Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

This was supposed to be yesterday's Writer Wednesday post, but I got busy doing other stuff....

About two months ago, I found myself embroiled in a heated discussion on my Facebook page that began with an article written by TaNisha Webb entitled, “Why are More and More Authors Faking Their Way to the Top of Bestsellers Lists?” 

What began as a discussion quickly deteriorated into a mud-slinging fest, and it became clear to me what was really going on. Here are a few of the quotes from the article and also from the author and someone who agreed with her on my Facebook page:

Well one of the ways that some authors are getting on the bestsellers gravy train is by way of free and dirt cheap e-book price points. Cheap price points will help to embellish sales but doesn’t necessarily mean that the author’s work is worthy of the download.”

“Some readers have noticed that not only are authors taking advantage of slashing the price of their e-books for eternity but they are also faking their way to the top of bestsellers lists by deliberately placing their e-books in the wrong genres in order to gain their undeserving bestselling status. This is a low-down dirty shame because not only are these fake bestselling authors being dishonest to readers when they claim they are a bestseller but they are also stealing…yes I said it…they are STEALING a spot from an author that actually do DESERVE and has rightfully EARNED their bestselling title because of these manipulative, greedy and starving for attention wannabes!”

“If you are a good writer with great storylines, characters, and quality books, eventually you will get to the bestsellers list the RIGHT way if you keep working hard. So many of us are so impatient. The most infamous authors put years, sometimes decades into their craft before ever getting any acclaim. What's the point of being on the list if no one knows you, you have no or few reviews, you have no following, and every time someone brings up your name or book people say, "Who?" If you truly want a lasting writing career, let go of all of the trickery and let it come to you naturally”

This is exactly why readers find some authors so damn **trifling** because they are willing to get their "fame" by any means necessary instead of working hard and doing it the correct way.”

**For those of you who don't know what "trifling" is, it's an African-American colloquialism that basically means "irresponsible, devious, sneaky."

Their obvious disdain for successful e-book authors seems to be across the board, because as the discussion continued, the delineation between those authors that use “deceptive” methods and e-book authors in general disappeared. These folks are angry. They’re angry because e-book authors have found ways to get their books into the hands of tens of thousands of readers, even though it was at a financial loss to them. They’re angry because they suffered years of rejections, and once they finally got a publisher, they were locked into doing only what the publisher allowed.

The majority of e-book authors also suffered the same years of rejection only we decided to do something about it on our own. I am not talking about the small percentage of authors who hastily created a novel and immediately threw it into cyberspace. I’m talking about those of us who have written for years and even decades. What I heard behind the words was jealousy plain, simple and ugly.
Authors, readers I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Ms. Muusikluvver said...

I saw that article and I thought, "Huh?" Who is that person to decide who is legitimately on a bestsellers list or not. As an author, I choose the categories that best fit my book. If it sells enough to land on a bestsellers list, I am very grateful. Again, being on the list means I SOLD enough books to make the list. How can this person say that the work is not worthy of the list? Have they read every single book on the bestsellers list? I think not. Sounds like jealousy to me. People need to grow up and know that putting others down is not the way to find your own success.

Anonymous said...

Writing is so hard. So many years of rejection and no industry encouragement. You doubt yourself. It's frustrating, heartbreaking, and defeating. I'm proud of any author who believes in herself enough to either successfully self-publish or stick with it and go the traditional route. I chose the traditional path, but am absolutely interested in self-publishing eventually.

Let's stop the increasingly ugly fray and respect one another's right to choose how to distribute our work.

Debbie Herbert

Michelle Ramsey said...

It is disheartening to see the maliciousness that some people hold within. I would think in this industry we would uphold, and lift one another up. Celebrate each other's accomplishments, because writing is a struggle. It is a struggle born from a passion within the heart, but nevertheless it's a struggle.

At the end of the day, if someone sold enough books to make the best seller's list, then congrats to them. They deserved it, and how can she possibly began to critique someone's work because they did not go the path she went. Everyone has a choice to make, and just as she obviously made hers, eBook authors make theirs. It doesn't make us any less than, it only makes us more determined.

TaNisha Webb said...

I'm sorry but for the simple fact that you're just now posting anything regarding my article on your blog almost 2 months after this exchange took place and the article was posted (3/6/2013) AND that you CHOSE to select SOME of the dialog and not ALL of the dialog between ALL OF US tells me that you're looking to validate yourself and this subject has not one thing to do with what the article's true intentions was for - to ask the question - Why is it okay to place books in genres that they do not belong in and for authors to claim they are a bestselling author based on them intentionally misrepresenting their books in those specific genres? You call it good marketing ;I call it cheating. For whatever reason, you feel the need to throw another pity party in order to stay relevant and support your views, which you haven't said not one thing new now that you haven't already said before. And everyone else has moved on and my article has been republised, shared and discussed several times. And let's not forget the many phone calls, text messages, in box messages etc. that I've received from readers on up to major publishing houses supporting the article. Let's not forget the interviews, multiple requests for appearances based on my views. So my message has been well received by most and I don't have to continue to repeat myself on the same topics. I just need to keep moving forward and keep it real. As you should do.

