Friday, 24 September 2010

Dear Authors – I am ranting at you

 

 

 

Dear Authors

Since my three weeks break and my baby steps back into the world of blogging… yes, baby step, for anyone who has taken two weeks or more out from blogging you will know what I am talking about – you have to take it slowly.

Anyhow during my baby step reacquainting myself with the blogs and site I love and even finding a few new ones to enjoy -  I find am looking at them with new eyes so to speak and I am finding some of them wanting.

Before anyone get on their high horse – this is really geared at authors. As much as I blog about books and I share my thoughts about the books I read, before anything else I am a reader. During my recent web crawl I was and still am astound as some of the things that would just seem so basic to me and every body else for some reason seem to slip pass the minds of some author.

This is not a name bashing rant, if you see your self in any of the point I am listing below – just know you may have an irritated and frustrated reader out there.

@ Email.

This really is the simplest of things to do and know – would it kill some of you to actually put an email address on your site or a contact widget if you are tech savvy.

I read your books, I take the good and the bad,  I even take the typos and the TSTL hero and heroine – I am one of those readers who like to pass on a nice word and say I read your book, I liked it or just to simply ask a question – I don't want to @ Twitter you, @ Facebook you or god forbid  @ MySpace you - all I want is to email you.

There are still a few of us who don't want our business to be advertised to 5 million people at the click of a button. I for one like to know I can send off an email and probably make your day or even make it worst depending on your latest product.

Put some contact info on your shop front . Please.

 

@ Social Networking

I personally couldn’t care less what you eat for breakfast or even what you get up to at 2 am in the morning – but I accept that this is a new day and a new age where you have to market yourself, make your public feel you, but could you actually find time to do other stuff as well without social networking all the time..

Namely

@ Website/Blog

Tidy up your bloody web space or blog or what ever you are using as your home site. Not only tidy up but actually keep it active. What ever medium you are using, the giants like Wordpress and Blogger makes it ABC to have a presentable product, even the free web services are so easy .

They literally provide everything at your finger tips – then there is the fact that you guys are researchers, so a little brain work in how to twik and twink your place shouldn’t be to much of a hardship. It is really depressing to visit your home space and see firstly it has not been updated in probably the last year and the site looks like crap.

Yes it looks bad – come on people care about what you have, remember business class, first impression last.. believe you me I wont be visiting a few of your sites anywhere in the near future.

I am a blogger and I have a demanding life so believe me I know the stress of juggling it all to keep it fresh and make it happen – but talk to me, let me your reader know right from the outset that your place is just a spot for books,nothing else.

If you are a once a week poster, say that as well – I have to tell you, you don't have the same flexibility  that us bloggers have when it comes to space management. As a blogger I may not post for a whole month – yes I might lose some readers, but I have a hardcore fan of supporters that will always be here to chat books with me, just as I do with them irrespective of the length of time I or they are away.

You on the other hand really can’t afford to lose even one prospective CUSTOMER – because let’s be honest you want my/our/their money.. I would imagined that falling off the radar for any length of time will affect sales and depending on how big a name you are probably not a massive drop off, but can a new author afford to lose any customer can any author afford to lose customer. 

@Excerpts

This is a pet peeve of mine, I love excerpts. They do more than just give a sneak peek at your upcoming body of work. They build the excitement, they show your writing style –  some readers are quite funny about their adjective and their pronoun – but more than anything else for me it shows that you are willing to share – to tease.

With all that said I cannot for the life of me understand why when you have a novel, super-romance or just anything over about 80page you are unwilling to put a decent size excerpt for viewing. Three paragraph is not an excerpt – no matter how you want to spin it.

To be honest I am not sure if this is a publisher thing or just you – but please pull your socks up and put a reasonable size excerpt for YOUR readership to sink their teeth into. 

Even if you cannot post long excerpt on your publishing house site, post it on your web space.

Sort it out - please

@Cover Images

200 x 250 is not a decent size cover image to use. If you did not know let me tell you. Get a large image of your book cover/s, upload it to a hosting site and we will find it.

