The Fussy Librarian

My book, “My Splendid Concubine”, is being featured this Sunday, November 3, at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized ebook recommendations. You choose from 30 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It’s pretty cool — check it out! www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

LowRes_e-book-and-paperback-cover-together

Watch out for Murphy’s Law when promoting a book

Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

True, it happened to an advertisement of “My Splendid Concubine” scheduled to run Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

I’ll explain what happened later.

In this post, I want to share some examples of what I have done to promote my work—with results. Also more examples of Murphy’s Law.

“My Splendid Concubine” came out December 2007. But I started researching the main character—Sir Robert Hart—in 1999. The research; revisions and editing continued for more than a decade. Along the way, I researched China’s history and culture and made several trips to China with my wife and daughter. It also helped that my wife was born in China and is Anchee Min, the author of “Red Azalea”, a “New York Times Notable Book of the Year” (early 1990s) that also won the “Carl Sandburg Award”. My wife would go on to write six historical-fiction novels with China as her subject, and her last book—“The Cooked Seed”, a memoir—was published this year.

Anchee is my go-to person when I have questions about China’s history, art and culture.

This week I ran my third internet advertising campaign through the Authors Marketing Club.  The ad was supposed to run on March 25 listing a .99ȼ sale price— reduced from $3.99. Instead—this is where Murphy’s Law comes in—the ad ran on the free page and there were hardly any sales. No surprise there. Imagine someone expecting a free book discovering it selling for ninety-nine cents. I sent an e-mail to the Authors Marketing Club alerting them about the glitch, and I’ll update this post if I hear back from them.

Although I have offered free, review copies through Goodreads (10 paperback copies); Library Thing (25 paperback copies), and complementary copies for internet book-blog tours, I have never run a free giveaway for the “My Splendid Concubine” e-book, and I don’t think I ever will.  Ninety-nine cents is as cheap as it’s going to get.

Why?

Mainly because in 2008, a copyright pirate—without permission—offered the 1st edition of “My Splendid Concubine” as a free pirated download, and it hit #1 on the piracy download list that year.

Being the number-one most pirated book in 2008 isn’t exactly something to fall in love with.

I discovered the piracy while I was shopping one day, and a clerk at Fry’s [the electronics warehouse] recognized my name because he read about the novel breaking records being downloaded from pirated sites—it seems that there were tens of thousands of downloads. I think this is another example of Murphy’s Law.

Expecting the ad through the Author Marketing Club to run on Wednesday, I announced the sale through Twitter early Wednesday morning, and I think the following tweets resulted in maybe three or four sales that day.  But the sale will continue through October 1.

 99ȼ -75% off@ http://goo.gl/gHVuVB City Weekend Magazine says “a stunning work”; Midwest Book Review said “highly recommended”

#OnSale 99ȼ@ #iTunes http://goo.gl/5iQpu #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

#OnSale 99ȼ @ #Kobo http://goo.gl/Au8gM9 #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

#OnSale 99ȼ @ #Nook http://goo.gl/OZytMX #AwardWinning My Splendid Concubine-the #LoveStory Sir Robert Hart hid from the world until now

“Probably the best book I have read since Lonesome Dove” is #OnSale @ #Amazon http://goo.gl/gHVuVB  MySplendidConcubine #LoveStory #awards

Kindle_LR_e-book_cover_MSC_July_25_2013e-book cover (the paperback has a different cover)

Promoting “My Splendid Concubine” has been an ongoing job that I started in 2008 with Internet book-blog tours in addition to author events at several local independent brick-and-mortar bookstores in the Bay area. I was also a guest on thirty traditional, broadcast-radio talk shows—a few of those interviews may still be around as podcasts. There is a link or two in the top bar on the book’s Website @ My Splendid Concubine.

Then in 2010, I took more than one workshop and learned how to Blog properly and launched several Blogs: iLook China.net; Crazy Normal; The Soulful Veteran, and Anything Goes @ Lloyd Lofthouse.org where this post appears.

For more than three years I relied on blogging to promote my work and the sales numbers indicate that the posts I was writing for my blogs worked. For example, iLookChina has had almost a half-million visits to the site.

