It’s that time of year #ROW80

It’s that time of year when things all get smashed together in a short period of time. Happy things and sad things. Death and dying are oh so prominent throughout the holiday season. I just got off the phone with the funeral director of the funeral home in this tiny little town (he runs about 5 funeral homes I think), and he said he’s so busy this week that he can’t go to every funeral.

You might be wondering why I was on the phone with the funeral director…someone died. That’s really the only reason he would have to call me. Someone died and I get to meet with the family and work on the funeral. Someone died because that’s what people do. They live and they die, and a lot of times it happens right around the holiday season.

I can’t tell you if it’s just because people get to see all their friends and family one last time and they finally feel as though they can let go, or if it’s depression that pushes them toward suicide (that number largely goes up just after the holiday season), or if it’s simply just a mutual end of time and start for new beginnings. But it happens, and I’m sure almost every funeral director can attest to it.

Anyway, I did go off on a bit of a ramble there. My week will be filled with Christmasy things with family and planning for a funeral on the 27th. Here’s my ROW80 update.

1. Write 1667 words a day.

This isn’t happening, but I did write a little bit yesterday!

2. keep up with all blog posts ROW80, WIPpet, Open When and add in 1 extra post a week

This happened this week! My extra post was a cover reveal and I did get Open When up and ready. I have Open When scheduled 2-3 days a week until I can catch up with them all.

3. Edit at least one chapter a week on something.

This happened. I edited one chapter of Unbound, finished a copy-edit so I’m finally copy-edit free!! Meaning, I also to a slight break from editing but will jump back into it real soon. I have 3 books out next year, so I need to get on that.

4. crochet one round of border a week

I crocheted two rounds this week, and I finished the afghan. Pictures to come probably on Wednesday check-in, since it’s been off and mailed and hopefully said person will receive it by then!

 

Have a great holiday season! And remember, tell your loved ones how much you love them. Life is short, and it always ends.

You want me to pay for what? A writer’s rant on marketing… #amwriting #writestuff #marketing

There are some things going on in the book promotion world that I’m unsure of. It’s hard to promote a book or an author anyway, but it’s even harder to tell if said promotion is working. There are so many ways to go about doing promotion, from shoving it down someone’s throat, sending private messages, to constantly sharing links in Facebook groups. (PS, I am mostly talking about Facebook promotion today).

I’ve been a part of the marketing world since I published my first book back in March 2013, and honestly, I’m still not great at doing it. Marketing is hard work, and it’s not something I ever really thought about when I was writing my novel. I’ve paid for things I will never pay for again (Goodreads ad, for example), and I’ve paid for this I will probably always pay for from now on out (virtual blog tours, for example).

But I’m seeing this new trend in Facebook promotion, and I’m not so sure how I feel about it. In the past six months, particularly because I had 3 releases smashed together, I’ve tried to up the ante and do lots of promotion of Facebook. I’m not talking about paid promotion on pages; I’ve already done that and won’t again.

For the past six months, I’ve been doing a lot of promotion with blogs on Facebook. From spotlights, to giveaways, to events, to takeovers, I’ve been doing it all. I think it’s been working. My books ranked for almost two months after their release, something that has never happened before, and it was pretty consistent. I appreciated the opportunity all these blogs provided, and it was a great way to cross-pollinate followers.

But here’s my issue. Recently, say in the past two months, I’ve seen a number of blogs hosting events. In order to participate in this event as an author and to have my work be spotlighted, in order to enter a giveaway, and in order to do a takeover, I have to pay. It’s not an exuberant about of money, sometimes $1 and sometimes $25, depending on what’s being offered. But I’ve been offended.

I work hard for my books. I work hard to promote them. I work hard to find blogs who are willing to help me promote my books while I in turn promote the blogs. So now, instead of just being mutual friends, it’s become a working relationship where money is exchanged. I don’t think a spotlight is work $1, and I definitely don’t think it’s work $25. For the amount of people it hits, it’s so not worth that.

A takeover? There’s no guarantee of sales. So for me to spend AN HOUR! and money doing a takeover that doesn’t always result in sales or might be to the wrong target audience is insane. I could be doing something else, like writing, to earn guaranteed money. This is a trend I’m seeing. I’ve been invited to participate in all these events and asked to pay money. For giveaways? How is it a giveaway if I have to spend money?

