Posted in News and Appearances, Promotions

More fabulous giveaways! Pick up free copies to read in the sunshine…

One of the ways an author can both give back to readers and draw new readers in is by doing giveaways. I’m delighted to be participating in a couple at the moment.

Suit Yourself is being offered down at Prolific Works. You can read all about the sexy romance between a sassy young fashion diva and an ex porn star. Leslie and Oliver are here to please you 🙂

As well as this one, there’s another HUGE giveaway being run by Michelle A Bailey, where you can win books, swag and goodies simply by following author’s newsletters. Give it a look here and grab yourselves a chance to win.

I tend to do quite a few of these sort of events so stay tuned to my social media to catch them all as they happen.

Happy Reading!!

 

Posted in News and Appearances

#Bookland Adventures

So much is going on in #Bookworld at the moment.  Let’s do a quick recap of what’s happening out there. I’m not an expert and these opinions below are what I’ve gleaned from the posts knocking about on the web. It’s a bit of a long post but then, there’s a lot to talk about.

Sales Rankings

Amazon is stripping erotica authors of their rankings and making their books hard to find. Who knows why, it’s thought the latest SESTA/FOSTA act recently passed in US Congress. It’s a laudable aim and needs to be done. However, thought needed to be given to how this might affect online communities and social networks. I don’t know enough about this to comment so all I can do is draw it to your attention and let you make your own assumptions. There’s a good post here which gives another side of the conversation. https://stopsesta.org/ and https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/02/fosta-would-be-disaster-online-communities

It might still have to be signed by 45 but we all know the orange dirt bag idiot will do it. I may be wrong, but I doubt this US law affects other countries, just enforces censorship on the internet for US based companies and their affiliates as well as for any websites externally that sell into the US. So it impacts a huge chunk of the market ;( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/28/sesta_passes_house/ 

Authors are understandably confused about how this will ultimately impact the whole publishing market.

Reddit have tailored back on their offerings, as has Craigslist. It’s only going to get worse as other companies fall in line with the legislation for fear of being held responsible for the actions of their users.

Someone on Kindleboards described it as a ‘purge’. Tymber Dalton wrote an informative piece about this down at tymberdalton.com. And in my opinion, she’s right, mostly. I disagree on one aspect. More about that later.

Facebook will be clamping down on the same thing, because where Amazon goes, I’ve found Facebook follows. (I personally think Bezos and Zuckerberg have a red hotline telephone where they discuss with eager glee how to fuck with authors and the publishing world.) It’s an old problem with Facebook, photos are being reported ad nauseum – innocent, bare chested men, book covers, innocuous pictures of men together –  and no one know what the hell Facebook sees that we don’t. More about that later as well.

We’ve had catfishing rearing its ugly head again. I’m not even going to go there because so much has said, I can’t add anything.

Publishers are closing down, some dealing with the meltdown professionally, others preferring to sink their heads into the red South African sand.

There’s probably much more going on, but this is enough for me to contend with now. My brain is close to exploding as it is.  So- what do we do about it? Well, I’m not sure what can be done about number 1 and 2. I guess everyone will have to see how it plays out and whether Amazon create a new category or platform for those affected authors to market their books. After all, that’s what Amazon does, right? Sells books we write so it can make a profit, more than we do in most cases. They are the megalith, the giant and we believe we need their platform to sell our books. This is true, but I still believe, even though they are a business and need to do what’s best for them, that a little communication and consultation would go a long way to becoming more professional about the decisions they make.

How do we get over this? There are ways. Tymber mentions one in her blog entry.

A.  Sell via your own website and bring that little bit of control into your own hands. You can do what the hell you like, post what you want, and readers should be encouraged to join us as we try and build our brand without external influences that are so fickle and dictatorial. Use this platform as your voice. Of course, at this point I have no clue whether selling , say, your erotica titles, into the US for your readers based there, is also impacted by this legislation.

B.  There are other sites like AllAuthor, Books+Bites and Queer Romance Ink. They work on our behalf, and while they may cost a bit of money, it’s worth it. We sell a product; we need to expect there’s a marketing cost for that, like any other company trying to get its product into the hands of would be buyers. No guarantees, simply a budget you wave goodbye to and hope like hell it gets your name out there. These links are all down on my website if you’re interested.

Facebook is a platform where one day we’ll lose all our mojo and when it goes, you need a back up plan. It’s time to start developing this now via your own website and finding other channels to get involved in.

What am I personally doing to try and help?

I’ve been promised a meeting with Facebook in London’s Head of Policy and PR. I know someone who knows him (two someones in fact) and have a great relationship with him. I want to present my petition to them, let them know our grievances and see if anything can be done.

https://www.change.org/p/susan-mac-nicol-equal-facebook-standards-applied-to-lgbtqi-community

I’ve instituted what I call a ‘class action’ (disclaimer- not a real one) against CoolDudes Publishing who’ve gone silent at all the concern regarding their authors and the books they hold. Being Me has a charity anthology published with them. I’ve written to the South African police, on behalf of all the authors and the complaint has been escalated to the National Consumer organisation in SA to handle. I’ve also told everyone down at Absolute Water Cooler not to have anything to do with them. Oh and I emailed Jeff Bezos directly (who came back to me -not him but he passed on my email to one of his senior operatives at Author Central) and he’s kindly given me next steps to have the book removed from Amazon.

