For every ninety-nine good eggs, there is one really bad one. But that one damn egg can leave a taint on all the other wonderful eggs and that blows. I can’t help but wonder how many people saw this story blazing a trail through Twitter and thought, “Screw it, why should I even bother writing anything?”
Don’t let the self-pubbed author title fool you- this is a JOB. Most of us are on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter, writing on our blogs or are answering emails for hours each day. When we aren’t doing that we write, write, write– often times at the expense of family events, laundry, shopping, cleaning, meals and (on occassion) showers. We’re flaky when we’re in the writing zone, cranky if we’re disturbed and always (ALWAYS) on a deadline. We eat, sleep and dream these stories.
Recently I was out at dinner with friends having a good time when suddenly I had a lightbulb moment so… I LEFT THE RESTAURANT (before the food arrived) so that I could go home and fix a plot hole. This is a job, and I take it as such. It’s a job that I LOVE and I cherish every moment, but I am very aware of the business end of this endeavor and how much work it requires. If you’re going to self-pub, you should be aware of that as well. We aren’t all sunning ourselves while using royalty checks as fans.
Self-publishing is meant for authors to get their work out there. It’s the love of the story that gets us to our computers to create these tales and I for one can’t imagine what kind of a douchebag gets dollar signs in their eyes and decides to steal someones shit!
There are RULES to self-pubbing- perhaps unwritten, but I’m about to take care of that.
1. The absolute NUMBER ONE RULE of Self-publishing is:
HAVE PASSION FOR THE STORY THAT YOU’RE TELLING! Don’t just publish a story because you think you’re going to hit it like Amanda Hocking. Do it because YOU LOVE TO WRITE! There isn’t a road made of money that all self-pubbed authors drive onto. It’s not the lottery. I repeat: IT IS A JOB.
You wouldn’t start a fashion line as the head designer if you hated fashion and clothing… so don’t be a book hater who decides to write a book because you saw this one thing on the internet that made you think self-publishing was like getting the Golden Ticket.
2. Number two is a big one one for self-pubbers.
DO NOT SPAM PEOPLE with pleas to read your book. Don’t send out a Goodreads book suggestion to everyone and their brother. Just… don’t. I look at it like I want you to read my book, not hate my guts.
My experience with the Liz Thomas (the one that Teresa Mummert writes about in her post) was in line with what everyone else has reported. I got a bunch of suggestions from people on Goodreads, Liz included, to read the book. I’m a reader & a rock lover, so I totally went and bought the book. The fact is that the story was abysmal. I was stunned that anyone was giving it about a 1-2 star rating. It was vile, offensive, totally overdone crap. From time to time I come across a self-pubbed book like that and I always think… REALLY? Who the hell read this and thought it was good and rated it that way?!?!?!? I’ve already explained my reasoning for not reviewing anything under a 3 star, so it’s clear why I chose not to review it. I’m speaking out now because I suspect that ‘Liz’ is a pen name for several other writers, one of them being the person that plagiarised Jamie and Tammara’s work.
3. Do NOT put 9,852 Tweets out each day peddling your book(s). It’s flipping obnoxious! Retweet things from fans? YES. Retweet Reviews? YES. Compose a shit ton of Tweets telling people to buy your shit? NO!!!!!
A while back there was an author on my feed who literally put up 15-25 posts EVERY DAY about her books. It was always the same four tweets, she just kept sending them out again and again and again. I was so annoyed that I unfollowed her. Converse/share things with your fans that aren’t exclusively about your books! BE HUMAN. For the love of all that is holy- PLEASE DON’T BE A USED CAR SALESMAN ON TWITTER!
4. DO. NOT. EVER. HAVE. PEOPLE. LEAVE. FAKE. REVIEWS. This probably should be #1, #2 and #3, really. Don’t have Grama make a Goodreads/Amazon account so that she can tell everyone how amazing your book is. Don’t hire someone to do it.
The truth is this: Our books have to rise or fall on their own.
I know damn well that there are authors out there who have surrogates leaving bullshit reviews- it’s normally pretty damn obvious. As soon as I even suspect that someone is paying for reviews, I cross them off the list of people I will read.
Having said that, the MOST important thing a reader can do to counteract that bullshit is:
If you read a book, REVIEW IT! No one has so many surrogates (faux reviewers) that they can undo REAL readers leaving REAL reviews.
5. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER steal someone elses fucking work!
Stealing someones work is a piece of shit/total asshole move. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again— K A R M A. If you don’t think about it, you should. I’m morbidly fascinated by people who don’t understand that what you put out, you get back. Really… who was the flipping brain trust that decided to copy and paste entire portions of another writers work? Did it really NEVER occur to them that (a) it was WRONG (b) it was going to get noticed and (c) it was going to come out to the public? For every action there is a reaction. Ripples on a pond. The idea is to always try to take POSITIVE steps so that what comes back at you isn’t a tsunami of negativity.
Also… if you’re copying and stealing someones work… you aren’t a writer and you never wanted to be one.
The decision to steal another authors work was pure greed. I’m sure the ‘writer’ thought, “oh hell, who would even notice?”
The thing is… there’s no line between right and wrong on this. Much like finding someones wallet on the ground with six thousand dollars in it and not returning it, stealing a kids bike, robbing a bank or killing someone- wrong is wrong. There is NO gray area between right and wrong on a lot of things, and plagiarism is one of them.
Clearly the person behind this recognized Jamie & Tammara’s talents and sought to use that as a jumping off point. But here’s the thing… stealing is STEALING.
Like everyone else on earth, there are things I wish I’d thought of first… Star Wars, the microwave, Facebook- but I didn’t decide to steal the idea, put a new sticker on it and put out Ella Wars, the Ellawave or Ellabook. MOST people wouldn’t steal the way whoever did this has, but sadly, it’s this one asshole that makes everyone look bad.
Everyone suffers from this story, sadly. Jamie & Tammara because the words in the stories that they worked so hard to create were stolen. Readers because their trust was violated. Self-pubbed authors because now some readers won’t take a chance on a self-pub again.
Like I said… there’s always one bad egg.