Thursday, July 9, 2015

The #FatChick Has Had It with Bullies Disguised as High Maintenance Creatures #MyWANA

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sending in street teams to post lower rated reviews for perceived "competition"
  4. Creating sock puppet accounts to rate their own books higher and slam "competition"
  5. 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...)
  6. 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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The #FatChick Weighs in on Amazon KU Doomsday #MyWANA

Tick. Tick. BOOOOOM!!!

There. Do you feel better now? We're nearing the end of DAY TWO of Amazon's new royalty pay out system for the books borrowed through their Kindle Unlimited program. How many of you have been on your computers wailing, gnashing your teeth and sending out furious hashtag filled tweets across the Internet?

Has the world come to an end for you?

Sorry, but all this craziness is over the top. The program just started up yesterday and there are authors lamenting they'll have to find some other way to get money since their income will be drastically cut.

All based on less than 48 hours of figures. (Click HERE to read a great blog post by Hugh Howey)

Now some want to throw in the towel since they may have to wait an entire month or maybe two to determine if the program will continue to pay them what they've been used to receiving while they've been faithful Amazon exclusive authors. Oh wait, maybe those were some of the hundreds of authors who busted up their novels into ten page pamphlets so that they would get paid the full royalty as soon as the reader opened their files on their Kindle?

If you were one of those authors who deliberately released those shorts, then you have no one but yourself to blame for Amazon's change up. You should NOT have been receiving the same royalty as someone who published a 100 or 200 page novel. You cheated the system and ended up causing Amazon to lose more money than they were already bleeding through their publishing side of their company.

Another group to blame are authors and their publishers who abused the system by having others repeatedly borrow books, scroll through 10% or a more for good measure, then return the book only to turn around in a day or two and borrow the book again. Now the author/publisher is getting double or more of the royalty intended for the "book". Tell me where that practice was ever fair?

With all the barely there "books" in the system, how could Amazon sustain the program as it was? How could authors who take the time to develop beautifully written novellas and novels get a break and be noticed in the sea of crap?

My friend and fellow author Zoey Derrick posted about this very thing within the last hour. Here's the LINK to her post. She'd made the choice to become exclusive to Amazon only a month ago and has decided to give it the full 90 days to see how it works for her and her readers. I think she made a wise decision. Two days of numbers won't give her a good idea of how things pan out. I applaud her for staying in there. She is one of the authors who write FULL length books with fabulous characters and stories that grab you and never let go. She may very well be one of the success stories with this new system because readers will WANT to complete the entire book and Zoey will be paid accordingly.

I gave Amazon exclusivity a go with one of the anthologies and it was not good for me. My readers kept asking when it would be out on Kobo, iTunes, BN and All Romance/Omnilit. I had built up a following there and didn't want to disappoint them. Once my 90 days was up, I pulled it out of Kindle Select and never looked back. That was the best decision for me and all of my pen names.

Subscription services on the surface look great for the consumer. You pay a flat monthly fee and you're able to borrow as many books as you can read. Amazon only let you "check out" ten at a time but once you finished reading any of them, you could send them back and fill those slots again. Well, companies offering these services grossly underestimated the voracious appetites of romance and erotica readers. 

This is why there will be more restructuring...

Scribd just dropped a huge chunk of romance and erotica books from their listings. They couldn't continue to pay the authors the full royalty for books borrowed out of what they were taking in from the subscribers. Unfortunately, instead of reworking and renegotiating the rates, Scribd dropped a shit ton of books angering their distribution partners, authors and readers all in one swoop.

Oyster hasn't listed any of my adult books. At first I thought it was yet another site snubbing the hot stuff, but no. It's all about money. 

Just like with Amazon.

Lesson through all of this is you must treat your writing and publishing as a business. You have to do what's right for you, your brand, and your work. If keeping exclusive to Amazon is what you it but stop bitching. There will be ups and downs. Either ride it out, or get the hell out of dodge. Amazon isn't the only vendor out there. If you spread out, PROMOTE those other sites! don't assume readers will just stumble over your work and you'll take off. It takes work—a hell of a lot of hours of it to get your books in front of readers. If this is what you want to do for a living, then get off your ass and DO IT!

Until next time,
~The Fat Chick

Wildfire Romance Series