If you steal books, you are an a**hole…

Recently an author who regularly hits the top of the Gay Romance/Gay Fiction charts found her book had been pirated, prior to release date. To say she was upset would be an understatement, and who could blame her? She worked hard on writing a sequel to a book that people loved (myself included) only to have someone, a blogger, or someone who received it from a blogger, think it was okay to steal it, and put it up for free for the taking.

This angered me as a blogger. Angered might be a little bit on the nice side. I was pissed! I was furious for the author, and I was pissed at the blogger, but even more, I was pissed at the reader(s) who think its okay to steal!

First, it makes bloggers look bad, like we all steal or pirate authors’ books, when that is far from the case. However, when they say “One bad apple ruins the entire barrel”, it’s true. Authors may hesitate to then give bloggers access to ARCs of their books, which makes it that much harder for us to promote their books, a huge part of what we are trying to do.

Second, WHY? This book was $2.99, or on Kindle Unlimited. How much do these assholes (and I will call thieves what they are-assholes) pay for their beloved Starbucks in the morning, or to buy their kids a Happy Meal at McDonald’s instead of making a meal for them at home? When they go to a restaurant, do they say “well, I’m going to go ahead and take the silverware home, because I want it”? (And I have seen a friend of mine do this, and it pissed me off just as much). It’s THREE FRICKING DOLLARS!!!! And it isn’t yours, so you are STEALING. Plain and simple. If you are a reader who has done this, you can call yourself a great person, and even in this genre an ally, but you are still a thief, which means you are not a great person, you are an asshole. Even if the book is $5.99, does that give you the right? Where is the point where you feel it is okay to steal from people? Where the amount doesn’t matter in your mind, even if there are mouths to feed at the other end of that $6 you just ripped out of someone’s hand?

Third, the snowball effect is HUGE! An author works hard to write and publish their book–>Said book is pirated–>Author may or may not spend time and money on filing Cease and Desist or Takedown orders–>They are not able to support their family–>They may or may not have to find another source of income, so they cannot write any longer. Meanwhile, Thieving Blogger receives an ARC–>Hands over to someone that they know will put it on a pirate site–>Author finds out and files Cease and Desist or Takedown orders–>Author is less likely to give ARCs to bloggers to review for the honest readers.

How about instead of stealing, you spend some time finding ways to earn that book that you want so much? Maybe become a reviewer for a blogger? Maybe forgo that Starbucks you have every single day, and make it only twice a week? Maybe take on a part time job? Perhaps enter some of the TONS of giveaways that authors and bloggers put on so people can get something for free legally? But don’t steal, because no matter how you might justify it to yourself by saying things like “I can’t afford it right now” or “Well, they won’t notice, it’s just one copy” or “I want it before its released, because I want IT” (like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), it hurts everyone. It hurts the author’s income, it hurts bloggers who also are creating some income, as well as trying to promote those authors, and it makes you an asshole. Stop being an asshole. Buy the book.

I interviewed the above author, N.R. Walker to get her take on the situation. Her book, Imagines (if you want to buy it, go here), was pirated prior to it actually going on sale, so we know it was an ARC that was stolen.

  1. How is it you find out about a truly pirated book? (Often, they are viruses used to lure people in).

A quick Google search. It’s actually really easy. Yes, there are a lot phishing sites and virus sites, but there a LOT of legit pirate sites. Typing in a book title, author name and something like ‘free download’ or ‘read online’ is all it takes.

Unfortunately, more often than not, you’ll find it at a legit pirate site.

I also use a ‘takedown service’ which scans the internet for my titles. But recently, in the case of the ARC being out before release day, a friend told me about it. She will sometimes do internet searches for me (her Google-fu is strong) and she emailed me with links etc.

  1. How much time do you think you spend on a weekly or monthly basis on tracking down pirated copies of your books, and sending takedown notices?

I use a site called Muso, which is a monthly subscription per title. It costs me about $16AUD per book per month, so it’s a bloody expensive investment. I have seven titles listed at the moment and do swap them around (because I have so many titles, it’s not feasible to have them all listed at the one time). And thankfully, when I Google my titles for pirated copies, there aren’t too many. If/when I do find one, I send the URL to Muso and they issue the DMCA to have it removed.

