Friends and family not an asset for this writer

leafmeld-yellowfawnumber_img_0032

When it comes to my writing and friends and family I’ve established clear boundaries. Here they are:

– I don’t talk about my writing even if asked. Those enquiring are usually only doing so to be polite and aren’t really interested. In any case, listening to someone talk about their writing is profoundly boring – even for me and I’m a writer.

– I don’t solicit reviews or ratings from them. I try to avoid even the faintest hint of conflict of interest in the support and criticisms I get.

– I very rarely give them my books. If they’re interested they can buy one.

I once went to a birthday party  where a friend’s partner had rented a gallery and had a show professionally mounted of her paintings. Needless to say, most of those attending bought some of her art. She was thrilled.

This to me is not a measure of artistic merit. I didn’t buy anything,  in fact, I was surprised and not a little offended. This was hardly better than  a Tupperware party.

I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t want to take advantage of my friends and family. I don’t want to demean myself and my work.

The independent publishing industry is rife with nepotism, gimmicks, and chicanery – all geared toward reaching bestseller status. I don’t care if I’m a bestseller, but I do want to become a better writer. I think these practices prevent that from happening by creating a false sense of accomplishment.

You think you’re good, but your not. You’re delusional.

I don’t know if this stand has hurt my sales or not. If it has it hasn’t been significant because I’m just not that popular – with friends or family.

I’ve also developed guidelines for social media.

I don’t solicit followers on Twitter, don’t “friend” people on Facebook, and don’t appeal to viewers to “like” or “subscribe” to my YouTube channel.

I do encourage comments and criticisms which I faithfully respond to and hopefully learn something from.

Amazingly, some people chose to follow me which is gratifying because it definitely is not reciprocated.

I had one expert tell me “social media is not for you”. Really? Maybe just not her kind of social media, the kind where friends and followers are little more than meaningless numbers and bare no resemblance of reality.

I still believe a social media following can be built by someone who has something interesting and original to say regardless of whether he’s a friend, follower or subscriber.

Later this month I’ll be waiting with Linus in the pumpkin patch.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Free Novels – forget sales, I’ll be satisfied with readers

Bridget - GreenEyes

Send me an email at rod_raglin@yahoo.com and I’ll send you Smashwords coupon codes for free downloads of my novels; FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend, and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

Offer ends February 28, 2015

When I completed The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic, I spent about a year sending out query letters to several dozen agents and even a few publishers. It produced nothing but frustration.

Finally, last July I decided to self-publish an e-book and began investigating Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

It was a learning curve, and still is, but I persevered. After a few false starts I have a Kindle e-book. I took it a step further and use Amazon’s CreateSpace and published the novel in paperback.

Have these ventures produced any results in regard to sales? No, but at least people have the opportunity to purchase it. I mean I couldn’t just abandon it, could I? Well, could I?

I also have control – to change the price, revise the manuscript, or enhance the cover.

What difference does it make to control the price of your book when no one’s buying it, you ask? Good point. Let me think on it.

Okay, if nothing else you’ll at least agree I’m moving forward. I’m learning skills and acquiring knowledge that might come in handy, maybe, sometime, perhaps.

You’re not going to give me a break, are you?

Well, if you think that was delusional, I’ve now gone ahead and e-published both FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic with Smashwords.

Why? Because Smashwords makes my work available in more formats. Has that helped sales? Not yet, but – okay, no.

But there’s another reason. I watched An Introduction to E-Book Publishing by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khM4czIJUVM and besides some real good advice, I liked the guy. I mean, he actually tells you it is very unlikely your book will sell, and furthermore don’t borrow money, and don’t go in debt to publish your book.

This is so counterintuitive to what everyone else on the internet promises you I was immediately endeared to the guy. Mark’s not selling some magic formula that if properly brewed will result in success. Mark says you likely won’t have success but hey, you don’t have to spend any money to find that out.

