Episode 120 – RWA, Backups, and Chicken Little

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Question of the Week: Have you become embroiled in following too much self-publishing gossip? What should you be doing with your time instead?

Subquestion: What do you hate most in this world? (Remember to tell Bryan and Claire at http://www.somethingniceshow.com )
Bryan promoted his new show (Something Nice to Say http://www.somethingniceshow.com ) and talked about his successful nonfiction launch before he and Jim talked backups, Amazon TOS, and torrents in the tips section. They thanked their latest patron Brecht Ryckaert (and his book WordPress Security 101 http://bit.ly/brechtword ) before moving onto the news. Stories included Amazon’s lame Kindle Q&A, a new proposed copyright law, why the sky isn’t falling, diversity in publishing, and Data Guy’s presentation at RWA. This week’s Question of the Week: Have you become embroiled in following too much self-publishing gossip? What should you be doing with your time instead? Subquestion: What do you hate most in this world? (Remember to share what you hate with Bryan and Claire at http://www.somethingniceshow.com )
What You’ll Learn:
  • What else Bryan does with his (minuscule) spare time
  • How to back-up online archives and why everyone should
  • How to avoid breaking the Amazon Terms of Service with reviews
  • How to keep your book from being torrented
  • Why Amazon opened a Q&A with users and what we learned
  • Why authors may not need lawyers to dispute copyright claims
  • Why you shouldn’t freak out about the negative publishing news
  • How publishers and retailers marginalize multicultural authors
  • Why the Romance market share is grossly underrepresented
Question of the Week: Have you become embroiled in following too much self-publishing gossip? What should you be doing with your time instead?
Subquestion: What do you hate most in this world? (Remember to tell Bryan and Claire at http://www.somethingniceshow.com )

get show updates

  • Lavie Margolin

    When I first started publishing, I wanted to learn everything I could so I followed every tidbit of news closely. Now I focus on the information that appears to be most beneficial to me, in the short term and the long term.

    • Bryan

      Good policy, Lavie!

  • Not gossip as much as Indie Author FOMO. You ‘meet’ all these people and how can you not try to watch everything live and join in the fun/comments, only to find out later that you just wasted three hours not really learning anything real, and not writing one word.

    • Bryan

      Ooh, Indie FOMO is huge. This is why I avoid forums :).

  • Brian Brown

    I’m proud to say this podcast is my only source of self-publishing gossip. I don’t have enough time in my life to listen to every podcast or read every blog related to self publishing. That’s why I subscribe to the Sell More Books Show where I’m sure to get the important information I may have otherwise missed. If it’s not here, it’s not dear to my writing career®.

    But seriously, I just returned from a week-long vacation in Quebec where I had plenty of time to think about my current project and I realized I need to really focus. I think the writers of old drank a lot because it helps keep down distractions when you are looking at your typewriter through a tunnel. Starting today, I will no longer visit Reddit, Google News, or my fantasy baseball website. I will force myself to obsessively focus on my book and crank out words till my ears bleed. I will get this monster done and then I will get the next one done.

    Okay…starting tomorrow.

    • Bryan

      Hahaha. Good. Yeah, cutting down on my screen time has been very helpful for my career. Taking Safari off my iPhone made a massive difference.

  • jamiearpinricci

    There are times when I spend too much time “researching” the industry, but like anything that takes me away from writing and marketing, it is just a sign of my lack of discipline. In other words, it’s not so much WHAT you’re spending your time doing as it is about what you’re NOT doing. I’ve been in a slump lately with all sorts of excuses and distractions. Today I sat down and said enough was enough. Writing has resumed!

    As for what I hate more than anything in the world, it is when people read the last page/chapter of a novel at the beginning. I hesitate to even mention this because I don’t even want to hear any “good things” said about it. 😉

    • Bryan

      Hahaha. We have recorded an episode on spoilers, but “skippers” are definite jerks too :). Don’t worry, we say mostly bad things with a little “good” thrown in ;).

      • jamiearpinricci

        Good to hear. Looking forward to it!

  • Chris Syme

    Hi guys–just a word about Amazon’s presence at RWA. I sat in on the Amazon panels at RWA–mostly to ask questions–but I did wonder about the Facebook friends question. I’ll play Devil’s Advocate. I hear this from authors in my Facebook groups as well and when it comes right down to it, authors don’t really know that Amazon is removing reviews based only on the fact that they are Facebook friends. It’s a process of elimination and guess work at best. If this were true, why isn’t it happening to everyone? I know plenty of authors–talked to many at RWA after that panel–that have reviews on their books from people that like their author fan pages. I really do think the review algorithm is more complicated than one data point. I believed the panelist that said they are not doing that purposefully. Will they remove reviews from people who like you on Facebook? Maybe–but I find it hard to believe that it’s a main or only criteria. It would be very easy for them to remove reviews from Facebook friends across the board but they’re not doing that. If they were, then I would believe the argument. There has to be more to it than that or we’d all be losing reviews. But when there’s a lack of transparency on Amazon’s part, people will assume lots of stuff. Just my two cents.

    • Kenesha Williams

      I’ve actually had a friend of mine get her review of my book taken down and Amazon told her it was because she was a FB friend of the author. I think this is detrimental because although I have an author page, I also connect with other authors and potential readers on my personal page.

      • Bryan

        Me too. It stinks when that happens.

    • Bryan

      Yeah. Transparency will keep those kinds of questions (and situations) from happening.

