Ok. I find I’ve got to say this.
My first contemporary gay romance novel was released on May 10th. On that day I dove head-first into the roiling confusion which faces any author who wants to promote their book. I suspect that confusion is experienced by all newbie authors, particularly those who are self-published and therefore have no experience or guidance as to how this insane world operates.
I wrote to blog after blog, asking them to review Love’s Magic. I created a Twitter and Facebook page for my book and tried to figure out how to properly use them. I’m sure I made mistakes. I’m sure I was annoying. But I’d never done this before and I had no clue as to what constituted proper protocols.
I very quickly made the acquaintance of kind and wonderful people. People who were courteous and respectful even if their response was that they currently didn’t have the time to review my book. People who were helpful in the extreme, guiding me to other review sites, pointing me to Facebook groups which focused on promoting Gay Romance. There were many such people. Becky Baldridge from ‘Momma Says To Read Or Not To Read’. for one. She quickly became my ‘Yoda’ and kept me from wandering into the tall grass, helping me understand this overwhelming world I had just entered. Josh Dale from M & Men Midnight Cafe was another. Josh didn’t have time in his schedule to read and review my book, but he did promote it on his amazing site and was good enough to guide me to other sites which could help me with promotion. R.S. Dino did agree to review Love’s Magic and did so on his wonderful blog, Rainbows And Stars.
These folks and others were generous and giving in the extreme and were willing to help a newbie author find her way. But there were those who weren’t as kind and I quickly discovered them as well.
There are thousands of Blogs out there which exist solely to promote or read and review Gay Romance books. One would suppose that these individuals do this because they love the genre and feel a sense of kinship with the authors who write in this world, but such is often not the case.
I was shocked and a little appalled to read a post on Twitter from the publisher of a fairly well-known review blog whining and complaining about authors who dared to send her more than one review request. It was clear she found their desperate attempt to get her attention monumentally annoying. Some, she whined, had written as many as ten times!
My first thought was this: Did you respond to their first request and politely tell them you didn’t have time to joyfully review their novel? My guess would be ‘no’. I’ve requested a review from well over thirty blogs, including the one mentioned above. And I can count the number of responses I’ve received on the fingers of one hand. I am left to wonder if those who didn’t bother to respond (including her) even received my email! I mean shit happens on the Internet and emails disappear all the time. If you don’t respond to the authors who offer up their books for you to judge, how the hell are they supposed to know that you received and read their request?
If the folks who run these blogs, particularly the heavy-hitters who have thousands of readers following their every word, can’t demonstrate common courtesy and simple respect to the authors who write the books which support their efforts… can they really expect courtesy in return? Authors aren’t psychic. They don’t know you’ve read their request unless you respond to it… so instead of posting on Twitter about what assholes they are, respond to their request!
Next, I ran into a fairly well-read blogger who blatantly hates authors. She went on at length about how entitled they were, and how she already had many, many unread free books on her Kindle so stop-sending-me-free-books, and how she was in this for the reader not the authors, and how selfish authors were because every free book they offered came with a string attached.
This woman stopped my heart. And though it took restraint I didn’t respond to her tirade and just quietly unfollowed her instead. HAD I responded, I would have asked her why she didn’t simply find something ELSE to do with her valuable time.
I hardly know where to begin with this one. Authors sink years’ worth of time, effort, love, spirit, blood, sweat, tears, and energy into writing their beloved books. And without those books YOU would have nothing to do with your time other than paint your nails, and the readers who you claim to represent would have nothing to read! And yes. There’s a string attached because that is what you DO!! You read and review books! Without the string you’d, once again, be back to painting your nails and watching ‘Housewives of Beverly-Hills’! It starts with the authors. And if they’re courageous enough to offer up their life’s work to you to read and review… SHOW SOME FUCKING RESPECT, YOU FECKLESS BINT!
OK. I feel better now.
I have absolutely no fucks to give to bloggers who claim to love books but who demonstrate nothing but contempt for those who write them. If it meant that I’d sell 10,000 books, gain 7,000 5-Star reviews, and collect 100,000 followers, I would never place one of my books into the hands of such a soul-less human being. I love my books way too much to allow them to be demeaned by such a person. And I respect what authors do too much to want to see my work diminished by someone who, clearly, has no understanding of what it takes to actually sit down and write a book. To my way of thinking… an old fashioned way I’ll admit… those who have no respect for the creative process shouldn’t be involved in it. In ANY way!
I suppose it isn’t all that smart for a fledgling author to say such things. And if I’d written my books when I was younger maybe I wouldn’t have. But I’m way too old to be governed by fear of dumb people.