I know a lot of authors write pirating off as a lost cause, and I get it, I really do. It’s expensive, it’s exhausting, and it’s never ending. But part of me, the stubborn part, hates to let them get away with it. I don’t care if they don’t want to pay for books, but I’ll do what I can to make sure they can’t get their grubby paws on mine. I like to think of it as a digital middle finger salute 🙂

  1. In the case of your most recent release, it was pirated prior to you actually uploading it to Amazon (correct me if I am wrong NR). So, how does that affect your new release? Sales, promo, etc

Yes, an ARC of my book Imagines was on a pirate site before release day. I know it was an ARC because there was a certain typo in the book that went out in the ARCs for my blog tour. I didn’t fix the typo until after I’d sent them.

There’s no way of knowing just how much it affects sales. A lot of authors do believe that people who download from pirate sites would never buy a copy anyway, I, while I do agree with that, I’m sure there are some people who will pay when/if they can’t get it for free.

How it affected me personally, was a whole other matter. I found out the day before release day and the hurt part of me wanted to not upload the book and shut the internet down for a week or two. But that wouldn’t have been fair (on anyone) so I hit ‘publish’ with every intention of taking a few hours break from the world while it uploaded (it can take up to 48-72 hours). Amazon had other ideas however, because it only took 30 minutes to go live. LOL

And I must say, my readers are so lovely and so loyal, they helped spread the news and made my release day such a positive experience. I’d felt betrayed by this person who had received an ARC of the book and shared it, but my readers reminded me why I do what I do.

  1. There are many methods that authors employ to try to combat piracy. Will you talk about how you’ve tried to do that? (And I understand if this is a question you DO NOT want to answer)

LOL Yeah, I’m not gonna answer this. In case anyone knows what to look for haha

  1. When the piracy is from a book that you sent to a blogger it makes us all look bad. Will this change how you distribute ARC’s in the future?

Well, unfortunately, I’m considering no longer doing ARCs.

Does this suck? Yes. Is this fair on those who do the right thing? No. But if you could imagine how betrayed and hurt I felt knowing someone violated my trust, then times that by a hundred, and you can begin to understand why I’m reluctant to put myself in that position again.

I’m still undecided, and my feelings might change, but right this minute, my answer is no.

  1. It’s frustrating that you are going through all this. What is it you hope to be the outcome of your follow up on this particular issue?

My “hope” is that the person who shared the ARC is named and shamed, and the site is removed from the internet. LOL But that’s not too likely to happen (the last part anyway). It’s still a process at the moment so I can’t say too much, but the support I’ve had from other authors helping where they can is awesome! I really do love this community  <3

Thank you to N.R. Walker for her candor regarding the piracy of her book.
This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue reads…

FiveMinutesLonger -FINAL

Guest Post

I’m not sure whether to be excited or terrified that I am inflicting my weird English accent on the American public – but what I am thrilled about is that you get an excerpt from the soon to be published sequel to Five Minutes Longer – Who We Truly Are.

The quote that the title comes from is one of my favorites – Harry Potter.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than out abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore.
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What really excited me about this quote is how it sums up my guys. The enhanced are mistrusted by the regular human public who are frightened of their abilities.

It’s all about them learning to be the bigger person in the face of hatred and discrimination. Something just as true in today’s world as in my fictional one.

The excerpt comes as Finn has to do a job that no one else on the team can. Talon, of course, hates that and feels helpless that he is unable to protect him. Finn, much as he understands how Talon feels, in the end very much wants to do his job and save the enhanced children that are depending on him. Needless to say, at the moment, things aren’t going well.

Who We Truly Are will be published by Dreamspinner Press in June.

 

 

You can also click here for the link: https://youtu.be/wANqx_MxwmQ

meet the author

Victoria Sue:

Wrote her first book on a dare from her hubby two years ago and he says he has regretted it every day since. Loves writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best, and especially with either a paranormal or a historical twist. Had a try at writing contemporary but failed spectacularly when it grew four legs and a tail. Loves her wolves!

Is an English northern lass but is currently serving twenty to life in Florida – unfortunately, she spends more time chained at her computer than on a beach.

Loves to hear from her readers and can be found most days lurking on facebook.

www.victoriasue.com

@vickysuewrites

https://www.facebook.com/victoriasueauthor/– sign up for my newsletter and download a free story The Wrong Alpha

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Bloggers and Authors, Can’t We All Just Get Along???

Here’s the deal. This blog post is likely not going to be the most complimentary to authors, and bloggers. I’ve been known to be honest, perhaps too honest, but we need to talk about all this! The intent of the post though is to try to find some common ground, and realize that we are all on this journey together.

