Monday, August 28, 2017

Kindle Unlimited, free books and knowing your worth

Two weekends ago I'm not doing what I should and I'm on Facebook and a post from a blogger comes through: How many people have gone to download a free book only to find out you already have it in your Kindle? The response was a heaving mass of yes followed by lol and haha all the time. The laughter grated on my nerves as I thought of the book I had to edit to the best of my ability before submitting to a publisher because I couldn't afford to release myself. So I posted: And this is why as an author putting your book out for free feels as if it devalues what you've written.

There was a response pretty quickly from someone. Basically all kinds of defensive but if I love the book (once they actually get around to reading it) then I buy ALLLLL the books....hmmmmmm

I responded with this VERY carefully crafted response: That's great, really but every single comment supports the reasoning for not putting books out for free, I have a permafree title but for every 100 books downloaded for free I'll be lucky if 10 people actually read. I spent $300 plus on editing, $150 plus on a cover and months writing and to give it away for free and it get lost in someone's kindle is the reason why so many writers wonder if they should even keep writing and selling because if they are giving it away for free and still can't get people to read what they write then why bother.

The blogger was basically the same as the person who commented all love for free and appreciations and then she floods the writer of the book with love and money.....sure ok. 

That why bother, I left the question mark off on purpose it wasn't a question. It's how every writer feels after they get done with a freebie and see they 'sold' or rather gave away a huge chunk of books and if they are lucky they see a return of maybe ten or twenty percent tops. Because people downloaded the books for free just to have it. Then promptly read the book they paid for forgetting the freebie. Do they even consider it when looking for something to read in their catalog? I don't even fucking know anymore. 

With Kindle Unlimited my thought process was I don't have any significant income coming from the other places so without a job and someone going on about how great Kindle Unlimited is would it hurt to try it? My thought was the borrows would be actual reads which would turn into buys but it didn't work out quite that way. There were some buys but actually pretty much the same amount as for the last few months so there didn't seem to be an uptick. In a late night freak out I folded and my entire catalog is on KU. And now I know it was the wrong thing to do. 

I've gotten a few more reviews but considering how many reads I've gotten I actually can't think about it too much because it makes me very seriously want to cry. People are going through almost all 14 titles and still aren't writing reviews. Which just fucking floors me. It's amazing they want to read them but if you like them enough to read them you can't leave a single fucking review saying you like it enough to read through my catalog?

Then I fucked up big time, I did the math. Less than a half penny a page .004 and some shit. I did the fucking math and I'm missing out on, as of 8/20, over seven hundred dollars if the books had sold at what I have them priced at. No more math, I'll lose my shit. I'm trying to tell myself to chill, some money is better than none. Is it?

I don't fucking know. I really don't. I swear doing the math and writing it right now it makes my stomach churn with tension. All that money lost that I won't get back. I do know I'll be pulling all my titles from KU when the 90 days are up. I feel like I have to in order to not lose my fucking mind over it. While I look at what I've earned so far I don't know if I can really say the money is worth what I've given up without return from the readers I've 'gained' from KU. 

The relationship between readers and authors should be symbiotic a positive response from the reader sustains the writer to keep writing whether it's a series or standalones but it just doesn't feel like it's that way anymore. The writer is being forced to give and give without return whether it's money or reviews as positive response. The reader is taking what they believe is their due-how do we owe the reader any more than a good story and their money's worth? Why do I owe the reader my book for less than a dollar? A book they get more than two plus hours of enjoyment from, a book they get to reread whenever they want. And I have had multiple reviews and readers telling me they loved the books so much they reread them, sometimes as soon as they finish because they loved it so much they didn't want it to end. Isn't that experience, that book worth more than a dollar? The book I ignored my friends and family and almost significant other to write. The book I paid to have edited out of my own pocket at a cost that has me eating ramen, eggs for dinner and breakfast and from the dollar menu for a 'treat' day once a pay check every two weeks. 

Yes, I would write if no one read but that doesn't mean I don't think it has value, that I as the writer don't have value. 

Writers often refer to selling their books as pimping, which makes sense since we are selling a part of our selves in every book. Here's the thing though, I'm no trick on the street. I'm not selling a quick fix. You want quality you pay for it. I know what I'm worth and it's not .4 of a penny. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Playing the victim should not be a marketing ploy

I've seen it again and again and it pisses me the fuck off. Writers playing the victim, poor me big ol' Amazon is soooo mean to me. Me, me little ol' me struggling to make a dime, my poor kids, my poor dog, my poor cat. I'm a victim of huge mega corporation. What about the freedom to write what we want? Then the bloggers sticking up for poor little ol' author, it's LITERATURE, it's ART, it's not for huge mega corporation to decide if I can read this. Let's stick it to mega corporation, buy it!!!!!! And they will, authors will buy it, bloggers will buy it and all those people who want to stick it to Amazon they'll buy it without knowing what the fuck they bought. Without caring if the author is talented enough to have earned their money because it's about them wanting to support little ol' writer and her cat, and her kids, and her dog and OMFG fuck you and the dog and the kids and the cat. Congratulations smug blogger, and smug authors and smug woman/man on the street for sticking it to mega corporation and supporting a plucky little ol' author. You sure stuck it to big mega corporation Amazon and  congratulations, you've been grifted. 

