Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#WWoW!: Don't Bully Your Peers! #ethics #MyWANA


This week has been another filled with eye-openers. Not only did I witness one of my author friends be dragged into another's fight with Goodreads, one more decided to take it upon himself to wage war with a few of us who declined to download his book and review it. Nothing like being accused of not being a team player because I exercised my right to choose my own reading material.

If you've spent any time online over the last few years you've undoubtedly run across several posts about authors behaving badly. I've written a few of them myself. It's time to take a good, hard look at the whole world of publishing: from readers and reviewers, to authors, to publishers and start holding everyone to a higher standard.

First rule: STOP BULLYING EACH OTHER!



I don't care if it's reader vs. author or author vs. author. Just. Stop. There is no reason for it. If one side wants to troll another, there is no point in getting yourself in the middle of it. All it will do is escalate and cause both sides to target YOU.

Readers have a right to read what they want and post their opinion about the books they do read without fearing an author is going to bombard the review or demand it be pulled because it wasn't a glowing 5 stars. If you put your book out for sale (or for free), you hope more people like it than don't but you can't stack the likes in your favor. 

It may not be illegal or against the rules to do review swaps or campaign for people to vote for your books on the Goodreads lists, or in other popularity contests, but it's not altogether ethical either. It's shady at best and frankly, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Did I try it out myself? Yes and that's how I found out it didn't make me feel good doing it. I won't participate in those sorts of things in the author support groups I'm in. They don't feel right for ME.

Imagine my surprise when a member from one of those groups sent me a private message asking me to download his book that was currently for free, read and review it. I was shocked because there are daily posts in the group we are in for this sort of thing. If you participate in that thread, that means you feel comfortable doing those sorts of reciprocal tasks. It's been mentioned time and time again to NOT private message group members to solicit help. Unfortunately, this person didn't think those rules applied to him.

When I replied I didn't do that sort of thing and why I didn't participate in the threads in the group, he seemed to take the refusal in stride but then asked me to still download the book to help boost his rankings.

Seriously.

He wasn't happy with the response he was or wasn't getting WITHIN the threads in the group. He continued to harass members in private. He doesn't see anything wrong with this and feels we should do as he asks in order to be team players. I'm sorry, but the only team I'm on is Team Tammy. I have to watch out for myself, and my brand as an author...times four. I'm not under any obligation to promote anyone else simply because I'm FB friends with them or belong to the same author support group.

I did that for a long time and it got me nowhere. I shared and shared for others but when it came down to them reciprocating for me...crickets. Crickets and excuses. I changed groups to those I thought offered a wide variety of things so I didn't feel as if I was forced to do things against my own principles. Now this.

I didn't receive the biggest part of his wrath. He's attacked another of my author friends and has threatened to "make her pay" for not being a team player. He's now claiming SHE "victimized" him in this whole thing. He feels victimized because someone had the balls to tell him NO.

Yes you read that right. Victimized.




Second Rule: Be Gracious and Don't Take the Bait

This is the hardest rule to follow especially if you're on the receiving end of an attack. Whether you're a reviewer/blogger or an author, it's hard to keep quiet when someone rallies their friends to attack you and your work. What's put out on the Web is there forever even if you delete it. Damage control isn't easy and can take a long time for you to bounce back.

Mean Girls/Guys, Trolls, Bullies—whatever label you wish to put on them get their power from you. I'm not saying don't stick up for yourself, but do so with class. Don't stoop to their level of threats and bring in your posse to "make them pay." At that point, you're no better than they are. Have I had similar thoughts about getting "even" with people? Yep...in private. I turn those thoughts into scenes for my books. Safer that way for everyone concerned. :)

This is another area where authors have convinced other authors to help them fight back against people who they feel are treating them poorly. The instance I mentioned at the beginning of the post is one that comes to mind. One author asked my friend to help with an issue she had in her dealings with Goodreads. My friend is always willing to help so she thought she would give a 5 star rating to the other's book to help offset the many 1 stars it had garnished.

What my friend didn't know and what the other author neglected to tell her was there had already been a huge battle playing out in the Goodreads threads and much of it the fault of the author. So by supporting someone she thought was her peer, my friend ended up in the cross hairs of some very angry people...those who couldn't understand why she gave such a high rating to this person.

The outcome for my friend? She admitted she was duped by the other author and she's no longer on anyone's shit list. Read all about it HERE.