Dear Authors,

We love you; readers, bloggers, other authors, we all love you! But sometimes you can be assholes. I’ll come back to that later.

Dear Bloggers,

We love you (a little self-love here); readers, authors, and even other bloggers, we love you! But sometimes you can be assholes.

**BTW, this is blog post is a reminder to myself, as well.**

Okay, now I have said it…let’s see what’s going on here.

There is so much tension, so much unsaid between authors and bloggers right now. And we need to get it out there, open up a dialogue, and realize that we are both doing the things we do because we love this genre, and we want to see it succeed, thrive and grow. However, sometimes those things cause that tension to grow, which benefits no one.

I’m going to start with bloggers, because I am one, and I understand a little of where they come from. Bloggers, you aren’t creating world peace. I had a trainer once tell me, “It’s just X…you aren’t changing the world”. Let’s remember, it’s just books, we aren’t changing the world.

You have every right to request things a certain way, it is your blog. If you want ARCs only sent as an epub, for instance, that is absolutely your right. However, it is certainly the author’s right to refuse that request, or to require that it be sent directly to your device. If you get mad, bash an author, even behind closed doors, you are doing yourself no favors. Work with the author, see if you can compromise. Demanding something, whether its an ARC or something else will give you a reputation you don’t want. Don’t demand something, act like you are bigger than you are, as if authors will not be able to move forward without you, and then expect to be able to get the things you request or want. Authors will talk. They will talk to each other and say “that blog is difficult to work with” or “blog A is much better than blog B because…”.

If you want an exclusive for your blog, ask. Sometimes you will get an excited “Yes!”, and that is great! Sometimes you will get a “No”. Respect that, understand that, then move on.Depositphotos_76358643_m-2015

One of the things, especially in this genre, that we try to stop is bullying, right? We don’t want to see young LGBTQ kids bullied for who they love. As a blogger, don’t be a bully to authors. Demanding what you want or feel you need puts you in a bad place. Reputation is everything, good and bad. Everyone has one. What do you want yours to be?

Now onto authors. I will say the exact same thing. You are not changing the world. As much as you’d like to be seen as John Steinbeck or Jane Austen in 100 years, it isn’t likely. However, you are changing YOUR world, and that is very important. You are creating a place where you have income, and you have people who are excited and happy when you have a new book out. You want to write…a lot. Your readers want you to write…a lot. And bloggers want you to write…a lot.

That means you need to get the word out, and that is what bloggers do. Whether the blogs post a release day promo, a review, or they just go on social media and tell everyone about this great new book, their job is to tell people it’s out there. Which then leaves you to go and do what you want to do more of, write.

And “job” is a relative term. Book blogs don’t make much money, even the bigger ones. The smaller ones may not make any money, and quite often will put their own money into it. (To give you an example, I ran my blog for almost two years before someone finally told me about affiliates, so any giveaways that I put on that weren’t sponsored by authors, I paid for by myself. That is how many blogs operate.) So, authors, understand that. Sometimes you are asking for something huge, when bloggers may not have the time or the resources for it. That doesn’t make them a bad blogger. It may mean that they are overloaded, overwhelmed, and possibly even wondering if they should keep the blog going, because it is draining financially or psychologically.

**As an aside here, as of 3/1, Amazon has drastically reduced the affiliates program so that it is likely most everyone will only make ½ or less of what they made in previous months. So, if affiliates were a big revenue base to draw from for a blog, then their funds are cut at least by 50% or more.

Authors, remember that bloggers do what they do for FREE for you. You do not pay a fee to be featured on their blog (even if you are paying a promo company, they are not paying the blogs). You may be providing an ARC for review, and you may provide a prize or two, but in general, book blogging is done because bloggers love the books, love the authors they read, and they want to bring others into that realm.

In the end, it’s about mutual respect overall. Bloggers, don’t expect that you are the most amazing blog ever, and that authors should fall all over themselves to give you what you are demanding. Authors, understand that bloggers exist to benefit you, and be respectful of the time and hard work they put in.

Let the tension go! Know that so much of that attention is about trying to make sure you meet whatever goal you are trying to meet, and that on the other side, they are trying to do the same. We all want the books we love, and we want them NOW. We need to do our jobs to get them there, and be thankful, respectful and appreciative when everything comes together.

