Category Archives: Inspiration

The Resurgence of Sock Puppetry and How History Repeats itself.

I honestly didn’t realize how long I’d been in the world of self-publishing until recently. I hadn’t realized exactly how much craziness I’ve witnessed, or what I thought I’d missed during my absence the last few years. But, here we are again. The fight against sock puppets, book stuffing, and scams has come flooding back. It’s the same old game, just with better graphics.

giphy

When I first joined the community towards the end of 2012, all of this craziness seemed so new and intense. I worked with authors and bloggers, and posted about everything from piracy, to bullying, and everything else that felt so immediate at the time.

In February of 2013, I have my first exposure to an author that took bad reviews as bullying and I blogged about it here. That author went on to create 2 sock puppet accounts using the exact same email username just on different platforms (Gmail and Yahoo) and proceeded to accuse me of making fun of the author in question. You can read the whole thing in the comments section of that post. Long story short, she ended up emailing me on my personal, private email rather than my author email and it was a whole thing.

At the end of March of that same year, I talked about people signing up to beta read an author’s book, only to come back to the author and tell them that the book was unreadable. However, if the author was willing to pay the beta reader to edit the book, the beta reader would leave a 5 star review on Amazon. That post is here. Because I spoke out, the beta reader in question (who read my book but hadn’t yet propositioned me) gave me a 1 star review and the author friend that was approached a 3 star review, but the text of said review made no sense. I can show you those reviews if you ask, but it’s 5 year old news at this point. Of course, I did make a follow up post in 2014 about how to handle scammers in those situation.

I’ve seen authors get upset about the success of people like J.K. Rowlingauthors stalking actual bully reviewers, authors telling readers the “correct” way to review books (and the backlash that typically ensues in that situation), the book stuffing scam that caused the KU changes that are the center of the current problem, and the list goes on and on.

The reason I’m posting my “credits” is because the sad fact of the matter is that I’ve seen it all. People get riled up over a situation only to let it die away when it’s no longer interesting, or progressing. Accusations of sock puppetry fly around (and I’m not innocent from pointing at people that are very obviously operating those accounts), but ultimately they die.

dsppntmnt

Enter into the ring Suzan Tisdale. She is the self-publishing author who writes Scottish historical romance novels, along with a pen name that publishes romance novels of the more erotic variety. Through her charismatic coverage of #cockygate, Suzan has garnered a following of fellow authors and readers who are tired of the system gaming, review scamming, and reader trickery. And just like in many situations before, because Suzan has garnered such an audience, there are people that are trying to “prove” that she is scamming, herself.

nw

(insert sarcastic tone)

While I don’t necessarily agree with absolutely everything Suzan says, and I think that there are some times that she doesn’t gather all of the information she needs before she makes a post or does a live video, she has a charm that continues to bring focus to the problems that we as self-published authors face and will readily correct herself if she does share information that isn’t correct in the moment. I think one thing that we haven’t had before in these situations is someone like Suzan that can hold an audience’s attention, approach things from a stern yet understanding place, and knows how to capitalize on her platform.

Suzan first gained attention due to her coverage of #cockygate. Her audience appreciated the even handed way she spoke directly to Faleena. Of course, Faleena spiraled, #cockygate blew up, but Suzan has not stopped leading the charge against the wrongs that have plagued the self-publishing community.

Because there are people standing up for what’s right, the people that are being called out decided to strike back. Since the theme of this post is history repeating itself, wouldn’t you know that Suzan and other authors standing up for these scammers are being “called out” as it were. Twitter sock accounts are springing up all over the place, attempting to call these authors “scammers” themselves, and accusing them of starting witch hunts.

Can I just point out that I absolutely despise use of the phrase “witch hunt” in situations like this. It’s not a witch hunt. No one is going to die. The people getting called out for scamming are losing their scam accounts. As far as I’m aware there has been no doxing of anyone’s information, no one has been crushed to death, hung, drowned, burned or any other form of torture that the victims of the actual witch hunts had to go through.

Anyway, I do hope that there is change for the better, and history does not repeat itself. I hope that we see the changes that are so desperately needed in the self-publishing world, and I hope that we continue to see the voices of those people fighting for us getting louder.

Keep on fighting!

 

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Night Touched Inspirations Playlist!

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/124059581/playlist/0fHacbi6ckza1gwzDF3qwT

So You Wanna Hate Me? Kandee Johnson

 

This is a lot of what I’ve said over the last couple of years, but Kandee says it so well. Please watch this!!

 

(Please keep in mind that I do not own any part of this video. This is just a video that I thought had a great message. No copyright infringement intended.)

On My Mind- Ellie Goulding

 

Why is it that Ellie Goulding can always manage to capture the entire Night Touched series in her songs?? Seriously. This is very much Harper at the beginning of Jeremy.

Failures, goals, and what is going to be coming in 2016

A lot has happened to me this year, and I thought I would share with you guys. I have really let myself down this year. I wanted to get Celine rewritten and released before year end, but that does not appear to be in the realm of possibility. Work and school have gotten in the way too much.

