Comparing a virtual book tour to the traditional, and why go on a book tour in the first place?

Crazy is Normal: a classroom exposé started its virtual book tour journey on October 1 to November 15, 2014, and I do not expect to make a profit.

A profit would be nice, but as you read this post, you will discover that traditional publishers usually don’t expect a profit—if there is any—until long after the book tour—if there is one—because old fashioned book tours are rare and expensive.

Just in case you think every traditionally published author gets a book tour from a publisher, think again.

In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported, as the business of publishing changes, book tours increasingly look like bad risks. “In 99.9% of cases,” says Peter Miller, director of publicity at Bloomsbury USA, “you can’t justify the costs through regular book sales.”

Traditional book tours are expensive, because authors usually fly from city to city between states or countries and the cost can runs into the thousands.

For instance, Brian Jud explored the Cost of a Traditional Tour, by car, and concluded that the direct cost of a six month book tour would run $12,345, and he would have to sell 2,465 books to break even.

In addition, Publishers Weekly—in 2006—said, “There are 5,500 adult trade fiction titles published every year, and a tiny percentage of those books’ authors get sent on tour… Assuming that an average 10-city tour costs, say $25,000 (toting up airfare, hotels, escorts and co-op advertising), most book tours are far from cost-effective in terms of the number of copies sold at signings.”

How is a virtual book tour different and why is that important?

I’m inviting you to read on and discover how much this virtual tour has cost me in dollars and time, and we will start with the publicist, who arranged the 20+, Book Blog tour and charged $534.35.

You might think that’s expensive, but consider the $12,345 and/or $25,000+ mentioned above for the cost of a traditional book tour.

Next, there’s the cost of the complementary books sent to the book bloggers who agreed to be the hosts of Crazy is Normal’s virtual book tour.

This is where I stop to deal with potential critics who will claim sending out free books is like buying a review, but that kind of thinking is wrong because the traditional book publishing industry has done it for decades—long before POD, e-books and Amazon came alone.  Traditional Publishers have always sent out hundreds of free copies of new books, for instance, to book stores, magazines, newspapers, and other authors hoping that this would result in positive reviews and media attention.

To send out complimentary copies for this virtual tour cost $28.93 for eight e-books and $103.69 for fourteen paperbacks for a total of $132.62, and that included the postage for the paperbacks that I ordered directly from Amazon for the e-books and Create Space for the paperbacks. Create Space allows authors to mail directly from the printing plant and placing the order was easy.

Then there was $180 to promote Crazy is Normal during the virtual tour with e-mail blasts from Bargain Booksy (Oct. 5), The Fussy Librarian (Oct. 7), eReaderNews Today (Oct. 17), Book Gorilla (Oct. 20), Kboards (Oct. 25), and Indie Book Promo (starting Nov. 8). I might add more before the tour ends. If so, I’ll update.

The great thing about a virtual tour (I’ve been on several and one local-traditional tour in 2008), the author doesn’t have to leave home and that saves a lot of time and money.

In addition, I also supplied nine excerpts for the book, wrote four guest posts and answered questions for five interviews that will appear during the tour. I didn’t keep track of the time, but if each one took an hour, on average, that’s 17-hours, well spent.

I’m also using Twitter during the Tour to announce each stop, and here are the Tweets I’m using several times a day. I’ll be back to add new ones as they appear.

The publicist I use to organize and arrange a book blog tour is Teddy Rose and Bill Pope, Virtual Author Book Tours.com
http://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com/category/about-us/

Day 1 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Review
@ SoManyPreciousBookSoLittleTime
tinyurl.com/mswrq9a
pic.twitter.com/91ek9zmYgz

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #46 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 2 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Guest Post
@ InspireToRead
I worked with 6,000+ students
http://bit.ly/1vAHVru

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #73 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 3 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Guest Post
@ TheWormhole
http://bit.ly/ZBJ5Z0

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #85 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 5 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st e-mail blast
@ BargainBooksy
http://bit.ly/1Erdyca

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Review
Welcome to #CassandraMsPlace
http://bit.ly/10FddD6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-C4X6f0B5g

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st interview
@ PinkysFavorteReads
http://bit.ly/1CP2q79

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #13 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-7 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ FussyLibrarian
2nd e-mail blast
60,919 readers interested in Memoirs
http://bit.ly/1lvZaI5

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-8 of Bk-Blog Tour
@DrBillsBookBazaar
Says “this fabulous memoir”
3rd Review
http://bit.ly/1pQEiJj
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-C4X6f0B5g

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #16 on Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 9 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
3rd Guest Post
http://bit.ly/1yQGTw7

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #30 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 10 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
An excerpt from Crazy is Normal
http://bit.ly/1w07KlM

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 13 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ Unselfish
4th Review
http://bit.ly/ZXfdGS

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #49 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day14 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BackPorchervations
5th Review
Interview
Excerpt
http://bit.ly/1qRb51l

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #58 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day15 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ SincerelyStacie
6th Review
http://bit.ly/1umMBOx

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #19 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ HeckOfABunch
7th Review and Giveaway
http://bit.ly/1zgn6GG

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
3rd e-mail blast
@ eRederNewsToday
http://bit.ly/1vu2DdV

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #3 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Number 3 Memoir Crazy is Normal Day 18

Woke up this morning to this and 8-hours later Crazy is Normal was still ranked at #3 on Amazon.

