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#444294 - 08/15/08 06:37 AM Professional author behaviour online
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks to Karm, our Mystery Books Editor, who pointed out on her forum this bizarre and, frankly, [url=BellaOnline ALERT: For anti-spam reasons, we restrict the number of URLs allowed in a given post. You have exceeded our maximum number of URLs.
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#444387 - 08/15/08 01:28 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: elle]
Trish-Contest/Sweepstakes Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Parakeet

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 928
Loc: Michigan, US
Excellent article Elle. I looked at the links you provided also. What a drama! It does seem that the idea of developing a thick skin as you mention is lost on these people. No one likes to be criticized but for an author to engage in playground tactics only draws more criticism.
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#444388 - 08/15/08 02:03 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Trish-Contest/Sweepstakes]
Shannon L. Wolf Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 988
Loc: Vermont, USA
This post had perfect timing for me, Elle. I am disheartened by the tactics some writers use to gain power for themselves.

I just bowed out of a writers forum, because of horrible, childish behavior from a self-published member. This member posts portions of his new work, demanding that the other members critique it only the way he wants them to. If they note things he doesn't want to hear, he berates their critique. If his critiques are not taken as gospel, or not deemed more valuable than another persons critique, he shuns not only the author, but anyone who chooses to read and critique their work. Should he be ignored, he posts goading, jabbing personal comments about them or their posts. The site has forums for most genres, and the one that this member haunts is the only one that has no consistent posters. The other genres are flourishing.

When I went to the site owner, she insisted that his behavior was completely acceptable. She said she had no control over members personalities, and didn't wish to discuss it any further. I got totally discouraged, and left the forum, like everyone else had.

...........................

On a separate note, I wanted to talk to the issue of self promoting one's published works - in well...less than shameless ways. This tactic is not new. Walt Whitman, when his first published pieces went unnoticed, he launched a nationwide campaign by an "anonymous" reviewer, filled with accolades on this new, genius writer. It worked! Even though he got negative attention for faking the reviews, he became world famous as a classic poet.

Then there is Dr. Wayne Dyer. After he got his first book published, he bought out the first printing himself, which put him on the best sellers list. He then sold the copies from the trunk of his car.

Question is, are these methods bad behavior, or clever ways to get noticed, in a highly competitive field???

Shay
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#444392 - 08/15/08 02:23 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Shannon L. Wolf]
ChelleT&L Offline
Chimpanzee

Registered: 09/04/05
Posts: 7165
Loc: Lake Lanier, Georgia
On a really bright note, and a tad OT

On MySpace the other day, I was asked by this hard rock group "Layced" to take a listen to their cover songs and tell them what I thought.

Usually it is like what these authors want, tell them they're great and stroke the ego. But these guys are young, they've got greasts voices and music, and I thought I ought to give them my true opinion. (They tended to slide through their vocal changes, sounding more like a country group than hard rock - not two sounds that mix well).

They wrote me back and thanked me for my honest critique and said they went back to listen to it, and they heard what I was talking about. So they are going back to fix that part.

That is what criticism is for! To help an author improve in the future. Even King and Koontz realize there is room for improvement in their writings. The only time you can't improve on what you have done is the day yoiu die.

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#444426 - 08/15/08 04:50 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: elle]
MB2345 Offline
Gecko

Registered: 01/29/07
Posts: 589
Great article, Elle. You make a good point that readers and Amazon amateur reviewers expect that if an author has work published, he's in the "big leagues" now and can take criticism. When a reviewer gives an honest review, it's actually a compliment in that it's a tacit assumption that the author is a professional who can handle criticism.

And, Shay, wow, that self-published man you mentioned sounds like he's off the deep end. Not only has he driven everyone away from his writing, he's even destroyed the entire forum!

Interesting examples about Walt Whitman and Wayne Dyer. Whitman is such an amazing poet that I'm surprised that he apparently once felt he had to resort to such tricks.

Dyer on the other hand seems like a real hard-working guy, trying to hand-sell his own book outside of a bookstore and risking constant face-to-face rejection. I heard E. Lynn Harris did the same thing (self-publishing and selling his first book in beauty/hair salons after he couldn't get a publisher). Now he's a bestselling romance author!