Third Rule: Target Your Audience NOT Your Peers

This really should be self-explanatory but time and time again I run across authors who just don't get it. Your peers are not the ones who will go out and buy your books. Sure some may turn into fans, but the vast majority of them are fighting the good fight right alongside you. We're all looking for new ways to get the word out about our books. Posting your buy links in AUTHOR support groups isn't going to bring you sales. Neither will posting on another person's page or Facebook wall without their permission.

What will? Connect with potential readers through social media by being yourself. Chat about other things and interests. Make readers WANT to learn more about you and your characters instead of forcing promo after promo down their throats. 

Do NOT send private or direct messages to your peers telling them about your latest release and beg them to share with their friends and followers. Do NOT get all pissy when they tell you no. If you don't have the time to get to know them why on earth would they do you a "solid" and pretend to support you and your work?

You want REAL, LIVE readers to check out your work and leave reviews. Rankings achieved by playing the system and jumping through loopholes are hollow and mean nothing if you don't have fabulous stories to back them up. What makes this behavior any better than the "trolls" who comb the genres and drop 1 star bombs with reviews that attack the author personally? Both sides are manipulating the system and in the end negate their desired end results.

Final thoughts...

If it feels wrong to you, don't do it. Just because it looks successful on the outside doesn't mean it will work for you or make you feel good doing it.

Don't spam or target your peers. Make real connections with readers...your actual target audience.

Don't assume your peers are under any obligation to help you achieve your goals. If you want to get to the top of the rankings, you need to EARN it on your own merit, not on the "clicks" of others.

Readers/reviewers are NOT your enemy any more than we are theirs. It's time both sides do what they do best and treat each other with respect.

The publishing world is hard enough without all of the backstabbing and in fighting. Walk away from the drama and concentrate on what's most important: reading and writing!

Until next time,

~Tammy

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#WWoW! @dochappycamper Revisits Getting Organized with #Scrivener #MyWANA


Hello new visitors and returning readers! Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits.  From writing, blogging, editing, critique partners, social media and more, these posts are meant to show you my journey through the world of publishing. Some things have worked very well, while others...not so much. 

The following post was originally done just before I released my vampire inspired poetry book, The Courtship of the Vampyre. This is a step by step description of my experience using Scrivener to organize my work for that project so don't get your panties in a bunch when I mention poems instead of chapter or scenes. 

I'm telling you, the program saved my backside on numerous occasions by helping me keep everything at my fingertips. Since the original post, I've used the split screen feature to help with edits of The Surrender of Julia(Now and Forever 3), kept my NaNoWriMo projects rolling along, and organized everything for the Bigfoot Chronicles series I write as Tawny Savage. This program has become invaluable to me. I don't know what I would do without it at this point.

Without further adieu, here's my introduction to the wonderful world of...



I was reluctant to try this writing program even after all the rave reviews by fellow author friends. I mean, I had a system that seemed to be working for me and I didn't want to mess with it. That is, until I ended up adding more projects to my "To Do" lists for all four of my pen names. The number of paper notebooks I hauled around with me at any given time had begun to weigh me down—literally!

The program for Windows (and Mac) was readily available through Amazon for $40. I figured , "What the hell?" I had a credit from Thank You Points left over from another purchase, so I wasn't out any extra money. So with the click of my mouse I bought the program.  The download was easy and painless as was registering the product with the Scrivener site.

So what now?

With most new "toys" I tend to just open it up and figure it all out as I go, but this looked too damn daunting. To get a bit more help, I went back to Amazon and found a few books that would help me with creating an ebook using the program and of course I had the help that came along with the program itself. Not only did it come with a manual within the program, it also had a tutorial. 

Hmmmm...this was going to be a first for me, actually watching the tutorial!

Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was that I started up the program to get my initial bearings.  I was so glad I did! It takes you through each section with ease and in language that's easy to understand. Not only do you learn each step, but you learn different routes in the program to achieve the same goals. It's all about tailoring the experience to fit your own needs.

The tutorial explains how each level works from draft, to folders, text files and research files. I can even store the photos that inspire my characters so I can pull them up while writing the scenes. How cool is that?  I found out that I can create multiple levels for each project (chapters and scenes for example) or just keep it straight forward like having each folder/chapter one separate poem. By setting it up that way, I can be sure each poem starts on it's own page like a chapter would.



example of cork board view
My favorite part so far is the cork board view. With my vampire poetry project, I have all the poems/folders laid out on "index" cards. I can then write a short synopsis on each card so I'll be reminded what is covered in that poem without having to open the folder to read it.