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Update on Amazon Suppressing Reviews

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Last Saturday was the 4 month anniversary of me no longer being allowed to review on Amazon. If you want to know all about my reactions, how pissed off I was, and where I was at that time, check out my original post here. Since, my Amazon Un-iversary was here, I thought “why not see where we are as a blogging/reviewing/authoring community.”

I’ve definitely noticed that more bloggers or regular reviewers are having their reviews suppressed, (Amazon’s version of “deleting” reviews, they don’t delete, they suppress. Not sure why they make that distinction, but they do). Nobody really knows why, despite much speculation. But it is happening. Amazon’s stated reasons are that the reviewer knows the author, but in this world that has gotten much smaller thanks to the internet, its impossible not to. People want to be close to the authors they admire, seeing them at signings is one thing. Seeing their lives, catching up with them, etc, that is important, as well. That doesn’t mean that bloggers or reviewers are friends with them, other than Facebook’s version of friends.

So, as authors’ reviews numbers decrease randomly, they are concerned, as well. Books that once had 100 reviews suddenly have 65. Those numbers are hard won. Many authors count on those reviews to draw new readers in, hoping that the positive reviews outweigh the negative in the purchaser’s mind, and they will click the all might “one click” button.

What people are missing is all the ways to get around this system. As I came up on my 4 month Un-iversary, I realized that I am busier than ever on this blog. I have many reviewers (who can still post to Amazon), who pick up the books that I can’t read and review. We review for multiple publishers, and post them either here, or on the publisher’s website, hopefully both. There is also Goodreads (although be careful, this is an Amazon owned site, so although my reviews haven’t been suppressed there, there is no guarantee that won’t happen at some point). I have been working with All Romance eBooks to see if they can come up with a system for adding blogger reviews on there. I hope you will see this very soon!

When was the last time you posted your review to Pinterest? I will admit, this one is a challenge for me, one I would like to get better at, but you could easily get review clicks from there. What about posting to Instagram? Another area that I have been working on building as a reviewer and blogger.

The key here is that “nothing will change, if you don’t change anything”. Amazon is able to do this because they are the largest retailer in the world, and they don’t really care a lot about ebooks, let’s be honest. They make their money on all the other things they sell. Ebooks are just a drop into the bucket for them. However, if you take away the clicks that get you there, then they lose revenue, and if you want to get Amazon’s attention, you MUST hit their revenue, their bottom line.

Rather than being concerned about what has been taken away, realize that Amazon will not give it back. They don’t have to. So move on. Find a different way of giving value to the authors you blog about. Ask an author to write a guest post for you, most are thrilled to be asked. You have their fans visiting your blog, where they will also read your review, which hopefully you’ve found several avenues to post to, if not Amazon.

Authors: maybe try a different way of dealing with reviews. Perhaps don’t require Amazon posting? Also, consider having your teasers made by graphic designers as square, so you can use them for Instagram, adding review quotes there. Also, and this is a difficult business decision, but when we give all the power to Amazon they can do what they want, so consider side-loading as an alternative to ‘Zon. Put your work out on wider distribution like ARe, BN and Smashwords.

But no matter what, both reviewers and authors need to SHARE the bloggers reviews!!! The blogger appreciates the assistance, and the author will appreciate the exposure. And if you want to get the reviews out there, you need to share. As a blogger, don’t be afraid to share another blogs reviews either. It never hurts, only helps.

In the end, if you give Amazon everything, they will take it. They have no loyalty to you, your blog, or the author. They are a business, and as such, they are in it to make money. In their eyes, bloggers and reviewers who do not purchase the product are of little to no value to them. So, create your own value outside of Amazon, and help to continue your own success, as well as the authors you want to promote.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Dear Author, YOU are your brand…

Dear Author, you are your brand….

I hope that the following blog post does not anger or upset authors. I would think that any that are angered would likely be those that need to take this information to heart more than anyone. So, dear author, please open your hearts, your mind, and release any ego that you might be holding on for the moment, and just listen to words from your readers.

I will also preface this by saying numerous readers have mentioned some of the below things to me on multiple occasions, so it’s not just the rambling thoughts of one slightly opinionated reader.

YOU ARE YOUR BRAND.

Plain and simple. That can mean so many things, and to authors, it can also mean different things. However, sit back and think about what it is you want to convey to your readers. Is that really what is being conveyed?

