Thursday, October 08, 2015


Random stuff that's bugging me lately.

1. Emails from newbie authors asking if I want to review their book.

Look, I'm a writer. I know how hard it is to get reviews. In years past, I've asked readers who follow me on Goodreads if they'd like to review my books. I may have even asked readers who have signed up for my newsletter if they were interested in reviewing me.

But I don't spam people.

I don't know what list I got on (Maybe because I used to be an Amazon Vine reviewer? Maybe someone compiled a list of top Amazon reviewers?) but I get asked to review free books every day.

You might not think it's spam because you're offering a free read, but if it is unsolicited, if I have no idea who you are, if I never followed you on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads, then it's spam. If it annoys me, it most certainly annoys others, and if you keep doing this you're going to get some really unflattering reviews. Not from me; I don't cut down my peers' books, and I pretty much stopped reviewing on Amazon. But a friendly word of warning; some reader is going to get annoyed and the only person you can blame is the one in the mirror.

2. James Patterson's Masterclass.

Maybe it's awesome and helpful and will teach a whole new segment of writers how to write a 60,000 word novel in just 150 chapters. Maybe, if you pay extra, you can co-write Jim's next blockbuster. I don't like a lot of the stupid things Patterson says in public, but I don't begrudge him his success, and if he can buy another summer home in Languedoc-Roussillon with the extra money he makes from this endeavor, more power to him.

But get out of my cookies, man!

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, your browser stores data known as cookies which can carry info from one website to the next. So I click on Patterson's class once, and see ads for it everywhere I go, unless I delete the cookies or use an ad blocker. Which annoys me.

To recap: I'm not mad that Patterson is getting even richer selling hope to the clueless, I'm ticked he paid for a website that infects my browser with his face every time I try to surf porn.

Also, my free advice to newbies; writing tips, books, websites, and classes can help you become a better writer. But they don't beat reading and writing. When I taught writing, I always told my students they should be home, writing, instead of being in class.

3. Amazon sales figures.

In a previous blog post about KU 2.0, I wrote about Amazon sharing sales data with authors (this carried on into the comments). Amazon knows where readers stop reading, if they ever pick the book up again, how many borrows per pages read, and other figures that authors could really benefit from, but they aren't sharing.

They don't have to share that stuff, and I'm not going to reiterate that debate. But I would like to have access to cumulative sales figures, which is a much more reasonable and rudimentary request. This hit home the other day where I wanted to see how many unit sales, and how much money, a particular title of mine had accrued over the years, and I realized I had to add it up month by month myself.

Come on, Amazon! I should be able to press a button and generate a spreadsheet that lists all the sales data for a title for any given time period. Can we have that option, please? I've been asking since 2009. It irritated me that I couldn't just pull up those figures. It's not like they're top secret, or that it would require a lot of work for you to do. Just let me know how many damn ebooks I've sold.

 4. Pinheads who claim ebook sales have plateaued.

I shouldn't care about this, because one person's misconceptions are another person's opportunities, but I admit that it irks me whenever some publisher or survey or periodical crows about how ebook sales aren't growing. Even ignoring the burgeoning global market, ebook sales are destined to grow. Younger generations have learned to read without paper, and they're going to consume nearly 100% of the written word electronically as they age. My generation will be retiring in 15 to 25 years, and we grew up reading novels. We're going to defer to them when we have more free time.

Technology keeps getting better, and cheaper, and we still haven't tapped the hidden potential of ebooks as a unique, and superior, storytelling device. I'm working to do some tech stuff with my new horror thriller, WEBCAM, that should enhance the reading experience and make it more fun because ereaders can do more stuff than dead trees. Plateaued? Ebooks haven't even gotten started yet.

Okay, rant over. Now stop reading blogs and go write something.