Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Author Rebecca Carlton

Halo, fine friends! It's been a little while since I've had a guest, so just to remind you... if YOU have a book release or event coming up and would like to be a guest, I am thrilled to have regular readers, and open to other authors most of the time... my sidebar has a link to my policy...

And SPEAKING of book releases, Gae Polisner's Pull of Gravity comes out today! I got my notice Sunday mine had shipped (though I am beta reading for a friend and therefore didn't splurge on two day... probably will be Thursday before mine arrives... still SQUEEEEEEEE (Gae is my hero). BTW, Gae is one to watch on HOW TO for book promo... she has gotten articles in both the New York Times and Newsday (I know, right?)

And NOW, back to the present. Becky and I made friends through the Amazon connection. It all becomes murky as to 'where first' but we've chatted quite a lot on Facebook. Becky has self-published, and has noticed quite a lot of venom on the Amazon boards when authors try to promote themselves, and decided to conduct a little experiment to help you learn what can happen (Man, I love a deviant). I for one, WELCOME the heads up that comes with this, and the opportunity for all of us to learn a little about how people may respond (time to toughen our skins, I think—but also to realize there are no short cuts).

So without further ado, Welcome Becky! (look how young she is! *pinches Becky's cheek*)


I’m thrilled to be a guest tart. If anyone is curious, I’d like to let everyone know that in attempt to prolong my life as a tart I have chosen to be a grape hard candy tart. They taste odd and most people don’t want to eat them. I thought you all might be interested in a little insight into the experience of an Indie author over on the Amazon.com forums. It would probably take three or more installments on Hart’s blog to let you guys in on all the fine details of what Indie authors should expect on those forums- screen shots and all. But out of respect of your time I’m going to make this as concise as possible and I’m going to use bullet points to do it!!

Two promo threads created in the forums yielded:

• 21 No-voters present [Tart note: Amazon gives viewers an option to vote 'yes' or 'no' on whether comments are helpful.]
• 9 Verbal attacks on either me or my writing
• 7 Reminders of TOS [Tart note: Terms of service]
• 5 Claims to lose readership simply by posting
• 5 Accusations of my thread being spam
• 4 Admittances of not minding promo threads
• 4 Twists of my words into presumptuous attacks on readers
• 3 Valid answers on why they wouldn’t buy my book
• 3 Displays of disapproval of my thread’s existence
• 3 Accusations of insulting readers
• 2 Claims of not being a real author
• 2 Non-constructive offers of posting advice
• 1 Constructive offer of posting advice
• 1 Add to their wish list
• 1 Download of my sample
• 1 Reminder of Community posting guidelines
• 1 Proclamation of informal TOS being violated (etiquette)

One attempt at joining an existing thread yielded:
 • 17 No-voters present
• 6 Verbal assaults towards me or my writing
• 3 References to TOS
• 2 Accusations of posting inappropriately
• 2 Accusations of attacking readers
• 2 Claims they would never read and/or buy one of my books simply for posting
• 2 Actions or statement provoking the others to attack me
• 2 Denials or defense of their actions
• 1 Non-constructive piece of advice on how to post

After I felt I had gathered enough information to provide a learning experience to other Indie Authors, I made a post outing my true intentions. This was my post after the OP inquired why they attacked me-
“Because I posted on the forums in a way they interpreted as a guise of self-promotion, which many other authors outright do or try to be clever about doing. I wanted to collect information on how many readers are on the forums during a given time by getting feedback on the content of my description so I could share the information with other authors. I had to provide a link to a book to get the type of responses I was looking for. The truth is, I simply wanted to evaluate which forums have users who attack Indie authors, and I got my answers. There are many readers on these forums who welcome Indie authors providing links to their books, and then there are some people such as those who have openly attacked me on this forum. Most of whom are the same as those who attacked me yesterday. Then they attempted to "school" me on THEIR guidelines of amazon forum ettiquite and told me to "jump into conversations" which is what I did today, and as you can see from the post directly below mine, in a manner of minutes, they attacked like a pack of rabid dogs.”
0 of 17 people think this post adds to the discussion.

