Sunday, November 27, 2011

Author Etiquette Rule 2

First, good news!  I am happy to announce to my fellow ROWers, I have finished Nikka's story line in Aeris.  Yay!  I'm at 132,500ish words.  It feels so good to have that chunk of the book done (except for a few things I'll be editing in) and now I'm onto Luka's story line.  I'm kind of avoiding Zyander right now, hahaha.

I still think the final word count will be close to 170,000 words, but I'm hopeful to get the rest of the book done this month, unless my kids keep getting sick and depriving me of sleep, that is.  New Baby had the croup earlier on in the week, which was kind of scary because I've handled BAD asthma before, when I was a nanny, but never croup and all I know about it I read from Anne of Green Gables.  So I had to put in a call to the doc, and I've had two sick children keeping me up all night, basically with no break or naps all week long.  Needless to say, my writing has suffered.  I have higher hopes for next week.

On to the next segment of author etiquette: Author Response.  For this section, I want to talk about reviews.  We live in a small online world.  Because of the ease of access, it is simple to get keep records on everything said or commented in this world.  It's important to remember that as an author, because sometimes our emotions lead us down paths that we don't plan for.  Here are the examples I can think of off the top of my head:
1) Commenting on reviews for your book.
2) Commenting on reviews for other books.
3) Commenting on blogs.

Let's start with number one.  Everyone gets a scathing review at least once.  If you haven't gotten one yet, you will eventually.  It's a no-brainer.  It may not be a one star review, but someone is definitely going to rake you over the coals and make your skin sting.  That being said, no matter WHAT someone may say about your book, it's probably not the best idea to comment on it in a negative way.  First, it makes you look petty and insecure and second, it's just not professional.
There is also the case of commenting on a good review.  I know there are a lot of authors out there who thank readers for their review.  That is certainly an individual's prerogative, but again, I recommend not, simply because again, it looks petty, especially if you only say thanks for the good ones. :)  Not that we're not all tempted, of course!
Imagine it from the reader's perspective for a minute.  If you have something to say about a book, and it's personal opinion, how safe would you feel giving that opinion, if you feel like you can't be honest?  Places like goodreads are supposed to be a safe space for readers to come and talk about what they're reading, whether they like a book or not.  If the dialogue becomes about "shaming" the reader into always being nice, then why are we even there?  Goodreads isn't about everyone having the same opinion about something.  For instance, one of the reviewers I respect the MOST on goodreads has a completely different opinion on the book Evermore than I do.  That is OKAY.  And hopefully, the author of that book realizes that my 5 star review is just as valid as her one star review.  My reasons for liking it are as different as her reasons for hating it.  Again, that is OKAY. :)

This leads me to topic #2, commenting on OTHER author's book reviews.  Recently, I came across some goodreads drama, when another of my favorite reviewers, lambasted a book that to be honest I've never read.  Another author among the goodreads clan (an indie) took it upon herself to take this reviewer to task on her style of reviewing.  Needless to say, this is just as bad as arguing with a review of one of your own books.  This author was openly challenged and derided for trying to stifle free speech on goodreads.  Not the best way to get attention, let me just say.  Respectful debate is always welcomed, but I think that your best bet is to keep a professional tone and not get pulled into making explosive statements which let me assure you WILL come back to bite you.

In the third example, I point you to blogs like JA Konrath, The Sparkle Project, and Drenched in Words, where one author after another says things about readers, reviewers and sites that would make most readers cringe.  Authors, we love your books, but sometimes we don't.  Please don't hate us forever because we can't like everything or make everyone happy.  And certainly don't say something like this: "Goodreads continues to make me miserable almost daily. I can't go a week without checking to see how far my rating has slipped. Then I go and check out the one and two star reviews to see what nasty things people have to say about me. Then I go and try to determine why a person who is supposedly my friend gave me four stars when they should obviously give me five. Are they just pretending to like me? Then I try to hunt down people who gave my book 5 stars and see whether they just do it for everyone. Then I curse people who gave my book a bad rating and yet say they didn't finish it. Then I compare readers' ratings for other books to mine to see what books they liked more than mine. Then I perform scientific experiments to see how long I can remain on Goodreads before the vein on the side of my head starts to turn blue. "

There are many things I could say about the above paragraph, and some of them will be for a later addition, but for now, I will simply say, saying you hate goodreads is like saying you hate readers.  It's a site MADE for readers.  Readers are what keep you in business.  Let's all try to remember that as we go forward.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Author Etiquette Rule 1

