Writing In The Age Of Amazon And ePublishing . . . and a couple shameless plugs.
Things have changed a bit for me since my book got published. For one thing, I need to be more careful of what I say on line. Take Dan Caty, President of Chik-fil-A whose anti-gay statements earned him a boycott by my family. Had Mr. Caty kept his views to himself, he would still be the same anti-gay marriage person he is, but he wouldn’t be pillared by so many LGBT people and their supporters. Lessons learned: 1) What people don’t know they can’t hold against you; and 2) if you’re selling something, be as Switzerland like as you can in your on-line life. Thank you Dan Caty.
What brought this up were two distinct events. The first is a review – or rather a rating – I received on Goodreads for Second Shot. For those that have followed my writing, you know that this was my first attempt at a novel and I posted it, without any real editing, on Gay Authors to get feedback on how to improve. Somehow it got listed on Goodreads and this week someone gave it 1 star. Clearly this person didn’t like it, which is fine. I wish they’d have told me why, but in the end it doesn’t matter. And from what I could tell of this person from their history, they have given more than a few 1 stars as well as 5s, 4s, 3s, & 2s. It was not someone who joined up just to trash me. So, while it’s a bit of a downer, it’s also a valid reflection of what a reader thought of the story. As the old adage goes, you can’t please everyone – Or can you. . . ?
The second reason event that got me thinking about the whole on line rating/review system is that I read an article about a guy who made $28,000 a month writing fake book reviews for author’s on Amazon. Here’s the story. The jist is, for a fee, he’d see that your book twenty or more 5 stars. That way, however good or bad the book, it would appear to be fabulous and hopefully attract a bevy of new-i.e. real, booking buying- readers. I can say that I’ve read a number of books lately that have good ratings and reviews and been less than thrilled by the content. None lived up to the hype given. So even if they weren’t the product of a paid fake reviewer, who’s to say they weren’t done by friends and family at the request of the author?
The point is, how good/useful/accurate is the ‘peer’ review model that seems to rule the internet? Somehow because it’s ‘real’ people not professional reviewers giving the feed back, it’s supposed to be far better and more accurate than the old NY Times book review system. I’m questioning this because it is so easy to manipulate these ratings. Don’t think your rating is high enough? Get some friends to create an account and jack you up, or do it yourself, or better yet, do both. Don’t like someone? Do the same in reverse and trash whatever they’re selling. A 1 star rating can drag down someone’s rating more easily than a 5 star can pump it up. Getting on someone’s bad side can certainly negatively impact your rating. And since a high peer review is necessary for getting sold, be as close to Switzerland as you can in your on line life, because you’re going to get enough 1 stars even without pissing people off.
Okay shameless plugs for those who have made it this far:
First as you know, (Un)masked is out and available for sale. What you might not know is that the Goodreads M/M group is holding a fund raiser for a LGBT Youth organization one of the Moderators works with. Anyta and I made a pledge to the M/M Romance Group Gives Back Charity Event tied to book sales of (Un)Masked. Basically for every book sold we’ll make a donation. Here’s a link to the Charity Event post, our pledge is the last post on the first page of the topic. So if you’ve been thinking about buying the book, buy it in September because you’ll be helping a good cause too. [Not just my daughter’s college fund. 😛 ]
Second, my nephew, Nicholas A. White, wrote a book. He’s all of 20 and studying to be an engineer at Clemson. It is not a gay romance story, but it’s worth reading. The book is called Forever In Carolina it’s available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you need more of a reason to buy the book than to help out a first time author, he’s donating 20% of all profits from the book to Cancer Research. Since it was self-published, he has a bit of upfront money to recoup, so help him out and buy the book if you can.
Last, if you read this – the few of you that do – a comment now and then would be great. I’m weird like that, I like to hear from folks reading. Even if it’s to say this.