October is here, which means everything horrific, ghoulish, and down right spooky have arrived. So what better way to celebrate the coming of Halloween than with the worst thing in the world: the terrible truth.
Being an indie author is tough. You have the freedom to pretty much do anything and everything (within legal and moral limits) you want in terms of writing and promoting your work, but the majority of us will still never see the light of fame. And many don’t want us to.
Although we can be looked upon as entrepreneurs, putting everything we have not only into writing stories but publishing and marketing them all by ourselves, there is a strong stereotypical view that has continued to haunt us. That view is best described by Michael Kozlowki who wrote the article (and I quote) Self-Published Authors Are Destroying Literature. I’m going to rein it in and hold my rant back until the end of this post so I can acknowledge, despite my personal opinions, that some of us are proving Mr. Kozlowki right.
So without further ado, here are the 5 horrible truths behind indie authors.
Even I’ve been slammed for editing problems, so in the defense of all indie authors, BITE ME. Yes, we should all put our best foot forward, but guess what! Pick up ANY book out there, even the #1 bestseller or an old school classic, and you will find something wrong with it. Grammar, spelling, missing periods – it plagues ALL writers. Editing is extremely important (and some authors out there do produce work that looks like no one has bothered to correct it), but there is a line between editing mishaps in a story, editing mishaps that ruin the story, and editing mishaps that are actually just nitpicking. With my own experience, I’ve had my fair share of “bad editing” reviews, and after looking my story over again to correct these issues, I found that the majority of the complaints were things like this: “I don’t like how that sentence sounds”, “this description sounded weird”, “this is how the paragraph should be written.” Well in case ya’ll didn’t know, the way the book is written is called My Writing Style. It sits next to Cry Me A River and Write Your Own Damn Story, since you made people think its editing when in fact its just you wanting to re-write my descriptions. You make me sick.
Back to the point, those people who nitpicked their way to Amazon and Goodreads still wrote in their reviews that it was a good read. And to be honest, I’d rather have that. If I have to have bad reviews, I’d rather have them say “great plot, poor edit” than “great edit, poor plot.” But seriously, to those specific bad reviewers: go relax in a corner with a dictionary cause your own story needs it.
I think this is something we all kind of do, especially in the beginning. We take every little victory – new follower, new review, new sale – and we hype that shit up like its 1999! You gotta fake it till you make it, right? Well, what starts as self-proclaiming slowly ends up looking like your trying to helplessly prove to the world that you’re good. Some authors go to great lengths to win indie awards and bragging rights that, to be honest, no one has ever heard of before and could have been awarded from a panel of one person who was taking a break from Call of Duty.
Granted there are a few groups of dedicated readers who really are trying to help out indie authors by promoting their work, posting reviews, and giving away swag prizes and entitlement awards. That’s really sweet of them, and they should be applauded for taking the time away from their day to help an unknown’s craft. But will you as an author become a bestseller if you win and post that “brag award” sticker on your cover? Call me if you do.
Another point I’d like to make (which is more of a personal opinion for me) is the whole bestseller status. I’ve seen authors fill their social networks with banners and posts stating how they became a #1 Bestselling Amazon author…..after being in the #1 spot for about 10 minutes…..during a 99¢ or free promo. Now, congrats on holding that spot long enough for someone to click on the page during their lunch break. Even I’ve hit the #1 spot a couple times and it feels great. But dragging that status out and posting it on your bio can look a little self-awarding when after those 10 minutes of fame are up you’ve gone back to the #100 spot that same day which is where you’ve remained (and that’s if you haven’t been slowly pushed back into the 200’s already). Personally, the only way I’m calling myself a #1 Bestselling Amazon author is when my book stays in the #1 spot for over a week at the regular price. To each their own.
I hate to say it, but I’m guilty as charged. I’ve tagged and hashtagged my heart out to celebrities in hopes that (1) they see it (HA!) or (2) their fans see it (still waiting for an author interview, HenryCavill.org). Not only do you hope that like-minded swooners will think its awesome that you used their demi-god as a muse for your story, but that maybe – just maybe – that demi-god will know you exist. Neither works. With my experience, there are probably a few people who are following me because I based Henry Cavill as the muse for The Benighted or Luke Evans for my next novel Under A Melting Sun, but not enough of them to make an outstanding difference.
