Friday, September 11, 2009

The What's In It For Me Attitude

This is the third post I've written for tonight. Now I'm down to the wire and might get this written just in time to post, which is a really bad idea because I'm so opinionated and my less than mainstream opinions should be revisited before I post them. Sometimes I alienate people. That is not my intent. On the other hand, it is not my intent to collect a following of 'believers' in the Nadine way of doing things.

As they were growing up, I taught my sons maxims I felt were important tools for them. This isn't earth shattering wisdom. One I want to share is, "To thy own self be true."

There is no dainty way to say some of the things on my mind the last few weeks. I guess I'll know on Monday if anyone is still reading my blog.

Collect the information you need to make an informed decision of your own. There are several things I do or do not do that are vogue which I have evaluated in terms of my career goals. But don't do what I do because it is me, evaluate what you do in terms of what delivers your goals.

For example, online social networks. I just don't do them. I cannot justify the two hours a day spent on them. I know most people plan to spend less than an hour on social networking per day. Clock it for two typical weeks and average the time spent - I bet it is more like two hours a day, if you count the few minutes throughout the day when you check in at the sites you frequent.

Here is the math for a two hour average for all social network activity combined. Two hours a day per 30 days is 60 hours a month on social networking. That is like a week and a half work at a regular job. Are you getting results worth that time investment or are you just making yourself think you are doing something because you are busy at it?

I have the ability to come up with authors for 4 weeks of blog party because of a network I built by hand over the years from many sources. That is my style, not bulletin board like posts on certain sites. Relationships with actual people works for me. I'm not one to yell into the Grand Canyon and think my echo is meaningful interaction.

What disturbs me is all the emails I've received from writers who eloquently or bluntly want to be in the next blog party. Their WIIFM attitude is off putting. I don't know these people and they have not develop a relationship with me over time before asking me for a service that I am not in the business of providing, nor do I want to be a book promoter.

I'm not in the business of selling services to writers. My main interest is readers. I don't think we take as good of care of them as we should. As far as writers go, there are plenty of people who sell services to writers. It is a million dollar business - if not more. There are a few of these people I highly respect, like Irene Watson. There are quite a few I do not respect, and I won't name them publicly or privately - don't ask.

All I am saying is I don't have a messiah complex. I don't need to gather followers who don't think for themselves. That is not a responsibility I wish to assume at this point.

Frankly is scares me that there are so many writers out there whose main concern is themselves. As I mentioned to one person who complemented me for promoting other authors, "It is a shame more authors don't promote each other."

The thing about these emails is they made me feel used, or that I was someone to use because I will do this stuff for free. It was an opportunistic drive to email me out of the blue like that. That isn't how this works. If I do another blog party - and I had planned to, but am not so sure now - then it will be authors I see doing things for other authors.

I'm just too set in my ways and have paid my dues to be used like that. Please hesitate before emailing to ask to be in the next blog party. You've missed the point. The party was for readers.


  1. Folks see a good thing and they want a piece of it. Don't feel used, feel complimented (if you can). You've done something unique and it's appreciated, envied and desirable for others.

    I think you did an amazing job - and though I can quite understand your chagrin at complete strangers coming to you asking for you to feature them in your next blog party - it is, really, a mark of the impact you have made.

    As to reaching readers, I don't think anyone knows how to do that. It's why publishers are so scared to take on anything new - they just keep on rolling out the same old same old (even when it's good) and not take any risks. Just keep doing what you do - for your reasons, not for anyone else (unless they offer to pay you HUGE amounts of money).

    Please. Sit back, and look at this as something you have achieved, and not as something that has stolen a bit of your soul.

    Your friend,

  2. Carrie, the sense of entitlement is amazing. I know that Carolyn Howard-Johnson promotes doing things frugally, but she does not promote what happened post-party. She says to offer something of equal value. These people should have, at the very least, bought my book. But to think that somehow they should be added to my elete list for no apparant reason what a bit much. In that sense, this post is several things, 1) think for yourself; 2) don't query me - I am not in the business of marketing other people's books (friends help each other).

  3. As the day wears on and my real friends email me, the point is being taken that we have paid our dues. What we do for each other is a gift. If a writer is not doing something for someone else as many times a day as they are asking for others to do things for them, they will find that we share those names and will shun them. So... ask not what we can do for you, but what you can contribute to the craft and community of writers. This isn't an entitlement just because someone wrote a book, everyone needs to pay their dues. Wake up people. Didn't your mama raise you better than that?

  4. Nadine, you go girl!!! Well said.

    I've been in this industry for 5 years - first starting with being an author, then working with authors and helping them with promotion.

    At one time I put authors on a pedestal. Then I became one. Soon after I started working with authors and immediately smashed the pedestal down.

