You know it's been a heck of a couple of weeks if I'm here again with another post so soon. I've had enough drama to last me a lifetime and beyond and yet I can't tear myself away from it. It's like my favorite Real Housewives shows. I can't stop watching those train wrecks!
The publishing world is no different.
In my last post I talked about the changes with Amazon. Guuuurrrrrrlll! You'd think the world had indeed come to an end and there are still people bitching about it. Now Amazon is fighting back. Those who are the most vocal on social media have had those feeds deleted from their Amazon author pages aaaaannnnnndddd their books "hidden" from the general search feeds.
Ha! Welcome to the world of an author who pens erotica and erotic romance. Every single book we put out is subject to being slapped with the "adult" label and hidden from general searches. So what? All you do to get around that is promote the direct links just like you would for the links for other vendors...
Oh wait. You're exclusive to Amazon and think they'll never do anything to hide your books. You rake in the dough for them so they should bow down at your feet and let you do and say whatever the hell you want.
Bwahahahahahahaha! Buck up, buttercup! You are NOT all that. Amazon is a business. They were there before you published your erotic shorts and they'll be there long after they ditch the ebook business altogether. All of your whining and crying about Facebook hiding your book links or Amazon burying your books from searches and your complaints that your gravy train of cheating Amazon's royalty system need to STOP. You are NOT the center of anyone's universe other than your own. Amazon, Scribd, Oyster, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, All Romance and any other vendor out there are under no obligation to sell your books.
YOU need them more than they need YOU.
Now some of those "Amazon is Number One" authors who put themselves up as "experts" on sales and rankings are being shown up as the fakes they are. "Best Seller" status doesn't apply to free books. I'm sorry, but giving your books away for free or 99 cents in order to get yourself higher in the rankings does nothing to sustain your career. Putting out 99 cent boxed sets with authors who have hit those USA Today and NY Times best seller lists ON THEIR OWN so that you can then get the same status could be seen as a genius move...until you have to prove you can hit those lists on your own merit.
These authors have preached their hype for so long, they actually believe it themselves and attack their colleagues who choose not to put all their eggs in one basket. We're all supposed to listen and hang on to every single word they say because they talk a good game and make everyone think they're publishing gurus when all they've done is learn how to manipulate the system in order to get the results they want.
What has been done to manipulate the system? Here are a few things but the list is anything but all inclusive
- Participating in review swaps with other authors. Not so bad in itself if done with one or two other people and everyone actually reads the books. This is not what's being done and those in the swaps are pretty much expecting 4 and 5 star reviews.
- Kindle Unlimited borrowing program. Groups of authors and their fans have borrowed a book, scrolled through over 10% in order for the author to get full royalty and then returned the book. A few days later, the same book is borrowed again. This ended up boosting the "sales"/borrowed ranking and got the author double (or more) royalty.
- Sending in street teams to post lower rated reviews for perceived "competition"
- Creating sock puppet accounts to rate their own books higher and slam "competition"
- Publishing 10 page booklets/pamphlets in the Kindle Unlimited program so that as soon as the file is opened on the kindle, the royalty is awarded. (this is mute now that Amazon has switched to the pages read system but...)
- Having your street team, family, friends and group members borrow the book from KU and slowly scroll through the pages to the end, or set the kindle to audible and let it read the book out loud while you do something else.
Smoke and mirrors, people. Smoke. And. Mirrors.
Just this last week, one of my author friends was blasted and called a sell out because she is a hybrid. She self publishes and is also published with well known publishing houses. One of our "friends" took it upon herself to give my friend advice about her career telling her she shouldn't go with a publisher but keep doing everything on her own. She then told my friend that she needed to be a part of some project in order to get more exposure and bring up her rankings.
Well, imagine my surprise when I took a moment to look at the High and Mighty One's book rankings. Each one of them had rankings much lower than my friends and she has less than a third of the books published that my friend has. Color me purple with giggles when the same "Expert" came back and tried to make nice with my friend.
How much do you want to bet Ms. Expert did what I did and actually checked my friends rankings on Amazon...and then maybe she even took a look at some other vendors and found out that my friend could very well know what the fuck she's doing with her career?
Sorry. I had to get that off my chest. It's been stewing for a long time. It all came to a head this week. I've been witness to authors behaving badly toward each other for far too long. There were two incidents that blew me away this week. I mentioned one above concerning Ms. Expert. The second has to do with another well respected author getting in the middle of a disagreement between two others. The whole thing was settled before she got involved. One had decided to cut ties with the other for her own sanity. Not everyone gets along and sometimes friendships must come to an end.
Been there. Done that and all of us survived to go on to bigger and better things.
Well in this case, the "Mediator" took it upon herself to chastise one author while appearing to take the side of the other. There were no sides to take in this other than both parties needed to part ways. Instead of letting it happen, the Mediator made one author feel like shit and pretty much told her that her career could be in jeopardy because of her behavior...behavior that had been grossly exaggerated by others who had no clue what had happened or the history between the two involved.
This is a classic case of a high maintenance author in need of being the center of attention at all times. If it works, more power to her but she has no business demanding that others have to agree with it, nor should she recruit a mutual friend to "make it all better" and cry about being bullied for doing "nothing wrong."
Sometimes the best thing is to part ways and be done with it. Let it go. You came together for a purpose, learned from each other and now it's time to move on. That's not a bad thing and it sure is hell doesn't give anyone else the right to jump in and demand you remain friends. Why on earth would anyone want a friend to keep up the facade of a friendship after it's soured simply to keep the other part happy?
By forcing others to do what you want, when you want, without compromise is not simply being high maintenance but the ultimate form of bullying. Using lies and half truths to get others to be on your "side" of a disagreement is manipulative and eventually will come back to bite you in the ass.
Instead of hanging on to all that drama and negativity, release it out into the Universe. When you do, the weight will be lifted from your shoulders, from your heart and your soul. Live your life and pursue your career the way that will make YOU happy and fulfilled. The only person you have to prove anything to is yourself. Whether you want to continue with personal and business friendships, publish your work yourself, with a publisher or a combination of the two is all on you. No one has the right to dictate to you what will make you happy, so why give them that power?
Until next drama...errrr...time!
~The Fat Chick