Unfortunately for the pack, no amount of no-votes can get something that is not a violation of Amazon’s TOS deleted. Since so many of them yes-voted their own actions and are so proud of themselves they most likely will never delete their posts, their infantile behavior is there indefinitely for the education of newbie Indie Authors. A side note: oddly enough, not one of them took the opportunity to correct my spelling, grammatical or capitalization errors in that post to further invalidate me as a legitimate writer. Feel free to read between the lines on that comment.

Later that day I discovered some old and new threads for tagging and exchanging information with other Indie authors to expand Indie author networking. I did my best to join every tagging group, follow every twitter account and blogspot listed. Even though I’m sure there are a few authors in those threads that will throw their names onto the lists and not make the effort to return the favor, I’d prefer to operate on positive assumptions for now. A few other forum regulars have the negativity angle covered quite well.

Disclaimer** I’ve contacted Amazon for clarification and they do state that it is a violation of their Terms of Service for authors to create threads with the purpose of ‘shilling’-to advertise or promote. When I asked why so many authors are able to have thriving threads for such purposes and some are deleted immediately I was given a stock answer. Amazon claims that there are too many to keep up with and they rely on the community members (no-voters and abuse-reporters) to let them know where to concentrate their efforts. So that means that not enough people no-voted or clicked the abuse button to get every promo thread deleted, only yours! I'd also like to state that I appreciate all current readers and potential readers of my work. My intentions were to show other Indie authors how not to behave on the forums to advance all of our success rates on the forums. I am still a person who wishes to be treated with respect. I stand firm that despite the outright attacks taken towards me I never attacked a single person during these posts. When I asked for forwards of email notifications where I clearly attacked someone I received no responses.**

Rebecca Carlton is an Indie Author from Richmond, VA. She is married with a daughter and a son. Her writing offers plots that are unique and at times sensitive in nature that send the characters through twists and dives down unexpected paths. She appreciates developing characters that are “real people” who dare to say what’s on their mind and steal your heart at the same time. With every book she strives to make an offering that multiple age groups can benefit and learn from.

Book Blurb:
Geric is lured by Dalis to a remote island to practice medicine until his license is reinstated. Upon arrival, Dalis reveals that Geric must erase memories and personal identities from abducted women or face his own demise. While Geric bides his time until an opportunity arises to escape, he is presented with a patient that is resistant to treatment but manages to catch Dalis’ eye. Livia’s life is spared with the mindset that her immunity is the key to developing an alternate therapy for other resistant women. She serves as Geric’s medical assistant while enduring the aggressive advances of Dalis. The stress of their living conditions proves to be too difficult when the consequence of their reckless behavior triggers a deadline to escape. A deadline that will expose their transgressions…and cost them their lives.


I loved this little experiment, by the way... and DO find it interesting some authors are attacked right away, and others 'get away with it' (guess those 'terms of service' reminder guys are actually trying to be helpful?) But absolutely... no substitute for real life networking. I'm with you there!


Michael Offutt said...

Fascinating post on the goings on of the trolls at the Amazon forums. It's the same way on most forums whether it be Useless Junk, World of Warcraft, or just about anyplace else. Trolls are there to make life miserable for other people.

Holly Ruggiero said...

I'm not too familiar with the Amazon forums. I'm assuming they have different sub-forums like most forums. What what the subject or header for the forums you posted in?

Johanna Garth said...

That is so interesting! I love your experiment. It confirms my suspicions about those boards and the reasons why I don't spend much time there.

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky said...

@Holly- I posted in two communities. The Romance thread was titled "Promo thread- Formula Rx:17" and the Kindle thread titled "Promo Experiment- Formula Rx:17". I wouldn't recommend labeling a thread with a misleading title, because that can make people even more irate for being "tricked" into browsing the thread. (Not insinuating that you personally would, just adding it as a sidenote.)

Summertime Rose said...