Fortunately, a lot of things are changing for me next year, and I will be able to spend more time focusing on writing. I plan on doing more with the TNTC brand, finally finish the TNTC website, and perhaps even release the new Celine and Book Three on top of everything.  I had a generous offer from a close person in my life to become a “backer” for my writing. I was beyond flattered, but I had to turn them down. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful, because believe me, I was. It was that I lack so much confidence in myself right now, that I don’t think I would ever be able to repay their investment. I mean, they offered me something great, and I am so much of a coward, I couldn’t just say “Yes! Thank you! I won’t let you down.” The reason being, I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I didn’t do everything I set out to do, how in the hell am I supposed to make a lucrative business out of something like that?

I feel like a big failure because of how much I didn’t do.Yeah, I did get the BNT mini series finished, and it does seem to be performing well, but I didn’t accomplish all of my goals. I didn’t allow myself the time to focus like I should have, and ended up being overwhelmed with too much. I now know the importance of organizing. Over the last few years, I have been very quick to advise people on how to self publish, but I can’t seem to follow any of that advice myself.

I follow Laurell K. Hamilton on Twitter, and I am amazed by what a writing machine she is. I also learned something very interesting about her writing method, that I think I might try myself. Instead of talking about a word count, she keeps a page count. It seems like her goal is 10 pages a day. I feel like building to something like that would be doable. I mean, 10 pages can mean any number of words. It seems like it might been less stressful. Of course, I don’t know, but setting a goal of a certain number of pages per day seems a lot less intimidating. I am definitely going to try that next year.

What about you guys? What are your goals for 2016? What do you think you didn’t do well in 2015? Any advice, tips, or personal stories? Please share in the comments!

Why Authors Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Goodreads

If you’ve even thought about becoming an author, then you’ve probably heard about all of the review sites out there. The one with the worst reputation is Goodreads. Infamous for author-on-author bullying, endless sock accounts, trolls, author-on-reviewer bullying, and more, most authors tend to steer clear of the book-centric social media site. The first “attempt” to stop the bullying was lead by the group known as Stop the Goodreads Bullies (or STGRB), and was focused on harassing authors and reviewers that left unfavorable reviews on the books written by the founders of the group. Personal information leaks, harassment, and other insane issues rose out of that “attempt” and ultimately lead to the fall of Goodreads’ reputation. Authors that aren’t mixed up in that drama avoid the site because they’re afraid of it. They’re afraid of their career ending before it begins.

I wanted to write this post to tell all of the authors and reviewers out there to come back to Goodreads. If we allow bullies like STGRB to take over the site and police how reviews are written and what reviews are okay to post, then they win. And it won’t stop there. The harassment and insanity will spill over directly to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other review platforms. We have just as much right to our opinion as they do, don’t we? There are always going to be bullies and their play at being a Gestapo is not going to stop it. We just have to attempt to be the bigger people here.

In close, I hope that you all will join me in being more active on Goodreads, sharing reviews, book statuses, and whatnot. We deserve a platform not only to connect with each other, but with our readers as well.

http://blog.bookbaby.com/2015/08/confronting-bad-book-reviews/?utm_campaign=BB1534&utm_source=BBeNews&utm_medium=Email&spMailingID=49346304&spUserID=MTMyMzE5MDIyMjcwS0&spJobID=742828219&spReportId=NzQyODI4MjE5S0

Adler says in the post:

Bad book reviews, bad opinions, insults, verbal abuse, diminishment, jealousy, frustration, along with effusive praise come with the territory. In today’s environment celebrate you’re being noticed and, whatever is said about you and your work, be sure your name is spelled right.

While I wouldn’t praise anyone who has retaliated against a bad review, the overall message is very uplifting. Even if the review is a 1 star, that person is still picking up your book and reading it. I know that the first instinct is to go on a diatribe about how reviewers just “don’t review books correctly” but you should never do that. We are all subject to a fair share of bad reviews. We should deal with it like people instead of bratty monsters. Adler also says that “[…]good reviews are not necessarily a harbinger of future success.” Just something to keep in mind.

I actually reached my first goal of the year

On June 8th, I created the post “Writing Goals-Better Late Than Never” outlining that I wanted to complete the Becoming Night Touched mini series, create the collection and publish that, AND release the new edition of TNTC Book 1: Celine. Well, I am happy to say that I have hit goal 1!

A short story typically does not take that long to write. However, if you are constantly busy and stressed out, then creativity fails to come. I pushed through and Becoming Jeremy is now published. It’s a huge relief to have it finished. It is very short, but I felt that because we learn so much about Jeremy in Book 2, there wasn’t a lot I could say in the short story that would not be repetitive. I hope that you like it.

So I am now putting the BNT collection together, but it might take me a while, there is a surprise in store for everyone that picks up a copy and I want to make sure that it’s perfect before release. The collection will be available in digital and print form.

I do have an update on my personal life as well! I was just accepted into the University of Houston and so I am going to be crazy busy for the next 6-8 years. I am going the Pre-Law Poli-Sci route. Yes, ladies and gents, I am on my way to becoming an attorney. No, I cannot provide legal advice. No, I cannot do any documents for you. Sorry. Have to get that out of the way.

Brian and I have also adopted another dog. His name is Jack! Buddy, the stray that we took in last year, has found a new home and I’m so happy for him. Jack was adopted from the local ASPCA and is a riot. He loves to fetch, pull the squeakers out of his toys, and his daddy. He has not left Brian’s side since we brought him home. So now, Oliver has a friend that is closer to his size, closer to his age, and neutered.

 

Jack!

Oliver

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