Book Reviews, Social Media

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Trolls


This week, in one of my Facebook groups a teen author asked about marketing her book on Goodreads and I was stunned by the reaction of some of the adults in the group.  Many discouraged her from using the website citing, trolls and bullies.  Granted, some of them had been trolled but to discourage someone from trying to market their book just on the off chance that they may run into an a**hole is stupid.  If that’s the case, let’s all avoid the internet because a**holes are in season year round!

Yes, we’ve all heard about the various smackdowns involving readers and authors but those incidents represent only a tiny fraction of interactions between authors and readers.  In fact, many authors have successfully used Goodreads without any problem.  It’s sad but, Goodreads recently had to upload tutorials for authors to cut down on the confusion and prevent drama.

Looking back, if I could, I would’ve handled the situation with this newbie differently, here’s what I should’ve said…

Your Book Will Get Panned

I wish I had the guts to tell this young author, that she needed to be prepared for the inevitable trashing of her book.  However, the poor kid was already getting an ear full, I didn’t need to add to the hysteria.  But if I had been honest, I would have told her the publishing world isn’t all rainbows and kittens.  I’ve been the target of trolls first, as a freelancer and recently, as a blogger.  Do you know how I handled that?  I just kept writing!  Let your anger fuel your creativity, not destroy it.

Even Your Online Reviews & Blurbs are Subject to Criticism

For example, if you give too many 1 star reviews, you’re jealous, but if you give too many 5 star reviews, you’re on the payroll.

Several of my author friends have been accused of being paid reviewers simply because they review books.  I guess it’s hard for them to imagine the writing community as a  supportive place where we often help one another.  Instead, they’d like to envision us desperately trying to vote each other off the island—professionally speaking.

Also, the recent sock puppetting scandals have many readers skeptical about online reviews. So if they sense anything awry, they’ll dismiss or attack it.

Google Alerts: The Instrument of Fear Mongers

There are many publicists who insist authors get Google Alerts on their names and their books in order to monitor their online reputation.  Seriously, who cares what people are saying about your work?  Sure as an indie author it’s your job to get a few positive reviews, but it’s not your job to control the whole damn review section of Amazon!

For example, Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch released a self-publishing book called APE and I was interested in purchasing it.  However, when I looked at the price it was a whooping $7.99, for the ebook.  In order to justify spending that kind of money on a digital book, I decided to look at the reviews.  I came across this lonely one-star review which was titled: “rubbish.”  Scrolling down, I saw there were multiple responses to the reviewer from the co-author himself.  I still to this day, don’t understand why?

Some Reviews are Total BS:

Here’s a secret you need to know, not everyone who reviews a book has actually read it.  In the past, I’ve read reviews where the person actually admits they didn’t even read the book they’re trashing.  Need proof?  Here’s an article in the Huffington Post that lists the most popular books people pretend to read.

The Stats

For those of you petrified about groups of trolls trashing your books and your reputation, relax.  Most readers don’t discover their books on Goodreads and rarely do they get it from some blogger.  In fact, most readers I’ve spoken to don’t even know what Goodreads is.  I found this out this when I went on a quest for reviews.

There are multiple statistics that tell us how readers discover books and authors.  One was done a few years back on Mobilereads, another by Goodreads, and one by NYT bestseller Marie Force.  So stop giving online trolls power over your career.

Let Em Talk: You’re Too Busy Being Fabulous!

When Nina Davuluri was crowned 2014 Miss America, a few hundred racist Tweets popped up on Twitter.  How did she handle it?  Not surprisingly, with the grace and dignity of a beauty queen.  Now, if you want to find those Tweets you have to look hard because many of them have been deleted or made private.  Shame is a powerful thing.

Believe it or not, most of the world still takes place off line and thank God!  Could you imagine if Douchey_McDouche85 was relevant in the real world?

Final Thoughts

I’m not making light of when someone intentionally hurts your feelings but I am diminishing the power those words hold over you.  You are not allowed to be brokenhearted over something a mentally deranged/miserable/ignorant/pathetic individual said.  Your career is too important.

The best revenge against any troll is to write the next book.  You know, so we can give them something else to talk about. 😉

Now it’s your turn, what would you have said to a young newbie?  Tell us in the comments.

Book Reviews, Marketing, Networking

Secrets Of The Publishing Industry: The Soft Book Launch

Image via Pixabay

It ended up being one of my biggest regrets as an indie author.  Two small words that could have made my life so much easier, of course, I’m talking about a soft launch.  For those of you not familiar, a soft launch is where you put your book on sale, but tell only a select few like; reviewers, members of the media, and even newsletter subscribers.  Why?  Read on…

I Might Have Found Annoying Mistakes and Formatting Issues

I’ve probably told you before, but it’s worth repeating.  When I published my YA novel, I found a grammatical error on the first page.  Needless to say, I was very upset.  I worked so hard on that darn thing and still I missed things.  Obvious things.  If I had done a soft launch this wouldn’t have happened!

If I could do it over again, things would’ve been so different…

I Would’ve Started Collecting Reviews

This is the secret that most successful authors don’t talk about.  Ever wonder why when a famous author releases a book, there are already 200 glowing reviews on Amazon?  It’s because the book was already available for sometime but kept on the down low.  A release date doesn’t really mean, a book was actually published that day.  A release date is more like a push date, where the author and or publishing house are starting their marketing bonanza.

I Might Have Scored Some Blurbs

Blurbs are different from reviews, blurbs are a seal of approval from someone significant in your genre or within the publishing industry.  Blurbs almost legitimize your book if you’re an unknown.  This is important for indie authors since the self-publishing stigma is alive and well.  Finding a big name who is willing to give an opinion on your book is hard but worth it.  Check out this post written by Marcia Yudkin on how to get started.

Would’ve Created Media Kits

Creating a media kit would have helped me and those curious about who I was.  If you’re going to query book bloggers, journalists, or podcasters it would help if you gave them a link to your media kit.  This helps them find out who the heck you are and what you do exactly.  Here’s a good article from the gals at Duolit on how to create a sweet media kit for your website.

Should’ve Schedule Social Media Posts

If you don’t have Hootsuite or Buffer I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.  These two services offer the ability to auto post during peek hours on your social media accounts.  Currently, Hootsuite can link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, Foursquare, WordPress and LinkedIn.  They even have an app so you can include more of your accounts.  Priceless, for the author who is short on time and energy.

Needed to Secure Interviews, and Features From Media

If you didn’t read last week’s post, I suggest you do so.  It’s imperative that we get our work in the public view where other people outside of our circle can see.  Getting in front of other people’s audience is wise for marketing.  If they don’t review your genre or anything indie, offer to do a guest post and make sure your book is the first thing mentioned in your bio.

Schedule a Blog Tour & Advertise if You Must!

I’m not against ads or blog tours even though research and my own experiences have proven they just don’t work.  But to have a successful blog tour, or ad blitz you’re going to need to schedule things so when your major launch happens, things will smoothly fall into place.

I hope I showed you in this post, that there is no magic or luck in the publishing business, just planning and hard work.  These techniques I’ve shared with you are the very same ones used by the NY big six publishers and we indie authors would do well by observing and taking notes.  That’s so you don’t end up writing a could’ve, should’ve, might’ve blog post of your own!