You don't have to agree with my opinions- matter of fact, whenever you actually have an opinion outside of what the "King of Kindle" is telling you to do then maybe you'll be able to hold a decent conversation and make a valid point. But until then, I'll let you keep on throwing my name out there because if anything you're making me even more relevant and yourself look pitiful for bringing back up a topic that you 've already discussed almost 2 months ago. Must be a slow month for you.

Zee Monodee said...

One thing I do have to say - readers are not idiots!

Say an author does fudge the categories and lands a spot on the bestseller list of a category not fitting for their book - readers will figure out there's a mishap there. Do you think they will support the author whom they think 'conned' them?

Writers often make the mistake of discounting readers and not crediting them with the brains they do possess - readers are the ones who make or break us authors. I think they're trustworthy enough as a gauge of success.

My 2 cents... :)

Chicki said...

TaNisha, I was under the impression you wrote the article in order to spark a discussion on the topic...

This is an opportunity for others to hear what actual e-book authors have to say on the article, which was completely one-sided.

Contrary to your opinion, this is a busy month and thus the reason why I was looking for something to post that I'd already written. I was just too annoyed at the time to post it.

Anonymous said...

Long ago I determined not to be impressed by any best-selling list. I did because regardless of how many booksyou've sold, it won't sway my preference for what I choose to read. And like one person commented, readers aren't idiots-we know the truth. Personally I've enjoyed more books that haven't made a list than those that have.

Linda Beed

Alisha said...

Wow! Sour Grapes! Jealousy! I've experienced the same thing, Chicki. So let me get this straight. We have also been writing for years, hire editors to edit our books, professional cover artists to design our covers, beta readers to read our books, manage all this ourselves, set our own prices, enjoy bigger royalties and hit bestseller lists and we don't deserve the glory that comes with all that hard work? We aren't "real authors"? We choose wrong categories? Huh? Who would buy our books in the wrong category? We hit bestseller lists because we sell a lot of books because we have worked hard and we deserve it. And we have 100% creative freedom. No wonder others are jealous. Hold your head up high, Chicki. I've enjoyed watching your career soar. You're also one of the very most helpful authors out there, always helping your fellow authors, encouraging and supporting us. And I have to say probably the most organized business woman I know. I go to your blog or facebook page for great industry news. Just remember, people throw rocks at shiny things and you shine like a star!

Alisha said...

Tanisha, the reason your article is shared and you receive emails, texts, etc...blah, blah, because there are TONS of traditional authors who feel threatened by the fierce indie competition. They grasp desperately for a reason to explain why indie authors are selling more books. The gate keepers are gone. Readers choose what they want to read. If a book sucks, it won't hit a bestseller list. Your claims that indie authors are cheating is simply sour grapes and flat out lies. Why would you do something so mean spirited? Smart authors are previously traditionally published who branch out into indie publishing. I'm one of those authors. I know many authors who are traditionally published authors and are also indie published. You said that Chicki is making herself look pitiful? Chick Brown is a very well respected author and colleague of mine. Just the fact that she's approved your posts when you're being such a bully shows her professionalism. I'm ashamed for you. You sound like a misinformed dinosaur. That's the nicest way I can say it.

Cathy McElhaney said...

Wow! Just wow! I have not even finished writing my book and plan to e-publish it. There has been A LOT of blood, sweat and tears in my book already. I have practically trashed it and rewritten it several times. I have put A LOT of work into it...IF it gets to the bestseller list it is not because it is poorly written! An author who writes poorly is not going to get there.
I edit for some very talented authors who put much of themselves into their writing and deserve to be on the bestseller list!

Cheryl Fields said...

As an Indie author, I understand that writer's frustration. The truth is that the publishing industry is being turned upside-down because it was ripe for disruption. Never before in history has technology made it possible for one person, or a smaller team, to take on the roles once held by so many.
I've written and re-written my manuscript for years, had it professionally edited and went back to school to get a Master's degree in Journalism to understand how to market my message on the internet—a brand new field. Most of my Masters cohort and other schoolmates had been in the publishing and news industries for decades. This is all new.
The writer is, speaking of TaNisha Webb, correct to point out intentional deception. But where is the proof? Why care if someone mislabels their product? As Zee Monodee posted, "readers are not idiots."
Amazon is putting traditional publishers out of business. We indie publishers are becoming educated on the roles of P.R., graphic arts, publishing software, all phases of marketing and accounting because we choose to. We are perfecting our craft by taking the reins and no longer relying on publishers to "do it all" for us and give us a small commission. We are taking charge. Those who take a shortcut are to be found in any industry. Why not applaud those of us who are learning all phases of publishing so that the writer, not the packager, can be celebrated and receive our financial due?
It may look easy sitting in your publisher's lobby waiting for them to pay what they think you're due, but just taking a short gander at what Sister Chicki Brown has done with this website should clue you in to the fact that we're hustling sister, and become masters of our craft.
Kenneth Bossard, author of "Cheryl's Song."

George Hamilton said...

I would have thought it was up to the reader to determine if the book was placed in the correct genre or not. If not, the writer will soon start to get negative reviews, which will delay their supposed rise to "fame". The fact is that many novels are now multi-genre, and due to this authors are now able to reach out to a wider range of readers. It may be more appropriate to say that the genre classification system is now out of date, as opposed to accusing authors of cheating the system.