, I have come to the conclusion that to me, it’s not such a big deal as it used to be. I do not expect anyone I know to buy my books. I am happy doing my own thing and writing whatever I want without the worry that someone may not like it.

I know, I know, I always say it, but I can’t express this sentiment enough.

Write for yourself and no one else.

Don’t write for your family or friends. Don’t write a story that is more marketable or mainstream just because you want to be rich and famous.

Just write stories that mean something to you and only you.

Because when you’re all alone in front of your computer, it’s just you. There’s no one else and quite honestly, I kind of like that.

I put this poem in my first book, Isle of Skye. I used it because it had always spoke to me and I think it’s the perfect way to end this blog post.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 
Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 
It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 
~Shannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Editor Dilemma…a Collaborative Tale with Val Day-Sanchez

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When I usually collaborate with Val, I post my view first and then post her take on whatever subject we are writing about, but today I am doing things differently. I am letting Val’s article be proudly displayed front and center.

 

Val’s Take:

As an Indie Author you are in charge of creating, publishing, writing, editing, selling, promoting really doing any and everything associated with writing a book.  So if you are like me and have a family, a job, (or two or three) you find yourself seeing your shortcomings.  Like you may be great a weaving a tale, but you may be awful at sighting grammatical errors so you think; “hey I’m trying to move my family to a new city, find my 5 year old a school, rent out our house, start a new job, finish a novel-while publishing another, I think I’ll hire someone to help me edit, it’s not my favorite thing to do, and I really don’t have time.”  So you do some research, find someone that won’t break the bank and get your book edited.  After all the  first go around it went great!  You’re reviews were exemplary they made you doubt that you put something out there that was so well received and then the third book happens and your editor screws you over.

They send you a fake edited manuscript, guarantee their work, and you believe them and publish it.  In case you’re thinking Valerie why did you trust them?!  It’s because as an indie author I have met amazing people from around the world.  All of which are not very affluent, and so dedicated to their work rather than the profit, you start to feel that you are a part of a tight-knit community that supports one another, that wants to see you thrive.  They too are also less concerned with money but completely engaged in the art that is being produced, so you trust people as if we are all intertwined in this creative community that looks out for one another and then you realize that there are still sharks.

These sharks want your money and they don’t care how many years you have waited to pursue your dream.  They don’t care how your only wish was to see your work in print, to have your name among authors, your heroes.  This carelessness leads to them giving you horrible work that you then publish and receive a backlash of reviews for, because the small fan base you have managed to acquire feel disappointed and betrayed that you would put something out that was so unpolished.  The readers don’t realize that you made a mistake and trusted the wrong person.

This blog is an apology as well as a rant as well as a warning.  If you want to pursue your dreams be careful who you ask to aid you on your journey.  I asked fellow author Shannon Barczak if she to has experienced such woes during her journey in self-publishing and she had this to say.

 

My Take:

 

Val’s view on this is written eloquently and with passion. I felt like raising my fist in joyful solidarity when she emailed it to me.

I am not going to be as nice as Val on this subject because quite frankly, I am ticked off on her behalf, and I also have a tremendous amount of guilt weighing heavily on my shoulders.

Several months ago, I found a reasonably priced editor. I checked out her website and her references. I crossed my fingers and sent her my manuscript, as well as, half her required payment.

At first glance, I thought she did a good job, but then I noticed a few discrepancies and I was disappointed. I chalked it up to a lesson learned and moved on.

If I acquired any useful knowledge about the experience is that she used the Macro widget on Word to plug in overused words and adverbs. I, being a newbie, had no idea about this wonderful invention, so when I became aware that I could do that by myself, I was psyched.

In my disappointment and new found Word prowess I had forgotten that I had mentioned her to Val. I saw that she used her as an editor and I figured that she had better luck than me so I wasn’t going to mention my experience because I didn’t want to cast any doubts in her mind if she was happy with her choice of editors.

When I received Val’s email describing her recent disappointing situation, I wanted to email this person myself on Val’s behalf, and write a profanity laced letter.

Val touched on something that I think is extremely accurate. As an Indie Author, we do come into contact with great people that are in the same boat as us and we form an immediate kinship. We do support one another and when one of our own gets the shaft, we take up arms and batten down the literary hatches as one.

I think what is important to convey to everyone, is that as an Indie Author, we wear many hats and it is always a relief to find someone that offers us a service to help make our lives easier.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are or how vigilante we are in checking references and reviews, we can still be taken in by someone with no conscience.

