Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Because We Know How Much You LOVE Querying

May 18, 2012

Let’s revisit a post from Gabrielle Harbowy about how NOT to do it.

“Please don’t anthropomorphize your manuscripts. They hate that.”

It includes an example of how to query and it’s… well it’s my query letter. So please don’t laugh.

Have a great Friday! It’s my wedding anniversary AND I’m going car shopping. Unrelated things. Wish me luck!

Excitement’s Over and Thank You, Internet

May 5, 2012

Wow, what a week! So all the brouhaha that started with a Cease and Desist letter I got Wednesday seems to have come to a satisfactory conclusion. As other authors began to hear about it, they got a smidge riled up over the whole thing and suddenly it seemed to be everywhere. (At least to me, as my phone kept declaring new emails/texts/tweets coming in faster than I could keep up with them.)

Well, long story short (long versions can be found on boingboing, here, and The Passive Voice, here) it appears to have died a quick death. Fighting Gravity posted the following on their Facebook page:

To Leah Peterson and her fans: Disregard the cease and desist letter that was issued by our lawyers. Although imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, some people have taken that too far and we have had to deal with it. By no means is Leah Peterson one of those people, our lawyers were just doing their jobs and trying to protect our name and trademark. We wish the best for Leah and hope her book becomes a great success! 

(In case you’re looking for it, it has since been removed, though I assume that has to do with the fact that it was attached to a post by someone else that highlighted, albeit respectfully, a negative issue that I personally wouldn’t want on my FB business page either.) But I’ve also had assurance in a private message that I’ll receive an official retraction from their lawyer next week.

So looks like it’s all over, folks. And to everyone’s relief and satisfaction, I think.

Personally, I think Fighting Gravity has been very professional and gracious about the matter and I wish them all the success in the world.

And thank you, most especially, to my fellow authors who took up my cause and came rushing to my defense when it looked like it might become a very unpleasant situation. You guys rock, every last one of you.

I know this won’t be a comprehensive list, because I’m confident I didn’t find every expression of support or defense of my position, and for that I apologize. But here are some who I know went to bat for me:

R.B. Wood

Elizabeth Ann West

Jennifer Gracen

Jesse James (heehee)

Several people on Facebook posted on Fighting Gravity’s wall but I don’t have their names because the posts were removed pretty quickly. I’d like to thank them and the many people who tweeted about it.  Two in particular have my thanks for contacting others they knew could help:

Neil Shurley

BigAl of Books and Pals

There’s a lesson to be learned here, I think. In brief: Don’t piss off authors. They’re not only feisty, they’re articulate. 😉

Thanks again everyone!

Post-Con Glow & Blog Tour Bliss

April 17, 2012

First off, I’m going to remind everyone that the official Fighting Gravity blog tour started yesterday. So make sure you check out and support these great reviewers and bloggers:

April 16: Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
April 17: Dawn’s Reading Nook
April 18: Guys Like Romance, Too!
April 19: Wickedly Wanton Tales
April 20: The Book Monsters
April 23: Rogues Angels
April 24: Wake Up Your Wild Side
April 25: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
April 26: LASR: SFF Guest Blog
April 27: Realmantic Moments
May 1: Logikal Blog
May 1: STOP #2 Kool Queer Lit
May 2: Have Novel, Will Edit
May 3: Lindsay’s Scribblings
May 4: Francesca’s Mindstream
May 7: The Reader’s Roundtable – Infinity and Beyond
May 8: It’s Raining Books
May 9: Beyond Romance
May 10: Wendi Zwaduk
May 11: Kacey’s Konnections

I’m fresh from Ad Astra con where I met many of my fellow Dragon Moon Press authors and we had a FABULOUS double launch party for my FIGHTING GRAVITY, and for Marie Bilodeau’s DESTINY’S FALL.

I want to do a longer post on the con, because I had such a great time, met so many great people, and want to give shout-outs to many deserving new friends.

But tomorrow’s the big push to announce to the world that FIGHTING GRAVITY is HERE! Let’s party tomorrow, here and elsewhere (there will be links) and hopefully, we’ll sell some books!

Dear Debut Self-Published Author, $4.99 (plus!) For Your Kindle Book?

November 7, 2011

Ummm, how can I say this nicely?

Are you kidding me?

Let’s just put this into context. I buy a lot of self-published books. I buy a lot of small-publisher books. And I buy the big pubs too. I’m OK paying $7.99, even $8.99 or (cringe) $9.99 for the Kindle version of a book from a big publisher whose track record is proven, and for either an author I know, or someone I don’t but who has 1000+ reviews on Amazon and still has an average of 4.5 stars.

You’ve gotta be J.K. Effing Rowling to get $12.99 for a Kindle book out of me.

If you don’t have a publisher behind you, (which I’m THOROUGHLY OK with,) I’m sorry, but you’ve got to prove to me that you’re worth my time and money before I’m going to take a chance. Why? Because there are a million more out there I could be enjoying.

Did you hire an editor? Good for you! Was it someone who just hung a virtual shingle or someone respected in the industry? How am I to know until I read the final product? Am I going to be pissed that I spent my money on your book which, after the sample I read and was happy with, slowed to a crawl and bored me to tears?

If I spent $.99 on it, no I won’t be too upset. If I spent $4.99? Hell yes!

So that brings me back around to the title of this post.

I didn’t spend that $4.99 on your book and I won’t. Quite frankly because I DO buy self published books. All the time. I know exactly what a gamble I’m taking. I know that I might find a jewel for a steal, or I might find a totally frustrating waste of my time.

This isn’t prejudice against anything at all. It’s my experience of reality.