And in 2008—without the blogs—“My Splendid Concubine” only sold 221 copies, and in 2009, 341 copies.

Judge for yourself if building a proper author-platform blog pays off—In 2010, Concubine sold  2,375 copies; in 2011, 4,641, and in 2012, 4,158.

In 2013, I decided to advertise on the internet, and my first ad ran on BookBub on June 17. I kept the price at .99ȼ for a week before changing it back to $3.99. That first ad campaign through BookBub resulted in the sale of almost 3,000 copies that month and the highest royalty check I’ve earned so far for one month’s sales.

The second ad campaign ran through eReader News Today (ENT) and that ad ran on September 1, and the sale stretched for one week @ 99ȼ.  Three-hundred-sixty-four copies sold while the price was discounted.

Total sales of Concubine have reached more than 16,000 since it was first published and continues to sell a few copies daily even when it isn’t on sale. For example, between the two September sales the book sold more than sixty copies at the full price of $3.99.

Over the years, the novel has placed in fifteen juried literature festivals where less than 5% of entries earn awards and it has been reviewed by the Midwest Book Review.

Although Midwest charges a reading fee to submit an e-book for a review, there is no fee to submit a paperback for a review, and I have only submitted paperbacks to this review site that was established in 1976 to serve academic library organizations in California, Wisconsin, and the upper Midwest. It selects about 450 books to review out of the 1,500 submitted each month.

The Midwest Book Review said “My Splendid Concubine” was a strong pick for historical fiction collections and was highly recommended.

Most authors who want to find readers and sell books must promote his or her work. In this post, I have briefly outlined what I have done to find readers for my work. This has been my experience and in no way guarantees a similar experience for other authors.

There is one more example of Murphy’s law interfering with a book launch. In March of this year a tribe of cyber-sociopaths attacked me and my second novel, “Running with the Enemy” as it was being launched, and this attack resulted in a number of 1-star ratings on Goodreads from anonymous bullies who never read the book, and the first review on Amazon—1-star from a troll called Miss M, who never bought or read the book. There is a comment thread for that 1-star review littered with attacks from cyber sociopaths all linked to the same Goodreads group—along with Miss M who is also a member of that tribe. The group calls itself Badly Behaving Authors and some of the members of that group are authors so the name fits.

But promote you must—if you want to find readers—and as I have discovered, the journey can sometimes be full of potholes as described by Murphy’s Law.

Discover Anchee’s Website

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

Real-world author events are usually overrated unless you are Christina Oxenberg

Being in the right place at the right time and taking advantage of a situation should not be underrated.

Taryn Ryder, writing for omg!, reported [claimed] that Gwyneth Paltrow hijacked the East Hampton Library’s 9th Annual Authors Night on  Saturday, August 10.

And Christina Oxenberg may have been the loudest complainer quoted by the media. Oxenberg complained about the number of people who came to see the A-list actress.  Then Oxenberg complained about the A-list actress’s healthy vegan lifestyle and decided to eat unhealthy food at her author table next to Paltrow to rub it in and of course get more attention.

How many authors were at this event? Ryder failed to mention that in her omg! piece.

IMDb reported, “Paltrow was one of about a hundred writers who gathered for the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night … and she was seated — “due to the inflexibility of the alphabet” — next to writer Christina Oxenberg at the fund-raising event. Paltrow was signing her cookbook “It’s All Good,” Oxenberg her latest book “Life Is Short: Read Short Stories.”

Christina Oxenberg should get down on her knees and thank God that Paltrow’s table was next to her’s, because now Oxenberg and her work has been exposed to millions of readers who would have never heard of her. I never heard of her. Have you heard of her?

I think that’s why Oxenberg acted like a smart “ass” to make sure she was noticed and quoted by the media. After all, even bad publicity is better than no publicity. Besides, the media doesn’t pay much attention to someone being polite and nice. In fact, I think you have to be an “ass” to get media exposure and Oxenberg was smart enough not to miss this chance at priceless national media exposure.

Until I read Ryder’s omg! piece, I didn’t know that Oxenberg even existed, and that led me to search Amazon to find out what she writes. The book that Oxenberg was plugging at this one-hundred author event was “Life is Short”.

