Sunday, December 18, 2011

Author Etiquette Rule 4

Where did the week go?  It slid by with alarming quickness.  So fast, in fact, that despite my intention to write a mid-week entry and go visit the other blogs on the Twelve Days of Christmas list, I sit here today grouchy and out of sorts.  Well, that is one of the reasons.  The other reason is that New Baby has hit a growth spurt, AGAIN, and decided eating is more important than sleep.
Readers, let me tell you, it is amazing how quickly this boy grows.  At 3.5 mths, he has now made his way into the 6-9 mth size clothing.  How is this possible?  His brother was a chunky one, yes, but did not grow out of his clothes nearly so fast!
I have moved past the mourning phase of my character's death.  It still saddens me, and that is a great place to write from, but it no longer has me halted without words.  I'm up to 138,000 words.  I meant to get up to an even 140,000 on Aeris this week, but I've needed a nap every day, and with New Baby's schedule being off, I find that my writing time has become very limited.  It's catch-as-catch-can these days.  Ah well, I knew it would be.
I would just like to thank the reader who sent me the lovely email last week, telling me she was willing to wait, even if the book didn't come out till spring.  Those are good words to hear, because even though I'm almost(yes, almost!) done with Luka's story line, I still have Zyander to tackle and he has been a bit difficult this time around. :)

So, on to my next rule for authors, and this one, IMHO, applies directly to the indies of the world.  Remember that forums count as an online presence.

Now it's certainly true that we all have our own private(ish) online handles that we use when we go forum hopping.  I am a recovered Sims addict, and back in the day I would spend hours online discussing it with other Sims addicts.  But then there is the "author persona" we adopt when we go online as our author selves.  I've been to a few different places online where authors interact, but I'm going to use MY favorite, and the one I've mentioned a few times on this blog: Kindleboards.

Ah, Kindleboards, land of the kindle reader, spicy soup of the hopeful author.  When you go to the Writer's Cafe, which I have frequented, you will find a variety of things, as a reader, that will make you CRINGE.

1) The "Woe is me, I got a bad review, readers suck" post.  Let me just clarify... sometimes these can be hilarious posts, filled with self-deprecating humor and good will.  When that happens, you come off looking great.  But when your post is filled with the whiny complaints of an author who can't STAND to see someone hate their book, you don't look so great.  Not everyone is going to like your book.  If you can't accept that now, then this is SOOOO not the industry for you.  When you put your books in a public forum, you have to accept that they will be praised and reviled publicly.  Instead, focus on reaching YOUR AUDIENCE.  A few good reviews by people who actually like your quirky book on leprechaun love stories will go much farther than a one star review where someone says, "This book is for people who don't like good books."  If I were a reader, I wouldn't take it seriously.  Remember that readers CARE what you say about them.  As a reader, I pay attention to what writers say.  A surefire way to turn me off of you FOREVER is to B-I-T-C-H about another reader.

2)  The "come visit my blog, I'm awesome" post.  Kindleboards have pretty strict rules on where you can advertise your book or blog.  But there is a space where you can toot your own horn, so to speak, and invite people to read your newest post.  I guess if you're an awesome blogger, like Robin Sullivan, you could do something like that and still be awesome.  If you're Joe Schmoe writer who I've never heard of?  You just come off as arrogant.  Instead of making empty posts that really only point back to yourself, make it a point to visit other bloggers and engage with THEM.  It's what I talked about earlier.  Care about others and it will come back to you, I promise.

3)  "I'm posting something I hope people will argue about" post.  I made the mistake of doing this myself, once.  Ooops.  In my case, it was an honest mistake, as I was linking to a Konrath post I thought was interesting.  I forgot that his subject matter can be quite radioactive sometimes and inadvertently started a firestorm of posts.  I posted the link that morning and later that afternoon, came back to about 7 pages of people arguing over it.  I was shocked.  I was also shocked by the vehemence of the arguing.  It was almost as if these people had forgotten that READERS visit the writer's cafe.  Yes, that's right, your sniping and carrying on, your pettiness, all those are being witnessed by potential readers, so let's all try our best to NOT engage in that.  It just doesn't look great, unless you can do it in a way that isn't going to seem negative, which is hard to do when arguing a point.

4) And the fourth and final no-no... posting about sales  (or talking about it too much in someone else's post).  And no, I don't think there is anything wrong with a healthy celebration over good sales or talking about trying out different price points.  We are in a business, after all.  It's actually pretty healthy to view yourself as a business entity, because it helps you to take the sales rise and fall cycles with a grain of salt.  What I'm talking about are the people that post OVER AND OVER (and yes, if I wanted to, I could name names) about their lackluster sales.  "I only sold 2 books this month."  I see the same person say that every time someone talks about sales.  I get that it is disappointing, but first of all, saying you are barely selling doesn't make me want to take a chance on you.  It makes me think there is a REASON you're not selling.  Whether it's because your book sucks or it's just in a niche genre I wouldn't be interested in.  Second of all, when you talk about it ALL THE TIME on EVERY FORUM, it seems like you have your head up your ass.  Sorry.  That is frank talk, but it's the truth as I see it.  And again, I want to reiterate that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH TALKING ABOUT YOUR SALES OR LACK THEREOF.  It's just the obsession that doesn't come off well.

I could go on and on with this, but dinner calls.  There may be another post on this one.  :)  Hope all of you are hitting your goals this close to the final days of ROW, and that you have a Merry Christmas.  (or whatever you celebrate this holiday season!)

Happy Reading!
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