For anyone, especially budding authors, who need help with social media trends, getting to grip with ways they can enhance their profiles etc, I already off coaching and Skype sessions to try and give advice. You can check it out on my website. I don’t say I have all the answers, but I’m pleased to announce I’ve helped my fair few find their feet.

https://www.authorsusanmacnicol.com/author-services/

I’ll try and regular updates as I get more details so make sure you follow/subscribe to my blog to get them.

Promotional Opportunities

As Editor in Chief at Divine Magazine, I’m offering any author who needs some exposure a free spotlight post if they wish. They can also upload their books to the site,  create their own author page, request a review and join the online community which is far less restrictive than other social networks at the moment.

Create Author Page

Join the Community

Upload Book to Site

Request a Review

Request an Author Spotlight – email us at editorial@divinemagazine.biz and we’ll get the material off to you letting you know what we need.

I don’t know what impact all this will have but I know one thing – you’ve nothing to lose by doing it and everything to gain.

 

Posted in Fellow Authors, News and Appearances

Review Hype and How To Get Over It

This might be a bit of a long post but it needs to be said. I see a lot of stuff going around about how readers distrust seeing a lot of five star reviews for a book. I get that. What I’m asking people to do is take a step back and think about things for a minute. Yes, there are frauds out there who buy reviews. Yes, there are authors out there who get everyone they know, regardless of whether they’ve read the book, to pop a five-star rating on Amazon. Yes, the are those unscrupulous wankers who create different personas and then go give themselves a great rating. Go you.

5 stars

Here’s the simple truth. We are not all like that. Some of us earn our five star reviews. We don’t ask for them, we don’t solicit them, we don’t beg for them. Yup, we beg for reviews, but we don’t stipulate what rating they need to be. Reviews are unfortunately the lifeblood of an author’s business, enabling all sorts of things to go on in the back ground. Get a Bookbub deal; push our stories a little further in the ever changing and very confusing Amazon ranking system. We don’t like it any more than you do that we have to try push this aspect of our business. Because that’s what it is to us. A business.

We sell a brand- ourselves- in the hope someone likes it and buys it. The fact we enjoy what we do and would probably do it even if we didn’t get paid for it is beyond the point. We do it because we love to write our books and we love when people love to read them. Getting paid to do so is a great consequence and of course, we all love it when our royalty cheques drop through the virtual door, no matter how much. Anyone who says different is lying to themselves. It’s a validation that people like your work along with the things that DO probably mean more- messages you get from readers telling you this, the little comments you see about your work in groups and reading clubs, the postings on your Facebook wall when a reader wants to tell you how much they enjoyed your book. I love it when that happens. I do it myself too as an avid fan-girl of some authors. And Benedict Cumberbatch. And Adam Lambert.

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But when it comes to reviews, 99% of us prefer honesty. We prefer someone to tell it like it is, as long as you’re not a troll just trying to destroy something, good or bad. Then you deserve to be covered in tar pitch and set alight. (Disclaimer- no trolls were harmed in the writing of this post and I am not advocating or promoting BRAT – Bloody Revenge Against Trolls).

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The proof of this statement is in the pudding.  Everyone knows I’m friends with a man called Scott Burkett, a well-known book reviewer and blogger and true friend of the MM genre. He’s given me great 5 star reviews for most of my books. But he didn’t hold back on Stripped Bare, or Feat of Clay, both books he wasn’t 100% sold on. No 5 stars there. I’ll be interested to see what he makes of Cross to Bare. Author Diane Nelson is an avid reader of my books yet Cross to Bare? 3.5 stars. She didn’t like it as much as my others. My own PA, Kirsty Vizard- a 4-star review for Feat of Clay. My own beta reader Rita R gave me 4 stars for both Feat of Clay and Cross to Bare because they didn’t ‘speak to her’ like my other books. So I think it’s safe to say no one is being held to ransom to produce a spate of 5 star reviews ‘because we are friends’ or connected in some way. I prefer this honesty from my friends. I don’t want lip service or fawning absolution. I want people to tell me how much they enjoyed my books, so I can perhaps write a better one next time. Just keep it constructive. Flapping your lips and spewing vile diatribe (often totally ignorant) about a book or worse, the author themselves, is just asking for karma to come back and shove its fist up your arse without lube. (Those of you who’ve read Laverne’s story will recognise this action. And no, it isn’t a secret desire I have)

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Of course, while I take into account what people are finding negative in my books, I might not always agree with it. It’s my book, my story, and I’ll determine its pace and content, and factor in what I think I need to take out of a negative review. If someone doesn’t like that – well, that’s their prerogative. Just like its mine to write my story the way I want to. So I’m not going to race out and change my next WIP unless I think the reviewer has made a valid point, in my opinion as the author and based on what my beta readers and knowledgeable editor suggest. Again, I’ve been known not to listen to them either, in everything.