Day 20 of Bk-Blog Tour
4th e-mail blast
@ BookGorilla.com
http://www.bookgorilla.com/deals

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #2 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 21 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BooksBooksandMoreBooks
8th Review
http://bit.ly/1pC3nYA

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 22 of Bk-Blog Tour
Lu Ann Worley
@ RockinBookReviews
9th Review
Interview
& Excerpt
http://bit.ly/1tgWmBj

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 23 of Bk-Blog Tour
With Melissa Beck
@ TheBookBinder’sDaughter
10th Review
With Interview
bit.ly/ZP0Ovt

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Between Book Blog visits—10-24 to 10-28—promotional ads ran on:
http://www.ebooklister.net/
http://www.sweetiespicks.com/
http://digitalbooktoday.com/
and
http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/

Day 29 of Bk-Blog Tour

With Lisa @ The News in Books

11th Review

With Guest Post

http://www.thenewsinbooks.com/crazy-is-normal-a-review/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Amazon’s Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 30 of Bk-Blog Tour

Hosted by M. Denise Costello

12th Review

With Excerpt

http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2014/10/30/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 31 of Bk-Blog Tour

13th Review
@ DWD’s Reviews of Books, Audibooks, Music and Video
http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/10/crazy-is-normal-classroom-expose-memoir.html

Day 33 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 2, 2014

http://www.southerncaliforniabookfestival.com/

LOW RES Biographies and Autobiographies for the 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
14th Review
@ She Treads Softly
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/2014/11/crazy-is-normal.html

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
People Reads Weekly Feature Promotion from November 3 – 9
http://www.peoplereads.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #14 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
15th review
@ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/11/crazy-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse-review.html

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 4
Choosy Bookworm Promotion
http://choosybookworm.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 39 of Bk-Blog Tour
Indie Book Promo.com will run from November 8 to December 8
http://indiebookpromo.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #44 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
The Fussy Librarian Promotion
http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/about

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
16th Review
@ What U Talking ‘Bout Willis?
http://www.whatutalkingboutwillis.info/crazy-normal-book-review/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 42 of Bk-Blog Tour
17th Review
@ From Isi – Come. Read. Enjoy
http://fromisi.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

 

Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
18th Review
@ Reading to Distraction
http://www.readingtodistraction.com/book-reviews/2014/10/13/crazy-is-normal

Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
19th Review & Excerpt
@ Manic Mama of 3
http://manicmamaof3.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/crazy-is-normal-book-review-excerp/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 47 of Bk-Blog Tour
Author event in Oakland, California at the main library with the California Writers  Club’s Berkeley Branch followed by Howard Allen VanEs who talked about book marketing
http://cwc-berkeley.org/
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152817792969144

 >>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 48 of Bk-Blog Tour
21st Review
Interview & Excerpt
@ Deal Sharing Aunt
http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.ca/2014/11/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse.html

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #10 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 49, November 18, 2014
This is the Last day of this Bk-Blog Tour
22nd Review
@ Feminist Reflections
http://www.feministreflections.com/2014/11/book-tour-crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd.html

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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

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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!”

 

Phillip Jose Farmer’s “Riverworld”

If you were or still are a Philip Jose Farmer fan and read his Riverworld series years ago, did you know that there are now films? And if you weren’t a fan, maybe you will become one. If you like Sci-Fi, the odds are you will enjoy this story.

In 1971, while I was still in college, I read Philip Jose Farmer’s “To Your Scattered Bodies Go”.

The novel begins with adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton waking up after his death on the earth but in a strange new world with an endless river. He soon discovers that he is but one of billions of previously dead people—many are well known historical figures— from throughout Earth’s history stretching from the Neolithic age to modern times.

Next I read “The Fabulous Riverboat” (1971) where the main character is Samuel Clemens—Mark Twain—building a riverboat.

I have been an avid reader for most of my life. In fact, when I was in intermediate and high school (grades 6 to 12), I filled my free time reading and often read one or two books a day. Of course to achieve that, I ignored the homework. And sports weren’t an issue, because I was under a doctor’s care for years being treated for a virus that wanted to destroy my heart.

To give you an idea of how serious my condition was, when I graduated from high school, I stood 6’4” and weighed 125 pounds. From the side, I was all but invisible—a shadow, a thread. After high school graduation,—with the virus defeated after what felt like a thousand needle shots—the doctor said I could join the Marines.  In MCRD in San Diego, I added thirty pounds. Today I’m about two inches shorter and weight more than 180—we shrink as we age.

