Intrigue, Deception, and Fraud OH MY! Who Can You Trust Anymore?

sick-cat

Welcome back to Behind Closed Doors. This week has been a a whirlwind to say the least. Getting sidelined with a virus wasn’t in the plans at all, but here we are just the same. Many items on my “To Do” list have had to be postponed a few days while I get back on track, but there is one thing I had to come out of my sick bed to address.  You know I can’t sit back and not comment when authors behave badly. I just find the whole thing sad and more than a little disheartening.

Sock-puppets

Goodreads is yet again in the middle of the quagmire. Apparently, an individual has opened no less than 153 fake/sockpuppet accounts. All of them gave high ratings to one particular book and then proceeded to attack the “competition” with one star ratings.  To add further insult, these 153 accounts all mysteriously voted for the same book on a few of the lists, bringing it to number one.  Now, all of this is done in the three days since the book was released.  For more details, please check out this article by Travis Luedke, complete with screen shot of the fake accounts. 

This is not a new trend. There are many others doing the same thing. It was one of the reasons Amazon started removing author written reviews from their site. One unscrupulous author created multiple accounts, gave himself 5 star reviews and then trashed his “competition.”  Now because of that man, readers who also happen to be authors, may have their reviews of books removed even if they are raving 4 and 5 stars.   I know of at least one other person, a former connection on Facebook, who has done the same thing. She has created at least ten other accounts and continues to give low ratings to those authors she has a beef with or she feels are her direct competition.  

This whole thing boggles my mind. We’re supposed to be professionals and it appears many of our community are not.  While it looks like the “crimes” are being perpetrated by a “newbie” authors, there are a few instances where it’s been done by authors who have a few books under their belt.  While I’m just as angry at this behavior as anyone, I find another feeling crop up.  I’m in awe of them actually. How do they find the time to create all these accounts then go around and rate, review and vote to bring their peers down and push themselves up the ranks?  It’s all I can do to juggle real life issues in order to find any little bit of time to write.  Maybe instead of using their time to commit fraud, they could oh I don’t know, WRITE ANOTHER BOOK?

The flip side of this drama? It takes our attention away from our writing and networking. Who the hell has the time or the energy to go after these idiots? I would much rather spend my time writing then be worried about these trolls. Yes it hurts like hell when they attack your work. I’ve had it done to me and you better believe I flipped out.  I complained about it in private and a little bit online, but then let it go.  Yes, report these deceptive and fraudulent accounts to the admins of the sites involved. Keep reporting them.  The more complaints logged, the sooner the investigation can take place and the offenders removed and banned.

career-adviceMy advice to my author friends: don’t let the actions of a few idiots take you away from your writing. Don’t get caught up in the intrigue and media firestorm that will no doubt surround all of this…and there will be a HUGE backlash in this one case of the 153 plus accounts.   The author, blogger and reader community is always on guard for this sort of thing.  

My question to the person or persons who set up the whole thing: did you really think you’d get away with it?  I mean, COME ON!!! Readers caught other authors low balling authors from the same publishing house, It was another reader who found the author who plagiarized the work of several authors in one book and tried to pass it off as his/her own.  It’s readers and fans of authors who have rallied and come to the defense of their favorite writers when it appears they’ve been attacked unjustly.  Think about what you’re doing to your own career. Is getting to the top of a list on Goodreads important enough to throw it all away?

Until next time,

~Tammy

REVISITING Common Sense Etiquette Rules for Guest Appearances on Blogs

As you can guess from the title of today’s post, I’ve run across even more instances where authors are behaving badly. In some cases it’s not intentional. Life definitely does get in the way at times and destroys our carefully plotted out schedules, but other times…well, there is just no excuse for rude, inconsiderate behavior.  One of my biggest pet peeves since I’ve entered into the publishing world and the vast blogosphere is how some folks handle guest appearances on another blog.

One would think that if an author requests a spot they would have visited the blog/website and see if they would be a good fit there BEFORE they request and secure a date. Well, this has become a HUGE problem as of late with a few of my adult blogs and even my PG rated ones. It looks like what’s happening is that a potential guest sees a posting somewhere that another author/blogger has openings for guest spots. Instead of checking out the site first, they immediately sign up for their preferred dates only to check out the site much later. This is usually around the time the the deadline for turning in their materials is at hand. NOW they decide they are uncomfortable with the rest of the subject matter on the blog in question.

Sending an email to the blog owner a day or two before your post is to go live after you’ve had TWO MONTHS to figure it all out really doesn’t put you in a very good light. I’m not upset that you don’t want to be associated with erotica or erotic romances. I’m a bit miffed that you waited so long to figure it out when all the guidelines are clearly posted on the blogs and the email sent to you clarifying the dates explained in great detail what is expected of a guest on my blogs.  One of my adult sites is booked two to three months in advance, with a list of those willing to take any spot that suddenly opens. It’s not only a little rude to me and my fellow blog owners to take a spot that you really shouldn’t have, but it’s disrespectful to the others waiting patiently for their turn.