I couldn’t find “Life is Short” on Amazon, but I did find “Royal Blue”; “Do These Gloves Make My Ass Look Fat?” and “Taxi”.

My wife is an A-list author who has lectured to hundreds of people in sold-out events across the country. But it wasn’t always that way. In 1994, when her first book, Red Azalea, came out—before it became a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and went on to win the Carl Sandburg Award—she had author events in bookstores where no one came.

In addition, I’ve been to a few of my own author events—as a lowly midlist author—ranging from no one showing up to a full house with standing room only, but none of those events sold many books. Even a dozen sales was considered good but can’t compare to one ad on BookBub that sold more than 1,900 copies of my work in one day. I’d be willing to bet that there wasn’t one author at the East Hampton Library’s 9th Annual Authors Night who sold that many books at the event—not even Gwyneth Paltrow.

The best thing that ever happened to Christina Oxenberg as an author was sitting next to Gwyneth Paltrow. It was like winning the lottery. I wonder if Oxenberg realizes that yet.

What did I learn? When opportunity knocks, make sure to open the door like Oxenberg did and make a smart ass of myself unless I’m too much of a dumb ass to even notice.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Good News Twice in One Day

Early Monday morning (June 10)—before I went out to work on the patio-fence with more than one gate project that I’m building from scratch—I checked my e-mail and discovered that my suspense-thriller, Running with the Enemy, had been awarded an Honorable Mention in General Fiction at the 2103 New York Book Festival.

A good way to start the day.

Fast forward several hours—I finished working on the project about 3:00 pm, took a shower, and then logged-on to check my e-mail only to discover that Running with the Enemy had been named Runner Up (2nd Place) in General Fiction at the 2013 Beach Book Festival.

A good way to end the day.

In twelve days on June 22, the 2013 New York Book Festival will be held at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan—just steps from the Empire State Building.

When Running with the Enemy picked up its first honorable mention at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, I attended the free seminars and the private award ceremony, but I’m not planning on buying a ticket to fly to New York at this late date. With the lowest nightly rate for the Radisson at $385.00 and flights to New York from San Francisco costing $583 – $2,072 (depending on the airline you book a flight with), I’m staying home. The grand prize winner wins $1,500, but an honorable mention and a runner-up do not come with a cash prize.

However, if you live near New York and you are a writer, poet, author and/or an avid reader, you may want to take advantage of the free seminars. The San Francisco event was well worth my time, and I’m planning on going next year. The price of a BART ticket to ride into San Francisco from where we live is about $10 round trip.

NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL DAY SCHEDULE
– this event is free –

  • 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Art of Marketing and Promotion – An examination of what it takes to get your book noticed in a crowded marketplace. 
  • 1:00 p.m.-2:10 p.m. Writing About Your Life – “Write what you know” is one of the most debated axioms of an author’s life. A panel that drew on their experiences and career paths discusses what it takes to put it all down in book form.
  • 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Children’s Books in a Modern Age – Authors/publishers of award-winning books from the San Francisco Book Festival talk about their books and the market.
    Panelists: 
  • 3:40 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Dr. Neal Hall – the poetry winner of the San Francisco/New York/New England/Paris and Los Angeles festivals reads from his work and answers questions.
  • 4:10 p.m.-4:45 p.m. The Future of Books – The rise of eBooks, the shrinking retail scene, the consolidation of big publishing and the explosion of the online world. A discussion on where everything appears to be heading and how you can leverage these developments.
  • 4:45 to 5 p.m. A Conversation with the New York Book Festival grand prize winner

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 New York Book Festival was Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora by Emily Raboteau (Atlantic Monthly Press). The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata was the winner of the general-fiction category and it was first published in Indonesia in 2005 selling more than five-million copies. The English translation of Hirata’s novel was published by Sarah Crichton Books (February 5, 2013)

The grand-prize winner of the 2013 Beach Book Festival was Inside Linda Lovelace’s Deep Throat by Darin Porter published by Blood Moon Productions, March 12, 2013. The winner of the general-fiction category was Rosi’s Time by Edward Eaton, published by Dragonfly Publishing.