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#444433 - 08/15/08 05:09 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Shannon L. Wolf]
Nicki - BF & EC Editor Offline
BellaOnline Editor
Gecko

Registered: 10/13/07
Posts: 602
Originally Posted By: Shay_LoveYourTummy


Then there is Dr. Wayne Dyer. After he got his first book published, he bought out the first printing himself, which put him on the best sellers list. He then sold the copies from the trunk of his car.

Question is, are these methods bad behavior, or clever ways to get noticed, in a highly competitive field???

Shay


This kind of thing happens everyday on Amazon. It is really common in the self-publishing field. An old client of mine just did what is called an "amazon campaign" the other day.. her book is currently #49 on the Amazon booklist and make it up to #23 on the day of the campaign. The goal is really the top 10. The idea is that you can say you then have an "Amazon Bestseller" -- no need to mention it was only for a day! You basically get a bunch of other entrepreneurs to offer a bonus if folks buy your book on a particular day. Then you put all the bonuses together on a website, and all those people promote your book to their e-mailing lists that you will get all those bonuses if you buy the book on that day (there are logistics involved in how to actually manage this, of course. The promoters get the amazon affiliate income on the sale, as well as their bonuses are generally designed to get them new subscribers and customers (free ebooks and audio courses etc.). The author gets booksales and a bestseller designation. Win-win. So is it clever marketing, or gaming the ranking system? It happens ALL the time and Amazon doesn't seem to stop it.... this is my ex-clients first campaign for her own book, but I used to set her up to participate as a bonus provider/promoter all the time. Along with the revenue, she would get hundreds of new subscribers to her free newsletter every time.

Nicki
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#444442 - 08/15/08 05:40 PM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: MB2345]
Shannon L. Wolf Offline
Parakeet

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 988
Loc: Vermont, USA
Quote:
And, Shay, wow, that self-published man you mentioned sounds like he's off the deep end. Not only has he driven everyone away from his writing, he's even destroyed the entire forum!

Interesting examples about Walt Whitman and Wayne Dyer. Whitman is such an amazing poet that I'm surprised that he apparently once felt he had to resort to such tricks.

Dyer on the other hand seems like a real hard-working guy, trying to hand-sell his own book outside of a bookstore and risking constant face-to-face rejection. I heard E. Lynn Harris did the same thing (self-publishing and selling his first book in beauty/hair salons after he couldn't get a publisher). Now he's a bestselling romance author!


I know! And what dumbfounded me the most was that the owner of the site felt as if someone who couldn't get along with this guy was the problem, not the guy. LOL, I felt like I was the kid on the playground, trying to get the teacher to stop the bully from terrorizing the other kids, only to have her tell me that it was the kids, not the bully who were the problem! Yikes, and this is a professional writers site... frown

Yes, Whitman sure knew he was good - but he couldn't get anyone to read his stuff. I guess you could say that he found a way to get noticed! Dyer and Harris also found a way to get read. I don't personally see anything fundamentally "wrong" with it myself. As long as you don't hurt anyone, if you can get readers to discover you and give you the thumbs up, more power to you!

Shay
_________________________
Caulbeaers United - Lifting the Veil


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#444660 - 08/16/08 05:50 AM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Shannon L. Wolf]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Shay_LoveYourTummy
This post had perfect timing for me, Elle. I am disheartened by the tactics some writers use to gain power for themselves.

I just bowed out of a writers forum, because of horrible, childish behavior from a self-published member.

<snip> The site has forums for most genres, and the one that this member haunts is the only one that has no consistent posters. The other genres are flourishing.

When I went to the site owner, she insisted that his behavior was completely acceptable. She said she had no control over members personalities, and didn't wish to discuss it any further. I got totally discouraged, and left the forum, like everyone else had.


Mmm... I think I know which forum you're talking about here. I've been a member for a long time, but I haven't been in there very often because I find it a very judgemental and negative place that caters best to those with the biggest egos and best users of rhetoric to beat others down. And I know several members who fit into his description; I'm sure it's probably one of them.

Quote:
...........................

