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Does anyone else feel icky when they ask others to take a look at their work?

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1AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 6, 2012, 7:33am Top

Maybe because I was raised roman catholic, but asking others to review/read/ buy makes me feel as if I'd committed a deadly sin. 50 hail mary and 3 months of fasting. It feels like waiting in the dentist's office.

2randyattwood
Apr 6, 2012, 2:23pm Top

You are not alone. I swallow hard every time I do it. I even feel guilty about leaving a brochure about my work on a coffee house community bulletin board! But an Indie's gotta do what a Indie's gotta do.

3AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 7, 2012, 7:57am Top

...and, given that reality, I may never say 'no' to an agent again.

4zette
Apr 7, 2012, 3:07pm Top

There are many writing sites where critiquing is the norm. People are expected to post and to critique other people's work, so it's not like 'asking' someone to do it. It's part of the process.

5EllenEkstrom
Apr 7, 2012, 9:50pm Top

Alberto, I know how you feel. Most of us write because it is our passion and it is part of who we are. Getting a reward for it, say, making a living off of it, is something many of us want, too. It's great to share my craft with readers and perhaps touch someone's imagination and/or emotions with what I've done. That sin of pride gets in the way, doesn't it? It didn't stop the early church fathers in their work - getting a message out. I got around the uncomfortableness by thinking of the farmer bringing her and his prize winning apples or corn to market and displaying them, inviting people to take a taste and hopefully buy them, or the woman who designs first communion dresses for the catechism class.

Coming from non-stipendiary clergy, this may sound odd, since I preach it often but don't receive it, Jesus said that every laborer deserves a daily wage - and what is writing if not work?

And don't think for a minute that if Stephen King didn't have a publisher or agent he wouldn't be out there peddling his next bestseller.

All the best,

E

6MaryChase
Apr 8, 2012, 3:56am Top

Writers and other artists are supposed to be above this sort of thing, at least according to the stereotype. What is more pitiful in films or other media than the artist waiting to be discovered?

It also makes me feel "not good enough," unsure of my own talent.

I was also raised Catholic, Alberto. All kinds of difficulties there for self-promoters! Just wait silently for recognition, then deny it's anything special ;-)

Mary

7MaryChase
Apr 8, 2012, 3:58am Top

Ellen - I am enjoying Tallis Third Tune and will recommend it here!

8AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 8, 2012, 9:48am Top

One could assume a character a la SNL 'Hi, I'm Al Giuseppe (Al Franken,) and I'm here to tell you about my book titled: 'Don't be inhibited: sell your books! Because you're smart enough, you're good enough, and dammit people like you.'

9EllenEkstrom
Apr 8, 2012, 12:42pm Top

Couldn't agree with you more, Mary - and Al, do you think His Holiness had any qualms when the sales numbers started racking up on his book about Christ? I think the double-standard about writers in general is sad. It's okay for attorneys to advertise their services on TV, designers to launch a different line of clothing for each season, musicians to plug their music, but writers are expected to just shut up and write, brood, think we're better than everyone else. The "don't call us, we'll call you" attitude of publishing houses and being expected to wait for months for a response, because to do otherwise is a no-no. Is it any wonder so many talent writers are striking out on their own and deciding to make their own rules?

10EllenEkstrom
Apr 8, 2012, 12:43pm Top

Mary - thank you!

11MTMcGuire
Apr 9, 2012, 1:01pm Top

I feel naff telling people my work is brilliant and I am risibly bad at it.

Recently, 3 people who've really liked them have started telling people on forums like this... or goodreads. My monthly sales have gone up.

These days I do feel aggreaved that as an author I am considered to be a forum spammer in most places until I prove otherwise. However I can understand how it's happened. I think... but I'm not sure... that the answer is to offer copies to people for free in return for a review. I haven't tried it here because the only copies I can afford to offer are e-books but I do get a positive response on Goodreads...

Cheers

MTM

12EllenEkstrom
Apr 9, 2012, 4:50pm Top

MTM: There's a board/group here on LibraryThing that allows you to ask reviews.

