It’s not you, it’s me.

Perhaps I should explain myself, and how different parts of me are scattered across social media.

Choosing the best experience for you might mean we cannot be “friends”.

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At my core, I am a middle-aged man who works very hard to understand the behavior of both myself and other human beings. I will admit I am doing a little better with the former than the latter because I know who and what I am and how I was shaped. There may be no other point to our existence other than to discover ourselves—the “who” we are is complicated while the “what” we are is much easier. Let’s do the easy one first.

What am I?

  1. I am a human.
  2. I am a heterosexual male of that species.

What do I do?

They always leave out the implied ending of this question—for a living.

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  1. I am a non-fiction author.
  2. I am a writer for hire.
  3. I dabble in some business consulting, website design, and editing.

art-1301872_960_720Now the big question. . .

Who am I?

  1. It changes every day.
  2. I am just another flawed human being.
  3. I am someone who is looking behind the curtain of all my indoctrinations—familial; religious; societal; cultural—to see my programming.
  4. I am a seeker of truth which is a sucky pursuit. This brings us to the next one.
  5. I need to laugh, so I make snide, sarcastic, often inappropriate and misunderstood comments to help make the bitter pill of truth a little easier to swallow.
  6. As my self-awareness increases, I discard more and more of my original program in favor of ancient wisdom or “truths” if you will, which make me work on my humanness. There is much work to be done.
  7. If I shortlist this, I am pleased with my progress in compassion, empathy, sympathy, hypocrisy, ethics, scruples, and honesty, but I need more work on expectations, gratitude, judgement, tolerance, trust, and love.
  8. I am very concerned with how little time this incarnation of human civilization has left.
  9. Children make me smile. Each one is a blank slate with unparalleled memory capacity. If only we paid closer attention to the programming they receive.
  10. One of my few remaining beliefs is that a matriarchy might save us. The patriarchy has had at least 5000 years to get its shit together yet shows no signs of improving anytime soon. A civilization centered on economics only serves a few. Balance is the key to everything in nature and men just refuse to accept this paradigm. The patriarchy’s epitaph should read:

They discovered they could reshape their environment

and it ended them.

On that happy note, we will move on. This is the aforementioned sarcasm I spoke of.

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Twitter is my favorite place on social media because it is the least restrictive. Oddly, I am the most well-behaved there. If you compartmentalize your followers by making lists, you can end up with a personalized newsfeed. I recommend this for all authors who hate the social media obligation as much as I do. It will preserve your sanity for a while longer. On twitter you will get the best parts of me, for the most part, with little of my inner bad boy.

  • I re-tweet inspirational and philosophical words of wisdom daily.
  • I tweet my own mostly serious thoughts.
  • I tweet some book news.
  • My Ms. Creant site blog lands on twitter which will be mostly talking life and relationships from now on.
  • My E. A. Barker’s Blog Madness site also lands on twitter, and it is probably the only thing which could be construed as being offensive . . . and boy can it be offensive at times, when I take the gloves off. Yeah, this is a hockey term, and yes, I’m a Canadian.

You can find me on twitter @eabarkerauthor

I guess you could just follow one or both of my blogs, but you would definitely miss some fun . . . and I do like to have fun.

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Facebook is the bane of my existence. It is intrusive; your feed is next to impossible to manage unless you have a small circle; their idea of “community standards” would be laughable were it not for the disturbing fact they are willing to show the death of humans or animals, but a woman’s nipple is too much for their censors to bear; and yet I have four pages there. I might contact one of my psychologist “facebook friends” to help me figure out what in the f*ckity f*ck is up with that.

The public posts from my profile are squeaky clean; typically about life and saving the planet, although those damn blogs also show up. I guess we should change squeaky to pretty, or mostly, or kind of. If you are a facebooker, you can “follow” my public posts without seeing the bad boy stuff I share with my friends. You may miss out on some harmless humour, but you probably won’t be offended.

My E. A. Barker author page talks books, writing, author events, and libraries. I share most, but not all, blogging efforts to this page. THIS IS A SAFE ZONE!

My Author FYI page came about quite accidentally. It serves as a repository of all my research related to book publishing and book marketing for indie or small press authors, as well as a place where I wear my business-y hat. Only industry related blog posts land here. THIS IS A SAFE PLACE . . . or as safe as I get.

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If you cannot see the humour in this graphic, however inappropriate, you need not explore any farther.

My humor page is centered around relationships. The posts are there to make you laugh, but as usual, I employ few filters when it comes to seeing things for what they are.

woman-3156808_960_720Are you offended by nudity, vulgarity, or people who do not share your beliefs?

