I know they say “Don’t quit your day job”, but…

There comes a time when you should just sit on top of the world and watch the wheels go round and round.

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Happy New Year, everyone!

Hi everyone, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year!
Onward and upward for 2016 we go 🙂98_062712

Too many Twitter followers & how to avoid this problem

As of this posting, I have 1,018 Twitter followers.
Which is just about perfect.
I don’t want to have too many Twitter followers, and neither should you.
😈
Why, you ask?
One major Tweeter said it’s everyone’s dream to have 100,000 followers.
I could add, “100k real followers you don’t have to follow back”, but I think you’ve figured that part out already.
The reason why 1,018 followers is “perfect”?
Twitter is the Wild, Wild West of social media.
Unregulated feed, anything goes.
“Anything” includes the widespread selling of bot “Twitter followers”, unchecked by Twitter.
“Buy 10k followers” ads permeate every user’s feed.
The Powers Of Twitter 1071 edit
Here is where the big problem arises.
If you should happen to hit 10k real (non-purchased) followers, and you are not a “household-name” grade celebrity, everyone will think you bought your way to that number.
Not only has “Buy 10k followers” negated any importance the number of Twitter followers may have once had, any non-celebrity with over 10k followers is automatically suspect of buying them. Which is why you shouldn’t!
I hope to stay under 10k followers for a long, long time.
Unless I get a movie TV deal… 😉

The Social Network Kool-Aid Acid Test, Part Two: Do Tweets Dream Of Retweeting Sheep?

Last night, I scrolled through my blog’s archives and read this. My post from February 26, 2011, “The Social Network Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
What struck me the most is how little the fundamental issues have really changed since then.
Back then, in 2011, the first novel of my trilogy was still a WIP, and I didn’t have to bother with all this social network silliness. Sigh, the “good old days”, when I could just go home and write uninterrupted. 😉
Of course, once the first work was done and I was weighing my publisher offers, it was time to outreach to the world at large. Facebook, for all its relentless ‘time-suck’, has been a blessing, connecting me with prominent independent creative visionaries like Kristen Lamb, T.C. McKinney and Joel Eisenberg.
Even now, my contacts on Facebook are paving the way for ever-greater successes in my (and their) future.

And then there’s Twitter… 😈
Jeremy Light Tweet about VS

Well, okay, if J.K. Rowling can “roll the trolls” on Twitter, I should have no problem with a reasonable comeback Tweet here and there.
Jeremy Light Tweet about VS - My reply

FYI, I’m not saying Jeremy Light was being a troll there, but if he had actually bothered to read “Vampire Syndrome” before commenting about it, he would have found out that Jack is in fact a much wiser character than Bella Swan. One of my main messages is that high IQ, quick wit and cunning do not equal wisdom. Edward Cullen and Bella Swan would both have higher IQ’s than Jack in technical terms, but when it comes down to taking wise actions in life, Jack has more wisdom than Edward and Bella combined.

Even if Jeremy had read only as far as the end of Chapter Seven, by that time Jack has been pursued by cops, pepper-sprayed, jumped out the window of a moving transit bus, chased by a Dodge Charger traveling 80+ mph, attacked by a dog (which he then bit in self-defense!), and bullied by a gang of teenagers. “Cute?”

Jeremy’s now-deleted comment was not really a case of trolling to me, but his Tweet shared one aspect I see in all too many troll Tweets: The tendency to dismiss ideas out of hand, without having any real insight or knowledge into how they are in practice. Since this also happens in other forms of social media…

S Brahm Comment
…we can’t lay all the blame for “trolls” or ‘the increasing tendency to casually dismiss ideas’ on Twitter.

What I will take Twitter to task for, are the issues which may already be laying the seeds for its possible ‘dysTweepian’ future, joining MySpace and Friendster in the Internet’s irrelevancy bin.

Here’s a link I posted in the original 2011 post:
Reuters – Tweeting celebrities risk boring fans: survey
Of course, all the Twitter/social media promotional “experts” continue to ignore this message, because telling under-exposed authors about the dangers of over-exposure seems to be a basic contradiction, something on the order of telling starving people about the dangers of over-eating.

“Seems to be”, because more and more of these “under-exposed” authors are over-exposing themselves on Twitter. The stream of book ads in my Twitter feed is now reaching a point where my feed is getting more than one Tweet every second at peak times.
Ain't Nobody original meme
aintnobodygottime2

The critical difference between Facebook and Twitter is the relevancy of the News Feed. Normal people actually have some good reasons to use Facebook. Does anyone keep in touch with their real-life friends or family members on Twitter, for instance? 😈

Normal people, which if you’re an author would mean the great majority of potential readers out there, have no real reason at all to use Twitter. Sure, you can “follow” some big celeb, but the odds of their answering any of your Tweets are firmly in the “Lightning/Lotto Jackpot” category.