The simple reason is greed. You can spout off different excuses, but it all comes down to money in the end.

All I have to say is, shame on you.

How dare you take a writer’s manuscript and not do what you say you are going to do.

A copy of a writer’s book is like an extension of themselves. In some way, it is our baby, our child that we nurtured from nothing but a thought and developed them into full blown characters with a history, as well as, a future.

When we give it to someone else to read or edit, we are trusting that person to help make it better. It’s like when we send our kids off to school and we pray that they are kept safe, and that they receive the love and attention they deserve.

To have someone that poses as an editor not fulfill their obligation can be crushing and I have to believe in a little thing known as karma because Val did not deserve that nor did her book.

If you have read my blog posts or know me personally, you might have an idea on what I did when learning this news.

This editor received my favorite kind of greeting when I pulled up her email…my trusty middle finger.

 

 

 

 

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.

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First off, let’s take a moment to pay homage to one of my favorite movies ‘Dazed and Confused’. I love this movie. It is one of my favorites and if you can’t randomly identify or throw out quotes from this example of fine cinematic greatness, then you probably shouldn’t be my friend.

Okay, now that I have got that out of the way…

I saw something today that stunned me a bit. I was perusing the books being promoted on a few Facebook groups and I clicked on a link because the book looked interesting.

I read the synopsis and then I came to the end. I know that I am a relatively new author, but I know my way around the kindle book store and I have never ( can you hear me emphasis never?) ever, seen this before.

At the end of the book blurb, the author, wrote that if a reader is dissatisfied with the book and is tempted to give it 3 stars or less to please write her or her publisher before submitting such a review.

I’m sorry. She didn’t say please, she used the word implore. She implored you the reader not to leave a bad review.

Anyone who uses the word implore means business…that’s all I’m saying.

I was confused, shocked and I have to admit, a little amused by the plea.

I almost felt like writing a review on her book blurb. I wanted to say “Sweetie, you’re in the wrong business,” but I didn’t. Instead I have been stewing about it all afternoon.

Writing a book is hard. That is a fact that every intelligent person is aware of in this world. Publishing a book is even harder. Not only are you selling a piece of your soul for anyone to read, but you are also inviting criticism which can lead you to be brokenhearted.

It’s a terrifying proposition, but it is one you must consider before you publish. Every, single, author has had a bad review. I don’t care who you are, we all have had them and does it sting? Yes, of course, but I believe it is what also makes us be a better writer.

We all know about the buying of bogus reviews. If I see a book that has 300 four or five star reviews with not a single naysayer then I am now suspicious. I hate it. I wish I wasn’t weary, but I am now.

I wish I could speak to all the readers who didn’t like one of my books, but I can’t and you know what? It’s okay. I realize some people may not like profanity and graphic sex scenes and that’s why I write a disclaimer. If I see a review that mentions it, then I have to admit, I don’t lose sleep over their words because I’m honest about what I put out there.

My early reviews mentioned typos and whatnot so I fixed them. I read the criticism and agreed. I finally admitted that I needed help and I couldn’t do it on my own.

I took the words to heart and I am a much better writer now.

I have had two one star reviews. Now, I don’t think that’s bad considering I have published seven books, but boy it sucked to read that they thought my story was silly.

There’s no other word for it. It sucked. Big time.

Those are the times you put on your big girl panties and move on with a smile.

I’m not trying to make fun of or bash this author. I know how hard it is to get those bad reviews, but trust me when I say that at the end of the day, those reviews are what makes us stronger as authors.

There’s a part of me that wants to reach out to this author and tell her how I feel. I wish I could convey to her in the nicest way possible that frankly it sounded a bit pathetic and that she doesn’t need to persuade people to like her book, but she needs to believe it herself.

Part of being an adult is that we can move forward even after hearing or seeing something that makes us upset or hurt. We acknowledge our faults and try to use them for personal growth.

I would much rather hear a person speak the truth than listen to their lies. The thought of begging someone to like my books is ridiculous. My stories are a part of me and if you don’t like them then that’s cool.

I like them and in the end that is all that matters.

Write for yourself and no one else…have I mentioned that, like, a million times already?

 

 

 

 

 

Go Fund Yourself: A Realistic View on Self-Publishing Costs

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So I have noticed something interesting the last few weeks and I actually took time out of my insane writing schedule to address this particular topic.

I came across several different posts on Facebook, either posted by an aspiring author or friends/family of an author, that has set up a Go Fund Me account.