  • Just to add a bit about diversity. I think that too easily we end up accepting ‘marketing’ as the reason when I really don’t think most readers care what the nationality of the character is. Which is why I don’t get all the push back on weather the main character is not white or not male? For the most part I don’t think other then minor things make any difference for making a character relatable. Anything that is different is just another opportunity to learn something new and adds spice and intrigue to a story. So yes there should be more diversity but it really needs to start with self publish authors taking the lead and having confidence with their characters.

    • Bryan

      I agree! And I’ve seen some great examples of indies embracing diversity because that’s the story they want to tell.

  • I came to the conclusion early that all the ebook outlets are free to change the rules any time they wish. Beyond analysing the result and adjusting accordingly, fuming over the latest shift is a waste of time.

    • Bryan

      Great attitude to have about this, Edwin! Focusing on what you can control is a must.

  • Laura Martone

    As with politics and celebrity gossip, I don’t spend a lot of time researching the self-publishing industry. That’s one of the many reasons I keep Daniel (husband and partner extraordinaire) around. He sifts through the indie news – and informs me when anything interesting crops up. After all, I’m supposed to be writing, dammit! Of course, since meeting Bryan and Jim at the Smarter Artist Summit in Austin last spring, I started listening to the Sell More Books Show every week. At the risk of sounding like a kiss-ass, I admit that it’s the only show I consistently listen to. While I appreciate a lot of the writing and self-publishing podcasts out there – and listen to some on occasion – I just don’t have time to listen to them all – and I find SMBS to be the newsiest of the bunch. Apparently, I’m in good company with fellow listener Brian Brown. 😉 Now, re: things I hate (for Bryan’s new show), methinks the list would be longer than I’d like – although cockroaches, selfish drivers, the Kardashians, and liver (as a meal, not a much-needed organ) are pretty high on the list.

    • Bryan

      Ooh, cockroaches and the Kardashians are MUST-ADDS to our list.

      It’s good to have a spouse every so often ;).

      • Laura Martone

        Cool – glad I could add to the ever-growing list of hate. And yes, I think I’ll keep Dan around a while – he’s a good egg, after all, and good eggs are hard to find. 😉

        • Bryan

          I especially love those omega-3 cage free eggs. That’s what Dan reminds me of.

  • Honoree Corder

    No – to the gossip. I’m too busy working through my goals/to do list!

    Congrats on your new show, Bryan and Claire! I’m always put off by someone who asks me for something at the beginning of our relationship, and I’m equally as annoyed when someone asks to “pick my brain.”

    • Bryan

      Great point on the “pick your brain” bit. We’ll have to consider our offer, and maybe position the free listen bit higher up. Thanks for the advice and the congrats!

  • Anmarie Uber

    Pet Peeve, A guy just walked by and said, “Smile!”. Because it is a woman’s job to be senselessly smiling all the time. Note: He passed 2 unhappy guys, that weren’t asked to smile, before he got to me. I am at the gym. Listening to SMBS. What is there to smile about, when lifting weights? If I smile, it will be at something said on SMBS. I don’t listen to anything else for updates, so no, on the author gossip dramas. And yes, I would be willing to bet women everywhere despise this request.

    • Bryan

      Ooh, yeah, people like that suck. Thanks for the answer!

  • Jayce

    I’ve heard white people tell me that they won’t read a book about black characters because “they can’t relate to them,” even though they can apparently relate to werewolves, vampires, aliens, and male pregnancy. Because they turn them white in their minds. I hear a metric ton of people of color (including myself) who YEARN for characters that look like them, act like them, are something more than a painted on skin color who plays the sidekick role. And let’s be clear, if nothing else tells you how much people really DO care about the race of their characters, remember how people acted when they found out Rue from Hunger Games was black? Even though it was stated in the book. And I get that people don’t care about big publishers here, but it kinda really lets them off the hook, and that’s a shame.

    Here’s an extraordinarily small sampling of how people reacted to Rue being black, in case there’s any doubt that race still matters to a lot of people: http://jezebel.com/5896408/racist-hunger-games-fans-dont-care-how-much-money-the-movie-made

    • I enjoy books and movies where I get to be in someone else’s shoes as much those where it’s more like ‘me’ in the story. I read a lot of sci-fi, and no matter what the race of the main character, they are pretty much never like me to begin with, so big whoop.

      A big part of it is habit, both when you read and when you write. I grew up in a predominantly white and Hispanic area so when I read books my mind immediately attaches those images before the author starts to specify. I read black hair girl with bronze skin and I think back to my first crush. Then later I have to change my mental image from “cute latina” to “cute white girl with black hair and a deep tan,” only because the author took too much time telling me about the character. 😉

      These surprises take people out of the book. For some they might open their eyes. For others, they frustrate. Is it better to describe the character fully as early as possible to avoid this? It helped me notice that there were not a lot of Hispanics in sci-fi, but Hispanic readers already know this and it must be more frustrating than eye opening.

  • Daniel Martone

    Instead of following self-publishing gossip I think my time would be better spent networking with fellow authors in order to help each other through the often scary self-publishing waters… and c of course, write more books.

    Something I hate… Bullshit highway construction noT meant to really fix the roads for any longer than a couple of years before it has to be re-done… this turned what was supposed to be a 5 3/4 hour trip to Chicago on Suday afternoon, into an agonizing 9 1/4 hour trip. RRRRR!

  • Ethan Jones

    Have you become embroiled in following too much self-publishing gossip?

    No. I try to stay away, even from reading the news. Very depressing.

    What should you be doing with your time instead?

    Write. Build my audience. Market my books.



  • Gilbert David Leon

    I know I’m a bit late, but he could use the wayback machine to get his blog back. It even contains my old webpage from 1997. The internet never forgets.

    • Bryan

      That’s true. I wonder if it’s hiding on there somewhere.