Hard Knocks

I was lying in bed this morning going through Facebook.  OK, so I’m still lying in bed but now I’m writing.  I’m sort of working now! 

What I was seeing, though, made me a little sad.  You see, I’m a writer but I’m also an independent publisher. Which means I help other authors get their stories into your hands.  

This is a very tough business.  I’ll tell you why.  

Author sits at his/her desk and plots story.  This takes anywhere from hours to days and sometimes months.  From there, the author begins the task of making the outline stretch into a story.  

Characters become personalities, places become your hometown,  words become voices you hear spoken aloud in your head.  

Let’s say on average a novel is 70k words.  Then let’s say the average independent author, who still works a full time day job, squeezes out 1k words per day. We’re up to 70 days of writing.  Maybe they have 1 hour of uninterrupted writing time.  So that’s 70 hous of writing. 

Next step is editing.  The editor takes approximately 2 weeks to finish first pass.  One hour a day for two more weeks.  This is the hardest part of the procean because someone else is now tearing apart your work.  The work you labored over for 70 days.  The work you thought was perfect the way it was. The may be 1-2 more passes like this. ..3 more weeks of hell. 

This doesn’t include beta readers and proofers. 

Now comes the cover. 1 week of watching someone give life to the people in your book.  

And then it’s finally here!  

Launch day!  

You are so excited you can hardly contain yourself.  You sit and watch, willing the numbers to rise. It’s not about the fame. It’s about the story.  It’s always been about the story.  

Days and months of toiling.  Dollars invested in an editor, cover art and/or artist.  

You see the sales trickle in.  It’s slow like molasses.  It drains you emotionally asking people every day to read your work. And when they do, you must continue the cycle of asking them to review. 

All this for a portion of what your book is really worry.  Amazon takes a piece,  if you have a publisher we take our cut.  Who’s really making the money off our work? 

Publishers take considerable risks.  (The percentage of punlishers that go out of business is depressing). We pay for stock for the covers … they get industry standard pay.  We pay for Amazon to distribute … they also get industry standard. 

So watching readers who’ve become accustomed to getting a book for free or before industry standard pricing, only to turn around and not review, or sPreah the word, can be disheartening.  

Writers don’t go into this to get rich.  We do it for the craft,  for the love,  they do it for a place to exorcise demons.  

If you love what you’re reading, and you love the author, support them the best way you can.  Tell someone you loved the book, share the book with a friend or donate it,  leave a review so the next person will read about how amazing the story was. 

70 hours × 3.00 = 120$   now take out 20% and that’s what your author made.  (Average) 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Amazon We Have A Problem!

Image result for pink floyd the wall

In the pursuit of the American Dream, authors of the Indie persuasion are being held back and consumers are being censored.

Listen, I get it OK? One rotten apple ruins the bunch and people are going to do stupid things to get ahead. Like have fake reviews on their books, for a start.

Thank you Amazon.com but I think we got this!  We don’t need you to police our words or our readers. We’re quite certain that we’re capable of reading reviews and using your “Look Inside” feature. We don’t need you to put a bubble of protection around us and ensure we don’t get “hurt” by reading a book with 300, 5 star reviews we didn’t dig deeper on. It is on our own shoulders if we don’t use your features, already put into place, to see if this really is a book we’d enjoy.

Oh! And guess what else you’re doing? You’re effin’ up the algorithm! How? Well, it’s quite obvious (to a mind with an IQ over 25) – if you read a book that has 300, 5 stars and you come to realize it’s a sham you can (gasp) review it or return it.

I know, right? What is that all about! It’s ingenious!

Adults, adulting is amazing!

(rolling eyes)

OK. I think I’m breathing normally again. The point is this. All the readers who complain about getting a bad book should be reviewing it, and/or returning it. Amazon needs to keep their assumptions in a neat little locked box and stop messing with the algorithm of economy. They take down reviews of people who have the same address?? As if people can’t live in the same building (college dorm? shared house? roommates?) and review a product separately. I’d like to see this kind of behavior happening on a Harry Potter book. Four siblings and two parents and only one can review? Opinions aren’t “hive minded”.

How about the algorithm involved in the struggling small business?

You’re promoting monopolies. You’re adding a censor on what the public wants to read because we aren’t making you millions (yet) individually … but I’m afraid you’re missing out on the millions we make collectively for you (even the bad books). And because of that, I’ll be encouraging all my authors who self publish, all the Indie publishers who are ethical with their business and editing practices, and all my readers who truly love the authors they’ve discovered … to go someplace else. Heed my words. Readers are loyal. Very, very loyal.

Today it may only be five books. Tomorrow it’ll be 10. Eventually, the movement will catch on and you’ll be feeling the dent in your deep, Big Brother pockets.

I hear Google knocking and perhaps Barnes & Noble. I’m sure they’d be happy to pick up where you guys are lacking.

Sort your sh!t out, Amazon. Until then, my business will go elsewhere. I prefer to support small businesses and communities, not corporate monsters.

#smallbusiness #indiewriters #indiepublishers #amreading #amwriting #GoogleBooks #writers

Authors and the Readers: The Bond

Authors have a very personal relationship with readers. It’s intimate in the way a love song can produce children whoare conceived to a verse drifting in and out between a couple lulled into a moment bursting with romance (okay-okay, usually angst filled and passionate). It can bring a person to rock bottom, or bring them higher than the clouds. Same with writing, and the person behind the ink.  Their words can change a life, invoke a movement, inspire, and at the same time they can reach a silent piece of your soul the reader thought no one could ever find. 

For those reasons alone, readers feel a connection and cling to this invisible bond. So why is it that many “big” authors are so elusive? 

I can think of a few reasons.  Writers are introverted a lot of the times.  Socially awkward. Have the luxury of anonymity. Our they’ve been scared emotionally by a scene where, in Stephen King’s novel MISERY, the author is kidnapped, tortured, and forced to write a story the way a fan insists it should be written.  I admit the last reason is pretty compelling. 

However, indie authors have no other way to gain support unless they have a large sum of money to advertise. They do author take overs, they do guest blogs, they run their own author pages, etc.

You may think I’m complaining but actually I’m excited about this.  I mean if the Queen of the Vampires, Anne Rice,  can be on her own Facebook page engaging loving fans then I see no reason that every author cannot, or will not, do the same.

If you’re in bed with your reader, (doesn’t everyone read in bed? ) you can at least chat with them when they come in contact with you.  In this digital age of accessibility, anyone not establishing a bond with a fan/reader is missing an opportunity. Not only to create loyalty…but in creating friendship and a source of support.

Gone are the days of being aloof, and elusive. Here are the days of being genuine and inviting.  Get to know your readers. They are your primary investors,  and occupy chairs on your board.  If you lose your readers, you might as well hang up your quill.