13Chriskander
Apr 10, 2012, 9:06pm Top

After having 5 novels released by royalty paying indie publishers I still feel too embarrassed to go for the hard sell. Unfortunately, unless you have one of the big 6 publishers behind you, your work will never be noticed in the crush without constant deliberate marketing.

I enjoy the odd moments when a reader might want to talk about one of my books, but they never exhibit the same depth of interest I do (of course). It seems readers a hesitant to exhibit the interest in a novelist's work as they might the grower of a prize rose or owne of a best in class dog.

14AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 11, 2012, 6:49am Top

The subject (novels, stories) I agree, is still usually taught and often read in a closed way. That is, it'd be pleasant to argue of validity of what is being said (even if you're the one saying it,) rather than merely how - which can limit the interest and discourse. Sort of like talking about soil and fertilizer chemistry without the rose.
I haven't submitted any novel as yet, though I'm writing one now and preparing another. A verbal agreement with a major on a different sort of thing fell through a good while back. I have yet to put it up independently but am trying to learn this marketing thing on other stuff before I do. The major problem, as you probably know, is that the personality type which questions, finds anomaly and then models and writes is quite different from one that naturally interacts or networks.
To Ellen, thank you for the information.

15mjenks6
Apr 30, 2012, 8:13am Top

It's very scary, putting one's first novel out there as an Indie. There is no support system already in place, and since our books to a great degree represent who we are to our very core, it is huge leap of faith and a huge risk. My first response anywhere on any sort of social media regarding my first book was "thanks for including your synopsis. It quickly lets readers see what books they would never read." Ouch! Do I really want my book reviewed? And is it necessary to be so mean-spirited? We all have to be brave . . .

16TimSharrock
Apr 30, 2012, 9:17am Top

#15
I certainly did not mean it like that! (but I am not a wordsmith)

From a reader's point of view - the problem is filtering. There are more books that I would enjoy than I have time to read, and millions more where the subject is not attractive to me - and the equivalent of the back-cover blurb is very helpful in deciding which samples to look at

17AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 30, 2012, 9:20am Top

Ouch, yes. Moreover there are inevitably always a few people on boards and groups whose primary motivation isn't so much the subject at hand or full interaction/discussion but venting frustration or dissatisfaction or even jealousy by, well, provoking arguments and hurling personal insults instead of constructive criticism. (In case it lifts you, my first impartial response (from someone who'd never met me)on a humor book came from, of all people, Salman Rushdie, who liquidated it as 'humorless and offensive'. Ouch-ouch-ouch.)

18mjenks6
Apr 30, 2012, 9:24am Top

Thanks, Tim. It is a difficult environment for ebooks, since virtually anyone can publish The Adventures of My Three-Legged Cat and be A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. Again, I apologize for being oversensitive. It is an unfortunate epidemic with us new authors.

19EllenEkstrom
Apr 30, 2012, 3:47pm Top

Mjenks6, most of those "The Adventures of My Three-Legged Cat" are pretty horrible, and often a true gem comes to the surface. The same can be said for traditional, big house publishing. I mean, Kim Kardashian has a book out. Need I write more?

20mjenks6
Apr 30, 2012, 4:03pm Top

Ellen, yes one can find tripe in both print and electronic, and she is the perfect (or should I say imperfect) proof of that. Ebooks may not get the same vetting that traditionally published books do, but that works both ways; some truly original and beautiful work can be found out there as well that would normally never see the light of day. The good thing is ebooks are intrinsically democratic. The market decides what is the wheat and what is the chaff, not publishing houses with their own corporate agendas (though there are some great publishers out there as well). Ah, but it takes time . . . whether my ebook ends up being one of the "wheats", only time will tell, and probably quite a long time.

21mjenks6
Apr 30, 2012, 4:26pm Top

Ellen, your book, Tallis' Third Tune is very intriguing. I checked out a Sample. I'll definitely give it a closer look later this week.