Even as a college student, I still managed to read at least one book a week when the average for an avid reader in America is 9 to 10 books annually.

Six years later, when the 3rd book in the “Riverworld” series was published—“The Dark Design” (1977)—I was teaching full time in the public schools and missed the book’s publication.  I also missed “The Magic Labyrinth” (1980) and “Gods of the Riverworld” (1983).

After I started teaching (1975 – 2005), the 60 to 100 hour work weeks—teaching, planning, correcting papers, dealing with the daily challenges like protecting my students from bullies, doing grades, calling parents—took a toll on my reading time. In addition, I was struggling to find time to write after I was bitten by the writing bug in 1968 during my first year of college. With the demands of teaching getting in the way of writing and reading, I often got up at 3:00 AM to write for an hour or so before going off to the classroom.

In Farmer’s series a number of historical figures—including Sir Richard Burton, Samuel Clemens, King John of England, Cyrano de Bergerac, Tom Mix, Mozart, Jack London, Lothar von Richthofen and Hermann Göring (for example)—interact with fictional characters with a goal to discover why they were brought back to life and the purpose behind the Riverworld’s creation.

Now retired and with real free time, I discovered that the Sci-Fi channel had produced a television series of Riverworld in 2001, loosely based on the Farmer’s books.  The film was released in 2003. Because I still have fond memories of reading the first two books, I searched Amazon and found the 1-hour and 30 minute Sci-Fi pilot episode and bought the DVD. This version starred Kevin Smith and Brad Johnson. It wasn’t the greatest quality production, but that film lit a hunger for more, and I went hunting.

Then I found the 175-Minute Riverworld film staring Tahmoh Penikett that was released to DVD in 2010.  According to Wiki, this 2nd version of “Riverworld” was supposed to be a 4-hour TV movie. I wonder what happened to the other 65 minutes. I feel cheated.

I think the production quality of the second film was better than the first but both took to many liberties with the story that I fondly remember from forty-two years ago. And I want more.

Discover Barber Shop Quartets and Amazing Acappella

_______________________

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!”

“The Bartender’s Tale” by Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig is at his best when his pen carries us to the rugged small towns and sheep ranches of Montana.

My first visit to Doig country was in “This House of Sky” (a finalist of the 1979 National Book Award). His latest book did not disappoint as it continued to vividly capture a way of life that has almost vanished in our Facebook, fast food, You Tube world where attention spans are often less than 30 seconds.

“The Bartender’s Tale” takes place in the summer of 1960. And when I finished reading, I envied the 12 year old boy—Rusty—who is the main character of the novel. I envied Rusty because of his father and that fact he was growing up in the small town of Gros Ventre, Montana where no one stays a stranger for long.

His father Tom is a legendary bartender, who owns an equally legendary Montana saloon called the Medicine Lodge, and the backroom offers powerful magic for the imaginations of young and old.

There is also the story of an innocent, childhood friendship and the pure love that develops between two twelve-year olds—a boy falling in love with a girl named Zoe.

This is the kind of story you want to savor hoping it never ends. While reading, there were times when my eyes grew moist and other moments when I found myself smiling at the warmth radiating from the page.  After the last page, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend and wishing you didn’t have to leave.

Discover Growing up with Oranges

_______________________

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!”

Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review [Viewed as a Single Page]

A less than 1-star review of the 2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine that was posted on a Blog, Two Americans in China dot com [December 9, 2012], and on Amazon.com is the focus of this post. This review ran for 1,145 words. It took me a few months to decide to write a response, because it meant digging through thousands of pages of research—most of it from primary source material, Robert Hart’s journals and letters.

In addition, it also meant attracting the wrath of mostly anonymous Internet vigilantes (cyber bullies) that allegedly think they have a moral duty to attack any author that responds to a review of his or her own work no matter how misleading that review might be.

I have no problem with a negative review—even if it is 1-star—that is honest and does not resort to reckless and false claims to influence readers, but Amanda Roberts’s review of My Splendid Concubine may be, in my opinion, a reckless review, and I want to take advantage of my 1st Amendment rights as an American and have my say regardless of the mostly anonymous-cyber bullies who would probably vote “NO” in an attempt to bury this if I were to post it on Amazon.com.


Note: This post originally appeared as a six-part series on
iLook China.net starting May 13, 2013 in Dissecting the “Moral Duty” of a Reckless and False Review: Part 1

Roberts says, “Writing a book is hard. As a writer, I know how difficult it is to put the pen to paper and put what you have to say out there for the world to see and then be ripped apart. I try to be fair in my reviews and, even when they aren’t very good, look for the positive and leave the choice of whether or not to read the book up to my readers. My reviews are my opinion – nothing more.

“But sometimes, you come across a book that is so bad that it becomes a moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it. I really hate to go that far in a review, but this book is so bad I even feel bad for Lofthouse’s wife. Let me explain …”

After we remove all of the reckless, false claims, what’s left is Roberts’s brief and honest opinion: “The book is extremely soft-core pornish, and it is my moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it.”