On a separate note, I wanted to talk to the issue of self promoting one's published works - in well...less than shameless ways. This tactic is not new. Walt Whitman, when his first published pieces went unnoticed, he launched a nationwide campaign by an "anonymous" reviewer, filled with accolades on this new, genius writer. It worked! Even though he got negative attention for faking the reviews, he became world famous as a classic poet.

Then there is Dr. Wayne Dyer. After he got his first book published, he bought out the first printing himself, which put him on the best sellers list. He then sold the copies from the trunk of his car.

Question is, are these methods bad behavior, or clever ways to get noticed, in a highly competitive field???

Shay


Ooh boy. Yes, that is another entire issue, isn't it? Obviously it is clever marketing because it has worked (this time). It could so easily backfire, losing the author not only a lot of money, but also his credibility.

In my opinion, both of these examples are gaming a system. It's dishonest, insincere, and unfair to other authors who play by the "rules". Sadly, though, our society is an unfair one, and those who are prepared to bend or break the rules will usually win. I guess the questions are "can you live with yourself" and "how far are you prepared to stretch your integrity before you give it up completely"?

One of the experts on The Secret DVD was recently exposed as a fraud and conman. He seems to have gone against what the Secret is all about by getting too greedy and he stopped approaching his business with integrity or gratitude, but rather how much he could take away from someone else. I think it's a good example of how slippery a slope it can be once you decide that you will compromise honesty.
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#444662 - 08/16/08 06:11 AM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Nicki - BF & EC Editor]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Nicki - BF & EC Editor
This kind of thing happens everyday on Amazon. It is really common in the self-publishing field. An old client of mine just did what is called an "amazon campaign" the other day.. her book is currently #49 on the Amazon booklist and make it up to #23 on the day of the campaign. The goal is really the top 10. The idea is that you can say you then have an "Amazon Bestseller" -- no need to mention it was only for a day!

<snip>

The promoters get the amazon affiliate income on the sale, as well as their bonuses are generally designed to get them new subscribers and customers (free ebooks and audio courses etc.). The author gets booksales and a bestseller designation. Win-win. So is it clever marketing, or gaming the ranking system?
Nicki


I blacklist authors who send me mailings to get involved in their Amazon campaigns. The first time was because I really thought there would be some action taken over it and I didn't want my name dragged through the mud by association. Now, as you say, there are so many people doing it that "surely it must be okay", especially if Amazon turn a blind eye (and why wouldn't they - they're getting sales because there's an incentive to buy from Amazon rather than your local brick and mortar store).

Frankly, I take all "Bestseller status" labels with a bucket-load of salt. It's now worthless. I don't have a problem with giving your loyal subscribers an incentive to buy your book, but allow them to choose where and when they buy. If you do reach bestseller status for just one day, I really believe you should indicate that if you're going to use it, eg "Amazon bestseller for April 1".
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Elle Carter Neal
BellaOnline Alumna

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#444663 - 08/16/08 06:25 AM Re: Professional author behaviour online [Re: Shannon L. Wolf]
elle Offline
Koala

Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 2966
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Shay_LoveYourTummy
Dyer and Harris also found a way to get read. I don't personally see anything fundamentally "wrong" with it myself. As long as you don't hurt anyone, if you can get readers to discover you and give you the thumbs up, more power to you!

Shay


It's one thing to be buying up these copies because you're actually doing so well selling them yourself that you need to get more copies to keep up with the demand of your customers. This can happen particularly with public speakers who can have huge demands for signed copies of their books after a talk. I met a self-published author who did very well selling his own books, and telling others how he did it.

However, it is quite another thing if someone re-mortgages his house (not saying anyone in particular has done this, this is just a general comment), and uses that money to buy up thousands and thousands of copies of his book that he now has to find customers for. I find that unethical. He is hurting someone - if he has a family, he's hurting them firstly by putting them in a scary financial predicament. And secondly he's harming the chances to reach the bestseller list of honest authors barely scraping a living who wouldn't stoop to risking their ability to keep a roof over their children's heads and food on the table.

Imagine if every wannabe author with a wealthy uncle or every Big Brother housemate decided to do this with their winnings or sponsorship earnings. If 100 people around the world do this at a similar time (Xmas sales, anyone?), that could be an entire bestseller list gamed.
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