Cover art for PLUS ONE

Published 06/03/2014 by scarlettparrish

Received this earlier today and it confirms my deep and abiding love for Totally Bound’s cover artist, Emmy Ellis. What do you think?

plusone_800

Something doesn’t add up…

Lydia’s looking for a job not a lover, but after her interview at Saint Joseph’s University, she ends up with both. There’s a need for discretion despite her bright pink hair and Doctor Spencer Flynn’s candy apple red Mustang; after all, she’s an admin assistant now, he’s a lecturer in applied mathematics and they work together. So they conduct their liaisons behind closed doors which is all right with Lydia; she’s never experienced chemistry like it.

‘Discreet’ soon begins to look a lot like ‘secretive’ and a last-minute cancellation of a date prompts Lydia to rethink her role in the relationship. Braced for a break-up, she’s amazed when Spencer confesses the secret he’s been keeping all along. His loyalties are divided and when Lydia’s attempts to hold on to his attention backfire publicly, she wonders if playing house with a mathematician is a zero-sum game.

* * * * *

Coming soon from Totally Bound.

  • Pre-order 13th June
  • Early download 27th June
  • General release 18th July

Don’t talk to me about street teams

Published 10/01/2014 by scarlettparrish

Instead, let me rant about them to you.

Anyone heard that phrase recently? I’d be surprised if you hadn’t. Many authors have or want a ‘street team’. What do they do?

Unpaid publicity.

Okay, financially unpaid. But usually these contracted fangirls are paid in ‘swag’; i.e. books, bookmarks, keyrings and so on. For this, they’re encouraged by authors to review their books on Amazon and Goodreads and similar sites, to spread the word about ‘their’ author’s latest releases.

In ye olden days, we had fan clubs, where authors earned admirers. They wrote books which inspired people to tell others “You have to read this great book I just read!” Using talent and well-written books to entertain people, thereby causing them to spread the word about your books, is the exact opposite of giving people stuff in return for them telling folks about your work. One is natural word of mouth, the other is bribery.

I’ve often ranted about people who insist on only reviewing books to which they can give 4 or 5 stars. “How can I be expected to believe their reviews are genuine?” That sort of thing. Now, if someone is a member of a street team (and many authors name members on their blogs) and they review a book by their sponsor/patron/whatever, how are we supposed to believe it’s genuine?

I’d be wondering, “Are you writing this review because you love the book, or because the author sent you some bookmarks and a keyring?”

Street teams smack of authors expecting readers to do stuff for them. That is, expecting readers to do their promo for them. They prompt readers to write reviews, to whore their books on social media and yes, even in some cases front-face their books in bricks and mortar book shops.

Not only that, but I’ve just been informed on Twitter that there are now authors mobilising street teams to attack reviewers who say nasty, mean things about ‘their’ authors’ books.

Okay, such instances are a rarity, although I suspect they’ll become more common in the future. But the bottom line is, readers are there to read books. The clue is in the name, people. You buy one of my books, I get the royalties. Fair’s fair, even Stevens, everyone’s happy. If I start asking you to post a review of one of my books, I’m skewing the transaction in my favour. You shell out for a book, and I get two things – royalties and a review you probably feel obligated to make positive.

As I’ve said before, it is the publisher’s job to publicise books they…wait for it…publish. Writing is an art, publishing is a business, and one would bloody well hope your publisher wants to make money too, right? Right. Your job is to write the next book. Do some promo if you want. But not so much that you a) take so much time away from writing that your next book is delayed and/or b) antagonise potential readers by making them feel talked at rather than engaged with and/or c) treat people as a means to an end by using folks as free promo and calling them your street team.

If word of mouth happens naturally? Great. But cobbling together a list of people who’ve read your books and slapping the label of ‘street team’ on them smacks of asking your readers to do a publicist’s job.

I’m going to quote someone here who shall remain nameless:

The truth about street teams…

It’s another way authors think they are making a difference. If they get a Twitter account. If they get a Facebook account. If they get a street team. They can affect sales, become a best-seller, have some control over their careers, their destiny.

