Shameless Promotion---yet again

I know, I know...we have all said this before and will probably go on doing it, pointless as it seems to be.

 

But here goes, anyway.

 

The first example of your writing that anyone is going to see is the description you write for your blurb. If it is not letter-perfect, if the spelling, grammar and punctuation are not spot on, why in the world would a potential reader think that your book was written any more carefully? After all, if even that little bit of attention could not shown in writing a short paragraph, how much craftsmanship was spent on the book itself?

 

And when even the title of the book itself is misspelled...

 

 

Comments

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    It isn't easy attempting to fulfill every role of a publishing house, yet that is the job self-publishers take on.

     

    It would be nice if more authors gave an approximate word count to let potential customers have a better idea of value.

     

    I prefer print, but without a preview to see a sample or a word count, I'm loathe to spend money.


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    It isn't easy attempting to fulfill every role of a publishing house, yet that is the job self-publishers take on.

     

    It would be nice if more authors gave an approximate word count to let potential customers have a better idea of value.

     

    I prefer print, but without a preview to see a sample or a word count, I'm loathe to spend money.


    I agree!

     

    However, when it comes to something as simple as a blurb consisting of only a few sentences an author who does not write this with care, or at least vet it before posting, is difficult to excuse. And getting the title of one's one book wrong in a heading is even more evidence of bad craftsmanship.

     

    Perhaps the author is, in fact, aware of their shortcomings. I noticed that the book in question did not have a preview.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I noticed the lack of preview as well.

  • One can get an indication of the quality of a writer's craftsmanship from their forum posts. Many are utterly shameful.

     

    Shameless Promotion is like sticking a candle in a jar and placing that jar on the bottom of the ocean. The chances of it leading anywhere are pretty slim so mess it up at you peril. On the other hand, you could just try the cannon ball or battering ram approach. Keep posting and someone will buy, perhaps out of misguided pity. However, one swallow does not a connoisseur make; repeat custom is what you need.

     

    People who are serious about writing will probably have started off by reading a lot and then buying several 'how to' books, a good dictionary, a thesaurus, etc.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Brambles wrote:

    One can get an indication of the quality of a writer's craftsmanship from their forum posts. Many are utterly shameful.

     

    Shameless Promotion is like sticking a candle in a jar and placing that jar on the bottom of the ocean. The chances of it leading anywhere are pretty slim so mess it up at you peril. On the other hand, you could just try the cannon ball or battering ram approach. Keep posting and someone will buy, perhaps out of misguided pity. However, one swallow does not a connoisseur make; repeat custom is what you need.

     

    People who are serious about writing will probably have started off by reading a lot and then buying several 'how to' books, a good dictionary, a thesaurus, etc.


    Precisely! People who write well read well. The more you read, the better you will write.

     

    Emulating the sentence structure and the tone of the things that you read will become second nature. You will automatically know the difference between to, too, and two, or when to use who or whom, if you read many many books and absorb the fabric of the language. Well said, Brambles, well said.

     

    I suspect that many out there simply assume that if they can piece together a few action elements, they will automatically build a story that will intrigue the reader. They fail to understand that it is not the raw elements that catch the readers' attention, but the string of words, the lines of thought, the ongoing inner dialog that rises from the page into the reader's mind.

     

    Perhaps that is the problem with the wordbrick writers. Maybe that's what their internal dialog looks like.

  • I appreciate the conversation happening in this thread and I wonder if I might pose a question:

     

    If we did away with Shameless Promotion, what might we do instead?

     

    We're at a point where I'm looking at making some quality of life improvements to the forums, and am open to any and all suggestions. If the community feels that Shameless isn't being effective or is doing more to showcase poor work than helping with author discovery, we can do something different.

     

    At this time, I view Shameless as a springboard for authors. They are not likely to get a lot of attention from it, but it helps to get them into the process of posting and creating blurbs, etc., with the hope that the mistakes they do make in Shameless will not be made on their own website, social postings, blog, and eslewhere.


  • Paul_Lulu wrote:

    I appreciate the conversation happening in this thread and I wonder if I might pose a question:

     

    If we did away with Shameless Promotion, what might we do instead?

     

    We're at a point where I'm looking at making some quality of life improvements to the forums, and am open to any and all suggestions. If the community feels that Shameless isn't being effective or is doing more to showcase poor work than helping with author discovery, we can do something different.

     

    At this time, I view Shameless as a springboard for authors. They are not likely to get a lot of attention from it, but it helps to get them into the process of posting and creating blurbs, etc., with the hope that the mistakes they do make in Shameless will not be made on their own website, social postings, blog, and eslewhere.


    I would hate to see Shameless Promotion deleted entirely. It does serve a purpose. Perhaps one question to address is why it seems that so many people have a difficult time using it properly. For instance, there is a preponderance of announcements with no links attached. I can't help but wonder if things might be made easier for many authors if SP was in the shape of a form to be filled out. Perhaps it would then be easier for authors to not overlook including important information.