My question is: Does that “moral duty” give Amanda Roberts (or anyone for that matter) the right to write a reckless and false review?

If Roberts had read “Entering China’s Service: Robert Hart’s Journals, 1854—1863”—as I did using a highlighter and tagging pages—before writing her review or after reading the 112,538 words of My Splendid Concubine’s 2nd edition, she would know how reckless and false the claims she made are that supports her ‘moral duty’.

Amanda Roberts’s first reckless and false statement: “As a customs officer in Ningpo, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou (known as Canton back then) from 1854-1908, Robert Hart spent his life trying to keep the faltering Qing dynasty from going bankrupt.”

This is far from accurate, because it would be years before Robert Hart went to work for the Chinese, and then several more years before he would have the authority and opportunity to dedicate himself to keeping the Qing Dynasty from going bankrupt.

On Page 1 of “Entering China’s Service”, it clearly says, “As head of the Maritime Customs from 1863 to 1908, Hart hired an international staff of hundreds (mainly British) as well as a subordinate Chinese staff of thousands to collect the revenue of foreign trade.”

And Customs only raised about a third of the Qing Dynasty’s revenues.  However, it would have been correct to say that while Hart was Inspector General the revenues from Customs were the only reliable source of money that the Qing Dynasty could depend on.

In addition, as a Custom’s official of China’s emperor, Hart never worked in Hong Kong, a British Crown colony. Instead, he spent a few days in Hong Kong after arriving in July 1854. While in Hong Kong, he struggled—for the first time—to learn Chinese before being posted to Ningpo via Shanghai.

In addition, Hart did not work as a Chinese Customs officer out of Ningpo. Hart first arrived in China not speaking one word of Mandarin and his job description was as an interpreter working for the British—not the Chinese, and for his first few years in China, he worked for the British consulate in Ningpo.

Then on March 20, 1858—while still working for the British as an interpreter—Hart was transferred to Canton three years and six months after he arrived in China.

Hart would not leave his job with the British to work for the Chinese in Canton until June of 1859, and his title would be Deputy Commissioner of Customs—not Commissioner or Inspector General.

It wouldn’t be until November 1863—more than nine years after arriving in China—that Inspector General of Customs Horatio Lay, in Shanghai, would be dismissed (fired) and Hart would replace him.

Amanda Roberts’s second reckless and false statement: “What the book is actually about, though, is the one year of Robert’s life in China when he had two concubines – sisters.”

Actually, My Splendid Concubine covers a span of two-years and four months, and Hart meets Ayaou for the first time during the summer of 1855 near the end of Chapter 3 on page 59—19,665 words into the novel. It isn’t until Chapter 12 at about 50,000 words that Hart, Ayaou and Shao-mei come together as a family of sorts. By then we are 44% of the way into the novel.

Roberts’s third reckless, false statement: “The overall structure of the book is also severely lacking. The book opens with Hart, in his 80s, going to see the Dowager Empress Cixi.”

In fact, when Robert Hart meets with the Dowager Empress in 1908, he’s seventy-three—not 80, and he will die by age seventy-six in 1911.

Roberts’s fourth reckless false statement: “Almost every single page describes Hart’s erection in some manner. Only a quarter of a way through the book I knew far more about Robert Hart’s erections than any woman should, even his concubine(s).”

In fact, a quarter of the way into the first 112,538 words is about 88 pages, and the word “erection” appears five times or on 5.7% of the first 88 pages. It is a reckless false statement to claim that “almost every single page describes Hart’s erection in some manner” when more than 94% of the first 88 pages do not refer to his erection.

In fact, the word “erection” is used only nine times on six pages in the entire novel. In addition, Ayaou calls his erection a “sun instrument” and that word is used six times. Together, “erection” and “sun instrument” appear 15 times or 0.013% of the time.

I think it is safe to say that Roberts was very uncomfortable with the sexual themes of this novel for her to exaggerate nine of 112,538 words into “almost every page describing Hart’s erection in some manner.”

Amanda Roberts’s fifth reckless false statement: “The perverted, selfish, idiotic representation in this book is the most unfair characterization of this influential man imaginable.”

Robert Hart would not be influential in China until he became Inspector General in 1863. The 2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine focuses on Hart in China when he was learning about China and how to speak Mandarin while giving in to the same temptations that led him astray while he was attending college in Belfast.

If Roberts had read the same primary source material that I used while researching Hart’s life, she would know—for example—that on page eight of Entering China’s Service that “anyone who reads the journals through knows that his mental struggles about women were not soon or lightly won; whether the relapse was to daydreams or to a Chinese mistress, it caused him ambivalence and anguish.”

On Sunday, August 27, 1854, Hart writes: “Bad company led me away from the path of duty; my punishment was not merely spiritual loss but bodily suffering. … I have made resolution upon resolution, broken almost as soon as made. I am almost led to despair … the Almighty is disobeyed, and my soul’s in danger of death Eternal! What a miserable state am I am in!”

