Monday, April 11, 2011
Blowing The Lid Off: Bad Shenanigans In Author Land!
I’m floored. Just absolutely floored. And I think that may very well be a strictly Southern expression so basically what I’m saying is I’m just absolutely pissed off and it’s to the point of being so bad I’m lying on the floor with it!
We hear the old “authors behaving badly” all the time. But it’s usually in reference to something they have said or done publicly. Well, let me tell ya…it’s not just the public persona that needs to maintain professional standards…AND…remember exactly what friendship means.
No one ever talks much about what goes on behind the scenes, do they? It’s all whispered. It’s the truly DIRTY end of this business. No publisher selling your book and conveniently forgetting to send you your money, keeping the rights to your books long after your contract has expired can surpass some of the antics that go on behind closed doors. If you think that an author having a melt down on a blog is bad behavior, remind yourself of some of the downright mean-spirited things that go on in private.
We all know it happens, too. And if you didn’t know it, you suspected.
There are cliques in the publishing world, aren’t there? This group of authors hangs with this bunch. That group hangs with another bunch. You can tell exactly who are friends, can’t you? No problem. It’s great to have friends online. You need to bond with other authors. And oftentimes that bonding comes about through shared publishers, shared genres, or even shared battles you’ve won together—or lost. I know I have some dear friends due to a couple of publisher closings that left us with our jaws dropping. Bonds are forged, lifelong friendships are made. All good, right?
Don’t let friendship get in the way of good judgment. Don’t let that one friend talk you into something you should not do. Don’t let the pack mentality become so rabid that you attack when it is just plain damn wrong. Think!
I’ve recently become aware of an incident that involved that pack mentality. A group of author friends going to Amazon and giving one-star ratings to two other authors to be exact. Yep. How do I know this? Well, when you get ready to email someone, make sure you select exactly who you want that email to go out to when that drop down menu appears, okay? And you’d best check all recipient names before you hit send, too.
The authors who had planned this are very very lucky it wasn’t me they were going after. The two they had targeted want all of this to go away, but know I’m blogging about this, know I won’t use any names. Why? Because I promised them I wouldn’t use names. I gave my word. Something that the unholy alliance of authors who planned the Amazon sabotage probably wouldn’t understand. But if it were me? I’d publish their names and the email that was accidentally intercepted. Damn straight I would.
I’ve been around the block a whole lot of times, and there is no way in hell that I’d let that bunch go without public humiliation. I liken what they planned to do, what they have so obviously done before to other authors judging by what I read, to career murder. If an author can commit career suicide, surely sabotage should be viewed as murder.
Now, in another entirely unrelated situation, lots of authors have been complaining about getting bad ratings at Good Reads. A couple of M/M authors I talked to last night have had twos tossed up less than an hour after a book’s release—and the books would have taken much longer than that to even read. But it’s not just within the M/M genre this is happening. It’s happening to M/F authors, too. There is also the matter of Facebook taking down pages with no explanation whatsoever—to both M/M and M/F authors. The reason I am pointing out that it’s happening to both is because no one needs to think this is genre-based. It’s not. It’s about erotic content in general.
Several authors have said that the Facebook take downs occurred a few days after they had accepted friendship from someone they deemed to be of an ultra-conservative religion. Hmmm…when you get a friend request, make sure you take a look at that person’s page before you accept. If their profile is set to private and you can’t get any info? Well, I’ve accepted in the past and then deleted later on when I discovered the person was not a true reader and just a guy looking for women. Or when I’ve discovered pics and statements made on the page that are contrary to my beliefs. Lately? If a page is set to private, I just don’t accept. Period.
With the Good Reads ratings, some authors suspect it’s other authors giving the bad ratings. Why would they do that? Same reason they were going to do it to the authors above on Amazon. Jealousy. The author is good, getting too much attention, better sales, or just plain rubs them the wrong way. But there is something else to be considered here too. Put aside ultra-conservative fanatics. Put aside jealousy from other authors. What about authors who don’t write erotic romance and consider it porn?
Have you ever come across one of them? I have. And it wasn’t pretty.
