Saturday, November 24, 2012

Don't get me started!

... because I just want my peace and quiet. ;-)

Well, at least from ranting about Indies. I always said I'll stop when I've published Rage against the Indie, because I got it all out of my system. And it feels good. It's now out there, for self-published authors or still unpublished writers to learn while having a giggle and I can shape-shift back into calm Stella. And I really need it, for I'm going to continue with the novel I was rewriting, when the desire to write the rant side-tracked me. It's a very gentle novel, and it's essential to be in the right head space when rewriting it. I wrote it 2010/2011 and put it aside for a while, then fiddled with it several times, but it doesn't meet my expectations anymore. Somehow I was almost about to give up on it when I had an epiphany of how it could engage---no, challenge me---again. I'm mainly writing for the challenge, you see? To me, writing is not only 'getting rid' of a story idea, but turning it into a novel that will engage my brain as well as readers when it's finished. In this case I'll try to turn the book into metafiction. I love trying out new things, playing with a reader's consciousness by confusing him subtly so that he questions reality and fiction, but not to the point that he's annoyed; instead I try to keep him turning the pages, because he wants to know if he reaches clarity, which he may or not achieve.
This will be a massive project, almost like writing a new novel, but the bones are great, and I love the way the story develops. Just thinking about tearing it down, like a house you demolish to rebuild, but keeping most of the parts to recycle, I feel the history of the novel will be prominent throughout the story, but enhanced by the new plot devices.
This will be my biggest challenge yet, and damn, am I looking forward to it.

But fear not, I'll have another rant coming up. This time: stupid people who weren't as good at catching logic when it was thrown at them. You didn't really think I'm done with ranting in general, did you?

Have a good weekend, everyone. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm a guest blogger today

Because I've been ranting about self-published authors and their books for so long, I was approached by Louise, who's been blogging and supporting Indies for years now, but also runs monthly themes on her blog. November is all about either romance or KPD (Amazon's publishing platform). 
Of course I couldn't let such an opportunity slip by and said yes to writing an article.

You can read it here:

Please stop by and say hello.

Other than that: I'll post a new recipe shortly.
Because this post looks a bit lonely, I've decided to post the two reviews the book has received: Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Review one:
I picked up this work with trepidation - given the title, and expected to find a negative diatribe on self-publishing - that new horizon for anyone who can tap on a keyboard. I was pleasantly surprised by --- the truth. This book hits the nail on the head, presenting the wide-ranging abuses and frustrating explosion of breakneck writing and unbridled promotion as an adjunct to the advent of self-publishing. The rant is not against self-publishing, but a bold, R-rated demand for quality and self-examination by those who feel they are the next Hemmingway and are merely inflicting their delusions on others. The rant is true and fair and is meant to be heard by authors who blame their readers for the failure to attract favor -- readers, who have reached the limit. I found the rant encouraging to those who heed the main points and soul search before they leap into the public publishing arena with works which make the reading public dizzy and gun-shy of the entire movement. The RANT is not meant to discourage those who have found readers, but to that fortunate sector, the message is clear -- and the course is definite. Quality, engaging stories, good editing, clean proofing and, in short, something worthy of writers for readers, and not a venture fired by a need to become rich and famous.

One-third of Stella Deleuze's book moves like fire (and frankly, I found the examples engagingly funny - almost like good stand-up. The remainder of the book covers sound principles in story delevopment and creation - many of which are covered in dozens of other books. However, unlike those texty classics, Ms. Deleuze remains engaging and clearly underscores the importance of some elements over others. I particularly enjoyed the section of detecting story discontinuity -- tests for common problems, which authors sometimes miss - like proofers miss problems lurking in Headlines.

I believe some might misunderstand this book's intent. However, I hope not. I hope many are put off from their endevors (or at least have second thoughts) and spare themselves and readers the late night hobby syndrome. I believe everyone has a voice, but sometimes the song is sour and the ears shut down. This Book IS a rant - don't doubt it, but solutions are offered and no apologies are given. Bravo!

Review two:
I encountered this book in the Meet Our Authors forum here on Amazon and, based upon the premise, decided to read what the Look Inside feature allowed. When I reached the end, I immediately bought it so I could finish.

This is strong, solid advice. I admit I've made some of the mistakes outlined in this book, especially when I first started toying with self-publishing. Now I sit ashamed, thinking back on some of my dumbest self-promotional tactics. How annoying was I?

How annoying am I now?

Every self-published author should fork over the .99c for this book. If it doesn't improve your perspective on marketing, you're probably a full-time writer, which means you didn't need to read it anyway.