On Thursday, October 19, 1854, Hart writes, “A couple of China Women have been peeping in through my windows. I hope I may be able to control myself properly here. Many temptations surround me …”

On Sunday, October 29, 1854, Hart writes, “Now some of the China women are very good looking; you can make one your absolute possession for from 50 to 100 dollars (not British pounds) and support her at a cost of 2 or 3 dollars per month … I too often think of love and its pleasures … It is sinful to think of forbidden pleasures–to cherish such thoughts and yet fear to carry them into execution makes a person very unhappy, quite miserable in fact: So if I think to continue in the habit of such imaginings, I might as well carry them into execution.”

On Sunday, November 5, 1854, Hart writes, “One moment resolving on good: the same moment a temptation comes—it is yielded to—and then one moralizes on the matter.”

Those few examples only touch on Hart’s battle with his libido and temptation. In fact, shortly before his death, Hart burned his journals covering about seven of the first ten years he lived in China starting with May 1855 when he went to spend the summer at the home of Captain Dan Patridge (real name), who was the principal agent of Jardine and Matheson, the largest opium merchant in China.

What did Robert Hart do that motivated him to burn what he wrote that covered those years? What do you think an opium dealer would provide in the way of pleasure?

The answer may be found on page 151: “His rebellion and sinfulness … evidently led him to women of easy virtue and some kind of (retributive) illness thereafter, had been his one fall from grace by age 19. Almost immediately he had come to China, just at the age when the woman question arose most persistently and bedeviled his solitude. … He became strongly conscious of his need for someone to love.”

On page 152, it says, “As this ineradicable craving for affectionate companionship builds up in this young man of age 20, working away in solitude in his lodging in the Ningpo Consulate, we cannot help looking ahead … How does this image of an I.G., who at the height of his worldly power was least inclined to worldly love, square with the young man we see in a struggle of conscience at Ningpo in 1855. And how does the Robert Hart of July 1855 compare with the same man three years later at Canton?”

On page 153, “Whatever may have been his bittersweet struggles with his Wesleyan conscience, the fact remains that God enters less frequently into his journal hereafter. Gone is the thought of being a missionary; there is less attitude of prayer and seeking divine help. Love of woman seems to anchor Hart permanently in this world with no need for keeping lines out to the hereafter.

“We can also infer that experience with Ayaou anchors him permanently in China (page 154). … The Robert Hart whom we meet almost three years later in the next remaining installment of his journal is a different person—self-confident, clear as to his own interest, and easily in touch with the Chinese he is dealing with. Hart’s years of liaison with Ayaou gave him his fill of romance, including both its satisfaction and its limitation.”

In addition, Sterling Seagrave, the author of Dragon Lady (nonfiction–ISBN: 0-679-73369-8), wrote on page 148 of his book, “Robert was raised a strict Wesleyan when this meant twice-daily readings of Scriptures. Money was to be saved, not frittered away. Life was all work and pleasure was sinful.”

Further down the page, Seagrave says, “The appointment to China rescued him (Hart) from an embarrassing situation. College had liberated him from small-town scrutiny, and he had enjoyed a series of infatuations with middle-class young ladies intent upon marriage. What they could not provide, Hart and his chums found among the professional ladies in Belfast pubs, one of whom gave him something [historical evidence suggests syphilis] to remember her by.”

Near the end of Roberts’s review she says, “It makes me want to write my own narrative of Hart’s life just so salvage his reputation. I think I’ll add that to my list of possible books to work on.”

She may want to read this passage on page 231 from Entering China’s Service first: “Relations of love and sex between Asians and Westerners are properly considered in the category of trans-cultural contact. What the double standard of Victorian England would in Hart’s day have called wild oats and swept under the rug, biographers of the late twentieth century are expected to scrutinize as meaningful experience. We can only regret that the moral standards and practical necessity of an early day deprived us of Hart’s record of his coming of age as a resident of China during his service in the [British] Canton consulate in early 1959 and his first years in Customs from mid-1859 to mid-1863.”

Amanda Roberts’s says, “There is a sequel, Our Hart: Elegy for a Concubine, but I really can’t take any more of Lofthouse’s writing.”

Too bad, because in the 117,000 word sequel, the word “erection” never appears, because Hart—as his own surviving journals show—has matured and is a changed man from the one who arrived in China struggling with his Wesleyan, Victorian, British guilt because in 1854, he was as horny as a room full of adolescent boys and a few years before his death, he did his best to sweep those years under the rug by burning seven years of his journals that cover his first decade in China.

The reason we know about Ayoau is because they had three children together, and in 1865 Robert arrives unexpectedly in Northern Ireland with Anna, Herbert and Arthur Hart, and without Ayoau.

Some historians believe Ayaou died in child birth (the theory that I prefer), but others claim there is a letter that proves he sold—or gave with a dowry—Ayaou to another man in an attempt to whitewash his reputation.