It’s all a big lie. Sometimes, you write a piece of shit and become a bestseller. And sometimes you write a gem and no one ever reads it. It’s tough to accept the lack of control here. So, we cling to concepts like “street teams” thinking we can change the outcome of this game.

Look at it this way – if you’re big enough to gather enough followers to call a ‘street team’…at this point, obviously your books and/or your online persona have earned you a following, yes? So why not continue in that vein? Crazy idea, but I have more respect for writers who let their writing earn them followers- actually, readers. The whole ‘street team’ thing feels forced. Artificial. I’d rather someone mention my books because they liked them. Anything else is just bribery.

Oh, and if you think I’m being too harsh, and readers are allowed to be enthusiastic about books they like? Yes. Yes, they are. As long as liking is what makes them talk about books. Not cheap tat like keyrings, bookmarks and pens, and having their name mentioned on the website of some author most of us have never heard of.

First post of 2014

Published 02/01/2014 by scarlettparrish

As sure as night follows day, three things follow Hogmanay: slimming club ads on telly and as junk mail clogging up your letterbox, new “collectible” magazines are launched, and I write a boring blog post about new year’s resolutions. Kinda similar to my previous one from the 26th of December, but expanding on a couple of things mentioned there, so here goes.

I read 138 books in 2013, finishing another three after my last blog post. My final read of the year was Cassandra Clare’s Harry Potter and the City of Bones and that total came without trying, so it shouldn’t take much more effort to bump my reading total for 2014 up to 150.

As for writing? I have a nearly-finished novel right hyuh on my hard drive; I aim to have that submitted around about the middle of this month, or the end. The end of January is my absolute limit.

After that, I have plans to write four novellas by the end of March. I know, I know. You’re thinking “Four novellas? Are you crazy?” But I’m aiming to keep them short. Given how my characters tend to take over once I get into a manuscript, perhaps it would be better to stick to a word count. Four novellas at 25k words each gives a total of 100k words, so I’ll say I’m going to write 100k words towards these projects by the end of March. A year’s total of 250k words would, as a consequence, definitely be doable if I can pull that off. And I’m not giving away any titles because yes, there are people out there who are happy to let me provide titles for their books without crediting me. So, you’ll just have to wait and see.

I also need to decide what I’m going to do with Long Time Coming and Plus One (now out of print on most sites) once the rights revert to me at the end of this month. I’m going over the manuscripts to see what needs cleaning up. Both were edited pre-publication of course, but the progress of one’s career naturally gives you ways of looking at prose that you didn’t have before. And let’s face it, if I was still happy with something I wrote at the end of 2008, that would be proof I hadn’t moved on in my writing.

I’m going to get my Great Big Divorced, Beheaded, Died Watchalong posts going again. Will keep you posted as and when, but I like the idea of having one every Tuesday, because Tudors Tuesday or Tudorsday makes me laugh.

Around the house? Well, there’s a distinct possibility I’ll be getting work done at home later in the year, which means there’s no point in redecorating now, because it’d end up spoiled. But there’s nothing to stop me swapping curtains for blinds as I want to do, or scouting around for a new bed and a new armchair. Window coverings and furniture are both okay, but decor will have to wait.

Incidentally, yesterday I went around the house taking multiple photos of every room so that on New Year’s Day 2015, I can look back and see in photographic form the progress I’ve made on getting my home looking the way I want it.

And personal stuff? The main aim I  have in that regard is to recognise depression when it happens, and to stop it descending into despair, which all but immobilises me. There’s no shame in asking for help. And feeling down shouldn’t stop me carrying on with things, as normally as I can. Too, I believe this shows the importance of routine. I don’t have to think “What do I feel like doing today?” if I have set routines. I get up and think, “It’s Monday [or whatever day] so I know I usually do X, Y and Z today.” What I feel like doing is largely irrelevant, especially when it comes to writing. I might feel like staying in bed and eating Oreos, but that won’t get a manuscript finished or the chores done.