22ABVR
Apr 30, 2012, 4:50pm Top

>19 EllenEkstrom: Most of those "The Adventures of My Three-Legged Cat" are pretty horrible, and often a true gem comes to the surface. The same can be said for traditional, big house publishing. I mean, Kim Kardashian has a book out. Need I write more?

Fair point, but it's perhaps worth distinguishing between a book that's horrible because it lacks literary merit and a book that's horrible because it fails to achieve a basic level of craftsmanship.

The big, traditional publishers -- in my experience -- are quite willing to sell a books that lack literary merit, but not ones that lack a basic, rock-bottom, Composition 101 level of craftsmanship. McDonald's (to reach for an imperfect analogy) may produce uninspiring hamburgers, but you're pretty much guaranteed that the bun won't be burnt, the beef will have come from a cow, and the pickles will be evenly sliced. Kim Kardashian's book may be shallow and pointless (don't know, haven't read it), but I'd bet the price of a truly good hamburger that it's competently written . . . albeit probably by an uncredited, if well-compensated, pro.

The great unresolved question self-publishing -- for me; your mileage may vary -- is whether the market will develop efficient mechanisms for identifying those "true gems" before the novelty of doing it yourself (by wading through drifts of stuff that never would have made it out of a big house's slush pile) wears off for the reading public.

23AlbertoGiuseppe
Apr 30, 2012, 5:53pm Top

>22 ABVR: That's a minority but not indifferent market, or markets, whose addressing has been largely suppressed, particularly in the US, for a couple decades. The ongoing democratization might help re-open those markets - with more space for new publishers or new imprints within older houses. But your McDonald's analogy is a bit frightening. Oh the difference between cow and cow. McDonald's and the like don't merely produce uninspired hamburgers but dis-inspire a host of industries via dis-education and concentration/homogenization of resources. Put shortly, not only is that meat is crap, but they've made it hard to find good beef anywhere, let alone a competent local butcher who will have the meat, let you choose the pieces, maybe mix in half veal, and then grind and make you the burger on the spot - without costing a fortune. For those neglected markets - readers - it's the quality of the meat that counts, what is being said and what form is then used to do so, at least as much as the making of the burger - the ghost writers, the writing MA programs, etc. Ie, what manuscript changes would have been requested of, say, earlier Murakami had he been in the US, before any agent, let alone major, would have taken his stuff?

24drardavis
May 1, 2012, 11:52am Top

For a while I was handing out business cards with my book titles and covers and contact info to anyone I met who asked, "And what do you do?" Then I read a comment in one of these forums about "drive-by authors" even bothering people on the train. I am a bit more hesitant now.

25EllenEkstrom
May 1, 2012, 11:54am Top

ABVR: Good points. Your comment, "The big, traditional publishers -- in my experience -- are quite willing to sell a books that lack literary merit, but not ones that lack a basic, rock-bottom, Composition 101 level of craftsmanship," caught my eye. I just finished one of the big series that everyone is talking about and found the writing choppy, rushed, and yes, there were typos. When it comes to craftsmanship, this series lacked it. It looked as if the publisher rushed it to market and didn't think to proof-read one last time.

26EllenEkstrom
May 1, 2012, 11:57am Top

dradavis, I carry the business and post cards, too, and I offer them when people ask "What I do." I wouldn't be hesitant about continuing that practice. If you were walking up and down the aisle of the train and handing them out, that would make me cringe a bit. But if you do it in response to a query, or drop the info at a coffee shop you frequent, sounds pretty professional to me. Lawyers and doctors, brokers, give out their cards to people who inquire, don't they?

27MarysGirl
May 1, 2012, 12:17pm Top

>24 drardavis:. I agree with Ellen. If some inquires, it's perfectly okay to provide a business card. Pushing them on people at coffee shops or riding a train is rude and sure to generate feelings of indifference, at best, and resentment, at worst. Best of luck with your marketing strategy.

28drardavis
May 8, 2012, 4:26pm Top

It's hardly a marketing strategy. :-) But thanks for the confirmation that it is PC to give out the cards if anyone dares ask what I do.