We know that he took the children to Ireland where he found them a foster home, and Hart never sees those children again.

If it had not been for those three children, I’m sure that Ayaou would have been banished from Hart’s edited and revised history too.

How would you describe a man that may have sold the mother of his first-three children to another man and then takes those children halfway around the world from China to Ireland so their mother never sees them again? If this theory is true, what does that say about Robert Hart?

There is one last reckless and false claim by Roberts that I want to clarify: “I really didn’t know how this book was published until I realized that the forward was written by Anchee Min,

Lofthouse’s wife. Anchee Min is one of the most important writers of English Chinese literature today. I have several books written by her and have enjoyed her writing. I can only guess that Lofthouse was able to get his book published by riding his wife’s coattails and I can just imagine poor Min having to grit through her teeth as she had to smile and say, ‘yeah, Lloyd, this book is great.’ Poor woman.”

In fact, my wife had nothing to do with the publication of this book, because I am an indie author. She also did not tell me ‘this book is great’. I did not use her agent or her publisher. And my wife had nothing to do with the recognition this book has earned from other reputable unbiased sources. You see, not everyone agrees with Amanda Roberts’s “moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it.”

Amanda Roberts, most people think for themselves. They don’t need someone on an alleged evangelical crusade willing to claim anything to achieve what she may see as a moral duty.

I’ve also written about this subject in My Mother would have Burned this Book (March 2011), because there have been other reviews similar to yours but much shorter that may have also had a burning “moral duty to spare others the pain of reading it.”

Another word for this is censorship, and there is a long history of censorship linked to a moral duty to censor books dealing with graphic sexual topics.

Maybe the truth is that Amanda Roberts is an alleged throw back to the Victorian era and would rather sweep the truth under the carpet that this historical fiction novel reveals and hide it—the same thing that Robert Hart attempted when he burned those journals.

LowRes_e-book-and-paperback-cover-together
e-book cover                                paperback cover

Ms. Amanda Roberts, as valid as your opinion is (for you), there are other opinions of this book that are just as valid.

– PRAISE FOR –

1st edition of My Splendid Concubine:
2007 iUniverse Editor’s Choice
2007 iUniverse Publisher’s Choice
2008 iUniverse Reader’s Choice

Honorable Mention in General Fiction
2008 London Book Festival

“Packed cover to cover with intriguing characters and plot, a must read for history fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre.” – Midwest Book Review, May 8, 2008

“A stunning work that enmeshes imperialism, modernity, miscegenation and plain old desire in a sweaty matrix of destruction and painful birth.” – City Weekend Magazine, May 8, 2008

“Those who are interested in unconventional romances with an out-of-the ordinary setting will find plenty to enjoy.” – Historical Novel Society, May 2008

2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine

“A powerful novel whose beauty exceeds that of the book’s cover.”
Writer’s Digest judge’s commentary, April 2009 

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2009 San Francisco Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine, the sequel to
2nd edition of My Splendid Concubine

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2009 Nashville Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 London Book Festival
2009 DIY Book Festival

Our Hart is a unique and entertaining read, recommended.” – Midwest Book Review, April 2010

“Fine and tightly controlled Novel” – Historical Fiction Society, May 2010

“Political intrigue and matters of the heart are both fully explored. … readers who enjoy vicariously experiencing other times and cultures will find Our Hart a fascinating journey.” – Commentary of a Writer’s Digest judge, April 2011

Finalist in Fiction & Literature: Historical Fiction:
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards, December 2010

3rd edition of My Splendid Concubine: April 2013
(formerly titled
The Concubine Saga)

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival

“Drawing on heavily researched passages with great dramatization, The Concubine Saga is a strong pick for historical fiction collections, highly recommended.” – The Midwest Book Review, July 2012

Disclaimer: No money was paid to bribe another person to write a positive review of this book or to honor it with a literary award of any kind, and I’m sure if we go to court with a judge, lawyers and a jury, that fact would be easy to prove. There was no guarantee of a response from any of these sources or what that response might be.

_______________________

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!”

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Rape—experts say—is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying it all is a sense of arrogance, and on sites such as Amazon, we often have no idea who we are talking to or where they live because they are mostly hiding behind an anonymous, false identity.

The following list summarizes how I was treated starting several weeks after I posted a comment for a brief and poorly written review left by an anonymous Amazon book reviewer for another author’s book. What I wrote was not a review. What I wrote was a comment expressing my opinion of a review. I have since deleted that comment on Amazon and left another comment in its place in addition to explaining why I did it (six customers–guess who they might be—don’t think this post adds to the discussion and it was hidden—-click on “show post anyway” to read it).

1. You should consider therapy. (Anna Karenina is the second anonymous speaker. The first anonymous speaker, KarLynP, has since deleted his or her comment).