Twitter’s appeal is laser-targeted to those who crave more exposure. A desire that celebrity worshippers, trolls and ‘unknown’ authors all have in common. The celebrity worshippers at least don’t add to Twitter’s ever-growing-feed problem, typically sticking to reading celebs Tweeting about mundane subjects, and the Tweets from those celebrities’ publicists. The trolls, of course, post vitrolic Tweets here and there, but you can at least be somewhat reassured the trolls care enough about their hate-bombs to post each of their Tweets directly to Twitter ‘by hand’.

Which is more than what you can say for ‘unknown’ authors. Under-exposed authors are the first to reach for Hootsuite, Tweet Jukebox and any other number of “social media managers” to paste as many feeds as possible on Twitter. Some also join Retweet groups, to multiply their posts’ reach through cooperative Re-Tweeting. More coverage sounds good in principle, because Tweets have never had the “feed-shelf-life” of Facebook posts. When the general consensus of ‘experts’ is that Tweets ‘die’ within an hour, it seems logical that posting Tweets every hour or so would increase your odds of connecting with readers.

“Seems.” There’s that word again. When (on Facebook!) one famous author complained about all the drama on her Twitter feed, I commented that my feed was “so full of book ads, I never see any drama.” She kindly suggested I thin the herd a bit, but of course if I did that, I’d lose a few hundred followers.

But would that even manner, anyway? Those same ‘under-exposed’ authors I mentioned before are also the prime target of the “follower sellers.”
The Powers Of Twitter 1071 edit

Yes, you read it correctly. Someone with 1,071 followers was trying to sell me “10,000 Twitter followers”. Well, if they won’t buy those “10,000 followers” for themselves, why should I? #MarketingFail 😈

Twitter’s failure to even slightly reign in those selling “Twitter followers” is ironically the main reason why no one with any modicum of intelligence places any sort of value on the number of “Twitter followers” anyone has. Anyone can have “10,000 (fake) followers” for less than the cost of a night out.

The reason why “reality shows” like the Kartrashians’ are beginning to crash and burn is because overexposure kills any “mystique” public figures have, and ultimately paints them in the most mundane and boring of ‘colors’.

From the aforementioned Reuters article:

Easy access to stars through social networking websites has made them less appealing and increases the likelihood of followers getting bored, music consumer research by publishers Bauer Media said.

“In this social media age, it’s all too easy to follow your musical icons on a minute-by-minute basis. There’s a consensus within the industry that this ease of access is leading to artists losing appeal more quickly,” the Phoenix IV report said.

The music industry is starting to consider restricting access to certain types of artists in an attempt to boost their staying power in popular culture and lengthen their careers, it added.

We have now achieved the ultimate in irony: The more ‘unknown’ an author is, the more they will over-expose themselves. Adding more and more Tweets to the ever-blurring pace of the Feeds, until it becomes “white noise” that everyone tunes out by instinct, just as Kristen Lamb predicted in her wonderful book “Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World“.

VS Blog 26 Feb 2011 Social Network post comments

These ‘automated authors’ have become the “machines”, or, as Bree Ervin (thinkbannedthoughts) summed it up in her comment here back in 2011, “bots Tweeting to each other”. As I warned here in 2011 and 2012, book ads don’t sell books to each other. When the last human takes the flag with them as they leave Twitter, the dysTweepian future will have arrived. It might even go on without us, posting endless ads to feeds no humans are reading, in hopes of catching the attention of a Retweet bot or two.

Somewhere, the ghost of J.D. Salinger is having a good laugh about all this. 😈

The Rejection Window, Part II

Back in October 2011, I wrote “The Rejection Window“, a treatise about the big publishing industry’s future.

The rejection window is the length of time an author will keep submitting and revising their unpublished manuscript to agents and large traditional publishing houses.

What will define the future of the major publishing industry is the length of time for which the authors who do still submit manuscripts to agents and publishers will keep their rejection windows open.

The Big Five’s traditional position of strength, even as Amazon KDP and Smashwords were building their e-book empires, was that the major publishers got the first shot at the “quality” pre-published manuscripts. In other words, prospective authors submitted their queries to the major houses first, then they would pursue alternatives after the Big Five’s rejection of their work. I know this very well, for I was one of those authors. 😉

Of course, even back in 2011…

Some authors are already slamming the rejection window completely shut. They aren’t even bothering to submit their manuscripts to agents and publishers. These authors upload an eBook the moment it’s finished.