So here’s hoping 2014 is a success, and everything we all hope for. :)

Now That’s What I Call 2013

Published 26/12/2013 by scarlettparrish

Everyone else is doing their “2013 – The Very Best of,” compilation album blog posts, so I thought I’d join in. The one thing the world needs right now (besides a good hard kick up the arse) is to know what my favourite reads were and why I had bugger all releases this year. Apart from the time I gritted my teeth and squeezed that pimple that popped up in a very interesting place.

Kevin T Craig (I suspect the T stands for ‘the’; link takes you to his Twitter page) introduced me to The Great Gatsby. Well, I’d known for a while that it was his talisman novel, and the one by which he measures all other writings, especially his own. But I’d never gotten around to reading it before. Years back I took months to get through Tender is the Night, which was, quite frankly, tortuous. It had the potential to put me off F. Scott Fitzgerald for life and were it not for the release of the Leonardo Di Caprio movie, and Kevin the Craig’s recommendations, I probably would have spent the rest of my life studiously avoiding Gatsby.

But I’m glad I didn’t. I spent 77p on the Kindle version, and loved the book so much I went out and bought it in print, and read it again within a week. How much did I love that book? Enough to buy the movie cover print edition, that’s how much! (And of course, the DVD the very day it came out.)

I can definitely see me reading The Great Gatsby again in 2014, at least once, probably more.

Tender is the Night is still shite, though.

What other books did I read and enjoy enough to recommend? Tiffany Reisz’s The Prince and The Mistress. Such recommendations are appearing all over the intertubes at this time of year and no wonder as the books are great. Probably no chance of my voice rising above all the others, but if anyone reads Tiffany’s books on my recommendation, then good.

Quite a few of my favourite reads this year were re-reads. A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington (now back in print, which I haven’t had to wait for as I still have the 1992 edition I bought when I was 16), Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (and yes, I refuse to see the film because eww, Keira Knightley), and Renegades by Shaun Hutson which I must have first read around 20 years ago and huzzah, it’s now been re-issued in Kindle format.

This is why I’m such an ebook whore – the rights to so many books I loved years ago are now returning to their authors and being re-issued in ebook format.

I discovered Laini Taylor in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Also Ken Follett in World Without End, inspired by the TV mini-series starring the delectable Blake Ritson, om nom nom. I normally avoid reading sequels before the prequels and watching the TV series or film before reading the book. In this instance, I broke both those rules.

I enjoyed Susan Cain’s Quiet so much I blogged about it here.

So far I’ve read 135 books this year; my original target was 150 so I’m not doing too badly. Same target for 2014.

But what of my own books? No releases, only one sale and that for a re-issue. 2013 was a bust when it comes to productivity. Writing-related productivity that is. There have been changes, though. Three of my books are no longer available - A Little Death, which is being re-released by Totally Bound next year and Long Time Coming and Plus One, which were my first two  published books. I recently got the rights to these two novels back, and they’ll revert to me fully at the end of January. I’ve still to decide what to do with them, but I have a couple of online buddies trying to persuade me to self-publish. However, if I sent them to another epublisher, given their lengths, they’d eventually be eligible for print, so…I’m unsure. Self-publishing would mean I get to keep a larger chunk of the profits, but sending them to a publisher would mean holding the print editions in my hands.

And getting swanky new cover art provided for me, which would be a relief in Plus One‘s case. Lydia has bright pink hair and Spencer has an unusual tattoo in an easily-visible place, so ‘specialist’ cover art may be required. There are a lot of ready-made covers available online, but none which I’ve seen that quite suit, and I’m not that great with Photoshop, so…

Yeah. Still to be decided.

I also have a writing schedule written up for the first quarter of 2014. By the end of March, all being well, I should have a finished novel and four finished novellas. That sounds like a metric fuckton of wordage and I guess it is; just over 100k words. But I only have roughly 12k to go on the novel according to my MS Excel outline, and I’m aiming for 25k words each on the novellas. Broken down like that it sounds more doable.