2. You cannot debate on a rational topic. (Anna Karenina)

3. You are told that before one can debate, there must be a person worthy of debating and that you do not quality.  (Anna Karenina)

4. Your comments are labeled as “ludicrous nonsense”. (Anna Karenina)

5. Some of what you wrote is called “nincompoopery”. (Anna Karenina)

6. You are accused of calling yourself a troll. (Rmahala Burlingame—this may be a real name)

7. You are accused of not using your brain. (Anna Karenina)

5. You are accused of being a somewhat privileged white male that fits the description of the average troll. (Rmahala Burlingame)

6. It is inferred that you are an “egotistical narcissist”, because during an Internet search of your name, one of the anonymous speakers discovers your Blogs, Websites, book reviews and comments that is your author’s platform, which is a modern-day necessity for any writer that wants to find an audience for his or her work. Building a complex Internet platform is part of the writing business today. (Old Rockem)

7. You are described as a “bloviating person”. (Rmahala Burlingame)

8. You are called a snob. (Rmahala Burlingame)

9. One of the anonymous speakers says that he or she is much more famous than you could ever dream of being and that you would never be as smart as him or her. (Anna Karenina)

10. You are told that your reading skills are so poor that you could not get into 1st grade. (Anna Karenina)

11. You are accused of being a stalker, because after one of the anonymous speakers, Anna Karenina (AK), left a comment on your Blog along with two IP addresses, you wanted to know who he or she was and searched for the location of both IP addresses, and one of them may have been AK’s place of employment, so you call but still don’t know who AK is because he or she was using an anonymous name and the place of employment says they have no way to trace who sent what. (genmar rienee)

12.  After all that, you start getting e-mails advising you to apologize to everyone involved inferring if you don’t, the situation will get worse.

13. After you refuse to apologize to this alleged mob of anonymous Internet stalkers and bullies, it gets worse.

14. On Goodreads, four people give your new book a one-star rating and on Amazon a one-star review appears written by an anonymous person—allegedly a SockPuppet—that could not have bought or read your book. In fact, when the four Goodreads one-star ratings appear, that book has only sold three copies worldwide and all from Amazon Kindle.  In addition, there are two, five-star Goodreads ratings. So three books have sold by the time there are six ratings and one Amazon review.

15.  Then all the one-and-two star reviews for your books sold through Amazon receive a large block of YES votes, and the four-and-five star reviews get many NO votes.

16. Then the sale of your work—novels that have been selling steadily for years—slips almost 40%.

Note: This is not the complete list. There is more, and this isn’t over.

If the definition of rape is correct, then my work and my reputation as an author has been raped by a mob of allegedly arrogant and mostly anonymous Internet bullies who may troll the Internet looking for ways to recklessly spread false and libelous statements.

What we might have here is an alleged culture of arrogance that has created a group mindset that anonymously trolls the Internet to damage the reputations of others—especially authors.

This alleged anonymous mob found me guilty without a trial, without a lawyer, and without a judge or jury. And because I dared to express my opinion about this issue on my Blogs, there was retaliation.

And it all started when I left a comment for one 2-star review of “Tough Cookie” by mystery author M. Ruth Myers. On March 19, “Tough Cooke” had eighty-six 5-star reviews, fifty-nine 4-star reviews, twelve 3-star reviews, one 2-star review (in the next paragraph, and one 1-star review. I also left a comment for the 1-star review posted by an Eileen DeMarco—her only Amazon review, and there is no way to tell who he or she is.

This is the one 2-star review of Myers’s ‘Tough Cookie’: “Too soft and expected situations with the most probable endings, could be written by the reader himself if they had read three novels.” – nancy d. mendez

My comment—my first opinion of the mendez review—was posted on January 20, 2013 the same day the mendez review appeared, and it said, “This isn’t a review. Learn how to write a proper review and then maybe someone that is literate will pay attention to you. I give this sorry excuse for a review one-star or an F-.”

In conclusion, if you are reading this and think of yourself as an open minded, fair person, you may want to read all the posts on this topic and click on the links to the originals before you pass judgment. The first comment from KarLynP, an anonymous speaker, appeared on February 16, 2013, and KarLynP never leaves another comment (and has deleted that comment), and I never did hear from nancy d. mendez, the person that wrote the review.

Anna Karenina (AK), the second anonymous speaker, left his or her first comment on February 22, 2013. AK seems to have left the most comments.

Old Rockem’s 1st comment, from the third anonymous speaker, appeared on February 24. Then number four, Rmahala Burlingame—I understand that this is a real name—left her first comment about ten minutes later.

The following links will take you to the posts I have written about this issue:

2-26-2013: Dealing with Internet Bullies

3-8-2012: The Internet is not a safe haven for being anonymous and behaving badly

3-13-2013: Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

3-15-2013: Is this an example of defamation? — not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

3-31-2013: Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Note: When I contacted Amazon on this issue, I was basically told they would do nothing because what was happening was acceptable according to their guidelines, and that I should use similar methods to support my work. For example, get more people to vote “YES” for the good reviews and “NO” for the bad reviews—just like the alleged vigilantes were doing—and then have more people write good reviews.