Their numbers now include many former Big Five mid-list authors (such as Joe Konrath) who are now making more money from e-books than they ever did when they wrote for the major publishing houses.
These romance writers ditched their publishers for ebooks — and made millions

(if only people gobbled up like sci-fi like they do romance… *sigh* 😉 )

2011:

The sea change I predict is: If the traditional industry rejects a first-time submission, they’ll never “sea” it again. 😉 In other words, if the publisher said “We love your story, but we want you to re-write one of your characters,” few if any authors would bother with such re-writing.

By then, the majority of authors will be likely to e-publish their manuscripts immediately after the major publishing industry’s first rejection. Revisions of manuscripts just to fit the ever-changing whims of agents and large traditional publishing houses will increasingly be seen as a waste of time and effort.

This one didn’t take five years to come true. Even the relative few authors left who won’t settle for anything “less” than being published on the Big Five will most likely start working on a new story they think will be more to the agents’ and publishers’ liking, rather than revising any existing stories. Any authors still patient enough to slog through the old-line process of querying agents before they do anything else, would also be willing to devote the keyboard hours necessary to charm their would-be masters with a story hewing as close to Big Five “formula” as possible.

Back here in the real world, the situation is now evolving beyond “the Big Five will never see the manuscript again”, to “they’ll never even see the author again.” Authors’ prose tends to improve along the lines of the “ten thousand hours of writing” rule. Years ago, if an author’s first “green” submission to the Big Five was mediocre, this was not an important factor. The author would take the rejection in stride, then query their newer and better works, until one of those works was of sufficient quality to pass muster. This archaic process was called “author development.” 😉

Now, the “newbie” author, whose first work has been rejected by the Big Five, is much more likely to head straight for the “greener” fields of Amazon KDP and Smashwords, taking all of their future works with them. Their better future works. Thus, the Big Five lose the author’s “dynamite” second or third novel, and the author is able to sell the e-books of their first work while they wile away their typing hours on the better work they had inside them all along..

Another big problem the Big Five now has, that I did not foresee in 2011, is of their own making: The narrowing of categories that they will even consider for publication. I recently read an interview with a Big Five editor where he spelled out what categories were being considered by his company, and those that were not. The shocker was that over two-thirds of the titles issued by my publisher, PDMI Publishing, LLC, are in categories his large company was no longer accepting submissions in! PDMI is, of course, reveling in the opportunities presenting themselves, now that entire categories of books are essentially being handed to them on a silver platter. PDMI was even forced to cancel their most recent open submissions period, due to the overwhelming number of manuscripts awaiting review in the system. The irony of this situation is not lost on me. 😈 When the potential exists to build a fairly large publishing operation simply by publishing books in categories that the Big Five are rejecting, something in the major houses’ system is obviously broken.

And that “something” would be their formulas. So we now have a few authors still trying to hew to the Big Five’s formulas, even as top-selling e-books continuously disprove the validity of these same formulas. And, to be fair, could anyone in New York have predicted the commercial success of the Fifty Shades trilogy? The same series Random House turned to for a quick and easy cash grab, because none of their “formula” books were selling as much as Fifty Shades?

Now, I ask you, what happens if you are a pre-published author, and someone in the Big Five thinks you should change your book to suit their formulas? Think of Amanda Hocking and Hugh Howey, who got their Big Five contracts precisely by proving they didn’t need them. Hocking and Howey would almost certainly still be “not-yet-published” if they had waited for the Big Five to accept them through the age-old traditional vetting system. Hocking and Howey didn’t meet the Big Five formulas, and (better yet!) they still don’t, contracts notwithstanding. 😈

2011:

The more this happens, the stronger the case will be for major traditional publishers to accept novels they would have rejected before. The old business model of waiting for the author to re-write a rejected manuscript over and over again will no longer work. This is when the wall of large traditional publishing house formulas will at first start to crack, then finally crumble under the increasing pressure of the marketplace’s realities. The large traditional publishing houses will have to evolve, or die alongside their old business models.

Hocking, Howey, E.L. James et al have backed the Big Five into a corner, and forced them to publish novels that would not have passed the traditional vetting system. In the case of Amanda Hocking, they were also forced to publish several works they had rejected previously. The Big Five still lack the intestinal fortitude and vision to break out of the “formula” pattern on their own, ensuring more cracks will permeate their walls. So far, they have only “evolved” when forced to, resorting to base tricks such as suckling on the revenue streams of Fifty Shades, just for a quick infusion of life support. The day will come, however, when the Big Five approach a best-selling author, and said author will want nothing to do with them, no matter how much money they offer.

Kristen Lamb: Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World

Five Sentence Fiction

From Lillie McFerrin Writes:

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word.

The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This week: Doors

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It’s out there again.

What it is, I have no idea.

Its force presses against my creaking front door.

I saw nothing in my windows.

Is it man, beast or nature?

Merry Christmas!

Your Vampire meme