Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Coming Out of the Closet…

               Coming out of the closet after a good, long cry…
            Oh, you thought I meant “coming out of the closet.”  No.  Sometimes I go in my walk-in closet, close the door, sit down and have a good private cry.
            In this particular instance, I was crying about how difficult it is to be an author.  It seems everyone wants a piece of the pie in one way or another, and it leaves very little to the author.
            Who is it that has their hand in the pie?
            Paid Reviewers
            Book Publicists
            Promotion Companies
            Reviewers (who require print copies)
            Giveaway Organizers
            Contest Organizers
            Office Supply Stores
            Publishers of How-to Books
            Logistic Companies
            Internet Service Providers
            Software Companies
            Website/Blog Designers
            Writing Organization
            Writing Conferences
            Swag Companies
            Book Editors
            Writing Instructors
            Book Promotion Advertisers (newsletters, websites, blogs)

            Need I go on?  To top it off, most authors don’t even make enough to be considered authors. Take a look at these statistics:

“Over 70,000 books are published a year.  Less than 10 percent sell more than 100,000 copies.  That means there are 63,000 books per year that don’t sell very many copies.  Less than 5 percent of the people who call themselves authors make a living from their books.” ~Buzz Your Book

            Guess how I found out this information?  Buying a copy of Buzz Your Book.  Now I’m getting paid even less.  In all the promotion material I’ve read, the advice has been that an author needs to offer some kind of information or service in order to make their money.
            I try to do as much free promotion as I can, but it appears the paid advertisement has the greatest affect.  Does it pay for itself?  Not yet.  Will it in the long run?  Who knows.  All any author can do is continue to try.
            Recently, a fellow author got a beating from a reviewer whose whole purpose is to trash books.  The reviewer wasn’t kind, she wasn’t considerate, and she wasn’t truthful.  The point of her blog is to be overly sadistic, clever and outrageous at the author’s expense.  (A little akin to Howard Stern’s “shock jock” persona.)
            I guess I’m still pretty naïve when it comes to this sort of thing, but I just can’t condone running down someone else to boost your own success.  Writing is what this author loves to do.  It’s how she makes her living.  Sure not everyone is going to love your writing, and that’s okay.  But targeting someone (the author did not request this review) and bashing them for some kind of emotional high is…sad.  I feel sorry for this reviewer.  I also feel sorry for the author and the impact it had on her and her sales.
            All the other people and/or companies I mentioned above who have a hand in an author’s pie are controllable.  The reviewer I mentioned is not.  Yes, I’ve met a few on my own writing journey, and I guess it comes with the territory.  But what does this say about us as a human race? Tell me what you think.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Comedy, Suspense…and Dogs!
Fly into a good book today at:  www.dragonflyromance.com

Image credit: isselee / 123RF Stock Photo


  1. I agree. With the ease today of self-publishing, anyone can put a book out and call themselves an "author". But when you hope to make a living from it...well, it's downright NERVE FRAZZLING TRAUMA.

    And we do --though I wish we didn't-- encounter all you've written on the list. Yes, not all reviewers are kind. It's like bullying. They feel "big" in their own eyes only when they can "down" or demean someone else.

    I love being an author. There's a sense of accomplishment of bringing to fruition a lifelong dream.

    But to boost the income, I've edged into other routes.

    It is sad, as you state, that no one wants to treat their fellow people with the respect they desire to be treated. I see it in not only authors/publishing business, but in the way the world is becoming.

    What we must do is not to sink to their level.

  2. I agree, Cindy. Authors seem to be easy prey. It's rather ironic because one can't be an author without sensitivity, but nowadays authors need to be insensitive to snarky reviews and tough with predators who might take advantage of them. It is refreshing though when we meet good reviewers who love literature and kind people who want to promote good literature. I suppose we need to be careful who we trust.

  3. What a thoughtful, post, Cindy! And, it is tough to know who to trust to give an honest review of your book.

    I'm trying to be very careful about who I ask.


  4. Miss Mae,
    Love that last line: "What we must do is not to sink to their level."
    This is so true.
    If the people supporting this person's blog of "hate", she might not be doing it.
    We all need to stop and think about what we are "buying" into.
    Thanks for the wonderful comment, Miss Mae.

  5. Gail,
    I agree that authors are easy prey and sensitive. It's been very hard for me to develop a tough shell. We need to be careful about who we trust but in this case, the author didn't even request a review from this reviewer. The woman purchased the ebook from Amazon and then blasted her on her blog without even letting the author know about it.
    That hurts!
    Thanks, Gail.

  6. Darcy,
    As I said in my comment to Gail, this review was not requested. The reviewer bought the book and Amazon and posted on her blog without the author's knowledge.
    What do you think? Should authors spread the word about reviewers like this person so they don't submit anything to them?
    Thanks for posting,

  7. Great post Cindy. I know its so frustrating to find time to be an author. I agree sometimes it seems everyone wants some of my time, and then I don't get much for myyself. But, when I do, I love it! I love writing my storiesd, and hopefully, they'll get good reviews, not bad ones. My advice: Hang in there. Enjoy the ride.


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