Thank you for this.

Winston 77p  99c 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Indies, listen up: how not to behave on a public forum:

I'm making this week a bit of a Rage against the Indie week, because, well ... because. 
This is what happened on my promo thread on the Amazon forum. I'm promoting my book, and have one thread on each side of the pond. I'm addressing writers, after all. All I can say is, had she read my book, this wouldn't have happened. We had a fun and friendly exchange, until she felt it necessary to post a link to her book. That doesn't sit well with me.
Her, after putting the link first: hey there, Stella! my turn to hang my head in shame, I guess: it took me four years to produce my historical novel. it took so much research, being set in the 1650s. tough to dig up information on that era, I think. but...I guess I'm really slow. now I want/need to tackle the sequel. am hoping to be a lot faster this time around. but like you said, quality is a big deal to me. so, I guess it will take what it will take. sigh...I admire you guys, your productivity!

Guy: xxxx, do you also bring your own household cast-offs to someone else's yard sale?

Her: EXCUSE ME?????

Her: Stella, if I've offended you, I hope you'll let me know. this PB person apparently thinks I have? scratching my head...I thought we were just discussing

Me, sublty letting her know that I'm not happy: I think xxx refers to your book link since this is a thread for my book. He has a point, but I let it slip through because you didn't ask me to buy your book.

Her: he has a point, really? I think he was rude. I put the link there so you would know what I was referring to...sheesh

Me: Yes, he has. It's one of the reasons I wrote this book. I know it's the MOA forum, but it's my thread, where I'm plugging my book. I don't read HF, and we had a friendly and funny exchange, which would have been absolutely okay without the link like:

I hang my head in shame because I write historical fiction and it took me ages for I needed to research a lot. See? I already had a look at your profile and noted that you're an author and editor. If I had wanted to, I could have bought the book. But I didn't, for it's not my genre.

Inserting a link takes a little effort, so everyone who inserts a link does it with a purpose: advertising. :-) 

Her: if I was advertising, I would have put the summary on there, etc. whatever! adios...

Me: Farewell, xxxx.

Her (by the way, she'd been on the thread since yesterday): you just cost yourself a book sale, and lots of likes and shares. all righty much for, "lovely to meet you"

Her: all that guy had to do was say something constructive, like pointing out the etiquette of the situation, which a newbie like me is often not aware of...but instead he chose to be rude and hurtful and smart-ass. go figure...

Me: Ah, xxxx. Why can't you just say, sorry, yes, I made a mistake and all would be good? You're proving the point of my book, though.

Never mind. I wish you good luck with your book.

Me answering another post: He was funny, xxxx. It was just a tongue in cheek comment. I assure you it was.

Her: ok, I am sorry, but I think that rude guy should say he's sorry, too. why such bitchiness? why not just point out an error, without that cutting edge? perhaps you two are proving the very point of your book, yourselves. good luck yourself.

Her: it was not funny to me, Stella. it hurt my feelings. I was only trying to share in the discussion. I don't see the humor in it, I really don't.

Me: Well, he was merely pointing out that you violated the etiquette. That was all. Not trying to be mean, but if you found that hurtful, you better brace yourself for the negative reviews that'll come. Every author gets them, and readers are tough. It needs a thick skin to take that all. ;-)

Her: I've already weathered several negative reviews, and have more than 25 years of newspaper and magazine experience. not a newbie in that arena, believe me. I just thought his comment was unnecessarily cutting. talk about picky!

Guy: xxxx, this thread was begun by this author to discuss her book. She might not care that you've used it to promote your own - but for what it's worth, I find it bad manners. I might be completely alone in this, but I doubt it.

Stella keeps a pet iguana, so very little phases her.

Her: ok, this is the last post on this from me, I promise. PB, I do understand NOW why you and/or Stella may interpret my original post and the Dreaded Product Link, OH MY, as "bad manners." however: I think both of you do everyone a disservice when you assume it's bad manners, rather than give the poster the benefit of the doubt. these little etiquette systems are quite mysterious at first...
iguana schmiguana
never piss into a strong Montana wind.

Then she said something else in a snidy manner. And I decided to leave it at that. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

It's out in the open!

The educational rant, that is.

It's available on Amazon at the moment and for a special price. If you need a laugh, go and grab it. Unless you're one of the Indie authors who are on my rather large chopping board.