Book pimper’s like myself don’t use tiny images and I want the best quality if I am going to HELP YOU promote YOUR book.

Please don’t make this rocket science people, you have written the book, you have gotten it contracted – how hard can it be to tell the powers that be that you want a large image of your cover to be used for promo.

Think people, think…

 

@Branding

Once again it is not for me to tell you authors how to manage your business, blog or readership, but  - yes but, I am one of your readership and whilst I can have a laugh with the best of them and appreciated even the most erotic photo or lewd comment, there really is a time and place for these sort of things.

Authors with blog as your main site – Please don't let the first thing that I see when I hit your URL is a full frontal nude picture. I personally hate it, not that I can’t appreciate a nice guy or a cute chick in all her bloom, but come on this is your main spot, where you are selling yourself.

Have a site and then a blog for all this social participation that you feel you need to take part in. Once again remember bloggers who are just bloggers have the advantage here again – you don't have to compete or even be over the top to share something you have in common with us.

Even authors who write genre specific material, you are not exempt either – not because you write erotica, or hard core material that means that you have to not respect the people who take the time to find your work and your place.. make us welcome and full frontal is not the way to go.

In Closing.

Sometimes you have to get these thing off your chest and I am feeling good about letting you guys know my thoughts.

I am not a bitch-fest sort of person – but some of you guys have lost me as a reader over the past few week.. I can put up with alot but my cup will over flow at some point and I think it has now.

The letter above are all my own thoughts and opinion, with no direct targeting at anyone person or persons.If you do however see yourself in anything that I have written, please sort it out. You may jolly well have a whole bunch of irrated and just plain fed up readers out there..

36 Speak To Me:

Val on 24 September 2010 at 17:39 said...

This is such good feedback, EH! I've never been guilty of having full frontal nudity on my website, (ha, ha!) but I have been known not to update it. And I'd never thought about the excerpts. I feel like I never have enough time to read them so I don't tend to value them, but I'm looking at excerpts with a fresh eye now in light of your feedback. Publishers will set limits on how much you can excerpt but it's a very generous limit like 4K or 5K words. Thanks again, EH!

Rikki on 24 September 2010 at 20:03 said...

A lot of good points. ITA on the blogs that are hardly ever updated and especially on the branding. I don't know why authors of let's say erotica, have to be so blatant about it that they feel the need to post nude pics on their main site. I hate that.
And I also sometime wonder about the unprofessional look of author's websites.
Very good post, E.H.

Blodeuedd on 24 September 2010 at 20:20 said...

Lol, I thought you meant it for the site Dear author and got really confused, I am so silly.

But good rant!

Lily on 24 September 2010 at 20:27 said...

You brought up some interesting points, EH.

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:18 said...

@Val..

You are welcome hon..

I think sometimes authors need to hear this stuff - it seems to me they get caught up in the race to be everywhere and do everything and it's not possible..

Naturally somethings get left behind - unfortunately websites and some simply things get overlook..

and those are the things that really shouldn't be overlooked..

glad I could rant...

:)

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:19 said...

@Val...

Thank you for the info about the excerpts... good to know.

:)

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:22 said...

@Rikki

I don't know why authors of let's say erotica, have to be so blatant about it that they feel the need to post nude pics on their main site.

Not sure where the need to comes from - it probably is from the same follow me culture that is so much a big part of the industry..

But I also hate it as well...

Don't even mention the look of some of these site - Horrid.. and really just a tweak here and there would make such a difference..

:)

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:23 said...

@Blodeuedd..

No hon...

Not them.. just authors in general...

Sometimes I have to get on my soapbox... LOL

:)

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:23 said...

@Lily..

Thanks Lil'

Not sure how much impact it will have - but we live and hope..

:)

Pearl on 24 September 2010 at 21:25 said...

All good points.

Welcome back, EH!

hugs,
Pearl

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 21:29 said...

@Pearl..

Thank you hon...

Happy weekend..
:)

Lea on 24 September 2010 at 21:58 said...

This is a great post EH. All worthy points and comments. While I can't say author's have lost me as a reader because of the website (I don't visit them, except for a couple of regulars that are very professional in their presentation) there are ones that have irritated me no end on the social media websites and they have lost my devotion as a reader.