Do you remember when I said I am a flawed human being? If you make it onto my friends list, you will be treated to the full Monte. Actually that’s a lie, because facebook won’t let us show that, but you will get whatever strikes ME as funny, bizarre, cool, and I have been known to push the limits of facebook’s community standards just for the fun of it. I am against all things divisive. I am against all measures created to maintain division, the status quo, and to suppress badly needed conversations. If we cannot talk openly about anything, even if we do not agree with each other’s positions afterwards, then we cannot be friends. If you think you are up to it, you will find I am a loyal friend who is quick to help if I can, and you have my word, it won’t be dull.

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Author Truths for Beginners (Part 10)

What happens when there are more books than readers?

We are getting close.

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Way to go mass media. Thanks to you, readership is in decline. Who saw that coming? The answer is everyone did, way back when it began in the1960’s. As is typical with the human species, we thought someone else would handle it.

When you couple media addiction to an educational system designed to disengage all but the most pliable minds, we find ourselves with a societal problem that goes way beyond the book marketplace; but I won’t go off on this tangent. Instead, we will get back to why it will suck to be you if you decide to become one of us.

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Trust the picture!

Look how much fun authors have.

Your author experience will mostly be decided by your expectations, your attitude, your budget, your commitment, and your reviews.

If you hold onto the best parts of yourself and enter into this well-informed, you can navigate these treacherous waters to find yourself in a strange new world full of worthwhile people who make your day a bit brighter.

Before you say I always wanted to be an author, be certain you are a writer or at least a good storyteller. Writing skills can be learned, but the ability to create an original story, and tell it in a unique way that captivates readers is what makes some writers truly special.

Don’t hone your skills by laying out $6000.00 to try to make a success of a three-star book. Try to get some short stories published first. Who knows, if it turns out you are really good, you may find a publisher who will foot the bill.

I wrote this blog series to let people see into our world. Being an author is not all gala dinners, cocktail parties, and book signings as television depicts; far from, and it is definitely not for people who are wearing blinders.

This is a real get up and get to work business 90% of the time, which is why we can get a little bit nuts with the other 10%.

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Not all of it sucks if you keep a sense of humor or act a little crazy.

There’s always therapy, various coping and escape mechanisms, or some combination thereof.

I see drunk naked visit to my therapist in that sentence.

She’ll love it!

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I tease my muse, at the end of yet another week in author hell, that I am truly ready to off myself. I detail how I will use the shower curtain rod, or the closet bar, or the plant hook in the living-room to hang myself just as soon as I can find my old cub-scout knot tying manual so I can make a proper noose. The left side of my brain always ruins the moment with mental images of me sitting on the floor rubbing my bruised ass while covered in a shower curtain, or clothes, or plaster dust. This is not how an authors life should end. It should be outlandish and romantic . . .

He kissed her and turned to run into the burning building across the street to save the crying baby. He never saw the speeding liquor delivery truck as he took those final fate-sealing steps.

It’s a start. I’ll polish it up and spring it on her next week.

 

The End.

 

Who is E. A. Barker?
I am a just a boy…
Standing in front of a bookstore…
Asking them to love me.

All kidding aside, I am an occasionally serious researcher who wrote a book about life with women, without having much of the needed foreknowledge of the book biz I shared with you here. Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control, I also did not have the working capital necessary to execute the most basic of marketing strategies like the one outlined in this blog. Now, I try to help others avoid the mistakes I made. My book echoes that goal as well.

Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is a non-fiction book chronicling one man’s journey to understand, cope, and make peace with our crazy existence.

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The large print 8×10 paperback and hardcover versions of Ms. Creant are available through bookstores and libraries around the globe from Ingram Spark.

ISBNs
978-1-77302-134-8 (Hardcover)
978-1-77302-132-4 (Paperback)
978-1-77302-133-1 (e Book)

The e-book options are many, and all can be viewed at:

http://mscreant.eabarker.com

My website is also the place to find the most comprehensive list of reviews.

© 2018 E. A. Barker

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 7)

You will need my revolutionary new Bullshit-o-Meter 5000!

stock-vector-vector-illustration-of-a-meter-detecting-levels-of-bullshit-at-low-medium-or-high-399762697Special!
80% Off!
Save BIG!

Order before midnight tonight and I’ll also send you my HOW TO BECOME A RICH AUTHOR video with the same super deep discount, subtitled:

There Is One Born Every Minute & How to Fleece Them.

There are SO many snake-oil-selling salespeople hovering around and feeding on unsuspecting authors that it would be laughable were it not for the authors who get taken for thousands each year by charlatans with lawyers or marketing packages that yield nothing.