Since I got my Kindle I have downloaded roughly 100 books�I'm a slow reader�which resulted in a deleting marathon.
Those who have been following my blog, know that I hold a Ph.D. in ranting. Be it about self-published authors and their behaviour in social media, or the mediocre to non-existent quality of self-published books. Not all of them, but certainly the ones I've deleted.
To help lift the overall quality, I decided to do what I do best: write a lengthy rant about my observations and experiences, followed by suggestions on how to make it better, and a few additional tips and tricks. Beware: it's not for the faint-hearted.
Whether you are a suffering reader or a self-published author, I hope you'll get a giggle and some useful advice, or maybe even both from this book.

If you'd like to get something off your chest: Rage against the Indie fan-/ememy-page 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Living on the edge: baking muffins

Because I'm the worst baker in the world, and only recently started to experiment with the oven, rather than on the hob, I decided to live a little dangerously and try my hands on muffins. I searched the Internet for the simplest recipe I could find, added butter instead of oil and some orange zest, and off I went. Of course without a kitchen scale. I don't weight anything, particularly not myself.

It was super easy and and the muffins actually are quite lovely.

Here's the recipe:


They are a little flat, but that is because I didn't know how much I had to put into the form. Next time, they'll be better. And I'll add banana and blueberries.

(Marcos, when you're reading this, I know you'll be damn proud of me.)

A meltdown on public display

This post is one of the reasons why I've written the 'educational rant'. It's yesterday's Facebook conversation between an author and I. I admit I couldn't hold myself back and, admittedly, wasn't super friendly. I'm so fed up seeing posts like this, and, to be honest, I don't think a calm approach would have changed his mind anyway.

" xxxx got a 3 Star rating, which is okay, except for the fact that the "review" was this low because the book is so SHORT! The "reviewer" admits not trying the recipes, but was unhappy with the size of the book even though its length is clearly posted as "Paperback: 60 pages". I asked Amazon to take down this "review" because I thought it was unfair. They REFUSED to do so and by REFUSING to take this "review" down, they have totally killed the sales of one of their better selling books. 
If you think this is unfair to me (and ALL authors since everyone could be in my place) please go say the "review" BY LAURIE H was unhelpful. Just click the NO button after the question: Was this review helpful to you?"
That was his post. Now the conversation:
Me: If I could I would downvote this post. Asking people to mark reviews as unhelpful on Amazon is Kindergarten. I wish authors would stop that silly behaviour. Absolutely ridiculous. There!
He: If you were an author, you might think differently. 
Me: No, I won't. Such behaviour is unprofessional and childish. Potential buyers aren't stupid. They can see that the review was not about content, but about the length. Authors who go and call all their friends or whoever for help are a disgrace for all self-published authors who have some integrity. I'm sick to the back teeth of seeing such posts. Leave the reviews alone.
He: So your not an author, I figured as much. You write like a total illiterate.
Me: You know there's a book coming out next week; it's called Rage against the Indie. You may want to take a peek at it. 
He: As long as you didn't write it, I will check it out. The FUNNY part of all of this is that AMAZON is screwing itself over by leaving the phony "review" up causing sales to be off by 90% (so much for smart buyers) AND losing the book entirely since I am moving it to Smashwords.
Me: xxxx, let's get serious. The current sales rank of the Kindle book is #215,679, and the paperback is not ranked at all. I'm not dissing the few sales, but your throwing a hissy fit over a review that most readers would ignore. Amazon probably won't care to lose the three or four sales.
It's not me being mean, it's me looking at the obvious. And you're not doing yourself a favour by acting like a child whose lunch box was stolen. Take it on the chin, shrug it off. So you got a 3 star review from an unsatisfied customer, and? Next one will be great again. See what I mean?
He: My CURRENT RANK, you idiot, is BECAUSE Amazon doesn't care (DUH!!!). BEFORE THE PHONY "REVIEW" it was ALWAYS in the top 15,000 in KINDLE sales. That is the MOST galling part of this, the "review" is for the CreateSpace edition but it is SCREWING all my editions. So Amazon can go fuck itself.
Me: You're doing a great job degrading yourself, xxxx.
He: Only to a LOSER like you.
Me: Keep going.
He: ...and you are irrelevant...
Me: And you're proving my point. Anyway, good luck with your sales, but lay off the reviewer attacking. It just doesn't look good on self-published authors.
He: Fortunately, no one cares what you think. Since you are a cipher.
Me: I leave you to it, then. I think with that attitude you're probably attacking reviewers who dare to dislike your book, too.
He: You must enjoy showing your ignorance, but then that is the purpose of FB.
That's when I left wondering how many more of those posts appeared elsewhere. This is what causes damage to self-publishing, and I'm not sitting back saying nothing.