So please don’t think that just because you see a bunch of five star reviews on an author’s book, it means they’ve bought them or solicited them. That not only offends me, it offends the individual person doing the honest review the best way they know how and the professional bloggers who have no axe to grind either way and who run their business being honest and saying it like it is.

There’s a sure fire way to see whether an author is deserving of their reviews – it’s called a sample. The one thing Amazon is good at doing is providing you, the potential buyer, with a fairly hefty sample of a book you intending purchasing. Read it. If it appeals to you, then buy it. Of course, if you’ve read an author’s books before and loved them, thinking them worthy of five stars yourself, the chances are their next ones have the same appeal. If it isn’t a five star book for you; okay then. Perfectly acceptable. I’ve read books from favourite authors and thought ‘Meh’. definitely not a five, maybe not even a four. Some books I’ve read from those at the top of the charts, I’ve wondered how the hell they got there in the first place. Not every book appeals to everyone.  Put a review up and tell people why. Tell them what you liked, didn’t like. Your opinion counts.

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Read the blurb- make sure you want to read a book about men having sex with each other, ménage, BDSM, child abuse, and the like before you buy it. It’s all there for a reader to make an informed decision.

Then find a quiet place to read, make yourself a hot drink and get something to nibble (hot chocolate and crisps are my snacks of choice as I curl up in an armchair) and find out whether that five star review was truly justified.

 

 

Posted in News and Appearances

Such a great laugh..this man deserves a medal

This was spotted on Facebook and I just had to share it with you because it is one of those stories that will make you cackle with laughter and roll around laughing. Enjoy. It is verbatim-nothing was changed or harmed in the making of this blog post- excepting this man’s dignity and some rather tender and intimate bits….
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THIS IS AN ACTUAL CUSTOMER REVIEW FROM A MAN ON AMAZON.CO.UK AFTER USING VEET HAIR REMOVAL CREAM FOR MEN. I ACTUALLY HAD TEARS ROLLING DOWN MY FACE WHILE READING IT!!!!!!!!!!!! SOOOO FUNNY!!!:

After having been told my danglies looked like an elderly Rastafarian I decided to take the plunge and buy some of this as previous shaving attempts had only been mildly successful and I nearly put my back out trying to reach the more difficult bits. Being a bit of a romantic I thought I would do the deed on the missus’s birthday as a bit if a treat.
I ordered it well in advance and working in the North Sea I considered myself a bit above some of the characters writing the previous reviews and wrote them off as soft office types…Oh my fellow sufferers how wrong I was. I waited until the other half was tucked up in bed and after giving some vague hints about a special surprise I went down to the bathroom. Initially all went well and I applied the gel and stood waiting for something to happen. I didn’t have long to wait.
At first there was a gentle warmth which in a matter of seconds was replaced by an intense burning and a feeling I can only describe as like being given a barbed wire wedgie by two people intent on hitting the ceiling with my head. Religion hadn’t featured much in my life until that night but I suddenly became willing to convert to any religion to stop the violent burning around the turd tunnel and what seemed like the the destruction of the meat and two veg. Struggling not to bite through my bottom lip I tried to wash the gel off in the sink and only succeeded in blocking the plughole with a mat of hair. Through the haze of tears I struggled out of the bathroom across the hall into the kitchen, by this time walking was not really possible and I crawled the final yard to the fridge in the hope of some form of cold relief. I yanked the freezer drawer out and found a tub of ice cream, toe the lid off and positioned it under me. The relief was fantastic but only temporary as it melted fairly quickly and the fiery stabbing returned. Due to the shape of the ice cream tub I hadn’t managed to give the starfish any treatment and I groped around in the draw for something else as I was sure my vision was going to fail fairly soon. I grabbed a bag of what I later found out was frozen sprouts and tore it open trying to be quiet as I did so. I took a handful of them and an tried in vain to clench some between the cheeks of my arse. This was not doing the trick as some of the gel had found its way up the chutney channel and it felt like the space shuttle was running its engines behind me.
This was probably and hopefully the only time in my life I was going to wish there was a gay snowman in the kitchen which should give you some idea of the depths I was willing to sink to in order to ease the pain. The only solution my pain crazed mind could come up with was to gently ease one of the sprouts where no veg had gone before.
Unfortunately, alerted by the strange grunts coming from the kitchen the other half chose that moment to come and investigate and was greeted by the sight of me, arse in the air, strawberry ice cream dripping from my bell end pushing a sprout up my arse while muttering “ooooohhh that feels good” Understandably this was a shock to her and she let out a scream and as I hadn’t heard her come in it caused an involuntary spasm of shock in myself which resulted in the sprout being ejected at quite some speed in her direction. I can understand that having a sprout fired against your leg at 11 at night in the kitchen probably wasn’t the special surprise she was expecting and having to explain to the kids the next day what the strange hollow in the ice cream was didn’t improve my status…so to sum it up, VEET removes hair, dignity and self-respect ~ Cerys