Every single time this happens I want to get fucking violent (can you tell?)  I am so fucking sick of this. Especially because it keeps fucking happening, this isn't how you sell books. By doing something you KNOW won't fly and then crying about it later for sympathy, for your rights that are being violated (BULLSHIT), for the dollar you can squeeze out of those who are easily manipulated. 

These authors KNOW before they hit publish what will likely happen and they turn it around and they use it. Every author who is even THINKING of self-publishing to Amazon and is writing romance, or anything in that vein, erotica, erotic romance, knows the rules that Amazon has surrounding it EVERY SINGLE PERSON. You want to know why? Because we know of stories that have been pulled and we know if it's offensive enough they won't just pull your story they'll pull every book you have and shut you down completely. Completely. It doesn't matter if the other titles you have are children's books or cook books they'll close your account and say nope go peddle that shit somewhere else. You know why? Because they can. It's that simple. They aren't here for your free speech and your freedom of expression, they are a business and you have the right to write it but they are under no fucking obligation to sell it, to have anything to do with the shit you are peddling. 

I am so tired of watching writers con bloggers and readers behind a poor me, I don't know why they are being mean to me line. BULLSHIT. You know it because you've seen it. I'm sick of the bitching, other books do it, they are publishing it, oh it's because of big publishing company that it's still selling and if I were big I could too. BULLSHIT. You KNOW exactly what you are writing is pushing the boundaries of common fucking decency you KNOW it's pushing the boundaries of Amazon. You KNEW it and you published it and maybe it slipped by the censor at the gate of Amazon but someone was completely offended and Amazon said no fucking way. You KNEW it was a possibility and you did it anyway. DON'T fucking act like it you didn't know it wasn't something that could happen. If you really didn't want to make it a big deal and didn't want to make waves then you should have sucked it the fuck up when it got yanked, put it on the only the vendor that takes that shit and move THE FUCK ON with your life. 

But you didn't. 

You went crying to your Facebook page instead of a tissue and you lied when you said you couldn't believe it's happening to you. You whipped people into a fury for you and you're laughing through those false tears as you check your sales.

Congratulations on getting those sales after all. Congratulations on scamming people and playing the victim to sell your books instead of actual talent. 




Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Do books like 'Dark Romance' help perpetuate the rape culture?

Once again a book with a dark romance theme is on sale and clogging up my Facebook feed. Five stars the announcement screams as it tells me to not miss out on this amazing, awesome, panty-melting read. Hmmm....it stops me because just a few days before the blogger had shared a essay/article about nonconsent that listed all these horrible, painful, tear-inducing instances of rape and sexual assault. Even though I've been writing for fun since I was eight years old and to publish for the last five years I still consider myself a reader first. As a reader I have to tell you the books of dark romance where a woman is kidnapped-which actually happens every single day, sold-again every single day in the United States, forced to submit to sex whether she is kicking or screaming or lies there praying for it to be over-fucking again every single day in every state in America it makes my stomach revolt and my skin crawl to know people are selling these 'fantasies' to other women and making money off something another women is suffering from. 

I have tried, I have really fucking tried to keep my mouth shut in all of this. I tell myself it's just a story, but then I remember the meme about 50 Shades of Gray where it says: 50 Shades of Grey is romantic only because the guy is a billionaire If he was living in a trailer it would be a criminal minds episode. 

The problem with the meme is that it's clear the person didn't read the book in it's entirety and 'get' that the BDSM theme is the issue, she told him, I want to know about this I want to try it. Then she pulls a move of why did you do this to me. At no time as it was happening did she say stop, don't. 

I have absolutely no doubt the meme was created by a guy. I also have no doubt there are men like him who think there are women out there who are on the downlow hoping some guy pushes their boundaries and it sweeps them off their feet. 

Women have their fantasies guys have theirs. 

In all my attempts to keep my mouth shut I tell myself it's just a book, an escape from the mundane everyday. Just because I read books on serial killers doesn't mean I want a serial killer running loose, it doesn't mean it's glorifying serial killers. But doesn't it though? Hasn't the villain become the hero today, Death Wish, Dexter, anyone? Oh, but they have their reasons, it's just entertainment. So you're entertained by a woman held and made to be fucked against her will until she finds herself in love with this disturbed individual? Because you know she wasn't happy in her old life anyway and this guy, deep down isn't psychotic (the way raping someone would indicate) he only did it because he wasn't loved in the past but she loves him now so she fixed him. 