At the end of the day the story will have to stand on its own cover and make its name the good ol’ fashion way: by being a good story. But then again, old habits die hard which is evident in the fact that I just tagged two celebrities and one of their big fan bases in this post. #OhSnap #CantTouchThis #HenryCavill #LukeEvans #BeforeTheyWereFamous #NaysersGonnaNaysay
We all know indie authors are to reviews as zombies are to brains: we desperately want them. Often indie authors will swap their books for reviews in order to get one, and that’s usually in the middle of them whoring out their books for free to almost anyone who will take it. This is when true characteristics come out, because sometimes those other authors are shady.
When I swap books, I try to review books on a positive tone, even if the book is horrendous. There is a way to be honest yet tactful, and because I know how it feels to be blown out of the water by trolls, I don’t like scrutinizing fellow indie authors. Plus, I know that my own book isn’t gold; it has its problems that some people like to point out. But given all that, I’ve come across some authors out there who belittle other people’s work for the sake of “being honest” while making snide comments and acting like they’re judges in a Writer’s Digest competition. Bitches, have you read YOUR OWN story?! Bad editing, false representation of facts, far fetched story line – and you’re bringing other people’s books down? Really?! You want to be the judge of writing, you and that goofball you call a plot? Go sit back down!!
Its a known fact that most indie authors don’t have the funds and/or resources to help get their name out there. Social networking is literally the only solid way to promote, which is why Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. are bursting at the seams with homemade book promos. Can this be annoying? Of course! All you wanna do is see who Johnny hooked up with and instead you have to go through 3 or 4 posts about books with cheesy covers. We all understand that. We just don’t care, because if we don’t hound your ass, you’d literally forget about us. That’s what this generation has created: the need for instant gratification. If you aren’t online every 5 minutes, then nobody knows about you. If you want instant results, instant news, and instant posts, then you’re going to get instant book promos coming at you sideways. Don’t like the players? Then you shouldn’t have helped create the game!
What also hasn’t helped are new regulations from social media sites who have started regulating posts. I have over 15,000 amazing followers on Facebook, but only a couple hundred of them actually see my posts because of Facebook’s new code of conduct. That means that I literally have to double my posts just to make sure SOMEBODY sees it, which means I’m probably overloading the small percentage of viewers while being overlooked by the majority. And to be honest, I don’t like doing that. I know how it feels to have my wall filled up with random posts. This new code of conduct hasn’t stopped Facebook from filling up my own personal wall with ads for material things because they don’t think I’m poor enough. If I liked weeding things out, Facebook, my garden would be spotless. Knock that shit off.
So with all that said, let’s just jump right into…
MY RANT REGARDING THE TROLL
As stated, Mr. Kozlowki wrote an article about how indie authors are defacing, damaging, and/or destroying the literature of today. We are devaluing the worthy literature out there that’s produced by actual published authors, and ruining the book industry by trying to “emulate successful writers such as E.L. James or Cassandra Claire.”
Now I don’t mean to be rude (though I totally will be), but this is where he got me:
Emulate successful writers such as E. L. James and Cassandra Claire.
He named E. L. James and Cassandra Claire as successful writers.
This uncultured swine.
We, the indie authors, are defacing and destroying literature?? Mr. Kozlowki, YOU JUST NAMED TWO WRITERS WHO BASED THEIR “SUCCESS” OFF OF SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEA!! They both literally get an F- for creativity! A+ for great promotional skills, but solid F U for writing good literature. In fact, Mr. Kozlowki, people like YOU are destroying literature by being so close-minded to think that only good works come from traditional publishing houses. Self-published authors can write just as good as traditionally published authors, and if they don’t, then they’re going to be like the thousands upon thousands of traditionally published authors who have been forgotten. THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO. There is no divide except that one does everything on their own while the other has a marketing team that takes part of their percentage of sales. YOU are destroying literature by being so naive to think that a good writer is someone who makes millions. NOT TRUE. Look at the shitty ass work of E. L. James, who not only copied a plot but also copied the marketing scheme behind that other author, who by the way abstracted a classic novel without the proper research she would have needed to know that VAMPIRES. DON’T. SPARKLE!!
In the end, good literature can come from anyone: rich or poor, big or small, traditional or indie. The only thing destroying literature are the sell outs who only write to make money, whether its crap or not. Nothing more, nothing less.
So go sit down, Mr. Kozlowki. You’re done.