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I’ve never been that convinced about the above claim, but this comment from an author a writer nicknamed Arch at Goodreads prompted me to explore the question again:

Mercedes, write your stories. As a writer, I never write for anyone but myself. At the end of the day, you are the only one that suppose to be comfortable and like your story, no one else. If a person like your type of storytelling, then that’s them.

Seriously, as an author do you first and foremost write for yourself, then hope like hell that somebody out there loves your work?

I imagine that for an unpublished writer, this may be the case, but is it as true, once you build a fan base, especially for writers like JR Ward who have extremely vocal fans?

Wasn’t there a question of her writing one of the BDB books in a certain way because of how outspoken her “Cellies” were?

So my question to authors, do you write just for you, regardless of reviews, fan views etc, or do you get pulled into writing books that you think your fans will approve of, and/or books that fit with current trends?

Another One Bites The Dust…

Saturday, October 10, 2009
Posted in: Authorly musings, Authors MIA

I was over at Vanessa Jaye’s when I came across this post.

Apparently Sara Donati, AKA author Rosina Lippi had this message on her blog:

If you were looking for my weblog (called Storytelling), or following a link to a particular post on the weblog, you have landed here because the weblog is not available.

The economic downturn and family circumstances being what they are, I find myself in a position I knew might well come some day — I’m going back on the job market, looking for more traditional employment. This means that I will be putting writing aside for the foreseeable future, and so I’ve taken down the weblog, for the time being at least.

Many of you have followed the weblog for six years, and I’d like to thank you for your continued interest and support. For newer readers, I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to get to know you better.”

That’s kinda sad isn’t it? I didn’t particularly love Donati or her books, but it seems a shame that an author who’s already multi-published is driven to abandon her writing for economic reasons. I’m guessing there’s quite a few authors who have had to abandon their dream of writing in exchange for more traditional ways of earning the mighty dollar.

This is not, by any means, a new topic around blogland. It’s been discussed ad nauseam in many places and by readers and writers alike. (I’ll even add a nifty list of links to previous conversations at the bottom of this post, for those who just got here) However, given a recent example of loud, unprofessional and childish behaviour from yet another author, it seems that the topic has not yet been exhausted.

So let’s recap, shall we?

Good promotion should cost as little as possible and result in the highest number of actual sales possible.

Reviews from readers who bought the book themselves are free promotion for the author—which definitely falls into the ‘good promotion’ definition above. Regardless of the actual tone or grade of the review, it puts the book’s title and the author’s name out there for other readers to become aware of. Name recognition, in other words. If I know your book exists, if I know your name, it’s more likely that I’ll at least check out the back blurb of a book with your name on it than that of a dozen other writers whose names I don’t recognize, when I’m looking over the book aisle in the grocery store.

Many blog readers will read a review wherein the reviewer didn’t like the book, but because they, the readers, know the reviewer’s tastes and how they mesh or differ from their own, they will buy that book. Many of those potential sales, though, can be lost when the author feels the need to publicly explain how the reviewer didn’t like the book because she “didn’t get what the author was doing.”

It may be true, at least from the author’s point of view, but it is also irrelevant. The reviewer didn’t like the book, she explained why, she moved on.

Seriously, there is no need whatsoever to tell her that she didn’t get the book—or the author’s voice, or whatever it is—because she’s stupid. Or shallow. Or too afraid to read outside her comfort zone. Or whatever the condescending and insulting remark du jour may be.

Because, whether any of those remarks is true or not, will not change the fact that the reviewer didn’t. like. That. One. Book.

She may have liked other books by that author in the past. She may look forward to future books by that author. She just didn’t like that one book. It is not open to debate. “Explaining” the book to that reader won’t make that reader like it

So, what to do in the face of non-glowing, rather blah, or outright horrid reviews that slash your book into confetti? (more…)

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Please note that I am not naming any names because I’m trying to address a general issue. It’s neither about pointing fingers nor embarrassing someone {K: Dammit, has she learned nothing from me!?}. Perhaps naïvely, but I hope what you are about to read may help authors maximize their promotion efforts.