Someone recently sent me a FB post that an author put up (this is NOT an author I know) where she said: “I’m just gonna buy copies of all my books, keep one of each, and give the rest to friends and family to remember me by when I’m gone. Then I’m gonna pull all my publications from the market, because no one else cares to read my stuff anyway…”

Now, it could be said that this author really has decided to pull herself from the market completely. But as a reader, how would you feel if you saw that? Would you feel compelled to buy because you “feel bad” that she is going through something, or would you determine you would never buy anything from her again (because my assumption is she WILL continue to publish) because she is being manipulative?

Don’t be manipulative. As your own brand, you have to think about how your readers will see your posts, whether it’s on your FB page, or even when you are out at a signing. The choice of words you use matter, not just in the books you write, but in the words you use for your personal musings.

I saw an author once who was lamenting about how old her car was, and she couldn’t afford for it to be fixed. Then put out a new book a month or two later, with multiple requests to readers to repost for a ranking increase. That was followed a month or two later by an extravagant trip (pictures included) for her and her significant other to an exotic tropical location. That is manipulative branding, like it or not. And readers, do NOT like it.

Be careful what you ask others to do FOR you. Because if they act in your name, they are affecting YOUR brand. Street teams (or friends) that post one author’s new release/sale on another author’s wall, for instance. If the second author wants to promote for the first author, allow that to be their choice. If your street team is tagging readers, or even posting into groups with no thought to what the group rules are, you are risking being completely banned from a group, for something that you may not have been aware of. Even if you have someone posting to your account for you, keep an eye on what is being done. They could easily be posting inappropriately, or perhaps over-saturating your market. No one wants to see the same auto-generated post over and over again.

Businesswoman in the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil poses

Don’t use your FB account as a personal dumping ground. If there are items that you feel strongly about, things in the world that need to be said, a soapbox you have to get up on, do so. But leave your personal issues to PM’ing your friend or your significant other, or even type it all out, and delete it! People want, even need in the climate we are in right now, to have happy, positive interactions with people they have a connection to. In your mind, you may not have a connection to them, but if they have read and loved your books, they feel a connection with you.

That doesn’t mean don’t post personal things. You can still post personal things, and keep a positive, meaningful brand. One author I know posts almost entirely personal. He will post about his cat, his weekend, even what he had too much of to drink or eat. But what I have never seen him do is talk about how horrible his life is (except when he says things like “maybe pants today would have been good”, all with a humorous tone), even if it is. Readers are turned off by these types of posts.

Your job as an author is not just to write and sell your books, but also to sell yourself. Part of that is connecting with readers. You may not like everyone who you are “friends” with on FB. You may even choose to not follow them, or like their comments when they comment on your posts, but be respectful of them, and yourself, and you will continue to have them as a reader.

Your brand is vital, and it takes time and effort to build. Yet, it can be irreparably harmed with one simple post, or negative comment. If you make the effort to build your brand, and continue to allow it to grow, it can be a more effective marketing tool than any FB or Twitter ad you can place.

If you ever question whether you should post it, remember YOU ARE YOUR BRAND. What do you want to be out there for everyone to see?

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Speechless by Nicole Edwards Pre-release Blitz

Title: Speechless
Series: Pier 70 #3
Author: Nicole Edwards
Genre: Adult, M/M Romance
Published: June 7, 2016
synopsis
He’s suffering in silence…

Teague Carter, one of the four owners of Pier 70 Marina, has spent his life feeling rejected. To the point that he has never allowed himself to get close to anyone. He prefers it that way, in fact. But he refuses to believe that his destructive behavior might be something more than rebellion.

He’s unable to speak…

Hudson Ballard, Pier 70’s mechanic, has been fighting his attraction to Teague for years. He has stood by and watched the kid get more and more out of control, but this time is the last. If Teague wants to use sex to escape his problems, Hudson is certainly willing to be the one to show him that he’s good with more than just his hands.

Sometimes words aren’t necessary.

There are fireworks when this out-of-control bad boy agrees to no strings with this tatted up, dominating mechanic.

Can Teague and Hudson keep their emotions from getting involved in their arrangement? Or — thanks to the demons from their pasts — will the darkness steal from them before they have a chance?

We invite you join the Nicole & Colt Edwards Group on Facebook. Don’t miss out on the fun and prizes at the Speechless Release Party happening Monday, June 7th starting at 8 AM CST till Tuesday, June 8th at 10 PM CST.
buy now
tco-also in series
meet the author
New York Times bestselling author Nicole Edwards launched her professional writing career in July of 2012. Having been an avid reader all of her life and a huge fan of creative writing, it seemed the likely path for her to take. Since then, she has released fifteen books and has no plans to stop. As her full-time career/hobby, Nicole writes steamy contemporary and erotic romances.