The private-award ceremony will be held June 21 at the Grolier Club in Manhattan.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

A New World of Publishing

I rode BART into SF and hiked up Powell Street to The Sir Francis Drake Hotel to attend the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival that started at 11:00 am on May 18, and discovered by 9:45 pm—almost eleven hours later when I hiked back to BART to ride home—that giving up a day of writing was worth what I learned and the connections I made.

I think the event was more for writers than readers and considering the number of writers and want-to-be writers in the Bay area there should have been more people in attendance to learn about today’s fast changing publishing environment.

But many of today’s authors have no idea how important it is to learn all you can to understand how challenging it is to attract an audience in addition to the dangers that can destroy an author’s career.

The six-scheduled free discussions—open to the public—were packed with information from journalists, writers, poets, publicists, and traditionally published or indie published authors with a wide range of experience.

The first panel of four met at 11:00 am and focused on the art of marketing and promotion—an examination of what it takes to get your work noticed in a crowded marketplace.

To understand how crowded, Bowker says, “The number of self-published books produced annually in the U.S. has nearly tripled, growing 287 percent since 2006, and now tallies more than 235,000 print and “e” titles.”

For comparison, traditional publishers put out between 300,000 and 350,000 new titles annually but the average avid reader only reads 9 or 10 books a year. Do the math and you will understand why it is important to get out there and compete for readers—that is if you are interested in anyone reading your work.

In addition, reading books isn’t dying as some fear—but the way people read books is changing drastically.

R. R. Bowker reports, “that Gen Y’s 2011 book expenditures rose to 30 percent—up from 24 percent in 2010—passing Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) 25 percent share. And with 43 percent of Gen Y’s (born 1978 – 1990) purchases going to online channels, they are adding momentum to the industry shift to digital.

And the Los Angeles Times says, “Total trade book sales in the U.S. reached $7.1 billion in 2012, up from $6.7 billion the prior year.”

“The book industry is operating in a new and dynamic landscape that puts much more power in the hands of consumers,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice-president of Bowker Market Research. “Consumers can now very easily purchase virtually any book they want, whenever they want it and get it at a competitive price. It’s more essential than ever before to understand who is buying and what their expectations and habits are.” Source: Bowker.com

During the first break of the SF Book Festival, I met Jean Davidson, Ph.D., the author of two nonfiction books: Mother of Fire and The Ostrich Wakes—two books I now want to read after talking to her.

Then I had a brief conversation with Porter Gale, the author of Your Network is Your Net Worth. Gale was the former VP of Marketing at Virgin America with more than twenty years of experience working in marketing and filmmaking. I wanted to talk longer but the next lecture started at 1:00 pm, and I did not get a chance to reconnect.

The 1:00 – 2:10 pm panel topic was Writing About your Life.  Because my next book is a memoir, I wanted to hear what the four experienced authors had to say. For example, one member of the panel was Dean Dimitrieski—the winner of the Biography/Autobiography category of the festival—who wrote Tears For My City.

I wanted to attend the 2:30 – 3:30 pm panel on Children’s Books in a Modern Age, but during the break I got into a conversation with Lone Morch, the author of Seeing Red, and then talked with Patty Kogutek, the author of A Change of Habit—and met her husband, a Vietnam vet who has led a fascinating life—and felt it was worth staying.

At 3:40 pm, there was a powerful and dramatic poetry reading by Dr. Neal Hall, a multi-award winning poet quickly followed at 4:10 with an active panel of five discussing The Future of Books. Three of the five panelists combined had at least eighty years of experience in publishing/journalism. This was followed by an inspiring presentation by Richie Norton, who wrote the grand-prize winner The Power of Starting Something Stupid.

At 5:00, the free admission portion of the book festival ended, and off I went through the streets of San Francisco to have dinner at the Millennium Restaurant.

At 7:00, the award winners returned to attend the award ceremony of the festival—with open bar and a buffet—where I learned that less than five-percent of the authors and poets who submitted entries to this festival’s literary contest were honored with recognition from the judging staff of authors, publishers, journalists, agents, directors and others committed to supporting the literary community. After months of hard work where these judges read, discussed, analyzed and even argued, the list of award winners was announced leading to May 18.

