Lip Service

Traveling the Yahoo loops that all authors need to travel these days in order to promo their work has become a challenge for me. Before I get into the reasons for that, let me backtrack to some workshops given on the Noble Romance group over the past few weeks.

sunday-125Noble is the publisher for my book The Wise Guy. I decided to try for one of the open slots in their Child of the Week series because all of the other authors were multi-pubbed, fairly well known in these circles, and mostly – if not all – were Cobblestone authors too. Those of you who are familiar with me and my work know that I have a submission in at Cobblestone. In fact, it’s been there 164 days I think. Since the 15th of October. I thought this series would be a great opportunity for me since although I had three contracts under my belt at the time I sent in a proposal for The Wise Guy, I had yet to have a release.

Just prior to release day, the seven authors in this series had a little discussion about a big release day promo that included all of the authors. The little discussion got a little heated. Well, maybe not heated but uncomfortable. The upshot was no promo went off with all authors in attendance. Everyone did their own thing and although I showed at one of the events I frankly just kinda felt left out in the cold while other authors who weren’t in the series were showcased as part of this promo. Now, granted, I suppose I could have asked to be included, but I’m the noob here. I don’t always do what I should in part because of ignorance and in part because I don’t want to feel like or be perceived as some arrogant buttinsky.

Anyway, a month later Noble starts these workshops on their Yahoo group. I had my day in the sun talking about making trailers and the power of branding and social media. The following weekend was a workshop on similar stuff… and promo. Now, when someone tells me that in order to do well as an author, I should be spending four hours a day on promo… do you realize how many flies I caught in my open mouth? To begin with, I don’t have four hours a day. I worked a 50 hour week last week and those kinds of weeks aren’t going to go away for the foreseeable future. For another, HELLO! I need to freaking WRITE!

Being told that about promo and making it as an author kinda put my panties in a bunch because yanno, I already have this really big soapbox that I get on regarding people who can’t write very well, are hand held by editors through five rounds of edits, and still end up with a book whose plot is kinda MEH, or those people who go to publishers that don’t really edit. I’m tired of buying books where the best part was the blurb and excerpt I saw on the groups. Because I’ve been burned in this fashion a few times in the past, there are publishers I will not buy from and will not sub to. I buy from them only if they put out something by an author I know delivers. And yeah, I did read those Dear Author posts that had everyone howling. And yeah, I did see some of what Jane from DA posted on Twitter on a Friday night recently. I had already decided that house wasn’t for me long before all the DA stuff came out. Maybe things will change with them and me, but for now I know who I want to sub to and I’m not deviating from that list.

All of that being said, if you believe the four hours a day of promo thing… that means all the stay at home moms are the only authors selling. Which, if I’m being snarky, makes sense in the whole scheme of things whereby I buy these books I see in promo on the groups because they seem like they would be great. I open em and read em, find them to be MEH and weeks later I see em winning awards. Maybe I better put the soapbox away now…

Despite the fact that I cannot promo for four hours every day, I know I can write well. I’ve been told this by people who would know. And I’ve been told this by countless readers on the groups when I have promo’d. Hordes of people have told me how great my excerpts and blurbs are. Most of them were glowing in their enthusiasm for my writing… most of them said they couldn’t wait to buy my books. Yet, according to my royalty statements… they have waited. And here is the crux of my rant.

lips1aLip service. These people paid me lip service on those groups. At least a hundred or more of them… giving me lip service. This is like being fucked in the ass with only the promise of lube (that never materializes) and no damned reacharound either.

I’m an honest person. If I don’t like something or it doesn’t sound like my kind of book, I try to find something positive to say anyway. But that positive thing is NEVER “I can’t wait to buy your book!” when I have no intentions of buying your book.

I’ve become hideously cynical about the groups now. Yeah, I promo. Not a lot and I really don’t think it’s going to make a huge difference. There are people who say, “Oh, you just need to join three dozen group blogs and post to them to get your name out!” Well, I happen to think that isn’t any different than the groups. Yes, I do belong to the Flirty Author Bitches, but that’s not about promo for me. It’s about having a venue to talk about stuff that we got slammed on the groups for talking about. My own group, Tales of the Darkworld, really has no rules because it’s just starting up and we don’t do anything formally yet. And I just think a lot of the group stuff is… lip service.