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Here is my List of Hungry Zombies Authors Should Avoid:

a) Social media campaigns run by third party promoters who promise your book will be seen by their 100,000 followers, twice per day, seven days a week . . . If by being seen they mean scrolled right over, then there is at least some truth in their claims. It would be interesting to see how many fake followers they have, but who has the time. My Bullshit-o-Meter 5000 is humming.

b) ANY and ALL so-called reviewers who ask for money.

c) ANY and ALL so-called reviewers who ONLY accept print books for review. Some demand multiple copies. You will pay for the books and shipping, only to “mysteriously” begin to see used versions of your book appear on your book’s Amazon page, eBay or craigslist. If reselling your book isn’t already bad enough, they don’t review it either. This group fracked me out of hundreds of dollars. Don’t let it happen to you no matter how legitimate they may appear. They are scammers, plain and simple.

d) ANY and ALL so-called Book Awards asking for money.

e) ANY and ALL so-called Book Awards who ONLY accept print books for review. Some demand multiple copies. You see where this is going. There are a few that will give you the award by refining the categories down until you are the only one left in it, but you will probably have to buy into multiple categories—each with its own entry fee—to be sure of becoming an Award-Winning Author.

stock-photo-gold-winners-trophy-with-golden-shiny-stars-721703176Legitimate and meaningful book award organizations have a nomination process which begins with your book being referred to them by a trusted party. You probably will not even know this has happened until

THEY CONTACT YOU.

Hell, if you send me fifty bucks, I’ll give you my exclusive and very prestigious sounding award (because it is in Latin) that will make you an

Insignes Literatura Winning Author

You don’t even have to send me your book, just the money. If you get nine of your author pals to send money as well, I will build a website to legitimize the whole thing to the casual observer.

f) The We Will Handle Everything for You Publicity / Marketing companies will usually do what they claim, as long as your checks keep clearing. Typically, you will find options to suit any wealthy person’s budget, ranging from a basic book launch for $500.00ish to the Hillary plan in the tens of thousands. So, if you have a foundation with your name on it, you are good to go, but no matter which plan you choose, your royalties will never cover the costs. Publicists are for those people who write books to create a secondary revenue stream in support of their primary occupations. The best examples these days are politicians, scientists and celebrities who wish to stay in, or return to, the limelight. These publicity companies are often promoters of trade shows. Do not exhibit your book in EXPOs if you will not be there to network. I rolled the dice on this expense for a $0.00 return. It’s the equivalent of putting your book on a shelf in the Library of Congress for five days; nobody knows you are even there.

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g) ANYBODY who is selling you on the DREAM instead of tangible proven services. Their pitch usually goes something like this: ‘It happened for E. L. James and J. K. Rowling . . . so it can happen for you.’ This one has been known to break the Bullshit-o-Meter 5000.
These examples are anomalies. Forget about them.

h) ANYBODY who is trying to tell you to give away your work for nothing or next to nothing. There are more and more sites popping up everyday promising us that if we pay a small membership fee, mark our books down to where we no longer receive a royalty, and play well with others on the site, we MIGHT get a bunch of new reviews which COULD cause an upswing in sales even after the promo-period ends. My Bullshit-o-Meter 5000 has smoke coming out of it.

If any readers are willing to show me how any of the above mentioned actually grossed more royalties than they cost in either time or quatloos, I will happily print a retraction.
There is no magical formula that will sell any book to every person for little or no money. Marketing is mostly about common sense, or at least it was until the Internet came along.

Author Truths for Beginners (Part 5)

Doing the work is not optional.

In order to eat occasionally, keep a roof over my head, and keep the dream alive of one day being able to afford cocaine, I work with a variety of very different people who are mostly artistic types who were forced into becoming entrepreneurs. Most fiction authors and performers are creatives—right brain thinkers—who by their very nature have difficulty with the structured environment needed to run a business. In meetings, you can actually see their eyes glazing over as their brain’s dominant right side takes them to a daffodil covered sun-bathed meadow where unicorns run free, and where fairy dust falls from rainbows in an otherwise pure blue sky.

pexels-photo-255339.jpegStarving artists have always existed for a reason.

Artists want to work at their craft to the exclusion of all else. They are only interested in what moves them on an artistic level. This is why they have been exploited throughout history. When it comes to creatives, the more talented they are, the worse they are at focusing on the real-world DETAILS that will give them a fighting chance at success:
Budgeting
Cover photos and graphics
Titles
Subtitles
Blurbs
Author bio
Bibliography
Interior layout
Fonts
Meta data
Categories
Keywords
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
BIC & BISAC subject codes
If you are already phasing, you are probably destined for greatness.
Branding
Image building
Distribution
Marketing
Advertising
Promotion
Events
Appearances
Interviews
Press releases
Publicity
Revenue streams
Websites
Social media management
E-mail campaigns
Targeted marketing strategies
You get the idea.

