Insecurities Abound!

I’ve been pretty down in the dumps, guys. A real sophomore slump. Let me explain. My prelude novella, Blood in the Past (released this time last year), did pretty well. No one really had a bad word to say about it. I was proud of myself…and then terror set in.

Last year, as I was editing and revising the full-length follow-up to Past, Blood in the Paint, I began to worry that it wouldn’t measure up, that my creative prowess had a quota and I had used up everything in my reserve to write Blood in the Past. As a result, I hit the Publish button on Blood in the Paint a few months ago with closed eyes. I dragged my feet with the paperback edition. I haven’t sent out many review copies, and I haven’t done much promotion. I’m subconsciously forcing myself, and my Blood for Blood series, to fade into oblivion. I’m making my own nightmare, of my sophomore release not measuring up, a reality. Or am I?

When the news of Blood in the Paint’s release broke, I had an immediate spike in sales. I might have been able to capitalize on those numbers had I done some promoting. After I ordered my first shipment of Blood in the Paint paperbacks, I almost sold out of them…and I still have two events to do this week. And the reviews? The reviews have been pretty awesome. There are only nine so far (actually, as I’m writing this, a TENTH popped up!), none of which were written by me or hubby-pants, but they are all FIVE-STAR. Every single one of them. My mother-in-law, who awarded Blood in the Past with a three-star review, is raving about Paint. As is my father-in-law, who keeps asking how the next book will unfold. My niece even forgot about her “ghetto reality shows” (her words, not mine), because she’d been so caught-up in reading it. You guys don’t know my niece, but that’s probably the best compliment I could have received, short of something from Gillian Flynn herself.

So what’s the problem? Why haven’t I really written anything since April, when I went on a writing retreat, where there was nothing to do BUT write? I still feel unworthy, I still feel talentless, I still feel like everyone’s compliments are a fluke. Then I read a recent review of Blood in the Paint written by Ileandra Young. You can read the full review here, but the part I want to point out is when she mentioned a Facebook status where she posted, “Soooooooooo that feeling of inadequacy you feel while reading a fellow indie author’s novel then returning to your own WIP.” Guys, I actually remembered that status, I even Liked it because I knew the feeling. Turns out, she was talking about Blood in the Paint. Words cannot thank her enough for sharing that with her followers and blog readers and, most importantly, me. Between that and the pep talk hubby-pants gave me recently (more on that in another post, I think), I might be ready to write again. At the very least, I might be ready to begin my medico-legal research to make sure my next book, Blood in the Paper, is on the right track.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this week, which happens to be the one-year anniversary of Blood in the Past’s publication. To celebrate (and get back into promoting for the love of everything sacred and holy), Blood in the Past will be FREE on Wednesday, June 18th, and Blood in the Paint will be dropped to $1.99 today through Friday, June 20th. If you haven’t read them yet, now is the time to do so. Because, I’ve been down in the dumps and sales will make me feel better. ;-)

Jerks & Irks LVIII: I Failed My 2013 Goodreads Challenge

2012 was The Year of the Kindle. Having received a Kindle Fire for Christmas 2011, I devoured books the following year, reading over 75 altogether. I realize that number is subjective: impressive to some, a drop in the bucket to even more voracious readers than myself. But I was excited to have so many books at my fingertips.

In 2013, I set my first Goodreads Challenge for 75 books. I figured since I had done it the year before, I could do it again, right? Wrong. I failed to realize how much more I’d be writing in 2013 than the previous year (3 books and a couple of short stories), or how many hours would be spent marketing and maintaining a presence on social media. December rolled around and, with the end of the year in sight, I was forced to cheat amend my Challenge total to 60 books. I had read 59 and was reading the 60th with more than enough time to spare. I even fantasized about reading a 61st book for good measure.