I just want people to tell me the truth. And if they are interested in my books, I’d like them to show that by purchasing them. But don’t tell me in droves how wonderful I am, and what a big star I’m going to be, and how awesome my excerpts are, and how my stuff is going to the top of your TBB list… when you DON’T MEAN IT. By that I mean, you don’t put your money where your mouth is and buy the book and read it.

I’m sure someone will slam me for this post too. I’m sure they’ll say I’m asking people to buy my books. Yet, isn’t that what promo is? And I’m not asking people to buy my books with this post. I’m asking them to stop lying to me. Stop telling me you’ll buy it when you have no intention of buying it. Stop giving me lip service. I’d rather have your honesty so that my royalty statements aren’t a surprise. If a hundred people hadn’t sworn up and down they were gonna buy my books I wouldn’t have expected to see 50 sales on my statement. When I didn’t see 50 sales, I realized that the stinging sensation I had was my chapped butt cheeks from all the lip service.

Do me and all the other authors out there a favor… stop the lip service. You’ll save yourself some needless typing and you’ll stop getting people’s expectations up for nothing. I just want what I am prepared to give in return… honesty.

Have a happy Easter-Zombie weekend.


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17 Responses to Lip Service

  1. stacey smith says:

    Wow that sounds like no fun at all boy you just can’t trust people to be out to help you there there to get all they can for there business.

  2. The thing is that a lot of times those people DO mean it.

    Frankly? The crickets are worse. Posting a book blurb or an excerpt and hearing absolutely. Nothing. is worse to me. I hate that.

    I try to put my money where my mouth is, but I'll often add authors to my TBB list where they stay for a long time.

    And if they ARE lying, it's only to "support" you in other ways. Keeping buzz going maybe the only way they CAN support you. I ought to know. I had several years where the only thing I had to offer an author was pimpage. I didn't have the money to buy everyone I love.

    And that meant that I would get on loops, forums and blogs saying "OMG that sounds AWESOME. I can't wait for this." even when I couldn't run out and buy it….then.

    Hang in there. Promo is hard work, as you know. The first year is the toughest.

    <abbr><abbr>Jennifer McKenzies last blog post..Welcome</abbr></abbr>

  3. martymankins says:

    Wow. I mean, promo is good, but 4 hours a day seems a bit much.

    Hopefully, they can get to working on getting your book out there.

    <abbr><abbr>martymankinss last blog post..Snowy Sunday #17 – The Season Ending Episode</abbr></abbr>

  4. Z.A. Maxfield says:

    Oh! four hours? How would ANYONE write? Seriously. Sales are funny, and–really–numbers change. They trickle and spurt, and sometimes it seems like they lie. And well meaning people get enthusiastic for you and about your work and see something sparkly ten minutes later, but I promise you, you just keep putting out the best work you know and you'll gather serious readers like a snowball rolling down hill.

    The internet is a massive fabrication. Trust yourself, trust your words, trust your worlds and then put your head down and write like the wind!! <3 <3 <3

  5. Lex says:

    Maurya – If I had 'em, I'd share with you! LOL

    Mary – I knew you'd get a laugh on that. Lisa Troy did too!

    Ame – Thank you!

    Sheila – Getting the contest copies is a good way to learn about new authors. I do the same thing. However, once I've decided I really like someone, they go on my auto buy list and I try to support them by buying their new releases. Jen Leeland is the author on the top spot of my auto buy list and I never miss her stuff! She always tells me, you don't have to buy it… but I do because she's awesome and she deserves the sale.

    Mistry – All very excellent authors whom I buy as well. My first M/M novella will be out in July – Fire Season. I'm writing it now and Ethan and Jason are gonna beta it for me. 🙂

    Lisa – I love snarky greek goddesses. Oh, wait. There's only one. HEH. That must mean I adore you! 😉

  6. Lisa Troy says:

    There are no words…

    You didn't think you'd get away that easy, didja? LOL I too am a member of many yahoo groups and I have to say that I don't read all the blurbs/excerpts that land in my mailbox. I simply don't have the time. Sometimes, a title may draw my attention, but usually I'll read stuff by writers I already know/have read or writers friends have told me they're good.

    So knowing I don't read half of the stuff and seeing how the same people claim they'll buy a dozen books and more, I was sure they were just being nice.

