Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews: Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

Won’t Retweet, Won’t do Review Swaps, Won’t “Vote Up” Reviews:
Why I Don’t Automatically Play Along with Many Writers’ Groups Anymore

As Holly Near sings in her iconic relationship-gone-sour song, “Started Out Fine,” it “started out fine; we were moving ahead.” [Great song: go watch her sing it!]

Holly’s “Started Out Fine” on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qhxkd6Gn0E

When I first decided to become an independent author and self-publish after having gone the trad route with nonfiction and made a few attempts to go the trad route for fiction, I knew next-to-nothing about the social media circus I was about to join. I was starry-eyed, optimistic, eager and trusting.

I would get reviewers. I would network. I would make online author friends. I’d become part of communities I would find online. Yippee!

Oy.

Sure, I had a Facebook page, I had opened (and never used) a Twitter account, and I was listed on LinkedIn, for professional purposes (but hardly ever used it).

social-sites

I had found Authonomy http://www.Authonomy.com and Wattpad http://www.Wattpad.com and decided to post excerpts on these sites, hoping to begin to get readers, reviewers, friends, colleagues.

My niece set up my first website, Sally Ember, Ed.D., and I began to “blog my book,” posting excerpts there and on Facebook for weeks prior to publication (catching up with both excerpts sites, above, before release day).

I researched and decided to go with Smashwords, first, with a pre-order period (several posts about Pre-orders are on my blog, http://www.sallyember.com), then publish to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) when my first ebook went live.

That was the entirety of my social media presence in the summer of 2013, a few months before I hit the “publish” button on my first of the ten volumes in The Spanners Series. Some of these endeavors resulted in my finding exactly what I was looking for: a community of indie and/or self-pub writers, many of whom were also somewhat new, volunteering to review, comment, enjoy my excerpts and then my book! I was so delighted and grateful!

Some of these new connections invited me into groups I’d previously been unaware of, but I happily became quite active in them, for a while. These groups had members who were (and ARE) so supportive, showing me a variety of ways to be involved in cross-promoting one another’s writing.

At first, it was all sunny skies and rainbows. My ebook was gaining visibility, I was making online friends, gaining more reviews and having a good time. Mutual respect, support, encouragement, laughs, tips, ideas and more were flowing around groups and quite helpful to me. I even had some to share back to them. Awesome…for a while.

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image from: http://www.dreamstime.com

The clouds rolled in all too soon. Has any of this happened to you?
“Sure! I’ll ReTweet [RT] glowing praise for your book(s) [even though I’ve never read anything you’ve written]!”

“Of course, if you read and review my book, I’d be delighted to read and review yours [until I read a few that were AWFUL!]!”

“Please be assured that, if you vote up my book’s good reviews on Amazon or my book on Goodreads’ Lists or put my book on your “shelves” on Goodreads, I’ll do the same for yours [even though… {PICK ONE: I’ve never read these other writers’ books OR I don’t like the genre and would never read them OR I have started to read them but couldn’t continue because they were AWFUL}]!”

“Oh, great! I’d love to be part of this ‘review each other’s blog’ swap. Oh, what? You’re assigning me to an erotica site when my brand is PG-13?!?!? No can do. Oh, it’s required? Oh, you’re now calling me names, like ‘prude,’ and telling me I’m being ‘judgmental’? ‘Bye, then.”

thunderheads_canisbay
image from: http://www.artcountrycanada.com

Struck by scolding/lightning one too many times, I dropped out each of those writers’ groups that had absurd or untenable “member responsibilities.” I eventually dropped out of all but a few groups.

Whew! Relieved!

<strong>My integrity has been restored by establishing for myself some great ground rules:
1) I am not on “Tweet teams” which require members to RT every and all Tweets.
2) I do not do “obligatory” reviews or “swaps.”
3) I do cross-promoting only after I’ve gotten to know/read and respect the other person and his/her writing enough to put my name on a public recommendation.
4) I don’t “vote up” any reviews or books unless I’ve read and agree with the votes.
5) I don’t vote for book covers or books for voting-related rewards unless I actually believe they deserve to win.

The best part of being “older but wiser, now” about how writers use social media? If you see my name on a book or blog review, a promotional Tweet, a shared or reblogged post, you can rest assured I believe in what I’m sharing/promoting.