But I don’t have an organized posse to help defend against this alleged mob of vigilantes that are mostly anonymous. Most authors are loners, introverts, and spend their time in front of a computer screen writing, editing, promoting, publishing, etc. And if I did what the alleged vigilantes are doing, they would criticize me for doing the same thing that they do and say it is another example of an author behaving badly.

Besides rape, libel, and defamation, isn’t this also discrimination?

Discover more here: Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

_______________________

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!”

Is this an example of Defamation?—not protected by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

An anonymous Blogger going by the name The Smutty Lover wrote on Book Lovers Inc.com that  “the first meltdown was with author, Lloyd Lofthouse who tracked down a reviewer who gave him a negative review. He was so incensed by this he then tracked down the reviewer’s workplace in order for her to get fired.”


Libel (defamation) is the number one reason journalists get sued, and the average verdict is $2.4 million.

My reply to this misleading and defamatory statement follows the update:

[UPDATE: I left a second comment and last night, 3-18, my two comments telling my side of this issue have not been posted at Book Lovers Inc.com. Then, this morning, 3-19, I checked again and they are still not there. How does anyone get a fair hearing on an issue if a site that may have libeled and defamed him censors his comments that tell his side of the issue? And now others are repeating this allegedly defamatory libel on other sites.].

What I said, “Actually, this is wrong and very misleading—a perfect example of how a rumor spins out of control and distorts the facts.”

Let me make this perfectly clear, I have never tracked down a reviewer of my books who gave me a negative review—not once!

I have also never tracked down anyone that left a comment for a review I wrote of another author’s book. In this issue, I never read the book and I never wrote a review of that book. What I did was post a “comment” for a review of another book because that review was allegedly misleading, snarky and poorly written and the evidence suggests that what I wrote in my comment/opinion was correct.

In addition, you may click on this link to a post on my Website/Blog and read all about this particular issue in detail (I copied and pasted that Amazon thread where this took place into that post).

In this incident, I tracked down the possible location of one anonymous speaker using the name of Anna Karenina—in addition to three other speakers—who left a string of insulting comments about a comment I wrote about a review written for another author’s book on Amazon.

That review was not about any of my books.

When I moved the conversation to my blog and wrote about these alleged bullies that came out of nowhere about a month after my comment had been posted on an Amazon page of that other author’s book, one of four anonymous speakers—Anna Karenina—followed me to my Blog and left several comments and in the process left evidence that revealed his/her IP address.

Out of curiosity, I did an IP location search and found that he/she may have lived not far from where I live. Then Anna Karenina left another comment with a second IP address, and I discovered that this time the comment originated from the San Mateo County Office of Education.

And yes, concerned, I called because I wanted to know if students had access to that wireless system and I was told “no” and that there was “no” way they could discover who sent that comment to my Blog. It ended there. I did not try to get anyone fired. I never even suggested it. Even if I had, it may have been impossible because “Anna Karenina” was an anonymous name.

During the conversation with those alleged bullies on that Amazon thread, I was told that I should consider therapy; I was told that I cannot debate on a rational topic; my comments were labeled “ludicrous nonsense”; some of what I wrote was called “nincompoopery”; I was accused of being a somewhat privileged white male; it was inferred that I was an “egotistical narcissist”; was described as the “bloviating Lofthouse”, and I was called an “egotistical snob”.

In fact, Anna O’Karenina made it clear that she/he (I still have no idea if AK is a she or a he) is so much more famous that I could ever dream of being and that I will never be as smart as him/her.

I was also told that my ”reading skills were so poor that I could not get into first grade.”

Did I say some things that I regret. Yes, but I challenge anyone to find where I called any of these four anonymous speakers an egotistical snob, etc.

Two wrongs do not make a right and the four anonymous speakers were not innocent. And I had every right to know who my accusers were. The 6th Amendment to the US Constitution has a clause that says as much.


How to Prove Libel (defamation) and Slander.

And the US Supreme Court has already ruled that the 1st Amendment offers protection for anonymous speech on the Internet but only if it relates to political speech.

What is considered “commercial” speech does not receive the same protections and is protected only so long as “the communication is neither misleading nor related to unlawful activity. … In addition, fighting words and obscenity are not a protected form of speech.”

False misleading rumors taken out of context in a public forum like Book Lovers Inc.com—that damages a person’s reputation—may be seen as defamation.

Note: Because defamatory and misleading statements of this nature have spread across the Internet, the sale of my work has dropped almost 40%. Oh, and I was not “incensed”.

I was concerned.

To discover more about this issue visit:

Dealing with Internet Bullies

Taking it Global: Online Freedom of Speech versus the 6th Amendment

The Internet is not a Safe Haven for being Anonymous and Behaving Badly

Who’s behaving badly? A culture of arrogance

Ginmar: Alleged Cyber Bully, Troll and Stalker?

Found Guilty because of Reckless and False Speech – based on true events

_______________________

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!”