First, allow me to present three different scenarios, all seen around the blogosphere in the past month or so:

Scenario A

A couple of days after I wrote this piece, I happened upon one of the blogs where I won—and never received—a couple of books last year. I have learned since that this is one of the biggest multi-author blogs around. Being intrigued by that, I started following the blog again for a few days. (Yes, I know I have too much free time.)

I read a few of the posts and posted a few comments, etc. and started noticing what I perceived to be a pattern. Some authors would post a contest but not determine an end date, or if they did, said date would come and go without announcement of the winners. Since this was related to the issues I wrote about before, I mulled it over and finally, the light bulb flashed! So I emailed this to the blog admin:

Hi, there.

I posted something about this at (link to post at Karen’s), but I’ve been thinking about it some more. I didn’t share, and won’t, that two of the prizes I never got last year were from authors who still blog at (blog in question). I *did* stop reading the blog for a rather long while after that, though, and only recently came back as a reader and commenter.

Yet I can’t help but notice that—as of (date)—there are two posts with contests (posts in question) to which winners should have been announced but nothing from either the authors themselves, or the blog itself.

When these things happen at an author’s blog, or at readers’ blogs, the potential PR fallout is to those specific author/blogs. In a large multi authors blog like (blog in question), the damage affects the other authors. Fair or not, it’s inevitable.

I’m wondering if perhaps (blog in question) should consider having someone following up on these things and making sure the authors follow through (with announcements and prizes). Or perhaps, have some sort of contest policy stating that only commenters who leave their email can participate and that the winner will be announced privately, or something.

I hope this email is taken in the spirit it is intended: an observation and a suggestion for improvement.

Thank you.

I honestly didn’t expect a reply, but got one. And what I got, I’m sad to say, wasn’t at all what I would have expected: (more…)

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I like the girls over at Write Minded, and although I don’t comment much, I do like to visit their blog every now and then. I even try and buy the books that they publish just because I like ’em so much.

Anyway, I was looking at the number of books that they had written individually, and although mostly all of them have done well, books-wise, some have obviously done better than others, for example, Sharon Long/Maya Banks and Larissa Ione (I’m excluding Jaci Burton, because she only recently joined them).

Because my mind tends to lapse into various uncharted streams of consciousness, I ended up wondering how the other members of Write Minded really felt about the successes of the other group members. I don’t mean the surface, “I’m so happy for my friend and pal and crit partner”-tokenism that I randomly see every now and again, but the deep-fried, not-for-public-consumption feelings, that tend to include emotions like envy and jealousy, which are in turn, bound to lead to feelings of inadequacy. I wonder if deep down, that’s one of the reasons that Jan Kenny left the group. I couldn’t help but notice that out of the original members, she seemed to have struggled the most, in terms of getting her books published. (This is only presumption on my part of course, she may have only had two books in her over the last two years)

I imagine every author goes through these feelings at some stage or another. Seeing your writer pals get big contracts, seeing them hit the NY Times or USA Today best-seller lists, whilst you struggle to sell-out, must wound the psyche to some degree. How could it not? Can you imagine how hard it would have been to be Nora Roberts’ best author friend back in the day, or even one of her peers? Look where jealousy and envy led Janet Dailey. That bitch just plain tried to copy from La Nora.

It must be much worse for those one-book authors. You know the ones, they wrote one book, that bombed, and now they’re finding it hard to sell their second book, never mind make it onto any of The Lists.

I recall having similar thoughts when Dear Author did that viral marketing thing with Nalini Singh’s wonderful book, Slave To Sensation. I wondered how many authors felt just a little green that she was getting all that attention for her book. Lots and lots I suspect, no matter how much they deny it.

(Slightly off-topic, but hey Jane, seeing as Nalini is now a NY Times Best-seller, does that mean your viral marketing worked? *g*)

Humans are naturally competitive, but I sometimes wonder, if that competitiveness, rises to its optimum, when women compete against other women.