I was shocked to say the least, especially after reading the more in-depth funding page that tells the story, and asks for money. I’m going to be honest, the ones set up by family or friends, are very sweet and I’m not trying to be bitchy, but some of the pleas were a little ridiculous.

I actually read one that wanted people to donate money because they needed it for an editor, a proofreader, a beta reader, and an eBook format editor. They also asked for money so that they could quit their job to focus solely on their writing.

Oh, and did I mention that most of them hadn’t actually finished writing their books yet.

Say whaaattt?

I scratched my head over this and I swear I now have a new wrinkle forming on my forehead after scrunching up my face when I read these Go Fund Me pages.

Let’s break down the actual costs, but first I’m going to tell you aspiring self-publishing authors a secret.

It didn’t cost me a damn thing to publish my first book.

Okay, now that we got that admission out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

 

1) The most important thing is to….drum roll, please, FINISH YOUR DAMN BOOK FIRST BEFORE YOU THINK ABOUT PUBLISHING COSTS.

*Exhale*

Before you or anyone else of your loving family or friends sets up a Go Fund Me page, why don’t you finish writing your first draft? I get it, I really do understand what it takes to write a book. I’ve written seven and I’m almost finished with my eighth.

I have three kids. I know how hard it is to find time to write and I have been known to stay up into the wee hours of the morning because it was the only way I could get any quiet time. I know what it’s like to drag your ass out of bed after a few hours sleep.

I get it. I’m an author and guess what? There are thousands of us in this world and we all find the time to write because it’s what drives us to the brink of sleep deprivation and insanity. I’m sorry if you have a full time job, two kids, and a mortgage to pay. I know other authors who are in the same boat and they have never even thought to ask for money to help them on this journey.

But, I digress. So again finish your book first and then worry about the costs.

 

2) If you have finished your manuscript, then I have a tip for you. Put it in a drawer or hide the file on your computer and walk away for a few weeks or even a month.

See? I just saved you a bunch of money right there.

 

3) After you have taken some time off from your writing, go back over it and revise and edit several times.

Again, cost savings…huge.

 

4) When you are ready to throw up if you read another word you have written then you are ready to think about the future.

Now is the time to think about self-publishing vs. regular publishing. What route you decide is your decision and your decision alone.

I chose self-publishing for a few reasons.

-I was a little scared to death of submitting my work because it felt so personal to me,

and..

-I’m a control freak.

This will take a few weeks and the thinking process is entirely free!

 

5) If you chose the regular route of mainstream publishing, be aware that you will need to have a query letter. This is a one page letter in which you try to sell yourself and your book.

This wonderful one page letter can also be the source of many nightmares and plunge you into the depths of self-doubt so great that you will question your ability as a writer.

Also, be aware that the unwritten rule is that you can only query one publisher or agent at a time so get comfy.

 

This could save you thousands because it could take you a few months or a few years before getting a contract or generate any serious interest.

 

6) Self-publishing cost’s are all over the spectrum. You can go high-dollar or you can find some short cuts to ease the cost.

-Editor. The average cost for an editor is about $100 a page. If you have a 300 page book it can be out of reach, especially for most first timers.

There are some ways to save though. You can check Craigslist or run an ad yourself. Always ask for references if you do this though. You can do a Google search. You can check Goodreads as well. There are several people that do this on the side and most of them seem to be graduate students in the English Literature field.

You can also check with local colleges and grade schools. Again there might be teachers that want to make a little extra cash.

There are many different software programs as well, but I stick with Word. I thought that I could edit all by myself and that was a disaster. I am lucky to have a mother who worked as a paralegal for forty years and she slashes my manuscript as good as any pro editor out there.

-Copy Editor.

I actually think a copy editor is all you need if you self-publish. They focus on grammatical errors, spelling, and punctuation.

Average cost is around $30-$50 an hour. For an 80,000 word manuscript, you’re looking at $1000-$1200.

Again, look around because you might be able to slash the cost in half.

 

-Proofreader.

A proofreader goes over the manuscript after the editor to see if there are any glaring mistakes.

I see no use for them. You should be able to do it yourself.

 

-Beta Reader.

You absolutely do not need to hire a Beta reader. If you have friends or family that you trust to give you an honest opinion of your work then that is all you need.

If you don’t want to let anyone you know read your book, then think about joining a writing group. They have them in almost any town and you can also check out your local library for book clubs that might be interested.

 

-eBook Format Editor.

These guys can run anywhere from $199-$1999.

Look, I’m not a computer genius, but even I was able to format my first book. It takes time to get the kinks out, but after you do one, it does get easier.