OMFG

This is a woman's fantasy, guys take note. 



Here's the thing, you want to believe it's entertainment, just a fantasy for a late night read to work out the stress and the vibrator and get off and then the next day it's forgotten. But it's not, men know this is being read, they read the descriptions they read the themes, maybe they'll read the sample. Huh, so women are into this shit? I want to say for 9 out of 10 it's nothing but I think the number is probably lower more like 7 out of 10 guys they shrug and move on but the others they take note. They take note and they're the guys who think it's no big deal to send a picture of their dick and fantasize the woman will go 'omg, this dick I must have it immediately.' Not gross you creepy fucker. 

They are the guys who think it's okay to grope a woman in the subway or on the bus because it's a compliment to be wanted, for someone to want to cop a feel, to be attractive enough for the guy to take the chance. For a guy to force his hand up a woman's skirt or dress because he'll find out she's really wet because she really wants it but she doesn't want him to think she's a slut. Deep down women want this, because he's seen it, he's seen the kidnapped forced against her will book at number one on Amazon. I'm going to be the guy of her fantasy, I'm going to be the one she wishes wouldn't take no for an answer because he wanted her so much, because she doesn't mean no she means work harder to show me how much you want me. I'm going to start fucking her while she's asleep and as she wakes up she'll realize she wanted this, or this is the fantasy she had I'm going to make it come true and she'll thank me for it. 

You have your fantasy, guys have theirs.

Do I really think this will change anything for real? No, I'm not delusional enough to think there are enough people reading my blog to make an impact. Do I want people to stop reading and writing dark romance where a woman is held against her will and raped and somehow falls in love with her rapist and her love somehow transforms him not from a sick, twisted individual but a hot, sexy alpha male who loves her so much so it makes it all right? Yeah, I do (I just deleted this four times before leaving this in.) We are judged by the things we do, not by what we say. If you're reading a story of rape and abuse of a woman by a man while your daughter plays on the monkey bars and she comes running back and asks you what you're reading I'm sure you'll lie, that's a given. But when she's old enough to know, really know you read a story about a young women being fucked while she's tied to a bed unable to even kick or scream will you really be able to shrug it off as just a fantasy, something moms do to break up the mundane, the every day? Or how about if your son finds your book and reads them? 

You have your fantasy, boys form theirs. No guy wakes up one day thinking I need to force myself on a woman and that's what she wants. The idea is formed from the media, from books, from movies, from the world around him. 

I know these will never go away, I don't expect them to. But I know I hope one day they won't be clogging my Facebook feed or on the best seller list. Because I just don't find anything romantic about kidnapping and raping a woman.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Seeking publishing and I feel like I failed as an Indie

Finally, I'm done with my latest story. I've done an edit and still have one more to do before putting it in the hands of a real editor. Now comes the hard part, putting it in the hands of an editor... After years of screaming pay for editing or don't release your story I have the huge problem of not being able to afford editing. Right now, I can't even afford to think about paying for editing because when I do I get stressed out and pop klonapin that I'm running out of and can't afford to go to the doctor for a refill-that's how broke I am. 

Even in the middle of writing as the ending began to form and I began to wonder what the hell I was going to do when I was done. Slowly, painfully the answer is, if I want to publish this latest story, and I do. Then I need to find a publisher to pay for the editing and cover. To me this is crushing, I LOVE my editor I KNOW she makes me a better writer and makes my story better. I don't want to work with someone else. Crazy as it sounds the woman gets me-she must have experience in a mental ward. 

Then there's this thing of me being a complete and total control freak. For me the idea of handing over this story is like being pregnant with the spontaneous bursts of tears, happiness and anger. The heartburn, and sleepless nights then pain, screaming, and finally joy of birth then handing the baby away. (yeah, people who give their baby up for adoption are saints and should be treated as such) The idea that I'm going to hand it over and be left with nothing except cash is agony for what is left of my cold dark heart. 

Someone else will decide when it releases, have the last say on the title-this will kill me I'm in love with title-the cover and the price. I'll get royalties but it won't be as much. I'm trying to tell myself this is good, to try something new once who knows this could be a great experience, maybe this will give me more exposure. But none if it feels true, all I know is I feel like I've failed. I can't afford to take care of my baby and I don't want to keep and release it without the editing it needs to the best it can be. 

So yes, I've finished and will have a new story coming but when exactly I won't know. Hopefully six to eight weeks after figuring out how to write a damn query letter. Don't even get me started on trying to write a query letter.