I was talking to an author recently with respect to this very issue. I highly respect because of her professional and business approach to marketing her books. She indicated, as you alluded above that social networking is ever evolving and agreed with me that blogging seems to be losing steam in favour of Twitter and Facebook. I think that folks tend to 'read' posts but comment much, much less which doesn't encourage the updating of sites or using blogs and websites as a marketing venue. Authors who inhabit Twitter seem to be running more contests from that medium now which, to be honest bugs the crap out of me. But, *shrugs* whatever..

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a great weekend EH.

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 22:16 said...

@Lea..

While I can't say author's have lost me as a reader because of the website

It's the visual person in me that gets tick off by the sites and the blogs that some of these authors operate...

there are ones that have irritated me no end on the social media websites and they have lost my devotion as a reader.

I keep hearing this - I auto forward my post to these sites but I don't personally participate because of the mindless chatter that happens there..

But different strokes for different folks..

I highly respect because of her professional and business approach to marketing her books

I do so love an author that really deport themselves well on the net - even if all their stuff don't call to me - I can appreciate the effort they make to play right and keep their heads above the rubbish that's out there..

on the other hand I can understand an author wanting to be right in the thick of things with their audience - but something has to give eventually..

because no matter how you tear it - a percentage of readers are not following the masses in this 140 character hop that seem to be taking over...

as for twitter and facebook contest and other sign up and support - they can rule me out...

Totally irritating and bugs the hell out of me as well..

Happy weekend hon - give Tori a gentle pat for me...

:)

Chris on 24 September 2010 at 22:18 said...

Excellent points!

You should see my rants about publishers' websites - especially those that are purportedly selling books.

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 22:22 said...

@Chris..

You should see my rants about publishers' websites

To be honest I am expecting pitch forks and axes next for some of these publishers...

and I love that phrase...those that are purportedly selling books.

So true..

Word!!!

:)

Smokinhotbooks on 24 September 2010 at 23:07 said...

I'm always a little astonished when I come across an author's site and he/she doesn't have a newsletter for new book info, a current book list, and upcoming releases.

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 23:12 said...

@K.C..

I have to admit I can take or leave Newsletter - but I get what you mean - at least it's a way to let readers know what's happening at the least once a month in their world..

I would imagine not all authors are tech savvy to have to twiddle with newsletter and such - but at least with web space - just a "What New' feature would be nice...

Happy weekend hon...

:)

Lisbeth on 24 September 2010 at 23:30 said...

*g* I hope you don't mind, but as a newbie published author, I'm taking pointers from this post. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and views - you're incredibly generous and I really appreciate the great suggestions!

(Btw, I don't think I ever thanked you for posting an excerpt from my ebook back in August. I apologize for the oversight - no excuse except for being entirely overwhelmed by the new experience - and I thank you so very much for the support!)

Cheers,

Lisbeth

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 23:33 said...

@Lisbeth...

Welcome and I am glad something I said here was helpful to you...

I feel a little sad that I had to rant though - some of this is really common sense..

As for your work - Val from Obsidian Bookshelf directed me to your work - it was my pleasure showcasing the excerpt...

Have a great weekend..

E.H>

Kris on 24 September 2010 at 23:50 said...

Terrific post, EH. I agree with all of your points. I've also been known to send ranting emails to author friends to tell them to do something about their crappy websites. I'm very subtle like that.

Erotic Horizon on 24 September 2010 at 23:53 said...

@kris..

I know you are not afraid to kick a few up the arse - good on you...

Wish a few more would take heed...

Well wishes coming your way hon...
:)

Shawn Lane on 25 September 2010 at 02:12 said...

Quite the rant you got going there, EH. Hopefully I do okay, lol.

Lea on 25 September 2010 at 03:51 said...

PS:

I too don't give a rat's ass when an author is getting her kid off to school or what he or she is listening to while writing, word for word.

It's pretty much driving me away from Twitter at this point except for an occasional visit. I too have Twitter feed on the blog, so if there is a contest or something going on that I think folks might like to know about then at least it is out there. But wow, just wow, to be honest I just don't have the time or patience.