    Now even though I haven't published anything yet, I'm very good at daydreaming. 😀 (shut up, the innocent kind). And because I know it'd hurt me to expect to sell 200 books (the number of ebooks I need to sell to go print *sigh*) and sell only 20, I never say I'm going to buy an author's book unless I will. I've only said it like 5-6 times and I've been true to my word (except from a horror story by Cindy Jacks and your Darkworld Duo, but I'll get there).

    I've no idea why I started writing this post (it flew out of my fingers like flash fiction), I'd just like to say that I hate it when people lie to me. I prefer honesty, preferably not blunt tho.

    But that's just me…your snarky Greek Goddess.

  7. mistry89 says:

    Helloo Lex!

    As you know, I only read m/m these days, so expect me when your writing turns in that direction. 🙂

    On the promo thing, I tend to skim through the Big Groups (the excerpts, not the messages, I read nearly all of them), because I don't like spoilers, I really only want to read the blurb/teaser before making a decision on whether or not to note/bookmark for the TBB.

    On the contest thing, I really only do them for books I would have bought anyway. I would be concerned if the author asked me if I had enjoyed it and my answer was less than "Yes!". To date, I think I have entered about 7 contests, ever, and I've won 1 specific book, a choice of an author's backlist, a choice of a publishers backlist and a voucher. Not bad going – and I've been able to truthfully say that I have enjoyed all of the books thus acquired.

    I have not purchased books merely on the strength of seeing other other people win them, nor have I been moved to buy titles from writers I see popping up in group after group with the same excerpts and promos. I make the call at an early stage (genre/sub-genre) then check out their site, the publishers site, any other purchasing sites … and I might check out a review site or two (although I tend to rely on rec's in the groups I follow before "professional review" style sites.

    There are a couple of authors I have read snippets from and I would buy their stories if published (Maura Anderson's Bran's Visions is a an example, it must be the series I most anticipate being able to read – oops, must get her Giving Thanks). So perhaps it is those snippets and the author presence somewhere a reader might happen upon for another reason (I found ZAM's group after I began reading her books, not before) and I'm more likely to post to an a "multi-author" site or blog than on an individual one (ZAM, J L Langely, Ethan Day, Jordan Castillo Price and probably another couple excluded) at least when I first join. Then again, I'm more likely to buy a book from an author than I am to tell them about it or to discuss it with them – Standish by Erastes has been out for 3 years (ack! My copy is not on the shelf!) and I had my first online interaction with the author a few weeks ago.

    If I read something in a blog or on a group site and am moved to respond, I will do whatever it was I said (may be an "added to TBB" (which currently has over 200 titles on it, so is not a matter of "Buying It This Minute") but sometimes I already own it so it is a matter of moving it up the TBR, the silent version of these is adding it to my TBM To Buy Maybe, a far more woffly result and not as likely to be bought anytime soon), unless it is a "Congratulations" kind of response. I think it is likely that many readers have TBB lists that exceed both time and money available at any given point, so there may oftem be delays between the "I want this" or "Added to TBB" and the actual purchase. IMHO. *g*

    I think I bought Self-Preservation (or at least put it onto my TBB List before it was published), because of an excited message Ethan sent to a group (possibly ZAM's) and then later I read the blurb ..

    I'm a major Laney Cairo fangirl (I even have a t-shirt that says so!) but have really only had individual email exchanges with her – I've certainly never told the world that I have 3 versions of one of her titles and that her writing is enough of a reason I would consider getting a monthly subscription to Torquere's Screw (if only I could afford it), Torquere don't know that the reason I found their site (and have stayed a customer, discovering new-to-me-authors) is because of her. So I'm not good at trumpeting out the authors I follow (although my new lj may help with that if I can ever bring myself to actually include anything resembling a rec/review there!), all I can do is follow the groups/lists/newsletters/updates and buy the titles I think I'm going to enjoy.

    p.s. Of course I have my cc memorised!

  8. Sheila Gallagher says:

    I liked your posting. As a reader, I have to admit I don't read the excerpts. I'll read the blurbs posted but I belong to several groups and the same authors promo on all of them and it's always the same books and excerpts so I just hit the delete button. I want to know what the books are about but I want to discover what's between the covers for myself. I also like to discover new authors but I don't have the money to buy them all (wish I did) but I prefer not to raise any expectations then contact the author if I've enjoyed the writing. I also have to admit I like the contests that the authors offer for their books. I enter them all the time and I win quite a few. Doesn't help the author financially but if I don't like a book or an author's style then I don't feel like I've wasted my money.

