Wednesday, March 6, 2013

#WWoW: Avoiding the Diva Syndrome


Welcome back once again to Not Enough Time in the Day and my contribution to this week's Writer's Words of Wisdom. In case this is the first time you're visiting our pages, we are a group of writers who decided to get together and share what we've learned in our journey to become published authors. Some of our experiences are similar, but in each case we learn a bit more about how to become better writers, bloggers, publishers, editors and promoters of our work as well as others.  At the end of my post today you will find a list of the other authors participating this week. Please be sure to visit them all.

Don't Be THAT Author


Now for my topic for today. It's not a new one, nor is it something I haven't talked about on many occasions. Unfortunately it's something that keeps coming up over and over again. We've all heard the various tales of publishers and authors behaving badly. Amazon has had to change some of their policies because of it. Reviewers have fought back when authors whine about poor reviews instead of learning from them. Readers have been caught in the crossfire. It's really sad to see and it's time as an entire group we clean up our act.

Once again there have been more reports of authors creating fake accounts on Amazon in order to boost their own ratings and post rave reviews for their own books. Then these people turn right around and go after their competition by leaving 1 or 2 star ratings with mean-spirited, nonconstructive reviews. Amazon did have to take drastic measures to help prevent that from continuing on their site by eliminating likes, tags and deleting any reviews written by competing authors even if they were glowing. Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped the bad behavior.

The divas and trolls are no longer keeping their bullying to Amazon and Goodreads. They've moved on to the Facebook Author/Fan pages. A fellow author and friend was attacked yesterday on her own page by another "author." He slammed her work in a comment he left on a post she shared about another FIVE STAR review she received for one of her books. He went on to say she shouldn't give up her day job and should then use her time wisely by reading his book. And yes he even posted the Amazon buy link to make it easy for her.

I'll let that settle in for a bit.

Yes he really did say that and yes he really had the nerve to then push his own book on her page without permission to do so.  My friend is a mult-published author of both fiction and nonfiction and yet this one particular person feels he can search her out, find her author page, like it and then proceed to make comments about how her writing is horrible all in the comments section of a FIVE STAR REVIEW. I know I already mentioned that, but I thought it was worth repeating. To me it shows a great deal of the problem we are dealing with here.  Instead of concentrating on his own work and honing his craft, he chose to tear down another author in order to promote himself.

Of course this "gentleman" doesn't know he attacked one of my dear friends and has raised my Momma Vixen hackles. Doing a quick Amazon search revealed that this male diva has published ONE book in October of last year. There isn't any other information. No author bio. No reviews. Nothing. His website is just as sparse only listing his book's synopsis and buy links. I went back to Amazon to take a "look inside" his book. Nearly 80% of all the sentences ended in an exclamation point.  I'm not kidding. It was one of the most jarring reading experiences I've ever had. It was even worse than trying to read through posts on Facebook that are in all caps. Ugh! (yes, I'm being sarcastic with the exclamation point.)

This is just yet another example of how rude and obnoxious some authors have become. Why all the animosity? There are plenty of readers out there, enough for everyone. There is no need to tear down someone else to get your book noticed. The criticism could have a bit more weight if the author above actually had some sales to back up their claims of being a better writer. My advice to him would be to just SHUSH! Stop being a diva and work on your writing to build up your fan base.



Honor Your Commitments


Whew! Sorry, I had to get that off my chest before I went on to another way authors have been behaving poorly and disrespectfully to bloggers, reviewers and those authors with a lot more experience than themselves.  This last part of my post today deals with honoring your commitments involving guest spots on other blogs.

Having multiple blogs between all of my pen names and one that I share with three other authors called Four Seduced Muses, I schedule many guest spots each month.  I enjoy sharing these spots with new authors and help to promote their work. Not only do I get to find new authors for my own TBR pile, I can introduce my followers to them as well. An added bonus is that more folks stop in and visit my blogs because of the new guests. It can be a win win situation for everyone involved.  The Four Seduced Muses blog is so popular, it's booked out two months in advance. We have people lining up for the Monday, Wednesday and Saturday guest spots.

To make sure we are all on the same page, all of my blogs have detailed instructions for guest spots listed on the blogs themselves. Another step we take for the Four Seduced Muses is to send another list of the guidelines to any authors requesting a spot along with detailed instructions on how to submit their posts, and what kind of posts we want for each daily feature. The only "solicitation" we do is to post announcements that we are accepting guests. The authors come to us for the spots and usually all goes well. Usually.

There have been a select few who've basically demanded dates that were already taken, submitted posts not in line with the guidelines, submitted them late (repeatedly), or just flat out flaked submitting nothing at all by the deadline. No explanation. Not even a follow up email apologizing for the mistake and asking to reschedule. Hey, life gets in the way and deadlines are sometimes missed. It's how you handle those situations that shows your true character.

One person in particular stands out in my mind.  This author had published multiple books through Amazon and one would assume knew the ins and outs with doing guest spots on blogs. Not so. We had to first explain what a blog was, then repeatedly tell her it wasn't a radio call in show. I have absolutely no idea where she got the idea that we were a talk show, but we got over that hurdle only to crash into another. Over and over again it was explained to her the kind of posts we wanted for the site and what days were available and yet she still insisted on being on dates that were not available. It was a nightmare. When it came time for her actual post, she never sent it on time and then blamed it on us saying we had to have lost it. Finally she sent her post to us and it was straight promo...ugh.