Damn, Hart. I posted a long detailed comment, and when I previewed it, it deleted it. WAAAAAAH!

Holly Ruggiero said...

Thanks Becky, but I meant the forum not the thread. I was wondering if perhaps you posted in the wrong type of forum.

Do you think if a non-indie author did a promo post it would be received the same way?

I have read some reviews at Amazon and some of those have been really off topic and attackish of the author or even the commenter. It didn't use to be that way. They are just so large and they don't seem to be able to keep up.

Old Kitty said...

Who is abusing you and what forums are these places?!?! I must admit I've never ever ever been on an amazon forum and your summary here of your threads makes me glad that I'm completely ignorant about these forums! Oh dear! Boo to all these un-naked tartless forum people!!

Thanks for the intro to Rebecca Carlton's mega fab book!! Good luck!! Take care

Becky said...

@Holly: Sorry for all the confusion, the two forums were "Romance" and "Kindle" (there's Kindle and there's Kindle Book), it's a tiered structure. Forum (Romance)>Thread within forum (ex. Promo Thread Formula Rx:17)>Original Post to start the thread>Comments added to thread.

Old Kitty: It doesn't seem to matter which forum you post in, because Amazon considers any form of advertisement of your product or giving away of your product (because that gives attention to it and results in sales) as "shilling" and you can lose your posting privileges for doing so. This type of behavior can happy on any of the forums at any given time. I just kept track of the types of comments made to me during the lifespan of each thread so I could keep a total.

Hart Johnson said...

Hola friends! So sorry to be absent for so long--work is killing more (more tomorrow). So I feel badly to have been neglectful.

Michael-trolls is right! And a pernicious breed of them... they follow people around!

Holly-Amazon does indeed have sub forums--I've never ventured far from the ABNA ones, where people are mostly nice if you stay away from provocative titles...

Johanna-your thinking and mine seems to overlap--I prefer nice people and so stay away from a lot of those...

Summertime-Damn blogger! It does that sometimes!

Jenny-nice to be ignorant sometimes, eh?

Interesting, I guess that Amazon doesn't want you promoting your book on their threads! teehee... I guess they just worry about turning off readers with non-stop promo.

Becky said...

LOL, greasy book salesmans!!

Summertime Rose said...

Alright! I’ve had my hissy fit over my post being deleted, AFTER completion. HISSSSSSSS!

So, I’ll try to reconstruct it for you.

Anybody who doesn’t know my opinion of Amazon’s ABNA board, in particular, has been living a very sheltered life. I don’t trust Amazon as far as I can throw it, and I’m a cripple.

I’m not in the least surprised by the rude and contemptible treatment you received on Amazon ‘run’ discussion boards.

I say leave them to the thugs. Nobody else can stand it there. Amazon promotes and protects bullying on their boards through their arrogant lack of stewardship. So, the inmates DO run the asylum, there.

Becky: I’ve added you as a member of my Facebook group, “Novelists—An Open Discussion”. Hart is already a contributing member. All novelists are welcome, regardless of genre, and/or publishing status. We have writers whose works are unpublished, self-published, small press published, traditionally published—and anything else I’ve missed.

You ARE welcome to promote: 1. yourself as a writer, editor, or whatever; 2. your completed work; 3. your blog; and/or 4. your publishing group, etc.

You are also welcome to discuss your Work In Progress, or anything else about writing or being a writer that you want to state, discuss, or debate.

On Facebook, you may block the unsavory (which I have done). You don’t see them, and they don’t see you. It’s wonderful.

In my group, disagreement is allowed, and debate is allowed, but bullying or meanness will get you tossed.

Regina said...

Wow! I mean Wow! I just think that it is amazing that some people have no tact when it comes to manners. I am so glad that you have given us this candid insight to the forums. Scary that people behave the way they do. Best wishes. :)

Laura Eno said...

It seems that trolls are everywhere. I don't like forums anyway (or telephones!) so I'll stay away. Thanks for doing the experiment!