Why Don’t You Get Me?

Bit by Richard Tuttle

A piece of me, I always knew I was Red.     Bit by Richard Tuttle (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

Sometimes, you write a post and it’s all “Hooray” lot’s of likes and comments straight out of the publishing gate. Other times, you write a post (these are the ones you are immensely proud of that you feel a bit like a parent sending your little one to their first day of school) and it’s that tumbleweed rolling down the hill!

So what gives?

Why don’t you get it? Why do I suddenly feel alone in the schoolyard clutching my satchel wondering if you don’t like me and if you’ll never like me?

The writing is the easy bit, the putting it out is  the hard bit. It all get’s mixed up and coalesces into something awful and grimy and messy.

I have a theory that all writers secretly believe their special. Special and different. I know that in my heart,  apart from all the bullshit about grammar, publishing and all that guff, I secretly feel that way too.

I think I fear finding out that I’m deluded and my secret and different specialness is just a dream that keeps me sane.

Here’s hoping I never wake up.

SELF-PUBLISHING – ARE AUTHORS MURDERING IT?

I am now metaphorically washing myself down after reading some of the threads on the Amazon forums about self-publishing. Those, who are thinking about self-pub, may want to look away now.

First Post in a Forum Thread

“If we stop buying the self-published books maybe we can stop all the OTT plugging that goes on in discussions forums. Every time I open a discussion it’s filled with authors promoting their own books. Without being rude most of them are rubbish anyway, so if we get a campaign together to stop buying them maybe the self-publishers will get the message and leave us alone. Anybody interested in joining in?”

-Actual Forum Thread

“Is there a way to work out what is self-published so that I can avoid it?”

Phew, makes you think doesn’t it? These were just a couple of statements from the Forum in the UK and the most popular threads are not the ones talking about books but the ones talking about bad promotion and lack of quality in Self-Pub.

I was so shocked by the level of vitriol expressed by some readers  that I had to go and have a stiff drink. I even felt slightly ashamed of thinking about self-publishing my work when finally finished.

But is there any truth, to what some readers are saying?

I started this blog (twitter account) originally as a promotional tool for my future book. This was after some good old-fashioned research into the “ins and outs” of self-pub. It came highly recommended as a great marketing tool for gaining a readership and promoting your finished product.

I learnt really quickly that Blogging has this funny way of making you take a good long hard look at yourself. I started reading other people’s extremely well put together blogs (on everything from knitting to photography) with their genuine and authentic style, and all thoughts of self-promotion quickly went completely out the window.

Will I, in the long-term, include a link to my books on the Amazon homepage? You betcha, but one little link to a page is all. Will I promote by engaging with others, of course; the efforts targeted in places where my readers might live such as Good Reads. Will I be saying buy my book now with a synopsis in every single thread – No way, I’ll be talking to others about topics that I find interesting and putting out (I hope) quality content and not shameless plugs.

In Market Research, we promote the idea that marketing unless done in a genuine way simply doesn’t work. “Word of Mouth” advertising  and a “Great Product” is the only way to get your books read. That is, if you are in it for the long-haul. The constant spamming by Authors of feeds such as Twitter with “LOOK AT MY BOOK” style posts really hacks me off as does the “FOLLOW, INANE QUOTES FOR AN ADDITIONAL 500 FOLLOWERS”. Why on earth would I want those 500 followers who are stupid enough to do this? Will they care, “What I have to say?” more importantly if they are that thick, will I be interested in “What they have to say?”

Promotion is fine and I am all for it – Just do it in a way that is engaging and creative. We are writers, are we not? Create quality content, discuss and let your free excerpt or chapter do the talking for you.

The traditional success routes are now dead. Everyone has a blog, twitter account and a Facebook page and the bad self-pub are bashing the hell out of them. I know that not all self-pub is the same but reader disappointment with shoddy workmanship could help the big six keep their strangle-hold on content.

Now there are some excellent examples of Indie Authors. I have just finished a free self-pub book that I loved! I will be reviewing on Amazon and hope that this helps this woman find her market. It will only get a four star because of a couple of typos and formatting errors.

Exceptions do not make rules and as such 90% of the work that I have come into contact with as a READER is poor. I have  on my kindle, no less than 50 novels which I’ve downloaded in the Self-Pub category. Some were free, others were 79 pence (99 cents) or £1.99 that I failed to finish (and I hate not finishing a book).  My immersion in most cases, destroyed by a train wreck of prose.