What will I be getting up to in 2014 blogwise? Well…I’ll be resuming my Tudors blog posts as I’ve had requests to get back into them. I say requests. I mean one or two people briefly commenting “They were fun, you should get back to them.” But ‘requests’ makes it sound like people are clamouring for my opinion on Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ acting ability and the historical accuracy of the aforementioned historical drama.

This year I’ve donated 100s of books and several items of furniture to charity. Hoping to continue getting my personal library down to a level where it’s no longer taking over my home, and scouting shops for various bits and pieces I’d like to use to make said home more comfortable and more ‘me’, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious and wanky.

But all in all, the priority is to write more. And to continue watching comedy DVDs in my downtime, because laughter is the best medicine, and Bottom and Father Ted fucking rock.

So there!

With friends like these…

Published 10/12/2013 by scarlettparrish

On the 5th December I woke up to this email, headed “Please be careful”:

Hi
You’re about to be contacted by [real name], aka [username] on [website].
Please be aware that she’s intensely manipulative, and not closely joined to reality.
She’s fixated on one of the mods, has a crush on [fellow member of this website], and is asserting that [site owner] is a rape apologist.
She’s also a raving racist and homophobe, though she’ll tell you are black maids, and she likes “lezzies.”
Do what you will, but please protect yourself.
[sender's name]

I’ve swithered about saying anything publicly about this, just as I swithered about forwarding the email to the person concerned, but as it contained some nasty allegations about her, I felt duty-bound to do so. If someone were saying such things about me, I’d want to know.

Why mention it on my blog? Because this message came from the admin of a site which banned me around two years ago, and with whom I’ve had little to no contact since. (Long story short, mod told lies about me for which I never received an apology, I made a fuss about it, my days there were numbered. Naturally, everyone involved has their own version of this tale.)

I think it’s very strange that anyone would email me after two years or so of radio silence to badmouth someone with whom I was already in contact.

Let me make it clear: I do not want to be dragged into someone else’s petty little dramas; nor will I be “advised” to cut off contact with anyone. Only one person chooses my friends for me either in real life or online, and that person is me. Only one person decides whether or not I may reply to emails and that person is me.

The only reasons I mention this here are to make it clear that I did nothing to warrant this email, and I do not believe the pretence of friendly concern. (In fact, I’d say they were approximately two years too late to convince me of their concern for my well-being.) Speculation multiplies at a rate of knots online, and this blog post is presented as my way of attempting to avert a drama-llama stampede.

As for the manner in which the allegations were presented, well…I believe poison-pen emails speak for themselves, and say a lot more about the senders than their targets.

These will be my last words on the subject, as I left school over twenty years ago and have no intention of returning to the playground. And no comments, either. It makes a change for me to be able to lock a thread and stop the conversation continuing. :P

RIP Nelson Mandela

Published 06/12/2013 by scarlettparrish

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.

~Nelson Mandela 1918-2013, Long Walk to Freedom

Cover art for A LITTLE DEATH

Published 03/12/2013 by scarlettparrish

Totally Bound will be re-releasing A Little Death next year, and yesterday I received the cover art. Much sooner than I was expecting, but that just shows how on-the-ball Totally Bound is, eh?

Dates are as follows:

  • Preorder: 21st March 2014
  • Early download: 4th April 2014
  • General Release: 2nd May 2014

Now wrap your eyeballs around this little beauty!

alittledeath_800

Seeing dead people is all very well…unless one of them wants to kill you.

To Mallory Sharpe, vampires are a fact of life. They exist, walk the streets and for the most part mind their own business. As a second-year university student, she doesn’t pay the undead much attention until she meets Jonathan Cutler. He has needs, and blood is only one. The other, Mallory is more than willing to help him with. After all, he has but one rule, to never spend more than one night with a woman. He won’t get attached, or consciously put anyone’s life in danger.