A lot of authors buy their own book to give to someone else for giveaways. A lot of authors do amazon gift cards to give away. They’re already spending their own money, yet now, to participate in a giveaway, they’re being asked to spend even more money? We’re not rich—that’s why we’re doing our own promotion. It’s not like you publish a book and suddenly are raking in the dough.

I’m not quite sure what this trend is a result of. If it’s because blogs are being limited to their earnings through ads on their site or what. But I don’t like it. Whatever happened to mutual exchange of goods? The bartering system worked well, so why is it changing? A people being greedy and what more cash flow to do something?

I’m not saying this completely from an author’s perspective. I also run a blog review site. It’s a hobby, something I do in my spare time that often takes up 10 hours a week. It’s something I do for someone else, promoting author’s work to help get them to a new audience. I really just don’t get where this sudden need to pay for services that were once done in mutual exchange is coming from.

It’s a change I’m not sure I can get on board with. Marketing is already hard, and it’s about to become harder. Everywhere we as authors turn, it’s someone asking for money and we’re never quite sure what we’re going to get in exchange for it. We spend hard earned and saved money to do some sort of promotion and get absolutely no return on it often enough that we should be suspicious of blogs asking for money to promote a giveaway—something we’re not likely to get any return on. At least with takeovers and spotlights there is a chance someone might buy the book.

There’s my rant for the day.

“A person is a person, no matter how small…”

I wasn’t going to write a blog about this at first, but my facebook blew up with the conversation. I should give a small amount of background. I write lesbian-fiction, for the most part. I’m co-writing a novel with a gender-shifting alien, and I have experimented with writing slash fiction. Queer sexuality does not SCARE me at all. In fact, I’m even part of that group.

I “label” myself as bisexual. Throughout the years, it’s never been a question to me, never an issue, just simply part of who I am. But that’s the catch. It’s only PART of who I am, it is not who I am at all. I have resisted joining LGBT communities and groups on college campuses and outside schools because they seem to want those labels to take over lives completely. Well, that’s not going to happen with me. I’m a daughter, a woman, a minister, a lover, a friend, a listener, a geek, a writer, a random individual, but most of all I am a PERSON.

Recently, my friend asked me a question about a new label that is floating around. There are so many names for the community: LGBT, GLBT, LGBTQI, QUILTBAG, etc. The newest one I’ve seen is LGBTQqi2. Say what? Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/sexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersexed, and Two-Spirited.

The two-spirited is the one that I haven’t seen before. Briefly, it is a name for Native Americans (hereby referred to as Indians, since I grew up near the reservations and that is their preference), who feel they have both gender-identities.

This sparked a debate on facebook. I wrote about the new identity and how I can’t stand that more labels are being added to the alphabet soup in order to be all-inclusive. There’s already a category for that; it’s called HUMANITY! Simply put, humanity, thus far, is the only all-inclusive group that humans can be associated with. (We’re excluding aliens from outer space thus far, seeing as how they have yet to show face). A person is a person, no matter how small–Dr. Seuss had it right. Go figure.

By adding more and more categories, they are striving for something completely unattainable: an all-inclusive group. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against the LGBT community or the work that they do; I just think that they are very naive in understanding as to what exactly they are doing. By fighting for rights of those only in their category, they are excluding others–which goes against the very nature of why that group was founded. A group that was excluded, creates a group and excludes other peoples, who need another group. DO YOU NOT SEE THE CYCLE!?

It’s not enough to fight for the rights of only one category. We need to fight for the rights of all humanity to be completely equal. Equality can’t come from just one or two groups, it needs to come from looking at every one and for every one–for all of humanity, not just certain parts of it. That doesn’t mean we can’t have parts or have labels–it just means that those labels are defined, understood in their definition, and are not expected to be the definition of a person.

People can argue with me day and night, but I will not be changing my mind. The work that the LGBT community does is fantastic; it’s great and wonderful. But it is not all-inclusive, and it does not fight for the rights of everyone. As a bisexual, I think I get this more than a lot of people. I get shit from both sides of the track in the world (the LGBT community and the straight community). I break the binary that the LGBT community set up to oppose heteronormatives. I break the chain.

So, why can’t we break the chain of working toward rights for only certain people? Fight for every one. Understand the small amount of work you do within the greater context of humanity and the world. Fighting for smaller groups and the rights of those smaller groups is great, but know that you’re not fighting for everyone.

 

All right. =P Rant over. Whew!