(hug)
L

Devon Rhodes on 25 September 2010 at 08:33 said...

LOL, first thing I did was go survey my sites, and I think I'm doing okay, except I did add a gadget linking directly to my website's contact page. Good point on that, even tho one could go to my profile for the email..why make them have to work for it??

I'll have a bunch of excerpts coming up soon with all the releases I have coming down the pike, and I'll make sure to make them extra long!! ;)

Seriously tho, thanks for all the reminders, EH. Love ya, Dev

Mandi on 25 September 2010 at 12:31 said...

Great post!!! The one thing that stands out to me is the cover picture. It is the worst when I go to an author's site and I can't find a decent size picture of their covers!

Fiction Vixen on 25 September 2010 at 16:23 said...

The biggest frustration for me is a poorly organized author book shelf. I like to list all the books in the series when I do a review and if I can't easily get a list, I'm tempted to skip it. Also, if I read a book I like, I'm likely to seek out an author's back list. Again, if I can't find it easily I'll pass.

Erotic Horizon on 25 September 2010 at 20:02 said...

@Shawn..

Yup, this is me ranting...

Hope I dont have to do it too often..

:)

Erotic Horizon on 25 September 2010 at 20:04 said...

@Lea..

Never better said hon...

The original concept of twitter is great - but human nature being what it is, goes overboard as usual..

:)

Erotic Horizon on 25 September 2010 at 20:06 said...

@Dev..

Hey hon - I am sending a virtual cheer for the tweaks... Thanks

The ltitle things do so make the difference..

You are welcome...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 25 September 2010 at 20:11 said...

@Mandi..

I am so glad I am not the only person who finds this frustrating..

You would think that an author would at least have a decent size image on their own web space...

Hopefully my rant will have some positive results..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 25 September 2010 at 20:13 said...

@Ms. FV

Yup another tear out my hair rant point...

It is really funny how some people just get it and another set it seems just dont care about how their readsers navigate through the mindfield that's called their webspace..

Have a good weekend my dear...

E.H>

Clare London on 26 September 2010 at 11:02 said...

This is really great feedback! And however long an author's spent on a website and other sites, thinking they've done enough of the right thing, there's *never* any substitute for hearing how a reader views it. I set up my own Coming Soon page because a reader complained I didn't have one *blush*. And I'll be returning to my sites with your advice in hand, too.

It's tough, I won't deny it, trying to find the time and skills to run an online presence as well as write books - but so much of the fun and success is tied up with the web, it can't be neglected for long.

But personally, I *cannot* get to grips with Twitter LMAO...

Great blog, EH, many thanks! :)

Erotic Horizon on 27 September 2010 at 09:53 said...

Hello Clare...

And however long an author's spent on a website and other sites, thinking they've done enough of the right thing,

I do get this, I really do... I think for me there are just somethings that are core - must do stuff...

Webspace and email and such falls into that category..

Hey at least you listen to your readers - I wonder how many other readers have probably hinted at a way of doing something better or different to an author and if they took on the challenge..

My hats off to you guys - I love reading but the whole drama just gets more intense and more convoluted after you have gotten the book contracted..

It seems to me that's when the hardest past of the battle will begin - so as much as I love the stuff you all produce, I dont envy you guys that "need to" spread yourself thin to capture it all and get your name out there..

Thanks for your comment on the site and have a great week..

E.H>

Janna (ErotRomReader) on 28 September 2010 at 21:35 said...

Great points, EH!

Glad to see you back! I'm flying in and out of blogaverse myself these days, due to work, and it's not easy to keep posting...

:)
Janna

Erotic Horizon on 29 September 2010 at 08:43 said...

@Janna..

I do understand that in and out of the blogaverse situation my dear..

Have a good week..

E.H>

Patti (Book Addict) on 2 October 2010 at 03:02 said...

Great rant. I like to see the author's books, and if there is a series - let me know the book order and/or how they're related; I hate fumbling around and reading out of order! I also like to see what's coming up, if your "coming soon" section features a book released last year - fail.