  9. Ame says:

    You have your card memorized…well, mine is new, lol But, there is some way. Okay, on my way over to purchase Wise Guy now!


  10. Mary Winter says:

    I see the same thing, hon. I try to think positive…maybe they forgot…maybe their cat got sick and they had to pay vet bills… either way it still sucks.

    Awesome post and love your imagry about the anal sans lube and reacharound. You do have a way with words. *grins*

    <abbr><abbr>Mary Winters last blog post..Instant Spring Sale! Get 2 Free Tea Lights With A Print Book Purchase</abbr></abbr>

  11. Maurya says:

    Lex, I'm a 'stay at home' mom….where's my four hours???? I want them right now!!!! Really, I need them…so whoever has my four hours, hand 'em over! Seriously, no one have that kind time for promoting. Please, I can barely find time to write.

    And Ethan, do you want me to bother somebody…cause you know I will! Losing posts, not cool of someone! I'll get them for you…*evil grin*

  12. Lex says:

    Ame – I have my card number memorized. LOL Tap tap tap tap… and I'm done. 😉

  13. Ame says:

    I hate the at symbol, lol. Okay, I hear ya. alhtough, I bought your book. And no, I won't take it personally, even though I have done it. But lemme give you some insight, sistah, lol. Not slamming you, but…a new perspective. I have a credit card. It has money on it, quite a bit. I have a lot of books I want to buy, and can buy most of them. I'M A SCATTER BRAIN. SHEESH! I CAN HARDLY REMEMBER TO GO TO WORK, LOL. Seriously, I mean, no, it's not that bad, but finally, after about three to four weeks of procrastinating, I finally remembered, oh, damn, go get the damn credit card and purchase the damn books. lol I kept meaning and meaning and meaning…and I drone on and on and on about it, lol, but it's the truth. I have a whole host of books I want to buy, and will. Money is not the issue for me, time is. If my credit card was attatched to the computer, it would be demagnitized (hahahahaha) no, seriously, then maybe I'd remember. But probably not even then, however, you did remind me there are a few I'm out to buy, lol


  14. Lex says:

    Pat – I hear ya. Four hours seems excessive. I don't read a lot of those posts either. I read the ones where the author has done something other than the norm in order to catch my attention. Like Ethan with his contest post. I try to skim the new releases because I want to see what new and fresh but when I recognize the book name I know I've checked it out already.

    Ethan – There's a lot of really illogical things that are done to promo for sales. And I'm not sure any of it truly works either. I suck at ass kissing. Prolly why I've written my first and last rim job too. LOL

    Dianna – You've been a big help to me! People who read my stuff and like it and then tell other people are the best way to go IMO. I like the feedback too. You're honest and I appreciate that!

  15. Dianna F says:

    I belong to most of the same groups you do and there is nothing more irritating to me that getting 20 or 30 posts a day, every day, on each group, all from the same author all about the same book. I am like Pat I delete most of them without ever reading them. If I am not busy working then I am busy reading books so I can do my reviews, or I am trying to do something to help me relax the little free time I have.

    And who exactly does have 4 hours a day free to promo? Not and get anything else done like working, eating, sleeping stuff like that.

    I have actually told people that they need to look you up and read your stuff cause it is good. Not sure what else to do.

    <abbr><abbr>Dianna Fs last blog post..Anya Bast Contest</abbr></abbr>

  16. Ethan Day says:

    Sorry you had to go through that kinda crap. If it makes you feel better, there have have been a couple of authors groups I've joined only to discover my posts miraculously never seemed to show up in the group. It seemed very odd to me at the time, since I'd never spoken to either of them on a personal level before. But when you invite other authors to join your group and then exclude their posts…it's difficult to not get the message. Such is life…I was raised with better manners.

    I'm not sure if the promo-ing helps or not, but I do as much of it as I can.

  17. Pat Brown says:

    Four hours a DAY? Even a stay at home mom would have a hard time finding that much free time a day to spend doing what? Sending out emails to all those lists saying buy me, buy me, blogging about your books and saying buy me, buy me? Posting excerpts and… well, you get the picture. Tell you the truth most of those posts I delete unread. Or I'd be spending those four hours reading emails. I read the emails from people whose writing I like and DO buy. But all those lists create a numbness. We're being buried with this stuff.