When I haven’t read the work of the authors and don’t know their blog or them at all except as members’ names, I only share or RT general promotions for the GROUP. That’s the way I handle all that social media group cross-promotion pressure, now.

Also, when an individual requests any of the actions I now refuse to take, I gently let them know I don’t do those actions and some I send to the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) Ethical Code, which I signed and promote on my blog, GLADLY: http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/11/alli-launch-ethical-author-code.html Go read it. Sign it. Share it. We all should!

ALLiEthicalAuthor_Final-Outlines-300x173

So, however you respect my taste and/or me, you can follow my recommendations or leads as you wish.

All the best to you!

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FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES: CLEAN INDIE READS (#CIR) Fall #Book #Sale Blog Tour

cir-fall-sale-graphic
http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES
Clean Indie Reads, the home of Flinch-Free Fiction, is having a #Fall #Book #Sale 

October 5 thru October 11!

Check out all the sale books HERE! http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

Or, if you would like to go directly to Amazon and peruse the sale books by genre, check out these on Listmania: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A1DSK2JI3W8GDJ/ref=cm_aya_bb_lists

To celebrate, we are having a #blog #hop where you can learn more about some of our authors and their books. Our bloggers will also be answering the question: “Do the changing seasons influence your writing and/or choice of books to read?”

Please join the discussion on this site by commenting, below, and please visit all the participating blog sites: you might win a prize or two! Happy Hopping!

My post:

The Sirian Experiments‘ Take on Changing Seasons

The best science-fiction series I have ever read that utilizes the idea of changing seasons is Doris Lessing’s The Sirian Experiments, which won the Man Booker Prize in 1981. It is Volume III of her Canopus in Argos: Archives Series, a masterwork of new ideas in philosophy, gender identity, sexuality, social relationships, ecology, geology, psychology and so much more. I highly recommend you start at the beginning and read the entire series. Then, start over. Really.

The main premise of The Sirian Experiments which relates to today’s thematic question is this: Humans and Earth itself are an experiment conducted by those from the planet Siria. Part of that experiment was to tilt Earth on its axis, creating seasons in most parts of the planet, and then to track the effects of this tilt on humans.

The main way that humans responded to this tilt was that we developed varying emotions. According to the Sirian experimenters, humans’ becoming emotionally labile, meaning quite reactive, sometimes inexplicably positive or negative, was a direct result of the planet’s switch from having temperate, monochromatic climates to having changing/seasonal climates.

Fascinating, right? After many centuries of observation, the Sirian experimenters further theorized that the more extreme the climate seasons changes were, the more radical the changes in the emotions of the humans living in those latitudes became. Those that lived closer to Earth’s equator and therefore experienced fewer and smaller annual seasonal changes were the least emotional, for example.

With the more recent understandings of the ways reduced sunlight affects many people, bringing to our attention extreme reactions, such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and high rates of suicide in latitudes of Earth that have fewer annual days/hours of sunlight, we now have support for Lessing’s “far-fetched” propositions.

Interestingly, SAD wasn’t “discovered” until after Lessing’s books had been published (SAD was formally described and named in 1984). Hmmmm…..

I recently moved from a more monochromatic climate (the San Francisco Bay Area) back to a more temperate/seasonal climate (Missouri). I wonder if I will become more “emotional”? I grew up here and I lived in temperate climates for most of my life, only inhabiting the more monochromatic climates for the last 15 years or so. However, that time also coincided with intensification in my Buddhist meditation practice, higher attendance at more and longer meditation retreats, many periods (years, not months) of unemployment, and fewer intimate relationships, so the experimental “controls” fail for THIS experiment.

All that being known, I am interested to find out how returning to a place that has actual seasons affects me. I’ll let you know!

First: have to buy some new winter boots. Mine rotted and molded from lack of use. LOL.

Second: get some more good books!

If you, as I do, like to curl up with a good book as we sit by a warming fire or other heating source as the weather gets rainier, colder, snowier or frosty, please consider getting the volumes in Lessing’s Sci-Fi series.