What Mark does say is everyone should have the right and the ability to publish an e-book and he gives you that opportunity. Well, so does Amazon, but I’ve never heard them put it quite that way.

So now you can obtain The BIG PICTURE and FOREST from both Amazon and Smashwords. And if you send me an e-mail before February 28, 2015 I’ll send you the Smashwords coupon codes so you can enter them and download these novels free.

Lets forget about sales, okay, and try for readers.

30

 

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

The social media ego ponzi scheme

Homeless-2My publisher has a group email where their authors can post messages. This is one I received recently.

Not sure how many of you if any use Triberr. It is a fabulous way to get
your blog posts out and gain Twitter followers. My tribe “Suspense for the
Romantic Heart” has a reach of about 75K. If there is anyone who would like
to join, it is super easy. Just go to
http://triberr. com/pages/ tribe-details. php?tribe= 23614 , sign up and then
follow my tribe. From there I will add you as a member.
For those who are not familar with Triberr, it is a share for share team. I
share all of your stuff, you share all of mine. The more tribemates, the
more twitter reach, aka the more exposure for you and your books!

Wow! 75,000 people read her tweets about her books! OMG! She must be, like, famous, and selling, thousands of books.

To that I say, LOL

About five years ago, everyone in a writing group I was involved with was fired up about social media. To be a successful writer you needed a “platform”, indeed you should start building it even before you were published. Just what you would say on the “platform” wasn’t clear. Maybe just WIP.

I registered on Facebook and was hungrily “friending” everyone possible – friends of friends of friends …

One day my wife was on the site trying to find a real friend and asked, “Do you know all these people?”

“Of course not.”

“Why are they here then?”

“Because I’m building a “platform”. I post information to them about my books.”

“Are you interested in what they’re posting?”

“Not really.” I mean how could I keep current with all these strangers even if I wanted to?

“Then what makes you think they’re remotely interested in what you’re doing?”

I hate it when she does that, actually makes sense.

With just a minimal amount of research, like asking authors for solid sales results generated by social media, I came to the conclusion it’s all a ponzi scheme for the self-deluded. A few positive responses leads one to believe that there’s riches to be tapped as long as they keep investing in “friends”, tribe members, tweet followers.

But the evidence seems to show nobody’s selling anything through social media. It’s a delusional way to feel good about what you’re doing because the chances of having any real success are infinitesimal.

If you don’t believe this visit your friends’ Facebook sites. If after five minutes you aren’t asking yourself “who cares” you’re probably posting the same boring stuff yourself in hopes someone will “like” it and validate your life.

Hold on, you say. You blog and is that not a form of social media and a platform for self-promotion?

This blog is my rant, to sort out my thoughts, to vent my frustration.  Do I care that someone reads it and clicks the “like” button?

No, emphatically.

For all I know the person that clicked that button hasn’t even read my blog. Someone told them (like my delusional colleague) the way to sell their writing was to respond positively to blogs and sign up as a follower because then those they follow would do the same for them. Get it?

I also blog because I like to talk about writing, even if it’s only too myself, and usually it is. In case your friends haven’t told you, talking about writing is boring to everybody except other writers. Actually, some of them, writers not everybody else, can also be boring, especially the ones that talk about their book – because the conversation is not about product, it’s about process.

So why do I write if the chances of being published are so unlikely? This took awhile to figure out, but finally I know. Ready?

I write to know myself, and the world around me, better. I write because it gives me joy – the existential kind.

So what do I tell my colleague with 75,000 in her tribe?

It’s better to have 75,000 readers rather than 75,000 tribe members.  Spend your time writing. If you’re serious, at least you’ll get to know yourself.

It was tough to kick, but now that I’ve given up hope, I feel a lot better.

~   ~   ~

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients.

http://devinedestinies.com

Read my current work(s) in progress at

http://wattpad.com/RodRaglin

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

Wattpad – everybody can be a writer

east33rdEast18

If you haven’t heard of Wattpad, I suggest you check it out.

http://wattpad.com

It’s a site where authors can share their work, encourage other writers, and potentially reach a massive audience. What makes this different than other writing sites is that you don’t have to pay to post your writing by critiquing other writer’s work. You just register and put your stuff up there.