 

7) Marketing.

I hate promoting. I am the worst at it, but I do it from time to time…moaning and groaning

First thing you need is a website and start blogging. The cost is free, but you will have to shell out about $20 bucks a year for your domain.

Second, get on Twitter. It is the BEST place for authors. You can connect with great people who are going through the same writing woes as you and everybody I have talked with are always very supportive.

Third, start a Facebook page. That’s pretty self-explanatory.

 

8) Don’t quit your day job!

It can take years for an author to really make any decent money. I know that you have stars in your eyes as you type away and dream of fame and fortune, but seriously, get your head out of your ass.

Can you make a good living? Yes, you can, but it doesn’t happen overnight so before you set up a Go Fund Me page, realize that no one wants to support you financially for the next several years.

Trust me, the lure of you being an author, will wear off quick for them.

 

In conclusion, yes it could cost an aspiring author thousands of dollars, but it doesn’t have to! The most important worry you should have is that you finish your book. You can take several months off and still be left staring at your computer screen.

I understand that there may be some great people out there who want to help, but the greatest assistance you can give an author is your support emotionally.

I have always said that if you want to publish your book, you will find a way. I think the best part of being an author, as far as publishing goes, is figuring it all out on your own because at the end of the day, no one cares more about your book than you do.

 

One last note..

Finish your book first before you hit me or anyone else up for money!

Diary of a Happy Indie Author!

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Before you say it, I know what you’re thinking.

Yes, this angry Indie author can be happy!

I decided since we just rang in a new year that I would write a positive article so we can feel optimistic for the months ahead of us.

 

Great things about being a self-published author:

 

1) We can write anything we want!

We are not held back by agents or publishers. We do not have to tone our writing down or conform to someone’s rules of publishing. We are now in an era where we can explore any genre we want and write it our way!

 

2) We have no deadlines.

We can be a week or a month late on our first or final drafts and no one is going to scream or threaten us… except maybe our loyal, fabulous fans.

 

3) We take home 70% of our royalties, unlike some that are with publishing houses and only get a measly 15-20%.

 

4) We don’t get rejection letters, but boy a few of those 1 or 2 star reviews can sting. In the end I would rather have a real reader tell me what they don’t like than someone who only took the time to read one or two chapters of my work.

 

5) We are constantly reaching out to our fans and readers through social media, and by doing so, we actually connect more because we truly want to hear from them and get to know them.

They are not nameless or faceless. We know who are you and we are thankful every single day for your continued support!

 

6) Freedom.

I always have the final say with my editor. If I feel something needs to be kept in my book, then guess what? I’m leaving it in!

Adverbs be damned.

 

7) Hitting save and publish is like no other feeling in the world. The sense of accomplishment and pride that you feel makes your cheeks ache from smiling so much.

 

8) Calling yourself a self-published author is no longer a whispered phrase that you utter when asked what you do for a living. You can hold your head high and proclaim loudly for all to hear.

“Yeah, I self-publish because I like having full control over my work and I’ve had four books and a cook book  that have all been on Amazon’s best seller lists.”

Booyah!

 

9) You have learned the art of selling yourself and your work, and in doing so, learned that you are stronger and more self-confident than you ever imagined.

 

10) This is your time. This is your year to set new goals and surprise yourself. Write, edit…edit again and publish.

You got this!

 

In conclusion, don’t sell yourself short and grab this year by the balls.

This is not a time for maybe and if’s, but a time for heck yeah, I’m doing it my way!

 

 

 

 

Diary of an Angry Indie Author: Questions you should never ask me.

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This picture represents how I feel when certain questions are asked of me time and time again. Every writer and self-published author knows exactly what I am referring to, but I thought I would write up this little blog post for those people that may be unaware of our exasperation when we are posed some of these more inane questions about our profession.

1) So when are your books going to be published for real?

What I generally say is this: I have been contacted by a few publishers, but I did not feel like their company was a good fit for me ( truth) I’m doing pretty well on my own, and I’m content in my current position.

What I want to say: Oh, I’m sorry, my books which are available on Amazon to over 100 million people is what? Not real enough for you?

Never, ever, ask this to a self-published author. It’s degrading and insulting.

 

2) How long does it take you to write a book?

What I generally say is this: It all depends.

What I want to say is this: I don’t know, how long does it take you to do your job? I’m not on a time clock. You can’t measure how long a book can take to write. It can be two weeks, two months or two years.

 

3) Why do you write paranormal romance?