Then, for even more fun, download the first volume of my own sci-fi/ romance/ multiverse/ utopian Spanners Series, This Changes Everything (which is free) and then, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, as well. Also, please try some of the others’ books in this CIR Blog Hop!

Here are my books. All links can be found on my website: http://www.sallyember.com Look right and scroll.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Now PERMA-FREE everywhere ebooks are sold.

final cover print

Now $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

logoAuthorsDen

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, due out early in 2015. Volumes IV – X in process.
All Spanners‘ cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven.

As always, REVIEWS ARE APPRECIATED!

Blog Hop Schedule
(please note: not all bloggers will be offering giveaways):

Check out all the sale books here.

Disclaimer: Comment by 11:59:59 PM Central time on October 10, 2014 for your chance to win. Please leave your email address with your comment. Winners will be contacted by the blog owner by October 13, 2014. Only one entry per ISP address. The contest is open to international readers unless stated by the blog owner. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. The giveaway is the sole responsibility of the blogger. Clean Indie Reads is in no way responsible for providing prizes during this blog hop. Void where prohibited

 
Please visit the other sites in this Blog Tour! Schedule/URLs above and here: http://lindacovella.com/events-news/clean-indie-reads-fall-sale/

Many thanks to Linda Covello for organizing this and to all who participate as bloggers, all of you who visit, and especially all of your readers who comment, buy, download, read, and review our CIR books!

Enjoy your Clean Indie Reads!

Share /reblog this post!

Proud member of Clean Indie Reads!

CIR_Logo
 

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES: CLEAN INDIE READS (#CIR) Fall #Book #Sale Blog Tour

cir-fall-sale-graphic
http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

FALLING LEAVES, FALLING PRICES
Clean Indie Reads, the home of Flinch-Free Fiction, is having a #Fall #Book #Sale 

October 5 thru October 11!

Check out all the sale books HERE! http://arcaniarts.com/index.php/fall-clean-book-sale

Or, if you would like to go directly to Amazon and peruse the sale books by genre, check out these on Listmania: http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/byauthor/A1DSK2JI3W8GDJ/ref=cm_aya_bb_lists

To celebrate, we are having a #blog #hop where you can learn more about some of our authors and their books. Our bloggers will also be answering the question: “Do the changing seasons influence your writing and/or choice of books to read?”

Please join the discussion on this site by commenting, below, and please visit all the participating blog sites: you might win a prize or two! Happy Hopping!

My post:

The Sirian Experiments‘ Take on Changing Seasons

The best science-fiction series I have ever read that utilizes the idea of changing seasons is Doris Lessing’s The Sirian Experiments, which won the Man Booker Prize in 1981. It is Volume III of her Canopus in Argos: Archives Series, a masterwork of new ideas in philosophy, gender identity, sexuality, social relationships, ecology, geology, psychology and so much more. I highly recommend you start at the beginning and read the entire series. Then, start over. Really.

The main premise of The Sirian Experiments which relates to today’s thematic question is this: Humans and Earth itself are an experiment conducted by those from the planet Siria. Part of that experiment was to tilt Earth on its axis, creating seasons in most parts of the planet, and then to track the effects of this tilt on humans.

The main way that humans responded to this tilt was that we developed varying emotions. According to the Sirian experimenters, humans’ becoming emotionally labile, meaning quite reactive, sometimes inexplicably positive or negative, was a direct result of the planet’s switch from having temperate, monochromatic climates to having changing/seasonal climates.

Fascinating, right? After many centuries of observation, the Sirian experimenters further theorized that the more extreme the climate seasons changes were, the more radical the changes in the emotions of the humans living in those latitudes became. Those that lived closer to Earth’s equator and therefore experienced fewer and smaller annual seasonal changes were the least emotional, for example.

With the more recent understandings of the ways reduced sunlight affects many people, bringing to our attention extreme reactions, such as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and high rates of suicide in latitudes of Earth that have fewer annual days/hours of sunlight, we now have support for Lessing’s “far-fetched” propositions.

Interestingly, SAD wasn’t “discovered” until after Lessing’s books had been published (SAD was formally described and named in 1984). Hmmmm…..