     

    I know that you have a few suggestions at the top of the SP page, as well as a link to more detailed instructions...but I fear that too many people are jumping straight in. 

     

    It might also be useful to allow comments to be posted directly (as opposed to having to take the route of a private message to the author)...but which would be private unless the author chooses to have them appear. This might help go towards your goal that Shameless Promotion will help authors with "the process of posting and creating blurbs, etc., with the hope that the mistakes they do make in Shameless will not be made on their own website, social postings, blog, and eslewhere." They are all too likely to repeat mistakes if there is no simple, direct way of letting them know that they have made mistakes.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I agree with Ron's idea about a form for Shameless Promotion as well as a way to provide direct or private feedback on the promotion.

     

    A quick ad hoc trend analysis also suggests that many new authors don't sign up for the forums until they've encountered difficulties. One solution for new authors would be a checklist type form for the other aspects of getting a book ready.

     

    You can provide instruction all day long, but it doesn't do any good unless people actually read and pay attention. Considering how many beginning authors keep asking the same questions about the same issues and in cases ignoring sound advice, I'd have to say there is no way to entirely eliminate self-inflicted schtuff, you can at best kind of sort of minimize it.

     

    Maybe one day when I grow up, I'll have my own website. Cat LOL

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Paul_Lulu wrote:

    I appreciate the conversation happening in this thread and I wonder if I might pose a question:

     

    If we did away with Shameless Promotion, what might we do instead?

     

    We're at a point where I'm looking at making some quality of life improvements to the forums, and am open to any and all suggestions. If the community feels that Shameless isn't being effective or is doing more to showcase poor work than helping with author discovery, we can do something different.

     

    At this time, I view Shameless as a springboard for authors. They are not likely to get a lot of attention from it, but it helps to get them into the process of posting and creating blurbs, etc., with the hope that the mistakes they do make in Shameless will not be made on their own website, social postings, blog, and eslewhere.


    I like the fact that you're considering changes; I'm not sure what should happen with Shameless. On the one hand, it is good that one can promote one's work openly and without subterfuge. It keeps folks from posting gibberish that ends with, "And that's why you should read my book <-LINK->." And I see its value as a sandbox for promotion, blurb writing, and so forth.

     

    On the other hand, it has caused me to grit my teeth a time or two. I agree with Ron that a form for the user to fill out might be a better way to make sure that Shameless posts point to an actual book. I don't agree on providiing feedback directly -- after all, the point of SP was that a writer could put his best foot forward with no fear of peer-review.

     

    I'm really at a loss to know what to do about the poor work so often showcased in Shameless. Perhaps setting a shameless limit of one post per user per quarter -- then the Word-Brick writers would not be able to dominate the conversation in Shameless. Would that help? Well, if the rest of us used Shameless more, maybe...

     

    Yeah, that sounds kind of wishy-washy, but there you go...

  • I very much like the idea of offering a more structured form submission for Shameless, as a way to focus the posts.

    I also think opening these posts to direct responses in the same way a forum post works has potential to stimulate more conversation about what is and is not working, so that's something we can look at experimenting with.

    Please, everyone, feel free to contribute thoughts on this. I'm looking at making some improvements near the end of the year to our forums and knowledge base, so now is the time to get a feedback on what you all want and need from this space.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    One thing to consider about direct feedback on the SP posts.

     

    If the potential for peer-review is there, it might get some people to actually try harder. There will always be those who just don't care, but knowing people can point out the issues will help those who do care.


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    On the other hand, it has caused me to grit my teeth a time or two. I agree with Ron that a form for the user to fill out might be a better way to make sure that Shameless posts point to an actual book. I don't agree on providiing feedback directly -- after all, the point of SP was that a writer could put his best foot forward with no fear of peer-review.

     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    SphinxCameron wrote:

    One thing to consider about direct feedback on the SP posts.

     

    If the potential for peer-review is there, it might get some people to actually try harder. There will always be those who just don't care, but knowing people can point out the issues will help those who do care.


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    On the other hand, it has caused me to grit my teeth a time or two. I agree with Ron that a form for the user to fill out might be a better way to make sure that Shameless posts point to an actual book. I don't agree on providiing feedback directly -- after all, the point of SP was that a writer could put his best foot forward with no fear of peer-review.

     


    Those who want to improve will listen. Good point. Those who don't, well, at least they won't ask what we think of their story lines.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Kind of like a while back someone wondering why nobody was buying a 12 page book of, what can be politely termed compost.

     

    If SP had had a feedback option a couple three years ago, fora regulars wouldn't have had to keep repeating themselves about the qualitative nature of feces in print.


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    SphinxCameron wrote:

    One thing to consider about direct feedback on the SP posts.

