Sunday, August 17, 2014

Badly behaving Authors......

This seems to be an ongoing popular topic of conversation so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and voice my views and experiences on the subject.

Firstly, what is a 'Badly Behaving Author'? - this in itself is quite subjective, what one person sees as bad behaviour can easily be seen by others as acceptable, a variation in the individual moral compasses. But in general terms the BBA battle exists mainly in the realms of Facebook and Reviews.

As an aspiring Author I want the world to know that I have published a book, unfortunately I don't have the budget to hire huge billboard space, television commercial time or even radio ad's so what do I do? I have a Facebook page, a website, Pinterest, Twitter and this blog site, so as far as Social Media is concerned I have most angles covered. I belong to a few 'Groups' that are superb sources of information for newbies like me (The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards and Indie Author Group) - both discourage book promotion, or even blogsite/review promotion of ones own blogs and reviews, but this is understandable when both are sites more about like minded people sharing experience and advice. And this is where a lot of newbie Authors start down the road to becoming BBA! Bomb your own page with all of your reviews, launches and review announcements BUT don't bomb other peoples without permission. That said, even if you bomb your own, people will soon lose interest to the point where you actually become 'invisible'.

Have just finished writing the worlds next best seller, clutching a hard copy in your hands, the excitement can get the better of you. Email the world, barge into as many forums or FB and announce to everyone that 'IT' is finally here. Nope - don't do that. Whilst many sites will be understanding of your euphoria, excuse your naivety, there are many more that will just bring all guns to bear in your direction and open fire. And even those that were forgiving to start with will soon run out of patience if you continue. So, Rule No 1, check out the policies of any group that you belong to before you bomb the site with your book release, promotion or reviews.

Reviews - now there is another BBA breeding ground. Face facts, your book is not going to be liked by everyone, it's just not possible. Authors get very protective of their books, some comparing them to 'children'. I do not subscribe to this train of thought. At the end of the day it is a manuscript of a story that I've written, and spent a ridiculous amount of time and money getting it to the polished stage, ready for the public. This is where my involvement kind of ends. It could loosely be compared to parenthood in so much as you do your best and hope you've done enough for it to survive, and possibly flourish, in the big bad world, but that is the only comparison between the two. There is always an emotional connection between me and my books because, like it or not, each book contains a part of me, it has to. But that's me, not the reader. I am lucky enough to have received some exceptional reviews for Russian Redemption, described by the Wishing Shelf Awards as dark, horror-filled look at Russia in 1941. Powerfully written and fascinating". And yet Fated Encounters  has only received one review. I'm surprised because for me it is the latter that is the more powerful - BUT there is nowt stranger than folk. 

I have seen so many Authors absolutely explode at reviewers for not giving them 5 stars. This is a bit like pressing the self destruct button - it really is a no win situation so why on earth would you bother getting involved?!?! I also chuckle to myself when I see some Authors moan and bitch about one or two star reviews but conveniently fail to mention those 5 stars from family and friends, or worse, people that haven't even read the book! We're a fickle bunch hey. Every review that both of my books have are all genuine, real people whom I have never met. (There were a few from work colleagues but Amazon quickly removed those.)

Once a book is released into the public domain Authors have to accept that the public will voice their own opinions, opinions that they are entitled to. Unfortunately this can mean personal attacks "As far as ******** Author skills are concerned, I completely recommend that he takes up painting" sort of thing, or even worse. In my view this is a step too far but ultimately the very nature of the reviewing system provides a stage for that small minded group, those that put their own ego ahead of the fundamental purpose of the Review system - the Simon Cowell syndrome. BUT, in the interest of fair play, there are also a number of Authors out there that 'game' the system for their own gain, create false accounts (Sock Puppets) and review their own 'masterpiece' with inflated ratings or misleading content. 

I suppose, like life itself, individuals make choices but in the Kingdom of Authordom, people have long memories, and can be very unforgiving. Enjoy the whole book writing experience for what it is - a fascinating and yet frustrating journey into the unknown. Check the trash talk and BBA Attitude at the door and explore everything with an open mind. You just might make it through! Best of luck.

On a completely unrelated subject - I am going to be publishing the first chapter of my WIP on the news feed of the website  so if you want a sneak preview just register.

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