The best part? I can shuffle every card in whatever order I want! No more cut, past and then delete like when I worked with just Microsoft Word. If I don't like the order, I can just move the cards around and then flip back to the document view and see all the poems laid out with page breaks. This helps me to visualize what the ebook will look like once it's all finalized. I haven't got to the compiling part yet where I convert all of my "chapters" into an ebook, so I'll leave that discussion for next time.

I'm at the point where I have my cover, nearly all the poems in the order I want them in, my copyright page, dedication and acknowledgement page, table of contents with links to find each poem within the document and my "about the author" section. I've even made separate folders for Kindle, Smashwords and Createspace copyright pages. You see, when it comes to the compiling phase, I only have to choose the appropriate folders/chapters to combine into the final product.



So far, so good! Next is to compile everything and make the different formats needed for Smashwords and Kindle. This is the key reason I purchased this program so it would be easier to format all the different files for each publishing route. Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble with compiling into different formats. I'm not sure if I wasn't following directions properly but the files just wouldn't convert. Of course I got fabulous .doc files. Both Smashwords and Amazon require this file type so I'm not flipping out yet. LOL!

Instead of fretting over my issues with this phase, I found another program to help me out. In Word, I saved my .doc file as a PDF.  Using this format in Calibre, I converted it to all ebook formats I'd need for uploading to All Romance ebooks, Omnilit and for sale on my own website eventually.  Calibre is a free program that helps with ebook file conversion and organization of your library. It's fun! More about that in future posts.

UPDATE: Since the time of the original post, I've discovered that the PDF created in Word doesn't always convert in Calibre to nice clean ebooks. It's changed spacing of paragraphs, font sizes and overall hasn't been reliable. I found Draft 2 Digital on the recommendation of another author and haven't looked back since! 

With Draft 2 Digital I can create a beautiful epub file which DOES convert well with Calibre. More on THAT experience in a future post. Stay tuned!

Have you used Scrivener or another program like it? Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Until next week!
~Tammy



Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube





Monday, January 5, 2015

The #FatChick Gets Real and Removes Her Rose Colored Glasses #MyWANA #IGotThis


Happy New Year and Brightest Blessings for all!

Like many of you, I spent the last days of 2014 evaluating all facets of my life. I didn't like what turned up. The promises and resolutions I made for myself, my health and career have fallen short.

Let me introduce myself to those of you visiting for the first time. Hello, my name is Tammy Dennings Maggy. I'm a 48-year old Fat Chick, veterinarian, ordained minister, multi-published author, poet, and married to the most amazing man in this and any lifetime. I'm a diabetic on a diuretic for my high blood pressure. I have hot flashes, back pain, "tight" with Aunt Flo, and on a first name basis with each of the Seven Witches of Menopause and all of their relatives.

I'm all of those things and can't enjoy the good stuff because I'm miserable in my own body. I'm considered morbidly obese by doctors. Others would try to sugar coat it by calling me "curvy", "more to love", or a fabulous BBW (big beautiful woman).

I'm here to tell you to join me and take off the rose colored glasses. I did. I don't like what I see. I can't walk through the mall without having to sit down because my back hurts more than I'll admit. I'm winded walking up one flight of stairs. I can't get up and down from the floor without grabbing on to a counter to pull myself up. These things are not cute and more to love. 

Being obese is not healthy and to me it's not beautiful to suffer through tasks I need to do each and every day. Now before you start yelling at me that I have to first love myself and see how beautiful I am, let me explain to you it's BECAUSE I LOVE MYSELF that I have to make some serious life changes yet again.

No longer will I accept my obesity as a part of my life. It's KILLING ME. It hurts to move, to breathe, to enjoy the things I used to enjoy when I was younger and yet here I sit once again. At my largest I was over 350 pounds. I sure as hell don't want to go back there again but if I don't get this under control, I'll be looking at 300 pounds again before the end of 2015. 

I can't do that. Not again. I can't do that to myself nor to my husband. He loves me unconditionally but if I don't step up, I may leave him a widower. That's not something you do to someone you love and least of all not your soul mate.

You may very well be one of those women who accept your body at your current size. I'm not telling you to do anything differently. I don't accept this shell I'm trapped in. I'll always have the curves but right now they're not curves but rolls and globs. In my eyes, I'm not plus sized or a BBW—I'm fat and unhealthy and need to lose another 100 to 125 pounds to be able to call myself a sexy curvy girl again.