Another vampire, Cian Ambrose, isn’t so troubled by conscience. Mallory’s fair game, a weapon to taunt Jonathan with. In fact, it might be fun to make her his grail, or living blood donor, and Cian Ambrose doesn’t take kindly to the word no. He hasn’t heard it often in his one hundred and fifty years and it usually results in the other person ending up dead.

So with Mallory’s tolerance for undead guys running very low, Jonathan has to re-gain her trust, stop Cian killing her, oh…and for God’s sake, not fall in love.

The snake oil that is paying for promo

Published 26/10/2013 by scarlettparrish

Maybe I should give all related blog posts a series name. I was thinking of Everything You Ever Thought You Knew About Promo is Wrong. Snappy, huh? Think I’ll go add that category to my previous blog post once I’m done here.

Snake oil.

…any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit.

Next up on my “Bullshit Beliefs Authors Have That Make Me Want to Punch Them in the Fucking Mouth Until They Shit Their Own Teeth Out of Their Torn and Bleeding Arseholes” list (Hey, alternative title for said series!) is paying for promo, and the “necessity” thereof.

Well let’s get one little thing out in the open straight away, shall we? You don’t have to pay for promo. If you want to, you may. I can’t stop you. I reserve the right to think “A fool and his money are soon parted,” but it’s entirely up to you.

It’s never been my experience that a publisher has told me to pay for promo, but some have suggested it. (For the record, I’m referring to erotic romance epublishing, not any form of self-publishing, as that’s the area in which I have direct experience.) It’s always been a suggestion I’ve ignored because I’m the author. The poor one. You know, the one who’s supposed to earn money, not shell it out. If I wanted to spend money to get my book out there, I’d self-publish.

Recently I crossed paths with an author who told of their experience. I’m not going to mention any names or give any identifying details here (not that I can remember many), and they weren’t even the first person with whom I have had such a conversation, but they were one of the most…how can I put this…vehement. They drank the pay-for-promo Kool-Aid and sprayed gallons of the stuff all over the internet. And I felt the need to step in and say, “Er…look…you’re a dick.” Okay, I was a bit more polite than that. But I’m allowed to think it, right?

This author’s experience was of shelling out “a small fortune” (their words, not mine) on promo – adverts online, blog hops and tours, swag such as bookmarks, postcards and other throwaway items. They claimed to be quite happy to do this even though they would, after royalties were paid out, barely break even.

No, I’m not joking. You read that correctly. They were quite happy to fritter away cash they could barely afford on promo that didn’t even earn them much more than “break even” royalties.

The ironic thing is, I’d never even heard of this writer before crossing paths with them on an internet discussion group of which we were both a member. I still haven’t seen any ads or swag anywhere, nor any reviews or recommendations, and I wouldn’t recognise their book(s) if I tripped over them in the street. Since our brief discussion about paying for promo, I’ve forgotten their exact name and the title of their book, so let me ask you this…

…how successful is their promo-drive?

Answer: not very.

So what’s the point of paying for promo if you don’t get any advantage over those cheapskates (like me) who believe in Yog’s Law? I can’t see any.

Yog’s Law states “Money should flow toward the author.”

I’ve never paid for promo and that means any money I make from publishing is profit. If I were opening a vein and bleeding money to online promo companies, I’d sure as hell want a damn sight more than “barely breaking even”.

The person mentioned above said they were happy their publisher had given them a chance, and they were happy to just have their book out there.

Well I’m not. I’m not happy to “just” have my books out there. I want them earning me money and I, for one, will never be grateful to any publisher for “giving me a chance”. This suggests they don’t really believe my books are all that good, but what the hey, we’ll publish it anyway. It’s shitty business practice. Publishers should contract books they believe will make them and the author money, otherwise they’re just author mills.

And no-one wants to be pseudo-published by an author mill, do they?

I want a publisher to contract my books because they believe a) they’re good and b) we can both make a bajillion monkeydollars off them. Not out of some immature, misplaced sense of pity.

Next, let’s look at the allegation we’re all living in a new age of publishing now, and things have changed, and publishers don’t have to do all the promo and marketing, and that’s all the author’s responsibility.

Short answer: bullshit.