Yes I’m more likely to take a chance on a unknown from a publisher I recognize. They’ve got a team behind them that’s proven their worth and their discretion in choosing books that I won’t regret paying for.

Your fifteen Amazon reviews (eight of which are from people who have no other reviews on there,) aren’t enough to convince me that you’re worth my time and money.

YOU need to prove it to me. By offering me your product at a price I’m willing to pay for a total gamble.

Now your second book, when the first has done so well and gotten a lot more reviews and earned you cred’, we can talk about $4. (Though honestly, why you wouldn’t go with $2.99 like every other sensible person, I can’t imagine.) Otherwise? You’re totally costing yourself sales, and you’ve lost my respect as well. Because I’m questioning your business sense now. Which makes me wonder if you know what your audience wants at all. Which means I didn’t buy your book.

So was that higher price really worth whatever intangible you got out of it? Because it’s losing you sales.

Sorry.

What about you? Does the publisher (or not) affect the price you’re willing to pay? Is your price ceiling the same no matter what? Do you even notice before you buy?

Karma, Solidarity, and the Bad Part of the Review I Wrote for You

October 21, 2011

This topic has been brewing in my brain for a while now. A while back Roni Loren wrote a blog post called Book Review Debate in which she explained why she didn’t write bad reviews for books and why maybe other authors should consider not doing so either. There was a great debate that followed in the comments (which unfortunately seem to have been lost in a blog conversion.)

I agreed with her points, namely:

1. The writing world is SMALL. 
The writer you one-star today may be the writer…sitting next to you at your next writers’ meeting, may one day share an agent/editor/publisher with you, may be someone you have to do a workshop with, may be someone who’s asked to blurb your book, etc.

A lot of the commenters disagreed with the stance as a whole, saying it lacked integrity not to give a negative review if you thought a book was bad. But it occurred to me that, in light of the above, posting a bad review as an author, is a bit like posting job reviews of your co-workers on the announcement board and signing your name to it. Sure, you’re owning your opinion, but you’re probably shooting yourself in the foot too. And for what? If they’re a bad employee, your one personal opinion isn’t the only thing that will clue others in to this. Let their boss, their clients, etc., be the ones to point this out, not you as a person who may have to work with them on an important project.

And yet, as my blog has evolved, I find myself writing more and more reviews. Why? Quite simply because having guest judges for 5MinuteFiction ties in so well with promoting a fellow author. But I’m not going to promote someone unless I know what I’m promoting. Which means I read their book. And we all know that reviews on the major sites where readers make their purchasing decisions (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc.) is the lifeblood of new-author promotion. So if I’ve read the book, and can give it a good review, then it’d just be selfish and shortsighted of me not to do so, right?

So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s the not-so-good things about the book.

See, I review self-published books more than anything else. And I don’t care who you are, unless you were insanely lucky and snagged a great editor and the perfect crit-partners for yourself the first time around, your book will have problems. In my experience, the right editor and crit-partners are generally things you find after you’ve run through a few of the wrong ones. And that means putting yourself out there.

I found mine through the process of querying agents and small publishers. I had to expose my work to enough people over a long enough period of time, that I finally made those connections. That’s not the only path, but most people aren’t going to find the right team until they’ve survived the wrong one, which for self-published authors, often means after their first book is already out.

So I have your book and I really enjoyed it. I want to write you a good review because that’s what I’d want you to do for me and because you deserve it.

BUT

Do I ignore the weaknesses, pretend I didn’t see them, and write only about the good stuff?

I don’t think I can. For a lot of reasons.

  • I usually don’t trust reviews like that anyway, especially if they’re an unknown author self-publishing and all they have are glowing reviews. I’m pretty much going to assume that all the reviews are written by friends and family and I can’t trust them to give the whole truth.
  • Is anybody else going to tell you? If not, how will you know in order to improve the next time? Granted, this one can be handled by offering private comments, which I almost always do.

BUT

  • I’m also putting my own professional name and reputation behind your book if I give it a good review.

And, here’s where it may get selfish, but I don’t want other authors and readers thinking I can’t tell good writing from bad. I may have enjoyed your book in spite of the cringe-worthy flood of adverbs and telling, because the plot, or character development, or whatever was just that good. Another person may not have the tolerance to handle that and may throw the book away in disgust and then resent me for leading them to believe that it had no major faults.

Neal Hock wrote a great guest post on The Writing Bomb that talked about the author risking their reputation by self-publishing a book with glaring errors or weaknesses. I 100% agree with this. But I think it goes farther than this. I think it risks my reputation too if I don’t at least acknowledge that, while I recommend the read, it does have drawbacks that one reader might consider a deal-breaker even if another doesn’t care that much about them. At least I’m giving them the information, as I see it, to make an honest assessment and informed decision.

To a lesser extent, a post by Chuck Wendig, Putting the Publishing Cart Before The Storytelling Horse, made me think of this topic. In a large part because the authors who are loudly denouncing the publishing industry from experience, and claiming that anyone not self-publishing is making a terrible error, are ones who have already gotten to the point at which they have a quality editor and the industry know-how and writing chops that their self-published works won’t have this kind of problem.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about typos and poor grammar. Quite frankly, I won’t finish a book that’s an egregious offender in those areas to have a review to write of it.

But if on the balance sheet I think your book was a good read, and you’re a good writer who will quit making those mistakes eventually, I want to help you promote it! I want to review it and tell others to read it.

But I have a career to think about too.

Thus my conundrum. Is it important as authors to maintain your professional integrity and list the bad with the good? Is it not important enough to readers or worth it for you and you should pretend the bad isn’t there? Should you just not write reviews at all? What do you think?