As always, this is my journey to get healthy and enjoy the life with which the Goddess has blessed me. I'm looking forward to each new day celebrating the success of my writing/publishing career, my new role as a relief veterinarian, and living life to the fullest.

I GOT THIS!



Friday, January 2, 2015

#WWoW! @dochappycamper Discusses How to Share Your Facebook Posts With Your Fans and Followers #MyWANA #ASMSG

Welcome to Tammy's Tidbit's here at Not Enough Time in the Day. I hope all is going well with everyone and their journey through the world of publishing. New Year's Day 2015 celebration around here is extra special since the collection of stories I'd been working on for six months finally went live. Whew! 


With that under my belt I can concentrate a bit more on sharing more helpful hints here with everyone. This week I'd like to talk a bit about how to get around Facebook's algorithm that determines who will see your posts on your wall and fan pages. As you all have heard by now, Facebook is once again changing the way we get to see posts in our news feeds. They've listened to what the users stated they want and don't want to see on their walls.


Unfortunately, that means even less people will see our posts on our pages. Facebook will be cracking down on posts that look too much like advertising. It's important to have a presence there, but you should try to be social and interact more with your followers. Yes you want to share your book links and let your fans know your new one is ready for them, but now you'll have to figure out more creative ways to do it and not come off like a BUY ME NOW commercial.


I know some of you have no idea what I'm talking about so let me back track just a bit.

If you have a author/fan page you've noticed that only a small percentage of your fans (those who've liked your page) actually see your posts. Why? Because those are the ones who actively engage with you and your posts. They like it, make little comments on the majority of them or even just a smiley emoticon. These are the people Facebook and their computers feel are important and want to be updated about you and your page. 


You can get more views for your posts by encouraging your fans and friends to make comments and commenting on the posts yourself. One way to get your post in front of your current fans and friends is to boost it. For only $5, up to 3500 people can see your post. Of course this depends on your current fan base and friend count, but it is an investment that can really pay off.  Some of these people may not have realized they weren't seeing your posts. If they just click the like button, Facebook will register that as an ENGAGEMENT and these folks will be on the list to see your next posts. The more they like and leave even a short comment, the higher up on the list they go.


Sure, these little boosts may not lead to any sales of your books, but it gets your name out there and in front of the people who WANT to see your posts. These are the people who WILL buy your books if they know about them. It's why many of them liked your fan page to begin with—to get news of your events and new releases.


Another thing that's really helped me to get my posts in front of more people who are NOT my fans/friends yet is FREE. In two groups I'm in, we do weekly post shares. Each of us creates a post/status update on our wall or fan page, then we share the URL of the post in our group thread. Each person participating in the thread will then click on the URL, like the post and leave a comment. We also share these posts on our own walls and pages to our fan base. These additional shares make the original posts more engaging and Facebook keeps the lists growing.


Go ahead and give both methods a try. Use them in combination with each other to get more reach. Either way you do it means you get your name and your work in front of more people and in front of those who wish to see it. Isn't that what social media is all about?


For more information on how to get around Facebook's algorithm, please check out this fabulous blog article by Elyse Salpeter: Facebook – Getting Around the Darn Algorithm…


Before I go, I'd like to address another issue with the new Facebook advertising rules that are rolling out this month. You may have seen several posts from authors planning on deleting their pages and just stick with their private profiles.


While this may seem like the best answer, it's not. Profiles have a friend limit of 5k. Those pages allow you to have more than that following your updates. If you let them follow your profile, you set yourself up for anyone to have access to photos you post there. This is one way those Facebook hackers have stolen pictures and set up new accounts pretending to be others.


Facebook isn't going to suddenly present you a bill if you create posts that are too much like advertising. They may delete the post or the link associated with it. Instead of posting a link in the status, why not put it in the comments? It's still there, but it's encouraging readers to check out the comments and maybe even talk with you there. 


While it's true your ultimate goal is to garner more sales for your books, isn't it worth more if you "meet" people and get to know them as people first? These acquaintances could very well turn into fans for life and in turn will happily help you spread the word about your work.


Go on. Give it a try and have fun on your pages with those who visit. What have you got to lose?


Until next time,
~Tammy


Learn More About Tammy


Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. 

Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels, Stephanie Ryan and Tawny Savage make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing. Together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.


Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunes 
Friend Tammy on Facebook
Like Tammy's Facebook Author Page
Friend Tammy on Goodreads
Friend Tammy on Pinterest
Follow Tammy on Twitter
Find Tammy's Videos on Youtube