Here's another example of an author who I will never have as a guest on any of my blogs ever again. This particular person had scheduled a tour of three of my adult blogs. I had offered her spots on Not Enough Time in the Day and one of another that was PG rated since that would best fit the book she was promoting. She insisted that  her book was not YA and appealed to a more mature audience. On several occasions I reminded her that the three blogs she wished to be on were very explicit, for adults only, and featured many erotica and erotic romance authors. She still demanded to be scheduled for those spots because she wanted the added exposure. Okay, I caved in. Big mistake on my part.  Not only did she flake out on the first blog but then proceeded to cancel the other spots because she didn't want to be associated with "those" kind of writers.

Seriously?

How many more details do you need? When you are warned repeatedly about the explicit nature of the blogs and still insist on having the guest spots, it is expected you will fulfill your commitment. Can you see why I would be upset that you would cancel out at the last minute? I'm not one of those people who keep smiling and stay polite when repeatedly being attacked for my choice of genre. Forgetting a spot or getting overwhelmed is one thing, but to use the excuse you don't wish to be associated with me, my work, or that of my author friends is just beyond behaving badly. You've now created a reputation for being a diva among those who make up the blogosphere.

Yes we do talk and we all know who you are.


So how can you not become one of the divas and pariahs in the author community?


Follow guest spot guidelines to the letter. If you wish to do something different, ask your host.

Make sure the spot you're requesting is on a blog you feel comfortable being a part of. If not, don't request a spot. There are other blogs out there that will suit your needs and your genre.

Don't attack other authors on their pages, blogs, or any other social media or review sites. If you don't like their work, stay away from it. If you do attack, be prepared for the backlash usually from the fans of the one you attacked.

Be detailed in the guidelines for the guest spots on your own blogs. If you feel what they write won't fit your site, tell them in a polite manner and wish them well. Maybe even offer them alternatives. Connections are great. Sharing them can be beneficial to all parties.

Don't put your links up on someone else's social media sites or blogs without permission to do so. This is a sure fire way to get yourself reported, banned, and blocked by not only the author you spammed, but all of their friends as well. (Connections can also hurt you!)

Finally, don't attack other authors who appear to be more successful than you are at the moment. Instead of doing that, continue to work on your writing to become the best you can be. Learn from your mistakes and take constructive criticism to heart. If you continue to put out poorly written and poorly edited novels on Amazon and Smashwords and then accuse others of being horrible writers, you will find yourself the subject of blogs such as mine today. 

Remember those connections I mentioned earlier? Well, I will continue to stick up for my fellow authors who are unfairly attacked and I just so happen to have a very large reach between my social media connections and other friends in and out of the publishing community. 

An author helping authors or a diva/pariah? The choice is yours.




Come join me and visit some of my author friends who are participating this week. Soon we will have a blog site for all of us in one place. Stay tuned. Until then...





8 comments:

  1. Great post!! I always remind myself, authors are not celebrities (usually). Walking through the mall I don't need the secret service. No one knows who I am. Now the day someone does recognize me, I might have a diva moment, but the chances of that day coming are slim to none. lol

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    1. Lacey, getting recognized as an author would be a fantastic time to show a little bit of the diva in us all. That's the fun part and it doesn't hurt anyone else when you're in the spotlight on those occasions. I just don't understand some of the attitude I've been witness to lately. It not only,makes me angry, but extremely sad. There's no excuse for it and it seems to be getting worse instead of better.

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  2. Another great post, Tammy! Personally, I don't look at other authors as competition. I view my fellow authors as peers and enjoy sharing information. As writers, our work is subjective and stands alone once it's released into the world. Readers and reviewers each have their ideas of what's good or not--purely subjective. When other authors start viewing their peers as competition, that's a sign of their own insecurity, in my opinion. This is such a challenging business and we need to have each other's backs. Those bad apples will have short lived careers if they can't learn to respect their peer group.

    I also completely agree with what you said about guest bloggers. My author blog is also booked two months in advance and has truly become its own "project". I treat guest authors with professionalism and expect the same. Just because we're writers who have non-traditional jobs doesn't mean that business etiquette doesn't apply. When I give a guest blogger a deadline, I expect it to be met or at least acknowledged. You're dead on as usual. Keep doin' what you're doin' because it's great! (notice the exclamation mark?)

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    1. Yes I did notice the exclamation mark, Amber. hehehe

      You are so right about the idea that authors should see each other as peers. It is hard not to compare yourself to others though. I have that problem myself, but I've learned that my creative process is much different than that of my peers. Besides writing most of us have to juggle evil day jobs, raising kids, running households and everything that goes with it. All of us are different and that's what makes us all special to ourselves and to each other.

      Instead of looking at another author as competition, they should be viewed as valuable resources. Picking each other's brains and sharing insights we've learned along the way can make our chosen profession all the more enjoyable.

      Until then, I'll keep fighting the good fight!

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    2. I compare myself only in regards to output--some people seem to produce a lot and I have my process that's true to me. Of course, I have a secret hatred toward one very famous author who keeps getting movies made of his work and I always want to gag myself--but he's a multi-millionaire so my secret grudge doesn't impact him at all. (and I still don't give him bad reviews like "this story made me want to poke my eyes out with sticks"...because I would never, ever put that into print! LOL) Aside from my secret boiling rage at that one particular man, I am all about peace and love toward all other authors. :)

      I love your bear picture above, by the way. I forgot to add that earlier.

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  3. Dang it, I just lost my comment to cyberspace so I'll try again. The gist of it was:
    1. Good post. Great advice.
    2. I don't understand the diva-ish-ness such as you described from the "gentleman" above. What's the point? Why not treat others as you want to be treated and let the rest go?
    3. I'm part of a group blog and we have the same problems as you describe with guests. The most common problem is authors sending a post (often last minute and without all the requested info/links/pics so we have to go find them), then not showing up to comment or interact with our guests. How rude. It's like not showing up for a party in your honor.

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  4. Fantabulous post Vixen! You hit on some important topics and still made me smile :D

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