Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Authors spamming authors

I joined LinkedIn a while back after the editor at my new publisher sent me a friend request. I was fascinated with the site for a little bit. I got all excited about it and thought it would help me meet people in publishing. I started getting friend requests from all sorts of people in publishing. It didn't take me long to realise that most of these people are just desperate for attention. I have started getting emails from people I know on LinkedIn begging me to buy their books, review their books, like their facebook page...etc..etc...

It is authors spamming authors basically. It makes me want to delete my LinkedIn account. Begging people to purchase your book is not a good way to market yourself as an author. Why? because it annoys people. It become spam. Rubbish. Your emails will begin to be deleted unread. If you want people to purchase your book you need to get yourself out there. Make a website. Get your book reviewed. Get yourself interviewed. Join an author's message board. Put up flyers at your local shops.

You have to make people WANT to read your books. You cannot force them. It is not how it is done. I hate marketing myself. In a perfect world I would have nothing to do with the marketing part of writing. I would just hand over a manuscript when it is done and then go home to start work on the next one. That is not how the world works though. As an author I have to make an effort to promote myself. I have to learn about marketing and business. What I should not be doing is crawling up to people on my knees and with my hands clenched together and shouting "PLEASE! PLEASE BUY MY BOOK!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who would ever fall for this?

There's a scam publishing house in America called PublishAmerica. They basically publish anything from religious ramblings to doodles on toilet paper, lie and say they edit it, smack a shitty cover on it, and sell it for inflated prices. They con authors into purchasing hundreds of copies of their own books (to "promote them") and claim that they can get their books into bookstore chains when they never do and end up only available online either through their website or places like Amazon. The end result? The only real people who end up buying books through PublishAmerica are the authors themselves. Oh they also own the copyright of the books for about 7 years and if you want out of their contract they'll slap you with a fee or threaten you. I honestly do not know how anyone could ever fall for this group. How could it be more obvious that they are scam artists? What do some people need to be able to figure out out? A giant flashing billboard above their head quarters that reads "WE WILL TAKE YOUR MONEY AND LAUGH AT YOU?"

If you want more proof that these people are con artists check out this page:


Yes, that's right folks, for the tiny sum of $69.00 PublishAmerica will take your books and present them to JK Rowling so she can read them and "tell you what she thinks of them". So, basically, you're paying a large sum of money for what is basically a critique.

WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING?!? Do they honestly think that they will be able to get away with this? Why rope JK Rowling, a woman who is richer than the queen, into their scams? Do they think she will never find out? And if she does she'll just shrug her shoulders and be all right with it?

And secondly, who in the world would pay for this? Who would believe that they will really end up getting a critique from JK Rowling? I bet what they'll get is a generic written response with their name typed in praising them on their great plot and characters without mentioning anything specific from their actual book.

The sad thing is I know alot of people would fall for this scam. It's hard to believe that people could be so stupid but it happens. I had a peek at PublishAmerica's facebook page and saw all the comments from the happy authors and it just makes my heart break to see all these dumb, star stark fools, who are so happy with their publisher, unaware they are scamming them.

One of the first things I learned about publishing is that a publisher must never charge an author for ANYTHING. Not for editing. Cover art. Promotional copies. NOTHING. I figured this out at age 14. I know how desperate the desire can be to be published. The urge to be published can drive people to make alot of stupid mistakes when choosing a publisher. They will pay for services they shouldn't. If they just stopped, took a breath, and did some research they would realise that publishers like PublishAmerica are evil and if they took their time to find the right publisher and work on becoming a better writer publication will eventually find them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fantasy castles are the bane of my existance

I think the thing that annoys me most about my chosen genre is trying to describe grand, sprawling fantasy castles in graphic detail. I suck at it. I always draw a blank and end up describing some weird, strange looking thing, that I try to make sound like a weird cross between Hogwarts Castle and an ancient Greek Temple. In Deep Embrace there are two "castles" that are mentioned. One I describe as looking like a cluster of large bubbles (yeah how stupid does that sound) and another one is a crescent moon shaped pit at the bottom of the ocean. That one is driving me nuts because I do not know what the right word to describe it would be. Is it a cavern? A fissure? A pit? In my mind I see it as a crescent moon shaped valley at the bottom of the ocean that has been carved out of the sea floor on purpose. So it is NOT a natual structure. Its walls are pocketed with tunnels that lead to a series of underground chambers some which have air in it (again by design). At the moment I change between calling it a cavern and a pit. I am not totally sold on that description though and might change it in the rewrites. I have almost finished the second last chaper and have only maybe about 10 more pages left to go. I've pretty much described to rewrite the first chapter and cut out the Scylla battle (it will not be a little shoving match) and change the beginning of chapter two.

In other news I have been going over edits for Echoes in the Wind and that is progressing very nicely. I can't wait to see the final version!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I would have to get writer's block at the end of my story...

I am about a chapter and a half away from finishing Deep Embrace so naturally my brain has come to a screeching hault and has decided this would be a great time to get writers block. I know exactly what I want to write. The images are there in my brain. It is putting them into words that is the problem. I think this is the most irritating type of writer's block. To know what you want to write but to not be able to put the images into words would be a bit like trying to eat food that is invisible. You can smell it. You can feel it. But you can't see it.

Deep Embrace has crossed the 60,000 word mark. I am very happy. It's still technically a novella. It probably has another 5,000- 10,000 words to go. Once editing is done the whole thing will probably be around the 40k mark. Hopefully more. I am proud of it. It was a fun, interesting experience. One of the things that surprised me the most about it was describing the mermaids swimming and what the ocean looks like. I seem to be forever asking myself the question "What description is neccessary?" and "Is this too much description?"

I still have not made my mind up what my next project would be. I would like to explore the character of Scylla more but I have to come up with a plot first. I have the outline for In Your Footsteps done. I'm not sure if I want to tackle that yet. It will have a sad ending. Not only are those difficult to market but it is less fun for me to write. But I have to stay true to the myths.

Back to my writer's block... I hate writers who claim that writers block does not exist. Oh come on, it so does. We cannot be creative all the time. It takes a hellva lot of brain juice to do what we do. When I have writers block I am pretty kind to myself. I could flog and punish like other writers do and chain my butt to my chair until the cogs in my brain slowly start to spin and the words trickle out of my bleeding fingertips. I could do that but I won't. I view writers block as mental exahusation. If I am blocked I simply lower my expectations for that day. Instead of aiming for over 500 words I will aim for 200. If I do nothing then that is okay. Sometimes a day's rest is all that is needed to overcome writers block.

I have not done any writing today and I am not sure if I will. When I look at it I cannot think of how to continue. It will come to me eventually though. It always does.