Longer answer: bullshit, and here’s why:

The publishing house is a business. They have more money than you do to spend on marketing. At least, I hope they do. A publishing house without a marketing budget is in big trouble. Again, if I wanted to spend money and do the donkey work myself, I’d self-publish. It is simply not true that good publishers don’t promo or market your books, and neither is it true that the primary burden for such rests on the shoulders of the author.

Any publisher worth their salt wants to make money. They want you to make money too. Writing is an art, but publishing is a business, remember? It is simply bad business practice for a publisher to contract books and not do anything to push them. It is even worse if they let authors do all that sort of thing for themselves. If they expect authors to do this, they’re lubing your joyhole and fucking a large percentage of royalties out of your creative sphincter without even having the common decency to give you a reach-around.

Am I saying authors shouldn’t do any promo? Good God no; you have to let people know your book is out there. But there are ways of doing this for free – seeking out reviews, guest blogging, that kind of thing. The occasional – very, very occasional – tweet or blog post. These ways are not all that time-consuming either, which is good because…

Your job as a writer is not to spend inordinate amounts of time or money on selling your just-published book. Your job is to write the next one.

The best way to sell your backlist is to maintain your frontlist. And how are you supposed to do that if you’re using writing time for promo? What’s more, if you end up out of pocket (or barely breaking even), why are you even bothering?

Any author who believes that paying for promo is an essential part of marketing their book is wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong with a capital fuck no. And it really boils my piss when I see authors telling other writers that this is needed, essential, vital, mandatory or any other word for “a load of cheesy donkey dick” you may find in a thesaurus.

I have never paid for promo, as I’ve said before, but yes, I’ve (reluctantly) contacted complete strangers and asked for book reviews, guest blogged here and there and the like. However, the honest truth is, the one thing that will help your book sell more than anything else is word of mouth. All you can do is let people know your book is out there – not in an obnoxious promo-overkill way – and get back to writing. Word of mouth is not something you can control. But when it happens you don’t have to pay for it.

And, being a Scot, I’m very pleased with that idea.

Now, you might say “If you’ve never paid for promo, how can you know it’s not worth it?” Well, two reasons. There are authors who see no difference in payoff between “paid promo” books and “I did little to fuck-all to market this” books. Some reluctantly admit paid promo got them nowhere. Others brush off their lack of profit and make out they don’t care they’re barely breaking even. And secondly? I have furniture, food, clothes, DVDs and other stuff in my house that my smutty books paid for, so I must be doing something right.

Let’s end on what I like to call (because I’ve just invented it) the pay-for-promo paradox:

Authors who need publicity and so pay for it are usually just starting out. If they’re just starting out, they have yet to start earning money.

Authors who have the money to pay for promo are, generally speaking, established and better-known and therefore, do not need the promo they can now afford.

Wait, that needs to be snappier. Okay, let’s go with this:

Authors who need promo can’t afford to pay for it. Authors who can afford to pay for promo don’t need it.

Man, I’m good. I should write a book or something.

Promo overkill makes you a bad writer

Published 23/10/2013 by scarlettparrish

And if a blog post title like that doesn’t suck people in, I don’t know what will.

What inspired it? Witnessing behaviour from authors in recent months that strikes me as a) futile, b) irritating or c) both.

I let off steam to Penny Watson by email, and like any right-thinking person would, she agreed with everything I said. Mainly because I’m great. And I swear a lot. Or it could well be that she knows her shit, and what I said ticked all her boxes. Sometimes grown-ups agree with me. Shut up! It happens!

* * * * *

First up? That old chestnut tweetstream-flooding.

If all of someone’s tweets are promo, or all of their blog posts are promo, it’s overkill.

Imagine yourself as a reader who’s new to Author X. You go to his or her tweetstream and see their tweets are all “Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!” would you think there was any chance of them engaging with you? Would you see any point in following them? I wouldn’t.

If someone is a favourite author, there are ways and means of finding out about their new releases without following them on Twitter or reading their blog. Publishing websites. Third-party sellers.

