Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Second Chance Series; Readers Writing Reviews; Wrestler Tweets Anti-Gay on Michael Sam

Second Chance Series

I'm about to finish the third book in the Glendora Hill series, and then I'm getting back to the Second Chance series with another novella. But I've had a few people ask about the order in which the Second Chance books were written, and how they should be read so I figured I would post something here for future reference.

The first book in the series is just "Second Chance." You can find it here on Amazon, and if you do a search with Ryan Field Second Chance you'll find it in other places, too. Sometimes it's hard to list all links because I try to distribute these books in as many places as my publishers distribute my other books.

The second book in the series is Second Chance: The Littlest Christmas Tree. Here's the Amazon link.

The third book is Second Chance: His Only Choice. Here's the Amazon link.

At this point, all books are priced @ .99 and will remain that way for at least the next few months.

And, all of the books are stand alones and don't have to be read in any set order.

Readers Writing Reviews

There aren't any links to this part of the post because I'm trying to appeal to readers in a very cautious way. You've seen many of us (established authors) post about authors who aggressively hock readers and other authors for reviews, you've seen many of us rant about aggressive, sneaky authors who pay for reviews and ratings that may or may not be accurate, and you've seen many of us get into discussions about whether or not these aggressive street teams so many pushy authors use now to get attention is fair to readers who don't know any better. This happy, phony brand of marketing/promotion has become an epidemic and I won't even get into the ethical aspects of this because these authors have only one ethic: sell that book no matter what they have to do. Period. It's only about the money, the Amazon sales rank, the Amazon bestseller list, and shoving what is usually something that's poor quality down the consumer's throat. Whether or not most of what they do is legal remains to be seen. And I mean that literally because I know for a fact that authors who don't do these aggressive, questionable things are getting tired of dealing with it and they are investigating behind the scenes. The FTC has gone after companies for writing aggressive fake reviews and fined them heavily.

But this pushy author issue is not the point of this part of the post. Many authors like me don't pay for reviews, we don't lie to our readers, and we try to keep it real. We don't have street teams and we don't put on an act for you. For us, it's all about the reader, and respect for the reader. And the only thing we ask is that if you buy our books you leave a short review or even a rating. It's not about five star reviews, or five star ratings. Just an honest review or rating about what you thought of the book is fine and we will all appreciate it more than you'll ever know...especially those of us who write erotic romance.

One of the drawbacks to writing erotic romance, historically and now, is that the books are as discreet as the readership. In other words, authors like me often get private messages and e-mails about our books and we love this. We really do. We love that personal contact with readers. We also respect and appreciate the fact that our readers are discreet and they don't like to leave public reviews for erotic romance because it could be awkward for them. Writing erotic romance is an act of discretion for many authors, too, which is why you see so many pen names. So we all know and respect the discretion factor with erotic romance and we all know how important it is to maintain this privacy in a world where privacy is becoming less important as each day passes.

In the same respect, all authors are now dealing with different circumstances as publishing continues to change almost daily as well. Established authors are now facing these newer aggressive authors who will stop at nothing to get their books to the top of every bestseller list there is and it's getting harder and harder to compete in honest ways. And one of the ways we can compete is through readers who take the time to leave us reviews and ratings for books they've read. We know it's a pain in the ass sometimes, we know a lot of people don't even like leaving reviews with fake names, and we know most of all the fact that you purchase our books should be enough for us. But if you can take the time out of your lives to just leave one short review for each book you read we would also be more grateful than you'll ever know. In doing this you as the reader can take control of these liars and fakes so other readers can read what you've written and know that it's honest and wasn't paid for in large quantity by people who write reviews for five dollars a shot.

It might not stop the most notorious authors out there, but it sure would help. I actually believe that if every single honest reader left just one review for each book he or she read it might even cancel out all the fake reviews no one can trust. Because if this continues authors who are established and don't aggressively go after reviews are going to have to either stop writing altogether or rethink their own approach to marketing and getting reviews. And I would hate to see that happen. Just think about what the book world would be like if we all faked it and we all paid for our five star reviews. Who could you trust?