I’m already planning to attend the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival.

Discover The Need To Edit and Authors Finding Readers

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

2013 San Francisco Book Festival Award Winners

Running with the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse was awarded an honorable mention in general fiction at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00034]
The winner of the general fiction category went to John Irving’s In One Person published by Simon & Schuster, and the grand prize was awarded to The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen & Live Without Regret by Richie Norton with Natalie Norton — Shadow Mountain Publishing.

John Irving won the National Book Award in 1980 for The World According to Garp, and he received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for the short story “Interior Space. In 2000, he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules.

Richard Norton, the grand prize winner of the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival, is the CEO of Global Consulting Circle. He is a sought after speaker and consultant for the corporate growth and personal development industries. Norton has shared the stage with bestselling authors such as Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Kevin Rollins, former CEO of Dell Computers.

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning My Splendid Concubine and Running with the Enemy. His short story, A Night at the ‘Well of Purity’ was named a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. Anchee Min, Lloyd’s wife, is the author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year—in addition to national bestsellers Becoming Madame Mao and Empress Orchid, which was a finalist for the British Book Awards. Min’s memoir, the sequel to Red AzaleaThe Cooked Seed—will be released May 7, 2013.

The award winners for the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival will be honored on May 18, 2013 at a public free festival and a private awards ceremony held at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

East Bay Area Author Event, March 2nd, 2013

MEET & HEAR LOCAL AUTHORS AT THE FIRST ANNUAL EAST BAY AUTHORS BOOK FAIRE – FREE

Searching for a way to give themselves and the general reading public a venue to get together, a group of published authors in the East Bay have set up a free-to-the-public Book Faire for March 2nd, 2013, in Walnut Creek, from 10:30 AM to 5 PM .

Fifteen published authors will be talking throughout the day about the subject of their books, about their work, and about the process of writing and getting published.  When they’re not speaking, attendees will have plenty of time to chat with them. They will also have a number of their books for sale (and autograph) at their own tables at the event. Some will have other wares they produce for sale (including chocolate!).

Doors will open at 10:30 AM with the authors’ tables, and presentations will begin at 11 and end at 5.

HERE’S WHO WILL BE THERE AND AN IDEA OF THEIR WORKS (AND TOPICS)

Loyd Auerbach: one of the world’s leading experts on the paranormal and author of many books including The Ghost Detectives’ Guide to Haunted San Francisco – plus he’s a chocolatier, and will have samples to taste!

Richard L. Wren: reinvented himself in his mid 80s as a mystery/thriller writer. Author of Casey’s Slip, Joshua’s Revenge and a great little booklet called A Practical Guide to Writing & Publishing a Novel.

Richard L. Wren

Susan Pace-Koch: children’s book author and publisher, including her award-winning illustrated book Get Out of My Head, I Should Go to Bed and other picture books.

Denise Kalm: personal coaching for those in transition, with much of her work around career management. Author of the novel, Lifestorm and the career management guide Career Savvy.

Denise P. Kalm

Bee Hylinski: former attorney and past Mayor of Moraga before becoming a writer and professional editor. Her novel Contract Year: A Baseball Novel is a labor of love for the game of baseball.

Bee Hylinski

Lloyd Lofthouse: author of Running with the Enemy, a suspense thriller set during the Vietnam War and The Concubine Saga, historical fiction centered on Robert Hart and his place in modernizing China in the late 19th Century.

Elaine Starkman: poet and writer, teacher of literature, writing, poetry and memoir, and author of Learning to Sit in the Silence: A Journal of Caretaking and a book of poems, Hearing Beyond Sound.

Elaine Starkman

Dave Case: lifetime professional pilot and sailor, he’s the one to ask about flying and sailing. Author of Sailin’ South and Maverick Pilot, and the novel Keeper of the Secrets.

Dave Case

Jeffrey Hickey: composer, performing artist, teacher, coach, and author of Morehead, a novel about a young man living in San Francisco during the height of the sexual revolution, the late 70s to mid-80s.