29CGiovanni
Edited: May 8, 2012, 5:54pm Top

>25 EllenEkstrom: The comment about typos in large publishing houses...I found through my research on agents and publishing at big publishing houses that the middle man (editors) have pretty much been cut out, and that they expect the authors to send work that could be published right that second if they wanted to.
I guess that means the "Indie" people who already edit their books for press have a one up on the ones who think someone else is going to "fix" it for them.
As for the whole topic on the hibbie jibbies of self-publishing--I had those.
I think in my head I thought if I had an agent they could stand between me, and those awful people who hate my writing (because inevitably there will be haters). Then I stood back and decided I needed to get over it because there was no difference between the bad review as self-published and the bad review being published by a major publishing house.
So I put my brave face on and today I got my first sale on Amazon! :D

30LShelby
May 8, 2012, 5:57pm Top

I don't feel bad asking people to look at my work if I'm offering to do something for them in exchange. If I'm not, yeah, asking them to do something that I want them to do just because I want them to do it... that sets off all sorts of "socially inacceptable!" warning bells.

But it's perfectly okay to bribe someone to read your book. :)

31EllenEkstrom
May 9, 2012, 11:16pm Top

I edit titles from my publisher's list when her regular editors are swamped - I enjoy editing and it gives me a break (or an excuse) not to write my own stuff. I don't get paid a lot, but I'm getting experience so I can eventually back away from the legal secretary job and maybe support myself as a freelance editor (HAH! She laughed, tossing back her silver tresses...). I've designed web pages and edited for some authors in exchange for beta readers.

32electricgentlemen
May 14, 2012, 5:57pm Top

If I'm on a forum, I'd rather participate and I'll let people know where to find my book in the appropriate thread, but I don't like to constantly "remind" people it's there by selling. I figure authors are busy, especially me, so I'd rather attract "readers" than other authors who are most likely working to get their own books out there.

Chaeya

33zette
May 14, 2012, 11:07pm Top

32 -- We're mostly talking about pre-publication work here. Getting people to look over the book before it's out in public to help find those little mistakes that the author didn't see.

34EllenEkstrom
May 15, 2012, 11:24am Top

LShelby, I've noticed that James Patterson is offering sample chapters for review of his latest work - kind of the carrot on a stick approach - and is welcoming feedback. Don't think that's a bribe, or could it be? ; ) Nah, maybe he just wants honest opinions like the rest of us, stuff that helps us improve our craft...

35LShelby
May 15, 2012, 1:46pm Top

#34. If I understood what the offer was correctly, I strongly doubt he's after feedback that will help him improve his craft.

After the book is published is the wrong time to be getting feedback on how to improve that book. He can't CHANGE the book once it's been dead-tree published and is out there getting reviews from readers. And as popular as he already is, (this is the guy whose top books on LT have 4000+ members, right?) he isn't likely to learn anything more about his level of craftsmanship and what he ought to be working on from those extra reviews than he would from the ones he was already getting.

He does seem to have hit upon a diabolically clever promotion technique, though. Increase the number of favorable reviews one book gets, while building up anticipation for the next book. Nice!

36EllenEkstrom
May 15, 2012, 11:53pm Top

LShelby - you're correct on all counts. My message was 3/4 sarcasm; it is a very clever marketing technique.

37EllenEkstrom
May 16, 2012, 12:05pm Top

A reader told me she really, really, liked my latest book but she was afraid to give it more than three stars because she saw there were already five star reviews for it and she didn't want people to think I was padding my ratings or getting my friends to write reviews (she isn't a friend, by the way, she won a copy of my book in a giveaway - I didn't know who she was until I got the e-mail last night) and catch the ire of the "rating police" at Amazon, etc. Now this is just sad.

Here's an idea - why bother with the rating system? Doesn't anyone just pick up a book based on the title, the cover, the blurb on the dust jacket? I mean, that's what browsing in a book store or library is for, the sample feature for e-readers.
Frankly, I've never read a book based on how many stars it gets. I ask a fellow reader - did you like it? Hmmm, maybe I will too.