I have unfollowed certain authors because of their constant promo on Twitter. Straight off, I can think of two who have made me vow never to buy any of their books again because their “promo” was that bad.

One author who turned me away from her work (which I wasn’t that much of a fan of anyway; no emotion, no conflict, cardboard characters; more on this later in this blog post) schedules tweets. Buy links and a brief quote or tagline every hour on the hour, or so it seems. This interspersed with retweeted links to other authors’ WordPress blogs. The promo was overkill and the linking to other authors’ blogs seemed lazy to me. Like she had little to say for herself and therefore had to piggyback on other people’s words. No opinions to express. Just “Buy my book! Buy my book! Buy my book!”

Actually, come to think of it, another name just popped into my head. Yep; there are definitely more out there who think this sort of wank is a smart move.

I am bored with authors who think the best way to get me to buy their books is to talk about them all the time. Yes, I’m a writer but I’m a reader too. If promofail turns me off, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that other readers are of the same opinion.

I’m not stupid. I’m not five-years-old. And I’m not a goldfish. If you put your book in my view (or that of other potential readers), I won’t forget after three seconds. You have given me the option of buying it or not, and I won’t be persuaded to by constant noise. Because that’s all constant promo is. Noise that blends into one boring drone, with all the other promo-noise clogging up Twitter.

* * * * *

Blogs are prone to the same brainkilling repetitiveness. I recently had a peek at another author’s blog (not the same author mentioned above, although part of the same promofail overkill school of thought) and every post was about her latest release. Not “Hey, I’ve got a book out soon, and in other news, I bought a doughnut today and a small, ceramic spaniel.” Oh shut up; those were the first things to come to mind.

This blog was a screed of posts about  “I’m writing a book…I’ve finished the book…I’ve subbed the book…I’ve contracted the book.” And it didn’t stop there. No; it got worse. “Here’s cover art! Here’s an extract! Here’s the same extract again! Here’s the cover art again! Here’s a repeat of the previous extract in case you missed it! One month until release, with the same extract! One week ’til release, and here’s…” You guessed it. The same old extract again.

Why the fuck would I buy your book when I’m already sick of it before it’s released?

It looked to me as if this author had nothing to say for herself. No opinions. Possibly scared to express an opinion in case she annoys ‘the wrong person’, whoever that might be?

Authors who tweet and blog about nothing other than their book, their book, their book, make me think they have nothing else to talk about. They have empty heads. They’re scared to express an opinion, or even have one.

Something else struck me as I was resisting the urge to Hulksmash the entire internet in response to the above tweetstream and blog. If an author has nothing to talk about but their book(s), that in turn makes me think they’re a bad writer. Why? They obviously have no insight into human nature.

They don’t realise they’re pissing people off, and not selling as many books as they could do, had they just dialled it back a few notches. They don’t realise the effect their behaviour has on other people, no idea that they’re doing the exact opposite of what they think they’re doing: driving readers away instead of pulling them in.

That being the case, how can they ever have insight into their characters and make them seem three-dimensional? It’s been my experience that authors who spew promovomit online write boring books. I don’t trust such authors to have personalities, opinions, or insight into human nature, and such authors are just throwing words at a page, rather than crafting a story. Just as they throw links at Twitter, rather than holding a conversation.

No insight into human nature and the effect your behaviour has on others = no ability to write realistic characters.

Maybe there are readers out there who don’t care about this sort of thing. Perhaps they can switch off and just ‘tune in’ to the authors they follow online when said authors mention a new book or say something of interest. If they ever do.

But noise-tweeting and vomit-blogging, while they don’t put everyone off, are not necessary.

I’ll say that again very clearly.

Flooding your tweetstream with promo, or doing the same on your blog, are not necessary.

I don’t care who your publisher is or what they tell you – such behaviour is not necessary to sell your books.

Consider how many people you’re actually putting off. There’s a fine line between “I have to let people know my book is out there!” and actively beating people over the head with the same information to the point where you’re actually driving them away.