Lise Pearlman: retired judge, legal scholar and author of The Sky’s The Limit: People v. Newton, The Real Trial of the 20th Century? She will be teaching “Landmark Trials of the 20th Century” in Lafayette this Spring.

Jay Hartlove: professional writer for over 30 years, blogger, and teacher (seminars on the craft of writing), he’s the author of The Chosen, a supernatural thriller.

Harlan Hague: historian, novelist and screenwriter, author of biographies, travel articles, and historical novels, including Road to California: The Search for a Southern Overland Route, 1540-1848, and Santa Fe mi casa.

Harlan Hague

Lani Longshore: blogger, fiber artist and science fiction writer, and author of Death By Chenille and editor of Voices of the Valley: First Press,  the first anthology of the California Writers Club Tri-Valley branch. She’ll also be talking about and selling her fabric art.

Lani Longshore

Joe Cohen: author of six published works of fiction, including Wandering Cain and The Rabbi and Princess Harmonica: A Tale of Human Trafficking.

Joe Cohen

Sandy Blaine: yoga teacher and author of Yoga For Computer Users and Yoga for Healthy Knees, she’s also a wellness consultant and resident yoga instructor for Pixar Animation Studios.

Come talk to authors/writers of all sorts of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Each author will be speaking from the stage for approximately 15-20 minutes throughout the day, beginning at 11 AM and running until 5 PM. They’ll all be there throughout the day at their own tables, to talk with individuals, answer questions, and of course, sell their books (and other wares in some cases).

The free event will be held in the Oak Room on the grounds of the Grace Presbyterian Church complex, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA 94595. Plenty of free parking.

DIRECTIONS to 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek, CA.

2100 Tice Valley Blvd

NOTE ON PARKING: There is a small lot adjacent to the Oak Room building. Not big enough for all of our cars, but you can pull in and unload easily here. The driveway is right before the building (first drive/first building on the left past the light at the intersection with Rossmoor Parkway).

Directions from points West of Walnut Creek: Take Highway 24 East to Pleasant Hill Road South. Turn Left on Olympic Blvd. Turn Right on Tice Valley Blvd. Go through the light at Rossmoor Parkway, and the Oak Room is the first building on your left. PARKING is past the several buildings in the complex, on the left.

2100 Tice Valley Blvd - Two

Directions from points North of Walnut Creek: Take 680 South to Olympic Blvd. Right on Olympic. Turn Left on Tice Valley Blvd. Go through the light at Rossmoor Parkway, and the Oak Room is the first building on your left. PARKING is past the several buildings in the complex, on the left.

Directions from points South of Walnut Creek: Take 680 North to Olympic Blvd. Left on Olympic. Turn Left on Tice Valley Blvd. Go through the light at Rossmoor Parkway, and the Oak Room is the first building on your left. PARKING is past the several buildings in the complex, on the left.

___________________

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly – Part 3/3

In conclusion, an author should not argue with a negative reviewer by using the author’s opinions. Instead, the author should use positive reviews from reputable sources to counter the negative review. It is a fact, that some people will write reviews as if his or her opinion is the only one in the world that counts, but that is not true.

It also takes time to gather reputable, credible reviews. It took me four years to gather the credible and positive reviews that I have used to counter some of the negative reviews of my work.

Then after countering a negative review, I suggest that if a reader feels he or she might agree with the negative review, they take advantage of a free sample of the author’s work. For example, Amazon offers a free preview, and I offer free samples on my Websites/Blogs.

In addition, I reply to negative reviewers by saying that he or she has a right to his or her opinion and that a few may agree with that opinion, but there are other reputable opinions that do not agree and then quote from those reputable sources, because these opinions may be used as facts.

After all, they are not the author’s opinions, are they?

Now, how do you earn reviews from reputable and credible sources?

The answer is to write compelling fiction or non-fiction books and to do that, the writer must learn everything there is to know about the craft of writing. There will always be writers that are more talented who write more compelling work that sells more copies, and there will always be writers who write books that cannot compete.

For most of us, the craft of writing must be learned. For example, few, if any, are born with the knowledge and talent to be great wood workers, architects, engineers, inventors or scientists so why should this not be different for the craft of writing?