38mjenks6
May 16, 2012, 12:28pm Top

Ellen, you bring up a good point. Readers usually only rate a book if they absolutely love it, or they can't stand it. There is rarely middle ground. Well, if a book is good, it's good! There may be differences in taste and what people like to read, but a good book (like yours) is still going to get mostly very positive reviews and very few bad reviews, just by virtue of the fact that it was decently written. Some people might prefer a different style of writing, but they will still respect the fact that it's a quality story. Just my three cents!

39EllenEkstrom
May 16, 2012, 3:24pm Top

MJ, I'll see that three cents and raise you two - I like what you'e written and agree with it. I also like the fact that people even pay attention to what authors write. It's those "rating police" at Amazon that chap my hide. Dare I write this? They need lives...

40zette
May 16, 2012, 3:43pm Top

Ellen, people browse by many different standards -- and yes, you know this. Some people head straight for the NYTimes best seller stand and couldn't care less about the cover art or anything else. Others come with recommendations from friends, have favorite authors or even favorite publishers. This has held over into the ebook world. Some people are drawn by the reviews, and that includes the stars.

The best answer isn't to abandon any of the ways people search for books to read, but to use them all as best we can. It's a shame the person felt that 'someone else' would take a five star review badly, as though only friends or family give them. We would do better to fight that stereotype than give up to the naysayers who are trying to give Indie Authors and their books another black mark.

41mjenks6
May 16, 2012, 4:09pm Top

Here's something that happened to me on a related note (but on Shelfari). Instead of Reviewing my book, a reader tagged my tome with "zz" (meaning snoozeville). So. someone who may be 21 years old and grew up on graphic novels says to themselves "OMG! This book is, like, too slow for me!". They then, as ONE READER, tag my book as a snoozer for all to see, thus allowing one (possibly not very intelligent, who knows) young person to have an effect upon my fate. Now, my book doesn't rocket ahead with the speed of Brent Weeks or Clive Cussler, but it moves a bit faster than, say, Ken Follett, Dean Koontz and H. P. Lovecraft, who are all great writers. Get it? That sort of tag gives tagging a bad name and is one reason why a lot of people shy away from ebooks. I'm not saying my book is a great work of literature, but talk about the cheapest Review on the planet! It may be democratic, but it's a heck of a strange kind of democracy. Sorry, just venting.

42EllenEkstrom
May 16, 2012, 5:00pm Top

Agreed, MJ. I was told by a local bookstore clerk, "How do I know you didn't ask your friends to post these reviews, or put them on Amazon yourself?" when I presented a media kit and a copy of the latest book for consideration at this particular story - by invitation.

Would he have asked Dean Koontz, Ken Follett, Stephen King, or Danielle Steele that? Because I am with a small, indie press that runs a traditional shop on a shoestring, still, certain people assume certain things about my work.

Gee, I don't know, maybe if they actually READ it....

okay, MJ, my vent is done. Climbing out of the pulpit now.

43zette
May 16, 2012, 6:44pm Top

MJ -- I've faced some of that problem myself, but I won't blame it on an age difference or graphic novels or whatever. My book will not appeal to everyone. Getting a review of that sort actually shows that you are not getting reviews only from friends, etc. It's a good sign.

Ellen -- Unfortunately, there are always going to be people who say those things. I've seen it said when any new writers -- indie or traditional -- starts getting good reviews. How do we know the good reviews by New Traditional Author aren't mostly set up by the publisher?

No, they won't read for themselves. Or if they do, they are already biased to dislike something because others like it or it was published in a way they don't trust or it's a genre they don't like or . . . whatever. Sometimes you just want to bang your head against the wall trying to figure out what some of these people are thinking. In fact the pounding and subsequent brain damage might get you closer to a few of these people.