As soon as they find out you write erotic romance—BAM—they don’t want to talk to you anymore. And if you are published with a digital publisher? Well, you don’t rate a simple howdy do! And no, not all authors who are published or aspire to be published with NY publishers only are like this. Not at all. I’m just giving you the different possibilities for these ratings that seem to be cropping up everywhere these days. Conspiracy theory? No. Shenanigans! And the not so funny kind at that!
And about those bad ratings showing up less than an hour after a book is released and it would take much much longer to read the book? Well, what about when the book releases and less than an hour later, it shows five-star ratings? Same thing—just the flip side. Hey! Rate your own book a five. That’s cool. Damn straight it is. You worked hard for it. But please wait until the day after it releases, will ya? LOL See, I consider that okay. But what isn’t okay is when an author registers with Amazon or even their publisher with several different email addresses and leaves all kinds of glowing comments for herself and that wonderful five star—occasional four-star rating (just to make it believable), now is it? Basically, if a book goes up today and I go back the next day and I see fifteen glowing comments? I’m going to read them. Yes, I am. And not everyone is good at hiding their writing style. You see, as an editor, I’ve learned to mimic various author styles of writing. I’m one of those who could vary my reviews on these sites and get away with it! LOL Joking, joking, joking. It’s just not something I’d do. I’d know I did it and it would bug the hell out of me. But not everyone does a good job of writing these reviews. So when I spot these hoards of readers going to a site and posting glowing reviews, it catches my attention, and I can almost always spot the reviews that were written by the same person. It’s not always the author doing this either. Sometimes it’s a well-intentioned friend.
But think about it. KNOW that someone is going to notice. And I’m not the only one who notices.
And here’s one more thing for you to think about:
This is something that happened a couple of months ago to a friend of mine. She had been a friend to two authors—online, of course. She chatted back and forth with both of them daily. She considered herself to be good friends with both and had been for almost two years. But the author/s confessed something to her that ruined both those relationships. It seems that these authors had been talking to this friend of mine but were one in the same. Just an author with two separate pen names, friending other authors as two individual people. Confused? Me too.
How the hell can you pretend to be two different friends to the same person for almost two years. My friend listened to this author/s problems. Talked to her through her marital breakup. They exchanged pics of their children for God’s sake. Oh…the author with the two pen names has four children. But she split them up in “ownership” between the two pen names. Now that’s just WHACKED! My friend was hurt by this. Deeply. She asked me just a couple of days ago if I used more than one pen name. My reply? “Hell no. I don’t have time, energy, or the intelligence needed!” LOL The only way I’d ever use a second pen name would be if I tried my hand at Young Adult. And then I’d keep that pen name a secret—but NOT from my friends. And I KNOW who they are, too! But you see? My author friend now suspects everyone is lying to her. Not good.
It breaks my heart that someone did this to her. Really does. It could be argued that when they struck up a friendship, revealing that pen name wasn’t necessary. But after three or four months? Definitely when you begin to reveal personal information, I’d say it would have been time to come clean, wouldn’t you?
If the shenanigans I’ve posted about today boggle your mind, well, you’re right on track. We should all be hearing a collective “HUH?” while reading. What happened to playing fair? Honor? Respect? For that matter, what happened to The Golden Rule. Remember that one?
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
And I don’t mean to bring religion into all of this. But don’t you think that living your life by the Golden Rule just plain works? Nothing religious about it. Just plain makes sense to me, at least.
To those of you who have engaged in some of these kinds of shenanigans, I say, back up. Take stock. Recommit yourself to maintaining a better level of professionalism. And if you choose to make friends online, then be respectful.
To those of you who have never crossed the line, I say, others can and will learn from the example you set. It’s through you that new authors learn—and not just about the writing craft.
In closing today, I want to issue a warning. The price of chocolate is going up! LOL…yeah, the price of everything is going up, but chocolate has me worried, lol
AND…for my weekly book trailer showcase, I’ve chosen Cindy Jacks! I love this video. Soooo sexy! It’s for her Ellora’s Cave Quickie entitled LEAP. You can find Cindy here: http://cindyjacks.com
Books available from Ellora's Cave and Pink Petal Books.