Tag Archives: success

Pick Your Battles Wisely

Force of Habit by Marian AllenWell, it was bound to happen. After a week of begging for reviews (WTF? Begging for Reviews), I finally got the email I had been expecting–took a little longer than I would have thought. Yes, you guessed it. I pissed someone off by asking for reviews, no “begging like a spoiled child” is what I supposedly, actually did.

What kind of publisher would post a Blog telling the world that no one would review your books?” Have I lost my mind? What the hell as I thinking? Um, the fact that many of our books had no reviews might have been a sign to the world. Furthermore.

Is it your goal in life to ruin the careers of all your authors?” How dare I? No kidding, why would I want readers to tell other readers what they thought of our books. That might actually encourage someone to go out and buy one of the books. I suck!

Perhaps no one reviews your books because you publish mediocre writers who can’t get published anywhere else.” Um..yeah, that’s it. I only publish people who suck.

Come on, Asshat. Really? I have not, nor will I respond directly to this person–who by the way submitted to us and was rejected. Obviously they read my blog and can see my response here. So you all know, I am not taking my professional hat off, but I am tipping it a little to the side.

Who do you think you are? Seriously. You have the audacity to question my intentions and level of professionalism? Did you think I would not recognize your name when you signed your email? I do keep records. Did you think that sending a publisher a note calling them names and insulting them would gain you favor anywhere? Did you really think I would NOT post my response publicly? You obviously have not read enough of my posts. You should consider yourself lucky I did not take off the professional hat, or your name, email address, and web address would be in HUGE bold letters with this response. I’m sure I will get more than one request from Echelon authors to know the name of the person who called them all mediocre.

There is something you obviously have not learned about me throughout the years that I have been blogging and speaking freely about my role in the industry. I am not a lemming. I do not follow along blindly and let everyone else dictate how I run my business or my life. I have every intention of continuing to succeed in this business. I have not “failed to intrigue or energize readers or reviewers with lackluster plots and mediocre writers.” I have published damn good stories that entertain readers. And if some of our books have errors in them, then I sincerely apologize, but we are human.

People, authors, readers, etc, don’t let stupidity rule your life. If you don’t like something, then find a considerate way to say it. This isn’t about publishing, it’s about human decency. I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I say or do, but if you don’t, then either give me constructive advice, or shut the hell up. Don’t keep telling me that I am doing something wrong until you have solid advice on how I can do it better.

I would wager there are tons of people out there who don’t agree with my tactics for gathering reviews, I thank you all for not sending me pissy emails calling me a “hack publisher wannabe.”

With all that said, please don’t think this has swayed me in any way from my path to riches and success. There are still four more days for you to request your book and get those reviews posted on the original blog post to be entered to win the Kindle. So send me those requests. The family won’t mind sandwiches another day so you can finish that book.

And to those of you who have requested books and are sending/posting your reviews. I cannot thank you enough. Your support of Echelon is very much appreciated.

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Success by Default?

Okay, I am going to take a moment and speak out against the masses. This is more for writers, but has bearing on readers as well.

I recently (and very quietly) read the success book by John Locke (How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!) Let me start by saying, I am not bashing this book. It was okay. It offered some good advice that may or may not work for the masses. I am guessing he has sold a buttload of copies of it, and good for him! I mean that.

What I’m worried about is all the authors out there who have made this their new bible of sorts. Nowhere in his book does he promise that if the author does everything he did and exactly like he did it, they will find the success he has. NOWHERE! I went into the book expecting a little more and was a little disappointed. Not because it didn’t offer good advice, in fact I agree with a good portion of it and have been using his principles for some time and preaching them to the authors and writers I have met along the way. No, I’m not looking for credit, I am trying to make a point.

    • I blog. Actually I think I blog pretty well. I’ve never had complaints. I get plenty of praise, and I’m confident that I have a pretty good following. But how many of you have actually bought any of my books or short stories? You like me, right? So why not invest in my career?
    • I interact with people. Probably more than I should. I am a social networking whore. I admit. My name is Karen, and I am addicted to social networking. I don’t talk at people, I talk to them, and you talk back.
    • I write well. One difference between Locke and I is that I do care what people think about my writing as well as my stories. Of course I want my words to move you, but I don’t want you to get a headache trying to sift through crappy punctuation, grammar, and spelling. I will read one of his books (probably one of the westerns) and I’m sure I’ll be entertained, but I’m already prepared for writing that may or may not be good.
    • I invest in people. When I was going through some horrible times, years back, I turned to books as my refuge. You’ve heard people say that, but it’s true. Authors like Caroline Bourne, Jill Barnett, Rebecca Paisley, and all manner of others took me through some pretty dark days. Days that I readily admit could have ended in my death, were it not for the hope and inspiration their stories and their writing offered me. When I came through all of that, I decided I wanted to give back. I knew I wanted to write as well as them, and I wanted to tell stories that touched and affected the lives of others. I’ve spent the last 15 years offering to others what I took back in those days. I offer it with my writing and I offer it with my publishing.