So, hello all in the internet, reader and writer.  First a quick status update.  As of right now, I'm at 128,000 words for Aeris.  I'm deep in my groove now, and the words are flying out of my fingers whenever I can scrounge up the time to devote to them.  My new method of attack?  I ditched the idea of continuing to write the three stories simultaneously.  The book has become so long that it was mentally debilitating (not an exaggeration) to continue to write on it day after day, word after word, and know in my heart that thousands and thousands of words were left until the end.
Currently, I'm writing Nikka's storyline.  I've had it mapped out for a while now, and the tricky ending has been conquered.  I estimate that I'm about 4-5 chapters from the end of her story line, about 6,000 words for those of you keeping track.  That will bump me up to 134,000ish and she'll be done.  For the rest of Aeris, if I go off of what Nikka's story has cost, word wise, Aeris is going to end up at 170,000 words.  And no, I don't think I'm going to get it done in the fall.  I will be danged lucky if I get it done by the end of December, writing my butt off to do it.  Still, it feels good to be almost done with Nikka.  Next up will be Luka, then Zyander.

On to other topics.  I've been wanting to do a series on things that bug me as a reader that authors do.  How they behave in public, what they do in the internet arena, how they interact with me, Kate The Reader.  This will all be subject to personal opinion, but judging from some of the blogs I've read lately, I'm not the only person who feels this way.

Here is my first rule:  If you want to be my friend on GoodReads, be my FRIEND.  Share reviews, comment on mine, recommend books to me, etc.  Please DO NOT use that as an opportunity to send me spammy mail.
Look, I get it, I'm a indie writer myself.  It's hard to get your name out there and get those books sold!  You're thinking to yourself... how can I let people know that I have a totally awesome new book coming out that they must read IMMEDIATELY??  Well, I can tell you how NOT to do it.
1- Don't send me a hundred thousand emails telling me about your awesome new book that I should buy and read.
2- Don't send me LOTS of invitations to some event that you're "hosting" that is really just you shoving your book in my face.
3- Don't recommend your own book to me using GoodReads new feature.

Nothing will make me unfriend you faster than these three things.  The best thing you can do to get my interest is:
1- Write books in a genre I read.  If you write, say, YA fiction, I can pretty much guarantee you that at some point I will hear about it and be intrigued enough to read the blurb and the reviews.  On my own.  Without prompting.
2- Give me a free copy.  I hadn't really planned on bumping Kait Nolan's new book to the top of my reading list.  I was interested in passing, but when she sent me an email offering me a free copy, with the understanding that I would give an honest review (as she did for SEVERAL other people), it went to the head of my stack.  Then I read it, and MAN, she's got a fan for life now.
3- Interact with me, be my friend, show me you give a crap about me.  It will make me give a crap about you and I will become really interested in seeing what it is you write.

So, that is my rule for the day.  More on spammy emails, HERE.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pinteresting, Very Pinteresting.

Well, my ROW friends, I missed my usual Sunday update, but that's just because I was traveling down, down, down to my parents' house.  My husband is on one of his trips and I hate being in the house alone.  We live in a very nice neighborhood, with good friends as neighbors, but it's just lonely in the house without him and I don't enjoy it.

Now I'm here and since I have nothing like laundry or dishes or dinners to make, I have forced myself to skip naps and have raised my word count for Aeris to: 121,360!  I've got several thousands of words more to go.  I'm guessing my final word count for the book will be about 140-150,000, which is double what the previous book was.

I was airing some of my fears to my sister (who is always one of my beta readers) and she confirmed part of my fears regarding Zyander's story line.  Zyander does some really interesting things in this new book, but unfortunately, because of the way I have my timeline set up, his timeline seems slower than the other two, which takes some of the excitement out of his story.  I'm going to be doing some reordering when I edit, and shorten the first part of his story, so I can get in all of the events I need to.  I can't concentrate on editing right now though, I must must MUST finish this dang book.  :)

I have discovered a new marketing technique that I wanted to share with you all and that is Pinterest.  Pinterest is like a mix between visual bookmarks and Facebook.  Basically, you have a place where you make a bunch of bookmarks for yourself, ordered by whatever labels you give them.  You can follow specific boards, so you don't have to see everything from one person. Your friends follow you and they get broadcasts of anything you pin(bookmark). On top of that, if they see something they like, they can repin it (bookmark it themselves) and their friends see it.  Then, as the final icing on the cake, all of your pins are randomly placed on the pinterest main page.

Let me show you my page, as an example:

On my page, I have a section where to find me online, blog, goodreads profile, my books linked online.  I also have a section for blogs and websites that are reader/writer related.  I'm making lists of my favorite indie books and my favorite books, period.  It's not only lots of fun, but it's a great way to get your name and your work out there.  For instance, I posted one of my stories, The Angel and Her Gun and someone pinned it as a book she wants to read!

If you want an invite, post your email and I will send you one.  :)

Next entry, I'll be talking about internet book reviewing and author reception.  There is an interesting debate going on right now about free speech and what that entails.

Happy Reading!