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

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Author Truths for Beginners (Part 2)

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Even if you bleed on the pages there will be detractors.

This brings us to the second thing every aspiring author should know.

Social media is replete with anti-social behavior.

In fact, these sites are little more than a soapbox for some of the worst sociopaths out there. Also, regular use of social media has been scientifically linked to increased unhappiness, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicides.

I SO get it!

After spending three years in a social media prison of my own making, I drink way more now than ever before, and trying crack cocaine to escape the preponderance of insanity exhibited there, is no longer out of the question. It’s probably a good thing I am a starving author who cannot afford drugs. Is this change in my outlook towards escapism merely a coincidence? I don’t think so.

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Tips to avoid becoming this guy:

  • Spend only the time that you must on social media. It is not a healthy place. Social media burnout is a real thing. Just ask any of your author friends on facebook, and they will tell you all about it.
  • Do not expect reciprocity. You will probably LIKE and SHARE far more often than others return the favor.
  • Being an author means you have gone into the book selling business. Sharp business people realize “Time is money.” Understand that without advertising, maybe 1% of your followers might actually read your book(s). Budget your time spent on social media sites accordingly. Here is the math that no author I know, including myself, pays any attention to:

10,000 followers x 1% book buyers x +/- $3.00 royalty = $300.00 / your hours invested.

My social media investment is really taking off. I make 14 cents per hour, now that I have cut back on the time spent there; when only one year ago the number was 3 cents per hour. So, I have that going for me.

Why do it at all?

We do it for the 1%.

  • Engage with your very special 1%. Readers, reviewers, and supporters are what makes social media tolerable in small doses.
  • To preserve your sanity, learn to UNFOLLOW, BLOCK, or even UNFRIEND those who post police brutality, animal abuse, racism, sexism, posts promoting division, photos of the bandits ruling America regardless of party—basically anything in your feed which causes a revulsive response within you.

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  • If you are a woman, opening your Messenger to a new male follower is like having to choose to between cutting the blue or red wire to defuse a time bomb several times per day. It’s an inevitability that you will make the wrong choice eventually and BOOM—dick pic.

These are YOUR sites to manage how you want.

Don’t let others tell you what you must tolerate in order to be “successful” on social media. Those days are gone. Social media no longer has the influence it initially had with agents, publishers or the book buyers of the world so keep the time you spend there in perspective. If you do this, you will find yourself with a significant amount of extra time to use on more productive pursuits like writing, e-mail campaigns, or trying to find a drug dealer in an upscale family-oriented neighborhood. It’s tougher than you think.

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.

 

It’s a BIG book—literally and literarily!

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Librarians, and people considering publishing a paper book, this one is for you!

When I began writing Ms. Creant a number of years ago, I found myself reaching for my reading glasses more and more often as I researched the book. The decision to purchase them was based on my rationalization that due to the ridiculous amount of safety warnings being printed on labels these days, the font sizes were being decreased so much that only a very few people could read them. It had nothing to do with being in my forties.

Denial.

As a single guy in this age group, you cling to your youth amidst a mostly unacknowledged mid-life crisis, which means you wage war on the gray hairs more and more frequently until it is just a part of your unconscious daily routine. You have to attempt to look younger than you actually are in order to have any shot with women still in their child-bearing years—or so you have convinced yourself. Part of maintaining a youthful appearance in public requires that we can read a book without the apparent need of reading glasses; something I can do easily with a twelve-point font size.

Light bulb.

I would produce a book that people over forty can read at the beach without glasses. As it turned out there are both upsides and downsides to this decision for a self-published author.

Big 8” x 10” large print books are expensive to produce.

It seems that by choosing this size—after literally measuring bookshelves in libraries and bookstores—Ms. Creant would fall into Ingram’s “custom” category; something outside of their standard size offerings. I would go on to make the executive decision to proceed with this ideally sized book regardless of the fact that my book would be about five bucks higher in price than so-called “competitive” books coming out of the mainstream traditional publishers. Here is how I rationalized it at the time:

  • I have read enough books in my genre to know I was producing an original work; ergo, I was PEERLESS, and as such did not have to worry about “competitors”.
  • Additionally, my book is a legitimate reference / textbook whose competition is priced in the stratosphere by comparison. Most of those authors have PHDs and have many titles. Does anyone really care?
  • Lastly, I have purchased many large books over the years, sometimes for as much as three times the price that would be assigned to Ms. Creant. I ASS-U-ME-D all book buyers were just like me, in that they buy books based on the VALUE of the content rather than PRICE. It’s the words that count, right?

Yeah . . . turns out I was WRONG about all that stuff.

Always one to look on the bright side, it turns out that libraries actually like big paperbacks vs. the more expensive hardcover option; especially when taking on a book from a relatively unknown first-time author.

So, I have that going for me.

BIG news!