 

Now, here’s my point. After reading Locke’s book, I was disappointed. I have done the things he spoke of and I have done them for years. Yet, I have sold nowhere near a million of anything. Why is that? Am I not working hard enough? Smart enough? Am I more confident in myself than others are in me? Whatever the reason, I would like to offer a bit of my own wisdom with regard to this matter.

Read books by people like Locke, and learn from them, but don’t put them on pedestals because they accomplished something. They are people just like us, and no matter how much you pay for a book like his, it will never guarantee the success he found. There is no secret to successful bookselling. It is something you simply must strive to do every day. EVERY DAY you must go out and tell people who you have written something that is so important to you that you are confident that in some way it will affect them. You must give readers a reason to make the investment in you. Will it work every time? Obviously not, or people would be interviewing me and not John Locke or Amanda Hocking.

They deserve the praise, they have both worked very hard and obviously very smart. Am I jealous? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. I don’t envy their success. I envy their ability to convey to others the value of buying their books and remaining loyal readers. I envy their ability to show others their personal value, because that is a huge part of their success. Readers believe in them. I want that.

Authors, there is no secret for selling millions of books. No book is ever going to give you that. People like Locke can offer you insight into how they did it, but facts are, you are not him. Your situation, life, and abilities are very different. It is the wonder of diversity. Read the books, pay attention, and then go out and find your own success. It’s out there for all of us, we just have to embrace it and nurture it to its full capacity.

Readers, embrace the authors you love. Continue to buy their books and help them find their success, but I urge you to keep your minds open and embrace what you don’t know with the expectation of great things. There are new authors exploding onto the scene with books and stories that will blow you away. Don’t be caught in the he said, she said trap of the industry. Things are always changing in the book world. Formats, styles, themes, everything. Don’t be afraid that if you set aside a paperback novel and try reading something on a Kindle that it will be the ruination of you and the paperback industry. It won’t. We live in a vast world that offers so much potential for growth and only if we explore and embrace all of our choices will we find what we are truly seeking.

Me and Mary Kay…sorta

Our 10th Anniversary

Today I am celebrating my tenth wedding anniversary. A milestone, yes, but for me it is even more important. You see, I’m not the easiest person in the world to get along with or tolerate. Okay, in all fairness, I’m a much better person than I was 15 years ago.

Back in the day I was mean, stubborn, selfish, and all kinds of other nasty things. I have had countless friends come and go, with a very small number holding steady. I hae infuriated, pissed off, and offended more people than I can even count. I cared little about making connections with anyone. So why the glimpse into my sordid past?

As I said, today is my anniversary and my husband has earned a very special place in my heart. He is the one person who I have maintained a personal and positive relationship with for the longest consecutive period of time. I know that sounds weird, but I really have pissed off a lot of people.  It has not been easy for him, but hopefully he thinks it is worth it.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about other types of relationships. Being in business I’m tasked with finding ways to bring people close enough that they find value in me and my product. I don’t think enough people give serious consideration to relationships when trying to build their business’s reputation. For me it plays, and always has played, a very important, even crucial, role. After all, I am out there every day asking people to have faith in me and to spend their hard-earned money on my products. I really don’t take that lightly. In fact, the idea that readers might not like our books torments me to no end.

Some of you may be wondering what happened to change me so dramatically. In truth it was a couple of things. First and foremost was meeting my (now) husband. The time we have spent together (15 years in total) has truly made me want to be a better person than I was. He has made a point to find the good in me from the moment we met. He did not change me, knowing him made me want to change.

Mary Kay Ash

The other major influence in my life was the late Mary Kay Ash. You all probably know her from her internationally renowned cosmetics company. Over the last few years I have investigated and studied her company and her life with great enthusiasm. This remarkable woman literally started Mary Kay with almost nothing after having lost her husband. Along with her son, she worked from the bottom up to make the company one of the most well-known and successful.

The most important element to her success as a person and an entrepeneur was her ability to connect with people, as far as I can tell, nearly all people. Every day in her life was filled with getting to know others and going out of her way to make them feel important and valued. Rumor has it that she treated her Mary Kay representatives with the same respect as she did her friends and family. It is said that when a Mary Kay representative had a birthday, an anniversary, or even a tragedy, Mary Kay Ash would pick up the phone and call them herself.

The character of Mary Kay Ash has been an inspiration to me for a very long time. I strive to make my life as worthy as hers and I hope that in some way I leave a positive impression on every person I meet or talk to. After all, you can’t put a price or value on human life and happiness.