I recently moved from a more monochromatic climate (the San Francisco Bay Area) back to a more temperate/seasonal climate (Missouri). I wonder if I will become more “emotional”? I grew up here and I lived in temperate climates for most of my life, only inhabiting the more monochromatic climates for the last 15 years or so. However, that time also coincided with intensification in my Buddhist meditation practice, higher attendance at more and longer meditation retreats, many periods (years, not months) of unemployment, and fewer intimate relationships, so the experimental “controls” fail for THIS experiment.

All that being known, I am interested to find out how returning to a place that has actual seasons affects me. I’ll let you know!

First: have to buy some new winter boots. Mine rotted and molded from lack of use. LOL.

Second: get some more good books!

If you, as I do, like to curl up with a good book as we sit by a warming fire or other heating source as the weather gets rainier, colder, snowier or frosty, please consider getting the volumes in Lessing’s Sci-Fi series.

Then, for even more fun, download the first volume of my own sci-fi/ romance/ multiverse/ utopian Spanners Series, This Changes Everything (which is free) and then, Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, as well. Also, please try some of the others’ books in this CIR Blog Hop!

Here are my books. All links can be found on my website: http://www.sallyember.com Look right and scroll.

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Now PERMA-FREE everywhere ebooks are sold.

final cover print

Now $3.99 wherever ebooks are sold.

logoAuthorsDen

Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, due out early in 2015. Volumes IV – X in process.
All Spanners‘ cover and logo art by Aidana Willowraven.

As always, REVIEWS ARE APPRECIATED!

Blog Hop Schedule
(please note: not all bloggers will be offering giveaways):

Check out all the sale books here.

Disclaimer: Comment by 11:59:59 PM Central time on October 10, 2014 for your chance to win. Please leave your email address with your comment. Winners will be contacted by the blog owner by October 13, 2014. Only one entry per ISP address. The contest is open to international readers unless stated by the blog owner. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. The giveaway is the sole responsibility of the blogger. Clean Indie Reads is in no way responsible for providing prizes during this blog hop. Void where prohibited

 
Please visit the other sites in this Blog Tour! Schedule/URLs above and here: http://lindacovella.com/events-news/clean-indie-reads-fall-sale/

Many thanks to Linda Covello for organizing this and to all who participate as bloggers, all of you who visit, and especially all of your readers who comment, buy, download, read, and review our CIR books!

Enjoy your Clean Indie Reads!

Share /reblog this post!

Proud member of Clean Indie Reads!

CIR_Logo
 

Author Interview Blog Talk Radio 12/27: Sally Ember, Ed.D.

Maybe you’re able to be near an online source to listen to Sally Ember, Ed.D., sci-fi/romance ebook author, talk about her newly released ebook, series, writing, and more on Friday, 12/27, 11 AM EST. Spread the word! One-hour live call-in/comment online show.

Listen live or archived. Sally Ember, Ed.D. will be interviewed by Will Wilson on Indie Books, Blog Talk Radio’s weekly indie author spotlight.

Call in by phone, chat online with comments, questions, suggestions about The Spanners Series, This Changes Everything, Volume I, and Sally’s ideas, writing, and science-fiction/multiverse/romance/paranormal themes, Buddhism, Judaism, family: whatever you’re interested in talking with Sally about, this is YOUR hour!

Readers of this post who FOLLOW http://www.sallyember.com may email her to request a coupon for a FREE download of her ebook via Smashwords, good through 12/31/13.

Visit her site or https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197 to download free excerpts, read reviews/interviews, and more.

This Changes Everything cover

Go online (link below) to listen live and type in questions/comments via Chat, or call in to speak with the host, Will Wilson, 11 AM – noon, 12/27, EST, New York, USA, time, Friday: (646) 595-3951 in the USA

Or, if you miss it, it will be archived, same link, ever after:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/indiebooks/2013/12/27/indie-books-show-15

Blog Talk Radio

1/5/14: Today, Will Wilson, the host/interviewer emailed me that this show with his interview of me, Sally Ember, author of “The Spanners Series,” now has Indie Books’ 2nd-highest listener ranking, with over 350 listeners since the 12/27 broadcast! it’s archived, so listen any time and share! Thanks, Will, and thanks to all the listeners, past and future! 