As a thank you for their support and to embrace, however reluctantly, the new wave of e-book options available in libraries, I have dramatically reduced the price of Ms. Creant in all the specialty library e-book platforms available from Smashwords. What more could they want? Oh yeah, reviews.

I have those.

Excerpts from reviews:

“Although, there is plenty of scientific, medical, and technical references laced throughout to draw from, Mr. Barker has managed to write the perfect self-awareness, self-help, self-insight book in a manner that is entertaining, witty, intelligent and informative without being dry and judgmental.” “It isn’t often that I say an author has thoroughly done their research, but in E. A. Barker’s case I can.” “5 stars across the board for writing, research, execution, and editing; a rarity for this reviewer.”

5 STARS – Savannah Morgan – Amazon.com

 

“Well, damn, I loved it. A wonderfully-written foray into the male psyche and too rarely plumbed ‘she done him wrong’ kerfuffle.” “Penned with wisdom, humor and a keen insight into the battle of the sexes and exes, this book kept me laughing, frowning, and on more than one occasion, prompted introspection.” “Brilliant book!”

5 STARS – Shelby Kent-Stewart – Amazon.com

 

“I LOVED this book!!! I LOVED being able to get a sneak peek into the mind of men. This book was both funny and insightful!!” “…I am so glad that I picked it up!!!”

5 STARS – Ebony Arrington – McMillan – Amazon.com

 

“I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect from this book. What I got, was humor, insight, and some riveting stories about relationships, good and bad. Each story shone a beacon on flaws in character, strengths of character, and wit.” “I enjoyed meeting the people in the book.” “I gave it five stars because it is truly a manual that both men and women can sink their teeth into.” “Excellently written and surprisingly fun.”

5 STARS – Vicki Goodwin –  Amazon.com

 

“As a woman and a lesbian I was a little unsure about reading this book. Especially with it being from a man’s perspective.” “You will get a better understanding of the dynamics of relationships, of life and the do’s and don’ts. I highly recommend this book for everyone to read. You may learn things about yourself that you never knew before.” “Truly amazing read, you  won’t be sorry!”

5 STARS – Leah Negron –  Amazon.com

 

“ . . . it’s an original work in a sea of similitude.”

Patricia Annette – Massive Book Hog Blog

 

” . . . a fascinating fun read for both sexes.”

Eldon Taylor – Author and host of the Provocative Enlightenment radio show

 

“Yes – it is a great book. It certainly opens up dialog.”

Ravinder Taylor – Co-host on the Provocative Enlightenment radio show

 

“I am a woman in my middle sixties happily married for 45 years with children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.” “This book should be read by men and women in their early stages of adulthood. The author was quite informative but had a good sense humor as well. Read this book with an open mind and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Keep writing E. A. Barker, you are a very gifted author.”

5 STARS – Amazon.com customer

 

“Personally I think that everyone that has ever been in a relationship or will ever be in a relationship should read this book. It is insightful, funny at times and not for children.” “I would give this book a 5 star review out of 5 possible stars. This is one you don’t want to miss. Try something different you won’t be sorry.” “Amazing.”

5 STARS – Roadie Notes Book Blog – Becky Narron

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“As a woman who has spent a lot of time trying to figure out how men see these types of things, this book was a breath of fresh air! Humorous and informative, I will definitely be recommending this book to others!” “Absolutely loved it!”

5 STARS – Amazon.com customer

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“. . . Ms. Creant: The Wrong Doers! is far from boring, not my typical nonfiction read and not what I was expecting.” “I highly recommend this book for men and women, as well as young adults (teenagers).” “Bravo Mr. E. A. Barker!”

5 STARS – Denise – Amazon.ca

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“I approached this book with an open mind, and had to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it!” “I honestly can’t say if Ms. Creant will change the world, but it certainly altered my perception of it! Totally recommended – read this book, people!”

5 STARS – James Longmore – Amazon.com

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“Wow, I read this book relatively fast, and actually went back to read it again. There is so much information packed into the pages, it definitely warrants more than one read.” “I absolutely LOVE Barker’s writing voice.” “I highly recommend this book to everyone.” “5 Life Altering Stars”

5 STARS – Xtina Marie – Amazon.com & Goodreads

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“If you can read this with an open mind, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as I did and gain some very useful knowledge. I have a 22 year old son, and I’ll be getting him a copy to read. I hope he heeds the advice given, because I believe he’ll be a better man because of it.” “A definite must read.”

5 STARS  – Ms. D. Breault – Amazon.com & Goodreads

 

To see the full reviews follow these links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Goodreads.com

 

Thanks for reading.

E. A.

Banned Books! Let’s see if this post will get banned.

WARNING!

THIS POST CONTAINS PROFANITY WHICH HOPEFULLY OFFENDS SOME LOSERS!

 

It’s really about WHO is doing the banning.

In the land of Auth, we spend too much of our time on social media instead of writing or editing which would better serve our readers. That being said, every once in a while something truly interesting blows up in our news-feeds and this is my take on the latest of those.