As one of my fellow Siren authors has said on many occasions, “You are not a special snowflake.” ~Tyber Dalton

None of us are. We all have real life intruding on our writing schedules, juggle evil day jobs, families, and households to run and still have to find time to put together our own blog posts before setting up the guest spots. That’s why we write the guidelines to help all parties involved put out the best post we can together. The whole point of offering our blogs up to other authors is to HELP them promote themselves and their work. An added bonus is that it brings more traffic to our pages and both of us gain new fans and friends.

So why on earth would you want to mess that up by not doing your homework first?

I’m not picking on those authors who don’t write erotica or erotic romance by any means. I’ve had problems with those in the “non erotic” genres actually request to be on my adult blogs because a) they liked the names of those blogs better than the PG ones, b) they want to appeal to a more adult crowd even though their books are clearly for the young adult crowd, or c) they WANT to be associated with the “cool” crowd and say their books are erotic and really they aren’t even close.  As you can guess, the last excuse really burns my britches.

If you want to write erotica an erotic romance then Do. It. Stop trying to turn your book with one or two barely sensual scenes into something it’s not. If you want the label, you better add the heat or you will be laughed at by readers who are looking for the explicit details you’ve left to the imagination.  The same can be said for readers who want to feel all risque and tell folks they are reading erotica when in actuality they wouldn’t be able to finish the first chapters of many of the best selling erotic romance authors out there…the REAL ones who have many, many books under their belts. Those who’ve earned those labels and didn’t have them handed to them by the media.

Back to the topic at hand…

Do yourself a favor. The next time you see a posting somewhere about available guest spots, take the few extra moments to visit the blog and read through it. Take a look at several of the posts there to get an idea what is expected of you. If the guidelines say “No straight promo,” then by golly be sure you send them more than just promotional materials for your new release. If you’re unclear of what you need to do, ASK before you finalize any dates. If you can’t figure it out from the guidelines, the posts of other guests and repeated emails from the blog host, then you should graciously back out and give the spot up to someone who can figure it out.

Meet all deadlines. If you have a problem and are unable to get your post to the host on time, then let them know. You can be rescheduled for a more convenient time for both of you. Don’t leave the blog owner with an empty spot when they were counting on you  to fill it.

Don’t be a DIVA! You are the one who asked for a spot on the blog. It doesn’t matter to me or anyone else that you have 17 books published since 1985 if you can’t follow simple, detailed instructions. We are not forcing you to be a guest on our sites. If you don’t wish to be, then don’t ask in the first place. You are not doing anyone any favors by acting as if you are the one being inconvenienced.  Oh and you might not want to slam your perspective host’s genre by calling it “blatant porn.” That’s just a tad tacky. LOL!

Lighten up! Have fun with guest spots on other blogs and in turn invite them to be guests on yours. We need to bond together more instead of tear each other down. I’m guilty of it from time to time as well. Let’s all promise to move forward and lift each other up instead of tear each other down.

Who’s with me?

~Tammy

@dochappycamper Explains How Finding Your #Erotic Niche Isn’t Selling Out

Yesterday an author created a bit of an uproar over a blog post she did about “selling out” and compromising her principles when she turned to writing erotic romance.  She was upset by the fact her debut erotic romance made money hand over fist compared to the series she wrote in her chosen genre of urban fantasy.

SavatoreVuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SavatoreVuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As many of you know, I’m a big proponent of authors helping authors and one to call bullshit when I see it. It’s bad enough when media and readers treat authors of the adult genres poorly, but now there’s a growing number of authors who’ve made it their mission to trash those of us who choose to write explicit material. Some have gone as far to say they were “forced” to write erotic romance in order to make more money and then decide to take it upon themselves to try to change the genre to conform to their “moral outlook.”

Well, you have a HUGE fight on your hands, chippy. I won’t sit back and let you take MY chosen genre and turn it into something from the past. Long gone are the days the love scenes fade to black and leave everything behind closed doors. Gone are the days where flowery purple prose are used to describe sexual encounters.  GONE are the days where authors are slapped for using the “street terms” for genitalia. Just because you cringe every time you read or hear the word CUNT doesn’t mean the rest of us do.  Get over yourselves!

For more of my opinion, please stop in to my sister blog Sassy Vixen Publishing. As The Vixen I took on this topic and a bit more.   Click HERE to go to the post.

My question to those authors and readers who are offended by the explicit language used in erotica and erotic romance is this:  why do you write/read it? Stick with the genres you love the most and stop bashing mine. More importantly, stop trying to change it into something you’re comfortable reading/writing just because you want to jump on the erotica fun train.

~Tammy