That’s why it is important to be a literate, life-long learner willing to read how-to books—in addition to reading for pleasure from those writers that have demonstrated what they are doing like Grisham, Hemingway and Paulo Coelho.

Every author, no matter how successful and talented, will have critics and reviewers that will not like his or her work, so get used to it, and disarm the damage they might do by using the opinions of credible sources that may be used as facts to prove that there are readers that enjoy what you write. Don’t use your friends, relatives, a neighbor, anonymous reviewers or paid reviewers or your own opinions to fight this war against negative reviews

As authors, we are not alone when it comes to attracting negative reviews, and I’m going to use a few examples to prove this point:

J. K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1)

  • Of 6,558 reviews on Amazon, ninety-five were one-star and 5,505 were five-star.
  • “I bought this book because everyone finished the entire series and all liked it. seriously I don’t like this book. no originality at all” – Wan
  • “This was the worst book I have ever read in my entire life. I have never read a worst book.” – mom

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird

  • Of 2,377 reviews on Amazon, eighty-eight were one-star and 1,773 were five-star.
  • “I waited 52 years to read this book. I should have waited 52 more. A real snoozefest. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.” – Nick T. Francone
  • “Pretty darn boring, if it wasn’t required to read in English i would’ve burned it. This type of book isnt for everyone.” – Elizabeth A. Fager

J. R. Tolkien: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

  • Of 2,343 reviews for The Lord of the Rings, ninety were one-star and 1,867 were five-star.
  • “It was a piece of crap. This book was one of the worst books i have ever read.
    I read it once and could barely fumble through it. The charaters, as in some books, don’t lack depth, they DROWN in it. there are WAY to many PASSIVE sentinces. I mean, come on, each page is usually about 3/5 discribing the landscape and telling us useless information about what I care about and about 1/5 of the pages are used for ‘character devlopment’. This is good, and what i personally look for in the FIRST chapter, but this is used THROUGHT THE ENTIRE BOOK. I even fell asleep reading it. I mean WOW. …”  – phd_computer
  • “I’ll start by saying that I am a huge fan of Fantasy novels, but this ‘crux’ of Fantasy literature really disappointed me.”This book has a lot of faults. To begin with, it goes against the first basic rule of writing a book: show don’t tell. As you start the novel, it tells everything and nothing has been shown. Tolkein has just narrated almost everything, starting from the history to the setting, and this gives the novel a feeling as if a child has written it.”Secondly, the book is just too slow. I mean you just start the 1st chapter and you doze off after a couple of pages. The pace might have been fine for the 50’s but it’s just too slow for the double Os!”I don’t know why other people liked the plot so much, but I think the plot was really really weak. The causality in the story is almost non-existant and that is what makes the difference between a jumble of short stories joined loosely together and a good novel.

    “Lastly, the characters could have been much developed with more life in them than mere puppets bound to do the author’s bidding. The chracters are much more Archetyped than they should have been.

    “Overall, I think that it has gotten more attention than it deserved, perhaps because of the movies, and that people are liking it because of some trend or the like” – Minhaj Ali Shahid “Ibtehaj”

Did you notice that these three authors had 9,145 five-star reviews to counter the 273 (less than 3% of the total) one-star reviews? Why should the one-star reviews receive more weight than the five-stars?

Return to Part 2 of In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly – Part 2/3

The Guardian published a piece on How not to handle bad reviews, and quoted science fiction author Isaac Asimov who said authors fall into two groups: “Those who bleed copiously and visibly at any bad review, and those who bleed copiously and secretly at any bad review.”

Then Dog Star Media says, of fighting negative reviews online, that, “There are harsh rules in opinion-making. One bad review can really hurt you. There is no way to fight opinion with opinion.  The only safe answer for control is to be positive all the time, frequently and in great volume. … If the conversation is going on and you are not part of it, it is more than likely that you will be painted inaccurately.  By being part of the conversation, you can keep it accurate and begin to control the conversation by putting a greater emphasis on your opinion. … There is a saying about the basics of Public Relations. It goes like this: You can fight fact with fact but you cannot fight opinion with opinion.”