I have to believe that my books will eventually reach their audience and I'll keep pushing them with whatever seems to work, including pointing out a new 5 star review when it happens. I've been accused of being too Pollyannish in the past, but I am going to believe that eventually the right people will find my books and enjoy them. In the meantime, I'll just keep writing and improving my craft.

44CGiovanni
May 16, 2012, 7:33pm Top

When I am looking for a new book to read, I type in one I already like and then see what the section that says "Recommended" has in it and go from there. I read the description and then put it on my wish list if I want to read it. I've found some really good books this way and some not so good ones.
I agree with MJ about the style thing, but I can see someone not liking the style and then saying it's not good because of that. If I don't like a certain style I'll call it "Good story line, not my favorite style of writing", then I most likely won't pick up another of that author's novels.
The 5 star raiders....ouy.....

45EllenEkstrom
May 16, 2012, 7:37pm Top

Zette, I'm with you - the right people will find your work and enjoy them, share them, and you will have succeeded in finding an appreciative audience. And yes, do celebrate those 5 stars because they actually are hard to come by no matter what the "Ratings Police" may post all over the Internet.

46mjenks6
May 16, 2012, 8:10pm Top

CG, the one-star raiders are just as bad. By the way, got your book up on my reading list, though it might be a few weeks before I'm able to read it (reading Geoffrey Wakeling's Inside Evil then Ellen's Tallis' Third Tune first).

47CGiovanni
May 16, 2012, 9:58pm Top

Star raiders!
Thanks for putting my book on your reading list! I'm reading both Ellen's book and yours right now!

48alco261
Edited: Jun 9, 2012, 7:25am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

49KimAleksander
May 27, 2012, 1:36am Top

You should never feel icky. Nervous? Yes, but never icky, unless you are insulting them by forcing them to read unfinished drivel. Ideally, you should only have other people look at your work after you think it's done. If you are asking people to look at your work prior to that, you are seeking validation instead of looking for a critique and/or editorial advice. After your first draft, you want as much criticism as possible. And you need to embrace it, understand it, and transform it into the next draft, making your work better and yourself better as a writer.

50EllenEkstrom
May 27, 2012, 10:34pm Top

Kim, well written! I'd like to add that having a circle of unbiased beta readers - people you trust to give you honest appraisal and not praise - during the creation of the work helps the craft. Shipping off a first draft to a publisher starry-eyed and with feelings of superiority, of knowing one is a writer, is dangerous. I know. I did that 25 years ago. Sobering moment to discover I wasn't all that and a Slurpee when the rejection letters started piling up. With four novels published and a fifth and sixth on the horizon, I trust my editors, publisher and beta readers will keep me on task and humble and help the next works improve on the last.

51AlbertoGiuseppe
May 28, 2012, 4:14am Top

The feeling icky most likely comes from a different place, I think, at least for many or maybe even most writers. Barring something particularly interesting or difficult or deadline related, first drafts are very rarely even close to being ready for prime time. A repose, as allowing meat to re-collect its juices after roasting before plating, and alterations are necessary. But identifying and accepting anomaly and more so generating a description that metaphorically recontextualizes it - with writers, using words -tends to be the province of a certain kind of brain. The same kind that often prefers criticism (but more than simply constructively, criticism that reflects at least an attempt to understand what is trying to be said) to praise. Ironically, it does have to do with a sort of uncomfortable validation. But it's more an existential validation for people whose extrinsic social expression of I is often, in a very profound way, humbled.

52CGiovanni
May 28, 2012, 11:41am Top

Well written Alberto!

53AlbertoGiuseppe
May 28, 2012, 1:14pm Top

CG, (sort of odd reading a comment from CGiovanni, my real first name, addressed to me, as in 'see yourself'), if you want another review for your book please put up the title so I might find it and do so.

54CGiovanni
Edited: May 28, 2012, 4:01pm Top

Alberto- That is quite ironic. I have never met anyone named Giovanni, but I love it as a first name and as a last name! Lucky me! My novel is In Between Seasons. It's a young adult novel about love, deception, war and the toll of following a leader blindly. I received my first review last night, and I am very excited that people are enjoying reading my novel. If you're interested in the novel it's available on your favorite kindle or nook, and I just released the paperback through createspace. Thanks for your interest!