And millions of people are. According to co-founder, Allen Lau, each month users spend 2.2 billion minutes on the site, it receives 10 million monthly visitors, is home to six million uploaded stories with 750,000 new ones added each month, and receives two comments every second.

Wattpad promotes itself as An unlimited, ever-growing library of free books and stories all in the palm of your hand! On Wattpad, millions of people are discovering great fiction, sharing stories with friends and following their favorite authors chapter-by-chapter.

The “great fiction” is for sure a stretch and the site is skewed towards genre fiction and teen readers but it is endorsed by Margaret Atwood and Giller Prize winning author Vincent Lam is a wattpad  member.

Most of the stuff, like mine, gets little notice, but because we are writers and therefore delusional we can only hope we will be like Brittany Geragotelis, who signed a three-book, six-figure deal with Simon & Schuster earlier this year thanks to the success of her novel Life’s a Witch, which was read on Wattpad more than 13 million times.

I’ve posted 20,000 words of a WIP entitled, Forest Primeval, to see if it’s popular with the wattpad community and what kind of feedback I get, if any. Go to

wattpad.com/RodRaglin

You can check out the site while reading my stuff.

Sure, go ahead, vote for me. I’m a little shy of thirteen million, but ever hopeful.

If it don’t sell, it ain’t good

Star Tree Creativity is subjective. “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like” – could be applied to a Bateman masterpiece or a black velvet reproduction from Walmart. This overused adage also applies to literature. It’s an excuse for a multitude of sins including a distinct lack of artistic ability as well as just plain bad taste.

So how does one decide whether their creation has any artistic merit? For me, if it don’t sell, it ain’t good.

Of course I to put it out there. I’ve offered my photographs to the public through various venues including retail stores, websites, flea markets, Craig’s List (you name it – I’ve tried it).  My writing’s been sent off to agents, publishers, magazines, newspapers as well as posting it on various websites.

Then I wait.

How long I wait depends on how patient or delusional I am, or both, at any given time. If nothing happens I eventually give up, withdraw, and move on – hopefully to improve. I used to call it a “learning experience”, but now I understand that phrase as a euphemism for failure.

I’ve rationalize my lack of success with all manner of excuses – I’m ahead of my time; misunderstood; not commercial enough (a good thing?); the economy is in the dumps; the weather was rotten; the stars were misaligned; or, like Van Gogh, who only sold one painting in his entire life, my genius will be appreciated once I’m gone.

Six new photographs of mine were recently shown at The Metro Theatre Lounge Gallery. Theatre-goers could view my work prior to the show and at intermission for the entire run of seventeen performances. The Metro is a good venue. People that attend are inclined to the arts and have the time to take a look, unlike a coffee bar gallery where all you want is to get your latte and leave. The box office for that production was 1621 and I would imagine at least 1,000 patrons visited the lounge at least once.

There were no sales, nor any enquiries regarding my photographs. According to my own philosophy, there’s only one conclusion.

The reason I take this uncompromising approach to my work is so I’ll continue to strive to improve. When I look at my first public offerings, in either photography or writing, they were so awful I cringe even now as I think about them. Had I continued to assign any of the above excuses to the lack of response to these works I wouldn’t have attained what little success I have.

I’m still determined to create something good enough to overcome all the obstacles – real or imagined. What I lack in creativity I hope to make up in part with perseverance and the ability to learn from past mistakes and failures. There’s no shortage to draw from.

Until then, I can appreciate (and marvel at) the success of others while I keep honing my craft and perfecting my eye. It’s not about money. It’s about recognition and respect from my contemporaries, and a sense of achievement for myself.

Nietzsche said, “Art is the proper task of life…”,  and that may very well be the case, whether it sells or not.