More about living in a “God Realm”

Yesterday my at-home #Buddhist #meditation #retreat, week one, contemplating living in a “God Realm,” took some interesting turns due to “regular life.” That’s the beauty and the challenge of having a home retreat: life keeps on happening, and not very far away or able to be ignored. Need to deal with my car, keep connecting with some people, job-hunt and apply, have a job interview (when invited), shop for essentials, tend to chores.

As a writer who is finishing Volume II, This Changes My Family and my Life Forever, and marketing (release date, December 20) Volume I, This Changes Everything of The Spanners Series, I am also writing, marketing, learning about ebook publishing, indie pub networking and methods, editing/revising, weighing in on cover art for Volume I (thanks, #Willowraven!) and learning about this whole ebook process for the first time from Mark Coker of #Smashwords (thanks, Mark). My days and some of my nights are quite full, already. Adding in 3 – 6 hours of meditation each day (sometimes more) is quite a feat. I’m not bragging; just explaining. Something’s gotta give.

So, yesterday, the meditation time “gave” to the car repair and friend times. However, I did walk and meditate/contemplate while my car was being assessed (one hour). During that hour, I walked around downtown Hayward to do errands (bank, library) and then sat in an rarely-used chess-players’ seat at a small city park.

No one else was in the park. In fact, it was officially “closed,” but the walkways were open. I and a dog-walker were the only park users when I was there. I could picture the park on busier days, ghost figures filling the space: the traditional-old-men-playing-chess images, some teens hanging out on the benches, a stroller-pusher or two, a dog-walker or two. But, since it held no other appeals, with no playground, no fountain or pond, no climbing structures, no other places to sit, I ran out of ideas. Besides the two chess stations and two park benches, there were a few patches of grass (well-trimmed), some flowering shrubs, one tree: that was the corner park.

Meditating/contemplating living in a God Realm caused me to look around more closely as I walked and then, sat. I discovered several aspects of this downtown that struck me as relevant. First, there are a lot of abandoned or empty, unmarked buildings and vacant lots among some seemingly open ones or those not due to be opened, yet (it was before 11:30, so many places weren’t open, yet). In this particular moment, one day in 2013 in Hayward, California, I could see evidence of better days.

One large, brick building had odd-shaped and oddly placed spaces high on one wall facing the busiest intersection. I puzzled out that these were vacancies left by large, individual letters which must have been adhering to the brickwork to display the owner’s or business’ name. Gone. But, before that era ended, those people must have been very wealthy to have owned such a large, prominent downtown structure. Most owners live in a God Realm, until they don’t.

They would have had servants and workers under them, surplus income to spend on themselves. They would have indulged themselves and their family members in luxuries and vacations, had most every whim fulfilled. Fancy clothes, fast and expensive cars, jewels, lavish parties, food and beverages, entertainment, sex, exotic pets, travel to beautiful locales, music and art would have filled their lives. Let’s give them good health, love and intelligence, too. A perfect human existence, probably in the latter part of the last century or earlier.

Where are those owners now, if any of them are still even in those human forms? Assisted living or nursing homes? Scattered from Hayward, younger family members out of touch or estranged? Dead already? Where are their money, those luxuries, that business? What happened to their residences, cars, clothes and other possessions, friends and colleagues? Gone to others or just completely gone. Empty. Abandoned, like this building.

Even when “everything is perfect,” it can’t last. Even if the outer pleasures continue, the enjoyers do not. These “Gods” age, get infirm, die; or, die suddenly. But, die they must, taking none of that gilded life with them.

I returned to retrieve my car (can’t be fixed until part arrives. I chose Halloween for my next foray into town, since I have a medical appointment that day, anyway). Driving the short distance home, I contemplated the ephemeral nature of all life and the futility of accumulating wealth, possessions, pleasures and such.

We may be living in a God Realm or not, but what we all share is impermanence. Whatever ways we are enjoying or suffering through our existences, our pleasure or pain is just a moment in the great span of time. Whatever we have, whatever we want: Feel it, live it, then go on to the next moment. That is the merry-go-round of samsara.

Prayers for all beings to recognize the illusory, temporary nature of samsaric existence and to buckle down (or ratchet up) to be on the path to individual liberation. Bodhicitta and gratitude for my path filled my heart as I re-entered my home, my retreat space.