55CANewsome
Jun 5, 2012, 1:57pm Top

IMO, the icky feeling comes from not having enough distance from your work. If you are too invested in it, if you're going to be crushed if the world doesn't think it's the best thing since sliced bread, If your book is your self, with your blood pouring all over the pages, yes, it's going to be hard to talk to people about it in a meaningful way.

I have no grand aspirations for my writing. It's meant to be entertaining, and I craft it to the best of my ability. I'm very happy that it sells. All this is quite enough.

BTW, my mother copy edited my dog park mystery. Her comments: "I hate the title" and "It has too many dogs in it"

56EllenEkstrom
Jun 5, 2012, 5:22pm Top

I've found the best editors are those closest to you.

57mjenks6
Jun 5, 2012, 7:28pm Top

My only problem is that I'm no Joe Konrath or John Locke. My novels tend to be long because they sprout from these big fantasy ideas which are usually apocalyptic in some way or another. I can't help but take them into my bloodstream, ingest them, and cry over my characters. After all, I am at them for a while. It is inevitable. The interesting thing is that the desire to make a living doing this strange thing, while it may still happen, has been replaced by the desire to satisfy my readers and make them happy. I didn't expect everyone who had read my book to be so adamant about wanting to read Book Two and needing to know when it is coming out. It is small right now, but it almost brings tears to my eyes to know I have a dedicated readership that cares about what I write.

58EllenEkstrom
Jun 5, 2012, 11:11pm Top

MJ, I know exactly how you feel. I walked around in a funk one day because I was thinking and acting like a character and while I was walking home from the train, I thought, you ninny Ellen, you're NOT the character - what you're worried about is only going to happen in your mind and on the page!

I also have a little dedicated following and it's starting to take on life. And I'm going to stop typing now because the program is freezing up again and I may lose another post!

59mjenks6
Jun 6, 2012, 9:19am Top

Ellen, you and I have had the same experience! Ha! Anyway, I also have found that it is helping now that I am starting a blog. It's kind of putting who I am out there, and it also publicizes my book. For me personally, though, I am including everything I like: Logic Puzzles - where the Reader must take a journey in their mind, Lists - where we can list favorite fantasies, favorite songs, favorite Chinese restaurants in San Fran etc. It could be anything, and my 'Y' blog, where Readers can discuss all things metaphysical - why ('Y') we are here, what's behind everything, latest theories etc. And of course I have my Author blog. Anyway, it's fun, but I can see how it can become time-consuming. By the way, Ellen, it will probably be the week after this, but finally I am ready to read your book. I think I will purchase it on my own, give you a little boost in sales (Ha! - at our level, we must laugh).

60mjenks6
Jun 6, 2012, 9:22am Top

By the way, I almost forgot. For anyone who is curious, my blog is at mrjenks.wordpress.com and the title of the blog is Fields of Play (taken from a line in Hearth: Exile). Yes, P.L.A.Y. stands for Puzzles, Lists, Author, and 'Y'. I've just started it, but let me know what you think.

61EllenEkstrom
Jun 6, 2012, 10:56am Top

MJ: I actually had to declare my writing income this year on my taxes - the first time in 10 years. It's no where near being able to support my family, but it made my sisters and brother shut up.

62CGiovanni
Jun 6, 2012, 11:43am Top

MJ: I just started a blog as well, but I don't think anyone has looked at it yet! I'm hoping it will help as you you do. I don't have a dedicated readership as you do, but hopefully I will! I'm still working on reading your novel in between marketing InBS, work, college and finishing another novel!
I'll be checking out your blog as well.

63mjenks6
Jun 6, 2012, 11:58am Top

Thanks, CG. Your book is on my list as well, after Ellen's. After that I may have to take a break from Reviewing for a while. Getting too busy!

