Savvy authors distance themselves from those less savvy
Listen up. I was dumb as rock when I entered our digital universe. I signed a seven book contract with an online publisher that was the pits. They did not move sweet romance books. I went to the publisher’s Skype forums and was told SEX SELLS. So? The other authors sneered at me because I wrote sweet romance. I wanted out. Took two years. A senior editor moved on to open her own business. She was gonna help me to the tune of $1000. Paid her. Later, I learned she had been fired. I won’t go into everything that happened, but I will tell you this: I had the common sense to know I was getting scammed. My bad. I was easy prey. I stopped on a dime and learned this indie publishing business. eNovel Authors At Work is the result of that dime.
Yes, we all need help. I asked a colleague whose name I recognized as having been with the same trad publisher as I had, and she directed me to a pair of books. I bought and read those books. I’ve read them several times over, because I did NOT know the language. Blog? Oh, you mean an article? Next I figured out blog is both a noun and verb. What the heck is a bot? An ASIN? Where the heck do I find those suckers? I never heard of an algorithm, even in Physics class. Each step of my learning experience, I reread the books and discovered I understood more and more. Now, I understand every blamed word in those books. Yes. I do. My experience also turned me into a skeptic. Not a day goes by that I don’t question some feature of a promotion, or a promoter–or an author’s agenda. I’m not tech savvy so I still run into snags. But! A service provider such as a formatter, editor or cover artist or indie author who is dishonest has a short shelf life in my tiny sphere of this business.
Yes, I still ask for help from savvier colleagues
but I’ve learned to give value in return. I promote their books. I send business their way. I send a small Thank You gift. I buy their books.
Which brings me to my topic. I spend time in associate forums and lend a hand where I can. I know how to write a book. I know how to promote a book. I know how to sell a book. In one forum there was clarion call for a list of free and inexpensive promoters. I posted the link to a site that had such a list. Next an author said she could not find the list on the site I posted and asked me to download and email her the list.
Uh. No. Honey, I ain’t your personal assistant.
And therein lies the reason I’m having a South Alabama redneck hissy fit. That kind of author can suck you dry. They want to be spoon fed. At some point each of us has to get down in the trenches and learn how to get the job done. We learn from mistakes, mishaps and misdirection. That does not mean we cannot seek advice from a colleague. Hey! First Ask Google. Ask Wikipedia. Ask Amazon.
Entitlement. We are not entitled to the next author’s skill, craft, ehow or time. All of which is a valuable commodity. Everything I learn is on this site or a sister site is in PLAIN ENGLISH. Misinformation and rumor is rife in the indie universe, especially about Amazon and Bookbub and Reviews. Read the TOS. If you don’t understand it ASK and keep asking until the question is sorted and you get it. I see trad pubbed and indie authors in business for themselves every day. Here’s why: They want to get paid for their knowledge. They ain’t giving it away for free. I do, because I know my limitations and I don’t want to go into business. I’m good right where I’m at.
An author I trusted referred me to site as wonderful for creating covers. Worst experience with a cover artist I ever had. Cost me $300. Plus, I had to ask a colleague to step in and repair the cover so I could use it. So! I revisited the Author Resources and Useful Links pages on eNovel. NO service gets on those pages now unless a member has used it successfully.
I preach know who you’re talking to and listening to in this business. I recently saw a post in which an author was praising a promotion site. The author gave a thumbs up to the site saying it moved books. I looked at her books. All of ’em. Honey, her books are so low in stats they could sell Gorilla Glue because they’re stuck at the bottom. I know books sink in stats. Mine do when I’m not in promotion. So, I put the author’s books in an ebook tracker to check the stats for the past six months. Ranked in the millions for months. I also checked the site. It gives you a little bit free and next starts trying to get into your wallet.
Usually when I post a blog, I fill it with live links…Not doing so today. Here’s why: You won’t click on those links to learn our industry. Nope. Not my problem. You can find the books I read in Author Resources. Adding this: I adore indie authorship. I love Amazon and Kindles. We are living and publishing in historic times. It can be ugly or good. It is what we make of it. And that is a wrap of this rant. Y’all have a good one.
Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Add to the discussion.