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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Reviews and Promotionn


Yes, I'm shouting. I am about to be very controversial, but as A Sceptical Medium I am used to being controversial. You see, I speak the truth. Not everyone likes what I have to say, but I am not desperate for friends, I am not desperate to have everyone fawn all over me and rub my back with fake friendships just for what they can get out of me. No, I do what others would like to, I say what a lot of others are thinking - hence my last post about AOS.

This time, it is about reviews and promoting. Over the last year of doing Authors on Show and AOS, I have come to learn a lot about how things work and, more to the point, how some authors work. There is a lot of fake back rubbing amongst certain authors and they can be very cliquey. That said, there are also a lot of very genuine, helpful and lovely authors out there who I have been thrilled to meet and who can't do enough for others. Whatever they give out though, isn't always returned. It is for one or two here and there, but it isn’t for lots of others and this saddens me. It saddens me a lot.

Take Soooz Burke and Jake Barton as two examples. They are so supportive of others and always can be seen to be supporting authors and promoting them wherever possible. I am glad to say, these are two of the few exceptions who are supported this way by others also and who have brilliant reviews on their work which are very well deserved. I for one will champion those two whenever I get the chance. The same cannot be said of others though. 

There is one writer I would love to mention who has written a cracking book and it has been read by a lot of people – and I mean a lot. How many reviews are there on it? About 2 so far I think! You know why? She isn’t one of the crowd. She ‘shares’ links they put on sites about their books whenever she can, but none does the same for her in return. There is a man I know too, who has brilliant books, website the lot, how many bother going to see his site or back him; how many have done reviews or promoted him? None. Again, although he does a lot for others, he isn’t going to be seen as one of the crowd so is ignored. I see a lot of good comments made about him and his writing, but no one bothers to review it for him to help and nor do they share his links on Twitter or FB.

You all know these people and I could name far more of them. It is sad. I find it terribly sad that others are ignored because they aren’t considered one of the in-crowd and I hate to say it, but a lot reading this will be in that crowd I’m talking about. There is one writer who has talked of giving up writing because no matter what they’ve done for others and no matter how much this person interacted; the book was ignored by them. Oh it was read and she was told how good it was – many even bought it, but have any of them reviewed it even though asked – no? As a result, she is mainly ignored on Amazon Kindle because there are no reviews on the book.

I used to do so many reviews for people you wouldn't believe how many - well lots of you would, because some of you do them as well. I say I used to, because I have now become far more selective. You see, I, like many others not in the clique, have learned we are not given reviews by others for some reason. Some don't do it because they haven't read the books concerned which is the honest way to be and that’s fine. We are very aware how many 'fake' reviews are out there on some books just because their so-called friends have run to do it in return for you doing one for them in return regardless. It doesn't matter if you've read the book or not, just make something up based on the blurb - but make sure it's a good one.

It is because of this mentality, that we see some books with rave reviews which are, quite frankly, sometimes on not very good books at all. We then see other books that are very well written with little or no reviews just because they aren't in the back-rubbing brigade. I am not alone in thinking this. I have had many e-mails, private messages and all sorts discussing this very problem from people saying how fed up they are that they did a review on someone's book only to be completely ignored by the same person who they knew had also read theirs and said how good it was but just wouldn’t do a review for them.

If you have read a book, or even several chapters of it on a writing site, you are able to give an honest review of that book to help the author concerned. Sadly, most won’t as they’re more concerned with just themselves. I don’t want to name names of people who have come to me, but be assured there are many, so instead I will use myself as an example as I’m one of the ones often ignored.

I know roughly how many people have read some of my books – either through writing sites or my blogs. I also know how many have bothered to promote me, my books or anything about me including the site I set up to help promote them. I’m not talking here about people who haven’t read my work (or anyone else’s), I’m talking about those who we know to have read our work and even the whole book and yet still not supported us or helped us in any way. These are the takers in the writing world – and believe you me, there are many of them.

This article is not aimed at those with lots of well deserved reviews who are decent, honest writers who do support others and who aren’t in a clique. It is aimed at those who are using others just to help themselves progress. Is it because they think they have books that could otherwise be ignored and so have to do this to be noticed? I have no idea, but I and many others like me, are getting fed up with seeing the same old faces begging for reviews from each other and all getting them even though they haven’t read a word half of them have written.

I will not be promoting any of these people any more and I shouldn’t think the ones who have spoken to me about this will be either. I am on lots of writing sites now and find I am mainly ignored. I am probably going to take myself off those sites for that reason. In fact, I already have off some. It’s pointless me being there as I am almost invisible. Others have said the same and I agree with them, they too should remove themselves. Oh, we all have loads of ‘friends’ but these friends ignore us and out work.

I am going to say one thing and it might upset you, but you need to be told. Quite a few of the Night Publishing/Reading brigade have also now become as those I’ve just talked of. Now most of you I like very much indeed and I like what you’ve written - of those I’ve read. However, you are possibly not aware how cliquey some of you are becoming and by doing so, you are cutting yourselves off from the rest of the literary world. I am telling you this because I don’t think you can see what you’re doing and you are genuinely nice people.

The majority of you are now all looking at each other and your books and doing exactly what I said above – giving glowing reviews on some books you’ve never read just because it’s another member of your group. I have seen the change happening to some of you – not all and it isn’t pretty. You only promote each other and yet you take promotions, reviews, interviews and whatever you can get off others but never return the favour to those outside of NR/NP.

Those of you who don’t like what I’m saying are probably the ones guilty of doing it and who won’t change regardless. The rest will know exactly where I’m coming from and will take stock and realise yes, they are limiting themselves dreadfully. It is hoped the latter will then make changes to get back out there with others again. I had top agents looking at you all, you decided to close ranks and have shut those top agents out. I had top publishing houses starting to look; you did the same there too.

Any authors reading this that recognises what I’m saying might refer to their own way of behaving think about it. Realise how you’ve sold yourselves short by clinging to a few people who will say whatever you want to hear. Realise you are standing still and not moving forwards. Realise there are more people out there who could help and who have helped you, but who you are slamming the door on. How you treat others is how you will end up being treated yourselves in the end.

There is nothing wrong with being in a group and supporting each other, but sadly, a lot now aren’t doing that for others as well. I have spoken out because I feel like closing the door on all I do on various sites because of this closed rank business; I have lots of others who are thinking of doing the same. It is sad as I’ve enjoyed what I do and so do the people who feel the same as me. We’ve helped promote so many at any given opportunity, it’s just sad that only about 20% have bothered helping any of us in return.

P.S I promote myself to death now (as you'll have noticed) because I found if I didn't - no one else would. I suggest you do the same.

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