I’ll say one more thing before I go put the kettle on for a cuppa. I need caffeine to calm me down.

The Law of Diminishing (Promo) Returns states that each time they see the same link/tweet/extract after what I call the Vomit Horizon or Puke Point, the less of a desire to buy your book the reader will have.

Guest author: KT Grant

Published 15/10/2013 by scarlettparrish

KT GrantI asked KT by email recently what put the idea for The Gate into her head, and instead of keeping it to an email conversation, came up with the idea of kidnapping her and making her tell you all on this blog. So here’s her explanation of how such smuttery came into existence:

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How The Gate Came To Be by KT Grant

As a writer, I have a million and one ideas rolling around in my head, one of which is what would become The Gate, my first full length self-published novel. The Gate is an erotic romance, with BDSM that takes place in New York City and features a media mogul with a penchant for BDSM and the woman he falls for - a middle-grade novelist who has panic attacks in public.

The idea for The Gate started as most of my projects do - with a specific character. This character happened to be Maxwell Crawford, the hero. I came up with the idea for Max back in the spring of 2012. It all started with a name that popped into my head- Maxwell Crawford. Those two words that created a name for a phantom character stuck with me for a good month or so as I built Max’s personality in my head. I knew he would be handsome and rich and live in New York City. I also know he would enjoy kinky sex and would own a sex club. The next part was coming up with a worthy heroine for Max, who would eventually become Erika Walsh.

Around this time I started building the world that would become The Gate, I read some erotic literature by three authors who were very big influences to me during this time. I first read Laura Antonio’s The Marketplace and The Slave from her very addictive Marketplace series. Laura writes no holds barred, unflinching BDSM that I have never read before and couldn’t get enough of. Also during this time, I was introduced to Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series and read The Siren and The Angel. I can’t tell you how many times I re-read these two books of Tiffany’s. And finally right before I wrote my outline (I have to plan things out and can’t write on the seat of my pants like some writers), I picked up Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy books. I was shocked and appalled by what I read by Anne, but in awe of what she accomplished with these three books. These three authors enabled me to push myself, and the envelope in ways I never would have imagined. If I never read Laura, Tiffany and Anne’s sexually charged and erotic literature, I probably would have never written The Gate.

I started writing The Gate the day before Memorial Day 2012, and less than 2 months later I had finished the first draft. I knew right from the start I was going to self-publish The Gate in what would be the first book in the Dark Path series. I took another year polishing and editing and revising The Gate, and then working with some fabulous editors who made The Gate shine.

The process of self publishing The Gate from choosing the cover to working on edits, as well as uploading to online vendors and doing promotion has been a fun and rewarding experience. To think it all came to be because of a name that popped into my head one spring day.

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The GateA chance encounter between a successful author and a billionaire owner of an underground BDSM club, leads to the most pivotal relationship of their lives…

Erika Walsh has carried a torch for Christopher Milton, heir to her father’s publishing empire for years. After one steamy make out session she begins to wonder if it might develop into something more. But when M. L. Crawford, better known as Max, her father’s publishing rival, seeks her out at a society event, she’s drawn to his magnetic charisma and powerful demeanor. Their verbal bantering and innuendo laced overtones stir feelings she never knew existed, and soon Erika is consumed with knowing the real man under Max’s restrained public façade.

Erika’s sweet nature and naivety excites Max to near madness. He wants to train her in the art of seduction and make her succumb to his every wish and command…as his perfect submissive. Yet, Christopher is determined to keep Erika from becoming the latest victim of Max’s sinister sexual hungers. He knows all too well what Max hides in his black soul and will stop at nothing to reveal all of Max’s secrets in order to protect the one thing he holds dear above all else- Erika.

Max’s dark desires scare yet arouse Erika, as he opens her eyes to a new bold world full of passion and ecstasy she never imagined until him. But the biggest question remains: Is Erika’s craving for Max just an illusion that transpires behind the walls of The Gate?

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Purchase links: AllRomance | Amazon Kindle UK | Amazon Kindle US | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

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