As a writer and a wannabe author, I am currently saving every month so that I can have my work professionally proofed and edited. I will also do a considerable amount of research and re-writes. I get really angry when I see an Author who says, “My readers will tell me, if there are any mistakes.”

”I’m sorry; I must have misread, are you expecting your customer to tell you that you have a defective product?”

Sheesh!

So that’s my rant over, I would welcome an open and honest discussion about the challenges faced in this area by both new writers and as importantly, readers?

SEVEN DAYS IN BLOGLAND

I really am sorry and look how cute I am.

Today, is exactly seven days since I started my Blog. I know most people wait a year to comment on their experience, but I just couldn’t wait, as the revelations have come wall-hard fast.

Being a writer (author status comes later, fingers crossed), with grandiose ideas on readership and future publicity (forgive her – Reader, she knows not what she does). I saw this Blog as an opportunity; part of a wider long-term marketing plan for my work. I’d read various articles about needing a strategy and thought this could be a way for me to start that plan. Life, however, had very different plans for me.

Today, I had an epiphany whilst stuck in tail-backs (the M1/Freeway is not the most inspiring of places but it came anyway), that I was just a wee bit arrogant and just a wee bit deluded about this – err…. plan.

So here it is – I owe you some apologies.

First up. I am sorry – for thinking that I was bigger and better than this! I have read on other people’s blogs, some of the most amazing, intelligent, witty and downright funny writing EVER – End of!

Secondly, I am apologising for the sheer dumb-ass standard of my work. The last week has taught me, that I need to progress my writing, to a standard that is worthy of the act of reading. If you are actively choosing to stick around, then I need to do better and with a much clearer voice.  I will learn to love the draft button, take free grammar/punctuation tests (who knew how much of this could be found online?), consider my sentence construction and the proper use of punctuation.

I am sorry, for all the anxst and worrying – that someone else has written it better, more concise or funnier and then censoring my ideas and style to match some ideal of perfection that simply doesn’t exist. Fear, should have no place here.

I am not proud of my ignorance or ego – Ahem, so there it is, laid bare (silly writer-lady).

Tskk, Tsk.

The good bit.

I’d like to dedicate this award to…….

Gratitude, is up next and is much more fun!Thank you!  – To my four followers – a simple button press has in turn: inspired, exhilarated, delighted and astonished me. For all my faults (Reader – there are many, oh so many), you have seen in my rambling enough merit, to want more of it and this is bloody brilliant for a writer! We’re not related (I think? – “Mum? Dad?, get off the Internet will you, please?”), I don’t know you and you didn’t have to read it. You could have simply wandered off (I – might have….) But you didn’t and I am grateful, because that simple act, told me in a way that words couldn’t have – “Keep going!”.

Thank you! To the lovely lady, that gave me my first comment. Another writer, finding her way, who brought sunshine and smiles, to a day that contained only rain and endless spreadsheets.

And a final thank you to “elsewhere”, that place that this inner voice comes from – you are talking to me again. You may only be a whisper in the dark, but you are welcome here, and I am now LISTENING.

GRAMMAR, SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION – RANT 1

I am starting to realise that embracing my inner Grammar Nazi may be no bad thing. This goes double for spelling and punctuation.

Blogging or writing of any kind is about ideas. These are the little bits of sparkly wonderfulness that “writers” hear in our heads and then transpose to a page so that “readers” can hear them too. From which “writers” get a great deal of satisfaction, harboring hopes that perchance we are not as nuts as we thought we were.

Here comes the buggery bit.

In the sweet delightful writing process (there’s so much sarcasm in the first part of this sentence, I am surprised it has not climbed out of the computer and shaken you rather firmly shouting “she is mad”), we have to make the stuff that lives between our ears making perfect sense to us into something which is intelligible for you.

And something gets lost, meandering off to talk to other people. It all starts beautifully written prose in my head and just ends up: bleugh, bleugh, bleigh, bleugh, bloo on the page.

Damn it, it’s all about structure (significant pause while I hate myself for not paying attention to those boring books about grammar I’ve seen with catchy titles on pandas). We writer types need it, along with punctuation, spelling and a well thought out plot (destination will do, if you can’t bear a proper outline thing) . It’s how what is UP there, gets to down here on the page.

And “I” am rubbish, really, really, really, ten squillion times really bad at all three. To prove it, I have just started a sentence with and.

So I will learn and then you’ll be able to understand why I want to tell you stories and more importantly, they’ll make bloody sense!