Nicole is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who was born and raised in Texas. Married with three kids and four dogs, she has plenty of interaction to keep her imagination brewing. Her books have been featured in USA Today’s Happy Ever After segment as well as Indie Reader’s best seller list. She has forged her way as an independent author.

Although she has a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, she prefers to be hiding out in her writing cave, talking to the fictional characters that have built up in her head over the years.

When she isn’t writing or plotting her next book (sometimes translated to “playing on Facebook”), Nicole loves to read and spend time with her family and her dogs.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

MM Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt

Portrait of Pensive American Soldier Resting from Military Operation; Indoor Ruins Location

Welcome to the

2nd MM Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt!

10 Days, 31 Stops, and loads of prizes! The rules are simple: At each stop on the tour you’ll find a military themed picture with a word or words. Collect the words and figure out the secret phrase (HINT: It’s lyrics to a song). Once you think you have the correct phrase, enter it into the Rafflecopter at any of the stops.

Three winners will be selected from all the correct phrases for the three prize packs.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Our stop’s word is: LOVE

 

Man in army pants with muscular body standing between two board

 

Part of body. Chest and stomach. Army pants

Prize Lists:

1st Place Prize
2nd Place Prize
3rd Place Prize (US Only)

 

giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Note: all graphics are stock photos purchased from Adobe.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

So you wanna be a beta reader, huh? Well, then…

E-BookHave you ever been asked to beta read for an author? Or have you wanted to be asked for a particular author? (I’ll admit there is one author out there that I might give up my first born to beta read for…). Lots of people think beta reading is a fun way to read a book early, get a free book, and say “look what I did!”. I’m going to dispell the myth, it isn’t that way at all.

Emma Marie Leyla recently re-posted this blog post on Beta Reader Etiquette and after reading it, I thought “okay, how about a beta reader’s side of things?” Because I think the thought process out there is that it is almost glamorous, that you are one of the chosen few, and in many ways you ARE. However, it isn’t just a quick, light read you are getting…

So, if you want to be a beta reader, here are a few tips for you:

1. Ask for ground rules at the beginning. I’ve had authors ask me to “beta read” and what they really wanted was for me to proofread their already pre-edited version of their work in progress. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve had another author give me a questionnaire to fill out. Having expectations ahead of time will make it easier for both you and the author. I ask questions like: “Do you want me to proofread? Is there something in particular you want me to watch for? When do you want this returned to you?” If you get these things out of the way right away if its someone you haven’t read for before, then you will both know what you are looking for, and there won’t be disappointment on either side.

2. This is not just a free book for you! Yes, you get to read the book, and you aren’t paying for it, but the author is looking for assistance with their book, in whatever capacity they need. Telling them “Wow, this is the best book I’ve ever read!” or some version of that statement does them absolutely no good. Your job (payment is the free book) is to help make the story better. It’s also quite likely not the final version (unless the author says up front they don’t want storyline input), so there may be significant changes by the time he or she hits publish.

3. Be honest. You are not helping the author by only giving them all the things you loved about it. If you don’t like something, tell them. I’ve told an author friend (one that I am very close to and we have this kind of relationship) that she cannot write XYZ as she has it, because she would be blasted when it was published. I’ve told authors that I need more connection between the characters. Even my very favorite authors, I have said “I think you might want to change this piece as it is confusing to me”. Your goal is to not only let them know what you think is missing or needs to be adjusted, but try to provide an idea or thought as to how you would think that can be improved upon. (Again, if that is what they are looking for.) Remember, that almost every book can be improved upon, so don’t hesitate to help the author do that.

4. Give it the appropriate amount of time. I can read a book, with all my other things (day job, 2nd job, blog, etc) in about two days. With a beta read, I like to have at least a week. I need to spend extra time on it. I need to read sentences again, try to catch strange little errors that I worry might get missed by editing, maybe read an entire chapter again. However, I take longer because I need to process it from a different perspective. It’s not my reader hat, which may gloss over the fact that an author is using the UK English version of color, by spelling it colour, while the book is based in New York City. It’s my beta reader hat. It’s the hat that says “Did that kiss happen too early in the book? Do I need more connection between the characters who only met 2 hours ago, before I can read about them kissing? Why does that fight between the main characters feel forced?”