    I've learned a lot. One of the things I learned over the past few years is that many authors (not all - maybe 80%)don't read books, and haven't read one for years. Nor have they been in a book store recently. Yet, they feel qualified to write a book and expect readers (and other authors) to get excited about it.

    There is much on the internet and many promote the fact to get everything done for you for free....promotion, reviews, interviews, tweets, publicity, and on and on. Yet, these same people never address the other side - those of us that provide the service. Yes, it takes time to do a review or interview, and guess what, staff wants to get paid!

    As a review service we get thousands of books per year asking for a free review. Every one of those authors expects and demands we do it for free. let's take a look at it. If we gave a free review for every book we got, and let's use an example of 2000 books in a year, we would be taking $70,000 out of our pockets to provide the "free" review.

    Yep...that's right. It costs $35 in total overhead to give a free review. You ask why? Consider this - one person can't possibly review, maintain a site, and do all the things necessary to provide a review. So, we have to hire people to do the work.

    Unfortunately I haven't found a way to convince people to work for me for free, nor have I been able to convince anyone that complains we don't give them a free review or interview to give me suggestions on how I can make money to cover the expenses.

    Interestingly enough, many of the complainers are those that expect someone to pay them for the book they just published or those that encourage authors to get everything for free. Yikes!

    Okay...I'm off my soap box now. Nadine, I can see you are getting a taste of the industry and what many authors expect of you with nothing in return.

    However, that said, the 20% of the authors, which includes you Nadine, are diamonds!! Those are the ones that keep the industry successful and understand the road goes both ways.

    Thanks for being who you are Nadine and providing a place for authors to meet and chat. Your blog party was great and I enjoyed stopping by.

  5. Hi Irene, I certainly don't mind paying your company for work done. Even though we are friends and do bounce ideas around with each other, I would never ask you to give me free services. You never ask me to give you things that would cost me to do either.

    This author diva stuff isn't new, but boy have they come out of the woodwork since the blog party began, so this is a head's up. I don't owe you guys. None of us who have paid our dues owe you guys. Take off your diva hats and contribute before you start asking us 'old timers' to promote you.

    I'll say it again, I'd rather have a short list of real friends than a million twitter or facebook friends who just want something from me.

  6. I hope you are feeling better now you've got that out. xo

  7. Yes, DJ, I do. It is all part of the memtoring process. Every once in a while we have to have the "mind your manners" talk. Then everything goes along smoothly again for a while.

  8. P.S. I tagged you on this blog post of mine:

  9. The internet is a blessing and a curse. There's so much you can just 'grab' off the internet, and people do expect a lot for free.

    Just because something is free doesn't mean someone, somewhere, hasn't had to 'pay' for it in time or investment somehow or another.

    Have a good weekend everyone.


  10. Compliments feel good. These requests did not make me feel good, they made me feel used. In the end, the end result trumps the intent.

    The more the abuser was defended in emails today, the clearer it became to me that in fact, their motives were as I suspected. If they simply wanted to get to know me as it was argued, they would have followed my blog and subscribed to my newsletter, they did neither.

    What concerns me even more was the argument that I should let them use me and turn it to my advantage. As long as we defend anyone who uses another for their own benefit, we say some people are more valuable than others. Even in this small thing, the message is abusive. Defending any kind of abuser leads to the ability to defend larger and more horrific abuses of people we have deemed utilitarian.

    After the years of child abuse investigations I logged, there is no winning this one with me. It is never ever right to assume use of another person.

    Yes, I did turn this into a social issue. How people treat each other is a measure of societies' civilization, moral values, religions, social justice...

  11. All I can add is that I loved the party. I couldn't be there for the whole run but have some very fond memories to keep. I've also had the opportunity to "meet" some wonderful people.

    As you point out, the party was aimed at readers. Well this particular reader appreciates that immensely as I have had the opportunity to read books and hear music I might otherwise never been aware of.

    I have read Kathryns beach, listened joyfully to The Ghost Sniffer and Carries music. What did I think to them..ha ha, you'll have to wait for the reviews.

    I can't wait to introduce Pesky Kid to Neds' adentures and eagerly await my copy of The Desert Has No King.

    As a reader you have given me the sheer, unadulterated pleasure of opening and reading new, crisp and fantastic books.

    As a fledgling writer you have given me a valuable insight into the your world and a renewed determination to make my own mark on the world whether it be a best selling novel or, just as fulfilling, a personal, little story for my children to read and remember me by.

    Thank You


  12. Ah Kate, you are a delight. You were and are the people the party was for. Do not let my recent ranting cause you to think less of us in the industry. There is alway a diva or two, but most people pay their dues and are wonderful to welcome into the community.

    I expect that Ned is waiting for me at home for my return. I'll check with Fred and see if he has mailed The Desert Has No King. I know he was moving house during the party, but surely he has unpacked his books and signed one for you.

    When you finish your ms, I'm sure we can find some beta readers for you. Wouldn't that be cool? What is your genre again?