64MarkJacobs
Jun 6, 2012, 6:14pm Top

Just addressed this in an author interview at Indiesunlimited regarding marketing as a necessary evil. My feeling is that most people who get into writing have something of an artistic sensibility, which largely is in conflict with the marketing aspects of being a successful writer. I have had to force myself to even get a Facebook account and start a website since I'd rather just be a hermit sitting somewhere quiet and writing with no other human contact. But apparently that is not a good strategy for commercial success (who'd have thought?). Anyway, I'll finish by crassly marketing myself...
http://www.writingfighting.wordpress.com

65mjenks6
Jun 6, 2012, 9:03pm Top

I like the phrase writing fighting. Sounds like the way I write!

66AlbertoGiuseppe
Edited: Jun 7, 2012, 4:28am Top

For those of you with blogs..do you notice a dramatic increase in traffic associated with video posts? (Though with only a few months of experience, after finally overcoming my timidity and putting up a first quick video a few days ago the main blog and its correlated translated (poorly) blog had roughly 400 views and 20 'like' thingies in 6 hours as opposed to just over 1200 views for all of May. Though a bit over half are probably fake, the percentage increase was nevertheless rather startling.)

67mjenks6
Jun 7, 2012, 7:53am Top

To have 400 views on my blog in one month would be a dream come true. I am invisible.

68AlbertoGiuseppe
Jun 7, 2012, 10:01am Top

Then I would suggest to splice in a shortish video and tweet it on your next subject/post. (I only had 7 followers on twitter, but one apparently picked it up and re-blog linked it.) If you hit a chord with a specific audience, it seems video fosters easier and much faster diffusion.
I, instead, would that any of the views on the (my) blogs might translate into any sales, (sigh) ...but getting back to the icky part: though started in February, it wasn't until April I think that I actually put any direct links to books, and even now they remain on a separate page. (On the 'writing fighting' instead I saw how efficiently the images and links were placed, very visible and accessible.) More, though it's effectively a sort of food and author-ish blog, its author - hopefully becoming plural (community-based) in the coming months - isn't very present. And that is sort of the problem...
Nowaday there is much more marketing of extrinsic self than product relative to before. (Good grief, does anyone else dislike the newish agent fad word, 'platform', as much as I? It's up there with 'quality time' or 'synergize'. Makes for a lovely insult though, something like, 'Go platform yourself.') As MJacobs noted, that is in contrast to the strong, intrinsically leaning equilibrium of many, maybe most, writers, certainly in literary prose fiction. (Similar could be said for most theoretical and creative research fields.)

69EllenEkstrom
Jun 7, 2012, 3:07pm Top

Anybody know how to transfer an iVideo from the iPhone to a PC desktop? It's the trailer to my novel and I can't seem to figure it out, since I am - horrors! - a PC person and not a Mac.

70CANewsome
Jun 7, 2012, 8:37pm Top

Alas, I'm still on dial-up so I can't view videos very easily. What on earth does one put on a video trailer? I have this nightmare picture in my head of the video I would shoot. Makes me queasy just thinking about it.

71CGiovanni
Jun 7, 2012, 8:49pm Top

I'm excited to see your book trailer, Ellen. Has anyone else done a book trailer, and has it helped at all with sales/marketing?

72CGiovanni
Jun 7, 2012, 8:51pm Top

Oh, Ellen, have you tried to email it to yourself from your iphone, and then save it to your PC from there?
I've never done such a thing, but it's an idea.

73EllenEkstrom
Jun 8, 2012, 10:13am Top

The file's too big to e-mail to myself. Tried it. CA, the trailer is made up of images of the book cover and photos relating to the story with tag lines superimposed on the photos using Skitch. When I figure out how to do this, I will be able to launch it on my website, the publisher's website and YouTube, Facebook. And, by the way, the new Author application, Read My Books!, on Facebook has garnered interest in all of my titles. My sales jumped a little yesterday.

74CGiovanni
Jun 8, 2012, 12:23pm Top

What about syncing the iPhone to your computer through iTunes, and then try from the iTunes application on the computer.

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