Monday, October 16, 2006

More Info About Tabitha & This Blog

Tabitha was born in October of 1990. She is a Balinese, which means she has the coloration of a Himalayan and the musculature of a Siamese. In other words, she is slender with long fur....

That's enough about Tabitha. Let me tell you a few pertinent things about myself. The original version of my third book was written in 1966-74. I totally rewrote it in 2002 after I had gained a lot of experience with my first two books. Most of the content of my first book was published in a local newsletter as short articles and stories in 1985-95. I spent an enormous amount of time re-editing and organizing this material into Plastic Ozone Daydream. I am retired and I spend 4-12 hours a day at my computer. I am not writing. I am researching. I have spent more time than you would ever believe trying to learn about POD publishing and marketing. Without looking it up, I cannot remember how much I have spent on the marketing of my four books, but I can swear in court that it has been a lot more than you would ever believe. It would be the understatement of the century to say that I have learned a lot about the POD market.

The most important thing I have learned is that the #1 element that sells an iUniverse book is a title and subject matter with which a certain segment of the reading population is obsessed. People do not buy iU books because the writer is a genius or the material is the most carefully crafted in the world. They buy them because the title and genre indicate a subject that they want to read. The second element is subject matter that the reader cannot readily find anywhere else. Other than many nonfiction releases, the biggest sellers at iU in this category are male gay fiction. Look it up. The third issue, quite unfortunately, concerns what I call the slap-fighters. These are the same type of people as those who are feeding the social and political civil war the US has been engaged in throughout this millennium. On one side we have the innocent, naive iU authors who think their books should sell easily with very little effort. On the other side, we have a pack of smarmy fatheads who simply live to insult and crush the first group. All the second group can say is how the first group is incapable of writing or editing, and therefore, they deserve all the derision they get. The fatheads' mantra is all about typos in the text and fonts chosen for the covers.

Have you noticed the disproportionate number of reviews of POD books at Amazon that are either five-star or one-star? How many of the five-star reviews are by the authors themselves or their friends? How many are by people who have not actually read the book cover-to-cover? How many are copied and pasted from paid review sites? If you want to see how out of control the reviews at Amazon can get, look up Solomon Tulbure's books. The bottom line is that when I see an Amazon review pattern of a large number of five-star and one-star reviews, with very few ratings between the extremes, I cannot help but think the one-star reviews must be saying at least one thing that is correct about the books, even though we know at least a few of these are simply posted by slap-fighters. Remember, I have been studying these patterns since 1999. I know that many of the Amazon reviews for iU books are not really legitimate in one way or another. I feel that by providing a little constructive criticism in my reviews, I provide credibility to my blog site, which of course, it desperately needs if I am to really provide any useful aid to the iU authors I am trying to help.

I cannot tell you how much I despise the slap-fighters. I feel the same way about our politicians. Instead of trying to do something honorable, they just want to stand there and slap each other in the face with insults. I do not feel that way at all. I think our corporations have destroyed us. I think iU is one of the best outlets we have for fighting back. As a wise person has said, POD books are like indie bands. Without either, the publishers and record companies would give us nothing but worthless trash to read or hear. We need to normalize the market for POD books. The slap-fighters will ruin the market for us if we let them, just as surely as our current music market is nothing but rap noise and country drivel. (Remember, I am a 58-year-old white man who has seen Jimi Hendix and The Allman Brothers live numerous times.) My goal is to be the voice of reason for deserving iU authors. I want to be the dim little lamp hidden in the nasty, murky swamp of POD denigration by fatheads who just want to proclaim themselves kings of the publishing world and declare all iUniverse authors misguided losers.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hear, hear. A worthy goal indeed. iUniverse and other POD authors (and readers) need some legitimate means to distinguish good books from the vast sea of bad ones. I, for one, am glad you're doing your part.