K Webster’s: The Wild has made a big noise of late because (if I have my third party facts straight) Amazon and now apparently Smashwords have refused to sell her latest book due its content. It should be noted, I do not read most of the genres that my social media “friends” write in. My information has come from a couple of blogger friends whose opinions I trust, even though I challenge those opinions when they get too far from center.

Here is what I have found out about Ms.  Webster:

  • She is an above average writer who, apparently, is a very nice person.
  • She writes “romance” a.k.a. “mommy porn”.
  • Her facebook author page actually says she writes “reckless romance”.

I think it is this recklessness that created the shit storm which neither she nor her book rightly deserve.

On the upside, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

So WHY did this seemingly nice lady do this?

The 99.97% of humans who have never written a book, and who never will, cannot possibly understand what it feels like to complete a work which has taken months or even years to finish. We are absolutely elated. I can best describe it as the feeling you have after great sex, only it is your brain that had the orgasm and not your body. The afterglow lasts for weeks instead of minutes and I swear it is a hormonal response, but I have zero supporting science to back this theory up. Our brain had a baby and our hormones are all messed up.

Postpartum Elation excuses aside, (I own this. © 2017 :D) Ms. Webster made some mistakes:

  • She either did not use alpha-readers in her process; or she chose unqualified fans as alphas; or she ignored warnings that should have come from them about the “taboo” aspects of the book.
  • Her editor, if she used one, should have reeled her in, just as mine did when I thought  it was okay to publish thirty pages of explicit sexual content in my non-fiction book.
  • Her proofreader, or betas reading the galley, should have questioned the content and pushed for the use of a crystal clear reader advisory.

If she left all of the above out of her process, then she learned her lesson the hard way.

Good writing is an intellectual exercise. Great writing adds in an emotional investment component from the writer to the intellectual exercise.

  • Great writers go off the rails while writing passionately, and this is why the publishing world employs editors.
  • Great writers want to push beyond the boundaries of their previous books, and again, this is why the publishing world employs editors.

It is entirely possible that K Webster is a great writer who, at the same time, is also an irresponsible publisher.

This brings us to my opinion of what I have seen on social media:

  1. K Webster can write whatever the fuck she wants, and I will defend her right to do so with my fucking life, if need be.
  2. Book publishers, distributors, and retailers can carry whatever the fuck they want, and I will defend their right to CHOOSE with my fucking life, if need be.
  3. Writing about a “taboo” subject is not an endorsement of that behavior, nor does it imply that the author engages in said activities—you fucking piece of shit book burners.
  4. REAL STATISTICAL STUDIES SHOW that abnormal behavior is not caused by reading. It is far more likely to occur in those who do not read and who have a history of abuse themselves, Get your fucking head out of your fucking ass and LEARN before you voice a fucking opinion.
  5. Publishers and self-publishers like K, have a responsibility to inform prospective readers about ANY content which depict characters engaged in activities “outside of societal norms” or which could trigger a negative psychological event in a PTSD sufferer. If we do not regulate ourselves, you can bet your asses we will have moronic government fucks thrust this upon us, and they will go straight for our covers.

My PG13 (ish) book has the following on the website:

About the intended reader and a caution:

Ms. Creant was written by a man, from a man’s perspective, for men, and those soon to become men. Yes, many women have embraced the book as well, but it is doubtful any young female teenagers are likely to be handed a copy. It is difficult to state the exact age a young man should begin to explore the realities which lay ahead for him, so my first thought was to say age thirteen—the sooner the better. HOWEVER, I recommend we err on the side of caution. The book contains adult situations and sarcasm that the youngest readers may not comprehend without adult guidance to give them some clarification. This could cause an important message to be lost on them, or worse, they may embrace the poor behaviors illustrated. There are both young men and boys in the age range between thirteen and fifteen with significant variations in maturity levels found throughout the group. We can safely state that a young man is ready for Ms. Creant when he has experienced any of the following life events:

  • He has a poor attitude towards school.
  • He has been rejected by a girl.
  • He has a girlfriend.
  • He has had his first sexual encounter.
  • He has had his first heartbreak.
  • He has been caught with alcohol or drugs.

Reality check:

  • Amazon and Smashwords CHOSE not to sell her book. This is a risk every writer takes when they venture too far from what society deems to be acceptable behavior.
  • To see some of America’s REAL banned books, visit: The Week for an article by Lauren Hansen and Theunis Bates. This is truly disturbing.
  • Censorship is not a giant corporate entity doing what they feel is best for their business.
  • No one is telling her she cannot sell her book. They are merely saying they will not sell it.
  • No storm troopers came to her door to confiscate her books.
  • Did she cause outrage? You bet.
  • Will she benefit from all this negative publicity? Probably, if she sells copies from her own website or out of the trunk of her car.
  • Was this a staged publicity event? From what I hear, she doesn’t seem the type.