But before an author can fight opinions with facts that support the quality of his or her work, he or she must go out and find facts from reputable sources—not from anonymous reviewers, friends or family.

With review space in the traditional media shrinking, where does an author find reputable sources that do not charge to review?

The Midwest Book Review is one but Midwest reviews less than a third of the books submitted to them.  The other option is to find Blogs that review books and do not charge a dollar price to do it. I suggest finding Blogs with an Alexa ranking in the top 1%—or near it, but Blogs that review books must also earn a credible reputation, which is why I suggest only submitting to Blogs that are ranked in the top 1% by Alexa.

But how do you come up with that one percent?

Royal Pingdom.com reported December 2011 that there were 555 million Websites; 800+ million users on Facebook; 39 million Tumbler Blogs; 70 million WordPress Blogs and that there were 2.4 billion social networking accounts worldwide.

To come up with a 1% number, I use the total number of Websites, which means a Book Review Blog should have an Alexa ranking of at least 5.5 million or lower. I also look for the number of people that subscribe to that Blog as members and/or followers.

For two examples:

Peeking Between the Pages had a 1.7 million Alexa traffic rank when I checked with 384 sites linked in and 1,363 members in addition to 253 followers. The Review Policy says, “Due to the overwhelming number of requests I do get I am selective about what I pick to read and review. I will only choose to review those books which I feel I will have an interest in.”

Another Blog that reviews books is So Many Precious Books, So Little Time and it had a 4.9 million Alexa ranking with 305 sites linked in. This Book Blog has 708 members and 127 followers. The review policy says, “… I am not able to accept all review requests as I get so many. I am not able to reply to all requests …”

In addition, I also submit my work to the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Yes, it costs money to enter this contest but all entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges that is similar to a review—that is as long as Writer’s Digest keeps this policy.

I have posted two judges’ commentaries on my Websites and you may see them by clicking on the following links.

My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart

Everyone has an opinion and that opinion should be treated with respect, but that does not mean an author has to lie down and take a beating when there is evidence from reputable sources such as The Midwest Book Review, a Writer’s Digest Judge, or Book Blogs like Peeking Between the Pages and So Many Precious Books, So Little Time that may offer a positive review building an author’s credibility to counter negative reviews.

Continued on January 22, 2013 in Part 3 of In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly – Part 1/3

Self-published authors are often crucified for defending his or her work against negative Internet book reviewers on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads, but I think, under certain circumstances, that there is nothing wrong with an author—no matter how published—to stand up to negative reviewers and critics.

I have done it. In fact, it may be the duty of an author to defend his or her work against negative reviews that may only represent a few opinions but not all.

I’ll explain how I think this should be done in part 2 and 3 from this series of posts.

For example, Bill Styron “defended (his work as an author) vigorously and ridiculed the attacks (of his critics)—they utterly failed to understand the purpose of literature. He gave not an inch.” Source: Bill Styron, The Ups and Downs by James Salter, The New York Book Review of Books, January 10, 2013, Volume LX, Number 1.

However, Bill Styron was not a self-published author. In 1968, he won the Pulitzer Prize for the Confessions of Nat Turner, in addition to other awards. Then in 1980, he won the National Book Award for Sophie’s Choice (turned into a film by Spielberg that won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award).

Yet, Styron had critics that did not like his work, and he felt “they utterly failed to understand the purpose of literature.”

Styron was not alone in how he felt about some critics/reviewers.

“I have learned not to read reviews. Period. And I hate reviewers. All of them, or at least all but two or three. Life is much simpler ignoring reviews and the nasty people who write them. Critics should find meaningful work. ” – John Grisham (as of 2008, his books had sold over 250 million copies worldwide)

“Decadence is a difficult word to use since it has become little more than a term of abuse applied by critics to anything they do not yet understand or which seem to differ from their moral concepts.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Writers are lampposts and critics are dogs. Ask lampposts what they think about dogs. Does the dog hurt the lamppost?” – Paulo Coelho (Coelho has published thirty books that have sold more than 150 million copies in over 150 countries worldwide and his work has been translated into 71 languages.)

Continued on January 21, 2013 in Part 2 of In Defense of Authors Perceived as Behaving Badly

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”