Then the library–the LIBRARY of all places–took me down, guys. You see, some of the traditional publishers still insist on charging $10 or more for an e-book, which is irksome in and of itself. Therefore, if I want to read one of these books, I usually see if my local library network has a digital copy first. Thus was my process when I downloaded Night Film, by Marisha Pessl (EXCELLENT book so far, by the way).

I was 57% through it when my lending period was about to expire. I renewed it, as I had done before with other borrowed books, but THE LIBRARY took it away anyway. Just electronically snatched it off my Kindle and placed me on a waiting list (1 of 1). I was devastated. I’m not the type of person who can read multiple books at once; I have the short-term memory of a pill bug. I whined a lot, trudging through short stories and trolling Facebook instead of reading myself awake in the morning and to sleep at night.

The new year came and went and I was stuck on 59 books. I failed my Goodreads Challenge.

The library sabotaged me. CURSES! *waves fist in the air*

How about you? How did you fare with your own Goodreads Challenges?

Jerks & Irks XLVIII: What is WITH People?

What can I say about social networking? It’s love-hate for me. Social networking is supposed to be about meeting, connecting with, and making friends with like-minded people without ever having to leave the comfort of your home. That sounds pretty love-inspiring to me.

But over the last few days, several people conspired to spoil the love. Separately, of course. Serendipitously? I never know with that word. Anyway, one instance, I shrugged off. The second, I complained about to my hubby and my girlfriend. But the third and fourth? Jerks and Irks Status.

  1. Last week, I received the following direct message on Twitter: “Can I pick your brain sometime? Met you last year at ASJA and your book is doing better than mine! Would love some tips.” Umm, How about, “Hello, how are you? Congrats on Blood in Past’s recent high rankings!” (I was in the middle of my sale weekend and Blood in the Past was only two spots behind one of the Dexter novels!) But no, she just jumped right into me helping her out because when I met her at the ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors) conference, I was just a blogger and she was a little farther along in her journey and now I seemed to be doing a little better and it was boggling her mind so much she abandoned sheer etiquette and all use of pleasantries. Lovely. By the way. I responded with my email address, because I’m A NICE PERSON, and was met with nothing. Super lovely.
  2. Then, one of the authors I follow on Facebook put out a call for beta readers. He said it was a thriller, so I jumped at the chance to help, commenting that I would be happy to be a beta and that I welcomed the chance to meet and work with another thriller writer. Well, said author sends me a direct message on Facebook that although very thorough, was extremely cold and uninviting. It started with “Hi Ava” then went right into “Where are you in your writing career? Do you know what a beta reader is? Have you ever been a beta reader before? What is your blood type?” I can appreciate trying to weed out people just looking for a free book before its release or whatever, but maybe, I don’t know, say that! Have some energy, some personality. Connect, for heaven’s sake! His direct message was so cold that, coupled with his ridiculous time constraints, I politely declined my original offer to help out. And–what a shock–he didn’t reply back a simple “Thanks, anyway” or anything like that.
  3. Next, I got the following direct message on my Facebook author page: “I’m told you know how an author can gift books through Amazon for free. Can you tell me how?” Again, ZERO salutations, no mention of who sent them, what the hell? I’m pretty sure this person isn’t even a fan of my author page. But I’m a glutton for punishment, so I answered their question and I will most likely die of old age while waiting for them to miraculously ‘grow’ manners and say “Thank you.”
  4. The fourth instance occurred somewhere in the midst of the above events. I received an auto DM on Twitter asking if I was an author and if I would be interested in doing a guest post for the person I’d just followed. I usually hate auto DMs, and rid my inbox of them quicker than most people rid their bodies of crabs. But this time I responded. My Twitter pal and I agreed upon a date for my guest post to appear, right in the middle of my sale weekend, and I worked writing it into my busy schedule. Only, when I emailed it to her, I didn’t get a response. I contacted her on Twitter and she then emailed me saying she had received my material and would be in touch. Then the date for my guest post to go live came and went and I checked her websites and didn’t see my post. I emailed her. I tweeted her. I DMed her. Nothing. So then I scheduled the post for my own blog and according to the hits and comments and Twitter shares, it was her damn loss. And for the record, I think her first name is stupid