What I generally say is this: Because I like this genre and I truly felt I could bring to the table a fresh voice with my stories.

What I want to say is this: Why the f*ck do you write about your kids, favorite sports teams, political views or even religious views on Facebook? It’s because those are the things that interest you.

Vampires, magic, dragons, and faeries interest me, ok?

I’m sorry if it’s not some thought provoking book that you can show off to your snobby, intellectual friends and say ‘ hey I know the author.’

Also, aren’t you on my Facebook? Haven’t you read any of my posts or liked my page and read my blog? If you did, ‘friend’, you wouldn’t ask me that.

Let me also apologize for having an imagination…no one should say ever.

 

4) How much money do you make?

What I always say: I do surprisingly all right.

What I really want to say: It’s none of your f*cking business.

 

5) Can I be in one of your books, or at least the dedication?

What I usually say: I’ll think about it.

What I want to say: Sure, I need someone to pick on or kill off, thanks for making it easier on me by suggesting yourself.

 

6) How do you actually go about writing a book?

What I say: Every writer is different in their approach.

What I want to say: How the hell should I know? I wing it and hope it turns out okay.

There is no right answer for this people!

 

and my favorite….

 

7) It’s pretty easy, right? You just sit around in your pajamas, write when you want, and you don’t really have a real job?

 

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If you are ever asked this question, I would suggest you either smile and laugh or feel free to bitch slap the offenders face.

Let me tally up my hours and pit them against yours ass wipe. I’m not just talking about writing. I’m also talking about editing, research, marketing, blogging, social media e.t.c.

 

In conclusion:

I love when people want to talk about my writing, but please use common sense.

It’s not much to ask really…

Diary of an angry Indie Author: Paying for book reviews

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” The worst thing about being lied to, is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.” – Unknown

 

I didn’t want to write this article. I have been dragging my heels all week, but I feel that I must. I came across several columns during my research on why publishers seem to hate us Indie authors and in doing so, I stumbled upon authors paying for book reviews.

I was shocked at first. I can only blame my naivety on my newfound profession, but there it was, glaring at me in the face.

People pay for book reviews, correction, authors pay for book reviews. What I found though was that it was not just self-published authors, but several well-known authors who not only paid for book reviews, but also paid for lousy reviews to be posted on their competitors work as well.

I’m trying to see their side of the story and figure out the reasoning behind all of this.

I came across many people saying that they did it to give their book a push.

Ok, I get it. It’s a tough world and with thousands of books  being published a month it can be difficult to stand out in the vast crowd.

I also read that major publishers have been doing it for years so it wasn’t really a big deal.

Several authors have had great success because of this service and it has helped them tremendously.

Here’s the thing though. To someone like me who works their tail off and tries to do things honestly, it irks me. I have tried to, in a way, identify with the plight of other self-published authors who have bought reviews, but I’m having trouble trying to make sense out of it in my mind.

I understand that good reviews posted about our books is like finding a twenty dollar bill in the street. It’s a great surprise, and it makes you smile all day long.

I have also read the not so great reviews and have felt the small tug of my heart. I know that having a thick skin is mandatory when you’re a writer, but it still stings nonetheless.

What I can’t fathom for the life of me is why anyone would want a false review about their book. It’s just not real. It’s fake. It’s cheating in a way.

You can submit your book for a free review to numerous bloggers, but is the thought that there’s no guarantee that they will like it too terrifying and if it is so scary, why would you even publish your book in the first place?

Look, not everyone is going to like your book. That’s just a fact of life in an authors world. I have a confession. I didn’t enjoy ‘Of Mice and Men’. I can’t explain why, but I just didn’t care for this literary classic. I disliked the book greatly in high school, and I tried to read it again as an adult, but to no avail. It does nothing for me. Hate me if you must, but that is just my honest opinion.

I respect Steinbeck though, (East of Eden is astonishingly brilliant) just as I admire any author who works hard and enlightens so many.

I thought about him the other day. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and I couldn’t help but think, what would they have to say about this? I have a feeling Hemingway in particular would have a few choice words.

I would rather have fifty bad reviews and only one star review because at least I would know that it was honest. I didn’t start writing so I could pay someone off to write me a good review. I put my work out there with an open heart and, of course, I want people to love it as much as I do, but if they don’t, then that’s okay.

Living your life on falsehoods is no way to exist. Unfortunately, after all my research, every time I look at the reviews written, I am now going to question if it is real or not.

That is what fills me with a touch of sadness and a whole lot of anger.