     

    If the potential for peer-review is there, it might get some people to actually try harder. There will always be those who just don't care, but knowing people can point out the issues will help those who do care.


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    On the other hand, it has caused me to grit my teeth a time or two. I agree with Ron that a form for the user to fill out might be a better way to make sure that Shameless posts point to an actual book. I don't agree on providiing feedback directly -- after all, the point of SP was that a writer could put his best foot forward with no fear of peer-review.

     


    Those who want to improve will listen. Good point. Those who don't, well, at least they won't ask what we think of their story lines.


     

  • Regarding allowing critiques of newly announced books perhaps we could take a clue from LousyBookCovers.com. The author of that page, which can can be brutal, has also created CoverCritics.com, which offers serious advice about the covers submitted to it. There are some pretty strict rules regarding comments (in fact, the people allowed to make comments are even restricted to a select few), including the all-important ones of courtesy and professionalism.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Ron Miller wrote:

    Regarding allowing critiques of newly announced books perhaps we could take a clue from LousyBookCovers.com. The author of that page, which can can be brutal, has also created CoverCritics.com, which offers serious advice about the covers submitted to it. There are some pretty strict rules regarding comments (in fact, the people allowed to make comments are even restricted to a select few), including the all-important ones of courtesy and professionalism.


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I think your suggestion would satisfy most who would otherwise hesitate. Lulu might want to seek your input on those doing critiques.

     

    I for one do not volunteer to critique as I have little patience at present.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    Considering that I was just a bit sharp with the GofundMe guy over in the General Discussion, I might need to recuse myself as well, but I'll leave that to the consensus.

  • Assuming I'm "the Go Fund Me guy", I'd say you were brutal, not sharp! I didn't feel the love, but I did feel something...

     

    Licking my wounds in Rockville, MD,

     

    Andrew Paul Schettino

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    You understand why I prefer to recuse myself. I can be coldly clinical and dispassionate while still being objective.

     

    I've been accused of being mean a few times, but as the Wife said: "I've seen you mean, and you get scary. You simply stripped out all the pleasantries and laid out the facts like a corpse on a slab."


    Skoob_Ym wrote:

    Considering that I was just a bit sharp with the GofundMe guy over in the General Discussion, I might need to recuse myself as well, but I'll leave that to the consensus.


     

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    AndrewSchettino wrote:

    Assuming I'm "the Go Fund Me guy", I'd say you were brutal, not sharp! I didn't feel the love, but I did feel something...

     

    Licking my wounds in Rockville, MD,

     

    Andrew Paul Schettino


     

    As a consolation prize, if there are passages you wish to have reviewed and commented on, feel free to put them in this forum. If you look at some of the other threads that ask for comments, I think you'll see that we pull no punches, but act with best intentions and an eye to helping others improve.

     

    I've had a few of my own works improved in this manner, including a couple of book covers that I don't want to talk about.

  • And...another Shameless Promotion book with just a title and absolutely nothing else! No description, no cover, no link.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Ron,

     

    It makes more sense if you watch "Idiocracy" beforehand.


    Ron Miller wrote:

    And...another Shameless Promotion book with just a title and absolutely nothing else! No description, no cover, no link.


     


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    Ron,

     

    It makes more sense if you watch "Idiocracy" beforehand.


    Ron Miller wrote:

    And...another Shameless Promotion book with just a title and absolutely nothing else! No description, no cover, no link.


     


    Read the original story the movie ripped off!

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Downloaded for after I get some kaffee down. The original story is typically better than the movie spawned.

     


    Ron Miller wrote:

    SphinxCameron wrote:

    Ron,

     

    It makes more sense if you watch "Idiocracy" beforehand.


    Ron Miller wrote:

    And...another Shameless Promotion book with just a title and absolutely nothing else! No description, no cover, no link.


     


    Read the original story the movie ripped off!


     Edit: 19:42 CDT

     

    Interesting story, with a certain internal logic even today. I also understand the reasoning behind changes made for the movie which after all, has a very different audience than the original story.

     

    Today's population problem will be solved somewhat differently. While the normal outcome of Mathusian Economics has been avoided for decades through various advances, at this point it's more like a mathematical equation requiring "a miracle occurs" to achieve a "nice" solution.

     

    Which brings us back to some of the Shameless Promotion posts that appear so lacking in, what's the word I'm looking for, perhaps motivated-effort works. Whether it's "Idiocracy" or "The Marching Morons", a similar principle appears to be at work in the real world.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym ✭✭✭

    That does answer a few of my questions about the movie, such as where the technology came from that the citizens so blithely abused.

     

    I recall another SF story of similar vintage regarding a medical bag that fell through a time machine... Ah, I see that it was also by Kornbluth, in 1950. "The Little Black Bag."

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Black_Bag

     

     

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