I hope I didn't offend any readers with this post. We really are thankful for the fact that you're buying our books and keeping in touch with us in private. If you don't feel comfortable leaving a review, that's okay, too. Don't feel pressured to do it. This was just a quiet request and an appeal to help give readers more control, too.

Wrestler Tweets Anti-Gay on Michael Sam

I posted about Michael Sam, high profile football player, coming out recently, here. In the wake of his disclosure, there's been a lot of discussion and one wrestler at Kent State, Sam Wheeler, decided to bash Michael Sam and all "Queers" with anti-gay comments on Twitter.

 Following the historic coming out of Division I college football player Michael Sam, the social media backlash was both predictable and horrifying. However, one college athlete is now experiencing the repercussions of what can happen when you choose to be homophobic on Twitter.

They say Wheeler's been suspended and his Twitter account deleted.

You can read more here, where there are screen shots of his vicious tweets.

I've read a few comments about free speech regarding these hate tweets and comments and what people fail to realize is that free speech was not designed to harm people. With free speech you take on a responsibility and if you fail to live up to that responsibility you may have to face certain consequences. As far as I know, Wheeler is still free to spew all the gay hate he wants. No one is going to lock him up and put him away. It's just that the school he attends is not going to put up with it because his free speech is so offensive to so many other people.


Jon Michaelsen said...

Thank you for this post, Ryan. I appreciate your honesty when it comes to posted reviews and I greatly appreciate your unselfish comments representative of all honest authors who believe their work can and will outshine the greedy, over-the-top writers peddling their titles in the name of money and ratings. To me, it all goes back to the old saying; "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I don't think readers will continue falling for the same tricks over and over if the writing is just not there. What is unfortunate, however, are the writers who fall victim to this strategy because they feel it's the only way to get noticed. As for as I am concerned, honesty always trumps fakery and false praise.

ryan field said...

And, unfortunately, most readers don't know this happens. I was talking to my mom about it the other day when she mentioned a book she'd just purchased on Amazon in digital and she was surprised when I told her all this is actually happening. And she's an avid reader. Most of the people I know who aren't in publishing are avid readers and they don't realize this. I wish the mainstream media would do something, or mention something, about it once in a while to let consumers know.

ryan field said...

And, unfortunately, most readers don't know this happens. I was talking to my mom about it the other day when she mentioned a book she'd just purchased on Amazon in digital and she was surprised when I told her all this is actually happening. And she's an avid reader. Most of the people I know who aren't in publishing are avid readers and they don't realize this. I wish the mainstream media would do something, or mention something, about it once in a while to let consumers know.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

I too am getting tired of trying to compete in a crowded marketplace of subpar books that are all fluff and no substance. I'm frequently seeing complaints about self-published "novels" that are only 10 pages long. If I have a standalone short, I label it as such. Most of my books are at least 70,000 words long. They take time and work to craft. I don't crank out garbage.

I am trying to put together a street team, but I'm only reaching out to my loyal readers who genuinely like my work and want to help promote it. Some of the sales tactics to get books on top of Amazon sales list are downright low. The reader is the ultimate loser.

ryan field said...

I'm not anti street team. I think if they are done openly and we know it they can even be fun. I think readers getting involved this way is fun for them, too. But some of these authors take the street team to another level. The things I've heard in private would amaze you.

I also think part of the issue is that overly zealous marketing PR people are giving authors questionable advice and the authors are listening to it. In some cases, on large scales, that kind of advice works, but with smaller genre authors is can be taken in different ways. I tread with care here because it is a sensitive issue. But the fact is that there are too many shifty marketing PR people out there cashing in on authors who are willing to trust them.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

I linked to your post today on my own blog post about this issue. I've also seen and received some very questionable advice from PR types, who basically say that you should do whatever it takes to get yourself in the news, even if it means breaking the law. (Seriously, I got that advice from a PR guy when I put a call out for sources on a marketing article I was writing.)

ryan field said...

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but I've heard similar things myself. I would so love to find a good, honest, PR person. I'm sure they are out there. They have to be :)