It’s business-y stuff.

pexels-photo-450271.jpegMany of the authors who come to me for a little help in some of the areas above, are wildly prolific writers who crank out books almost as fast as it takes me to write a blog like this. While I admire and envy them for being singularly focused on the best part of being an author—writing, I can usually see where they have taken shortcuts which hurt the quality, sale-ability, and visibility of their book(s) and or brand.

Haste makes waste!

I wonder if there is such a thing as publishing addiction? I can see how it could happen, and it would explain authors who rush to publish without doing all the work. The best I have felt in decades came as a result of typing The End for the first time. I poured a scotch, lit a cigar, and sat back to bask in the afterglow of my tremendous achievement; fantasizing about the possibilities . . . it was wonderful. Anything wonderful can be addictive. What if premature publication is actually the root cause of indie and small press books remaining in the weeds?

Premature publication is just like premature ejaculation.
In both cases, people are left wanting.

pexels-photo-256658.jpegControl your excitement!

You must put a long list of things in place before you announce your book to the world. One example of major impotence is most influential reviewers want an ARC or galley copy three months prior to the release of the book. [The typo stayed because it absolutely killed me when I saw it. My subconscious is hilarious.] Skipping over this step is the equivalent of saying: Reviews do not matter, it is the size of your catalog that counts.

That’s just nuts!

Reviews drive this business!
Reviews open doors.

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The top influencers in the industry are not the reviewers you might expect.
Follow these links to find the truth:

www.slate.co

fictionadvocate.com

www.thebookpeople.co.uk

You are only as good as the QUALITY AND QUANTITY of the reviews of your last book.

That is why I will not self-publish another one. There are just too many barriers which are designed to keep indie-authors in their place, which by the way, is anywhere outside of the mainstream book marketplace. Upcoming segments in this series will touch on a few examples. Stay tuned.

Author Truths for Beginners. (Part 1)

Truth 1: If you don’t have expectations, you won’t be disappointed.

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Yeah, I totally got fracked by this.

Becoming an author is exciting. Being swept up by the excitement is a mistake which is difficult to avoid. Most first-time authors will be blown away by a few momentous events. Here are the ones I recall:

  • Writing THE END. You should be proud of this accomplishment no matter what happens afterward. Less than 1% of the planet’s seven billion people will even attempt this. This makes you extraordinary in that it shows you finish what you begin. This is a trade mark of your character, and no one can ever take this away from you.
  • The first time you see a printed proof of your book’s cover. For me, everything became very real in that moment. You realize people will one day soon also be looking at this cover, flipping it over to read the blurb, and taking its contents home with them to read. It is both wonderful and unsettling.
  • The first time you hold your book in your hands. I let out an involuntary audible WOW. I hugged it, fanned its pages, and breathed in the new book smell.
  • The first time someone buys your book. In all likelihood, this will happen at your launch event and it drives home the idea that people will read your words. In so doing, they get to see the parts of us which are normally reserved for our intimate relationships, if we show them at all.
  • When reviews come in. I outwardly pretend that reviews do not affect me. I’m too cool for that. Inwardly however, this could not be farther from the truth. While I do not live and die with each review, I enjoy hearing about what a reader took away from the read; especially the ones who totally got what the book is really about.

These things create a euphoric state which can keep us from seeing the realities of the book publishing world, while at the same time distracting us from taking care of business.

  • I BELIEVED quality work was all that was required to break through. Believing in something does not make it happen, but it does show you are naïve.
  • I REJECTED all the “negativity” about the impossibility of breaking through as a first-time non-credentialed non-fiction author. I remember thinking to myself at the time, “I will show them!” Turns out . . . they showed me.
  • I was chasing a DREAM undaunted, because that is what we are supposed to do in order to be a success STORY. Dreams and stories are mostly fiction.
  • Drive, ambition, and commitment will net success, or so the experts SAY. They always leave out the part about having access to working capital.
  • I had HOPED by putting out a quality work which rivalled products coming out of the Big Five publishers, my book could rise out of the weeds. Hope didn’t get it done.
  • I was ENCOURAGED by many people to do this, and I never once considered the fact that none of them knew anything about the publishing industry. Do not believe unqualified manuscript readers! If they are friends, fans, or relations they will say you are as good as Hemmingway without ever having read his work.

The moral of the story . . .

You need to have a plan for what happens once the afterglow wears off, and you only have one year at most to execute your strategy. Expect to be busy, and learn to measure success in dollars and cents instead of likes, shares, and followers. There is more to being an author than hanging around on social media sites, but we will leave that for next time.