Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This is all a little confusing. I hate promo, and when I am doing it, I am doing it on a surface level. It produces meager results, but it produces results so I have to keep doing it until the right person reads the right words. Then I am home-free, money in the bank, genius acknowledged. Well, no. Probably not. But what I was saying about doing it on a surface level--
There are many helpful sites. There was one on Goodreads that had a list of places to post your freebie promotion. These are very helpful. I use more each time, and the downloads of my freebies are phenomenal, thousands, actually. If one percent of those bought the thing or even read it, it would be sweet. But anyway--
I get mixed up about which sites said which thing, and I do not have the mental ability to keep track of it. I have notebooks full of web addresses and where my last chapter ended and I will post a whole promo and realize, thank God usually before hitting PUBLISH, that I have used the wrong book. It is one of the others that is on freebie this time. Seriously. I have done that. I try to watch it and supervise myself, but I guess I am just not that vested. It may be age related, but it is certainly, let me assure you from the lofty viewpoint of my aging reputation, not an IQ problem.
I think it is mostly Linked-In, a site of spurious reputation. It seems to generate lots of hits and downloads, but it is always full of people offering their editing services and someone from a distant Nation offering conversion services which is a laugh and a half. If I can do it, and I have done it beautifully, anyone can. But maybe they buy those conversion services because they are not that vested in their projects. But the site to which I give vague and unreliable reference constantly has people mouthing off about editing. How you are just plain stupid if you do not at least invest the money in a good editing service. (What money?) I retort constantly about the complete superfluity of conversion services,and I retort frequently about the unnecessary expense of purchasing editor services. Most of us have no way to discern the reliability of such services, and I kind of think if we did have that ability, or that much familiarity with the process, we would not be sitting in our dining rooms at our PCs uploading our "work" all by ourselves. Maybe that is just me.
I was used as an editor in an unofficial capacity at Contemporary books some years ago. To explain that, I was given unedited manuscripts and expected to return printer ready galleys with all the errors edited out and corrected. This was only after I had worked there for a number of years and proved my abilities.( By the way, I would only want a proofread from anyone. I don't want my peculiar style edited away.)
But today I followed a link to a site that had an excerpt from a book about the Iraq War. It was labeled humorous, a biting satire. No. The excerpt was not humorous. It was a dead on narration of the way things are. There were problems I had with the story. The person who printed the excerpt on this blog was an editor at Grove Atlantic. He did admit this was his first project (or, at least, his first in that capacity at that company) and he was infatuated with it, (his included remarks about the moral or practical elements of that war being waged may have influenced his attitude,) but he mentioned, when expounding about the work, several times, military officials sitting in the safety of the FOB and making decisions and giving commentary about the actual battle front of which they had very biased views. FOBs are most definitely NOT havens of safety. They are shelled all the time. They are targets. Big targets. So that was wrong. Then I read the excerpt which was well written and a powerful narrative. But he would use a phrase and you couldn't get whether he had the reference wrong or if he was being facetious. I read a lot. I get irony, sarcasm, jokes, etc. Seriously. I get it. I can even write it. I guess you have to take my word for that cuz you haven't read any of my work yet, have you? And this guy's attempts at acerbicness (acerbicity?) (being acerbic!) or wryness (being wry) or direct humor fell short a few times, just in the excerpt.
THEN, one of my bigger concerns because I deal greatly with dialogue, some say successfully, but there again you will have to take my word--there was a paragraph with quotes from two different people in the same paragraph. Does that seem like nit-picking to you? It wouldn't if someone had said to you that they had trouble figuring out who was speaking at the time. (I don't go for that "he said" "she replied" "he retorted" stuff, probably to a fault.) My grand daughter, darling though she is, has no interest in writing so much as a grocery list, but is able to quote that rule to me. A new paragraph for each speaker, even if it is only a one word quote. Crap. That's hitting the return key once. Now this was an excerpt that was presented for our viewing by the guy who edited it for Christ's sake. This, to me, is up there with the typo in the New Yorker cartoon (yeah, I saw that) and the typo in the two page, glossy, perfume ad spread in Vogue Magazine. Yeah. That was real.
I just don't like the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak. Getting an MFA in fine arts, or writing, or literature, or what ever they label it, does not indicate anything but some writing on a fancy piece of paper for which you paid great sums of money. More to be said for epublishing. That editor is the one that would be selecting your offering from the bunch of offerings presented to him by the agent that won't even reply to your query.