Laptop and digital tablet with custom text on screen

5. Along with Be Honest, is Be Nice. Please remember that these books are the author’s baby. You can say “I think these characters needs a lot of work” or you could say “I think if you extend this scene a little I would feel that they are drawn together more”. Or “I need some additional development of this character”. I beta read a book once where I had to go back to the author and say that I didn’t know anything about one of the character’s backstory so I didn’t really have a reader’s connection to him yet, with the book was about 25% in. She went back and added one scene, with just a hint of backstory, and it make a big difference for me. I presented it though as a reader, letting her know that what I didn’t feel was affecting my reading of the story, and I was able to be nice, but honest.

6. Don’t expect that the author is going to make the changes you have given them. THIS ONE IS HUGE!!!! It is their book. They are looking for suggestions, and there may be a reason they have written it in the way that they did. Once I had an author ask about the character’s names, if they worked for me. One of the names didn’t, and I told her that. She didn’t change the name of the character, and I wouldn’t have expected her to. If they don’t make the change, understand that you are providing suggestions for improvement of YOUR reading experience, and they just may not agree with you. Ultimately, it is their decision, of course, so don’t be upset if they don’t use your suggestions.

7. Don’t expect the author to always use you as a beta. You may not be the right beta for every book. I happen to beta quite a bit for a series that I know a lot about the background world on. I am used for that series because the author’s experience in that area is newer. I’m able to give her a background she can’t just research herself. There is another author that I normally beta for that when we talked about her most recent writing I said “I don’t know anything about that world so you may not want me to beta”, to which she actually said she wanted me for that reason alone. But other authors I sometimes do it and sometimes don’t. Every author has their reasons for choosing the betas they use.

8. Don’t expect acknowledgements. Yes, the author may say “Thank you” in their book to you. But they may not. Don’t be offended. Sometimes it is just a matter of timing for getting their book out, or forgetting. Who knows? I guarantee that when you return your thoughts, the author will say thank you to you, likely profusely, because they do appreciate good beta readers.

Beta reading is fun, challenging and great for a sneak peek, but take it with all seriousness, because in the end, this is not only someone’s baby, but could also be someone’s career.

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

The Ridiculous Balls of a Plagiarizer

When you are pissed about something, and you have a blog…sometimes you have to let that rant out, so here it is. Expect some not nice language.

If you blatantly plagiarize work, BLATANTLY, and you have the ridiculous balls to come back with “your new work” under your original name, I have to give you props. Because either you are completely ignorant of all that has gone on around you, or you know that if you are going to be able to pay your legal fees from said plagiarism, and you need your original name in order to get something on the best-selling list.

Finding out today that Laura Harner has continued publishing, in the m/m genre is a slap in the face, not just to readers, but especially to the authors who work their asses off to put out a book of their own work every 3-4 months. Finding out said book is number 36 on a list, just seems like cruel punishment to the hard working people in this genre.

How is this woman allowed to continue to publish at all? She has been proven to be a plagiarist. I would imagine the authors that she has plagiarized have sued the pants off of her-at least I hope so, and yet she is allowed to continue to publish (and yet, I’m not allowed to post reviews on Amazon-sigh). Amazon should have kicked her ass off of KDP and told her to take her shit elsewhere. But she has brought cash to the table, and so she continues to publish, under her own name.

That takes balls, so I have to hand it to her. Of course, if she had the brass balls to plagiarize in the first place, who is really surprised that she had the biggest balls ever seen to come back with her own name. All that means is we need to keep the word out to people that she plagiarizes. Not just once, not accidentally, not one paragraph, multiple ENTIRE books. The more we let people know, the less she can do, and let’s face it, she should feel the wrath for her crimes, and yes, it is an illegal act if it infringes on another author’s intellectual property rights, such as a copyright. To quote another author (because that is what you do when you want to use their words) she has “no remorse or respect”, plain and simple.

I’m so incredibly sorry that all authors are having to see this happen again. And that readers are having to hear about this awful person again. But let’s face it…everyone is wondering “is this her work?” and everyone should be vigilant. Don’t buy her stuff, go with tried and true authors who you know have written, bled and loved every single word they wrote themselves.

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Books Are Bigger In Texas: Sat April 9th – All info here!

 

Books are Bigger in Texas Author Event
Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM (CDT)
The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center – 1601 Lake Robbins Drive The Woodlands (Houston), TX 77380
HOSTED BY:
This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.