Have any of you had any run-ins with social networking jerks recently? Feel free to rant about it in the comments section! I always love hearing from people because I know how to do social networking the right way and I always respond in a friendly and timely manner. ;-)

Don’t Feel Like Blogging, so Here, Look at This:

You guys may have already seen this, either on Goodreads or someone (like me) posted it on Facebook and you were one of the twelve lucky people that Facebook actually let see it. Didn’t see it? Oh goodie! Take a gander!

goodreads

This infographic fully lets me off the hook for leaving Moby Dick out to dry like a piece of salt-cured sea jerky. What about you? Does this illustration offer any insights into your own reading history and habits?

Jerks & Irks XLIV: WLC, WTF?

jam

The World Literary Cafe used to be my jam. I learned about it through Facebook/Twitter and spent hours on there a week, poking around. I stalked the forums and learned about new authors and releases. Then I found my favorite feature: A list of all the members’ Facebook Fan Pages, with the goal being for everyone to go down the list and Like everyone, receiving Likes on their own page in the process. Everyone gets mucho Likes. Everything is mucho bueno (I don’t speak Spanish, can you tell?)

And so it went and it was awesome for a good, long while. I even blogged about it. Then something changed. That plague of a practice that began on Twitter infiltrated the WLC Facebook Likes arrangement. You know what plague of a practice I’m referring to. The one where someone follows you on Twitter, you follow them back, then they promptly un-follow you. Sneakily and quietly. And you’re left following their selfish-ass for the rest of eternity, retweeting their witty remarks and news of success, none the wiser.

And this is what WLC is slowly becoming. I lingered right under 500 Likes FOREVER. Every time I would reach 500 or 501 I would get so happy. Blowing noisemakers, tossing confetti, buying celebratory cupcakes and dabbing icing on my cats’ noses. Then BAM! The very next day, I see my page sitting $hitty (the opposite of “sitting pretty”) at 499 Likes again. WTF, WLC???

I put celebratory cupcake icing on my cats’ noses, people! They hate that! I can only get away with doing it but so many more times before they eat me in my sleep! And there’s freaking confetti in my curly hair that simply WILL NOT come out! All because you couldn’t stay a while, get to know me, see how frickin’ funny I am, possibly buy my book… Wait, who threw that last part in there?

Anyway, World Literary Cafe is still my jam. I still poke around. I still naively like the Facebook Fan Pages of the other members. But I gosh darn REFUSE to buy any more celebratory cupcakes and I’m keeping the confetti aside for a more verifiable milestone.

Are you a World Literary Cafe member? Have you witnessed this atrocious practice? Have you bought my book, yet? Dammit, seriously who keeps throwing that in there?

 

Jerks & Irks XLIII: Facebook Faux Pas

Ever since Facebook became a publicly traded entity, the site has been a pain in the peace pipe for those of us with fan pages. It seems like every day I learn some new, despicable practice of theirs. For instance, we all know it doesn’t matter how many people like your page, only a minute fraction of those people will actually see your posts…Unless you pay to promote them. Oh, and if you do pay to promote a post or two, Facebook will make a note of this and allow even FEWER people to see your posts in the future, as they now know you are willing to pay for more visibility. You also can’t post images with your logo on it, for fear of Facebook flagging the image as spam. And I just recently learned that holding any sort of contest or giveaway through your fan page is strictly forbidden.

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with the lovely Rhonda Ramsey. She sent me a link about Facebook’s new cover photo restrictions regarding text ratios. Apparently, if the text amounts to more than 20% of your cover image, Facebook may shut your page down. Why? Because puppies-forbid you should host a fan page, with your own logo or website address or whatever, for FREE on Facebook. Puppies-forbid. Luckily, there’s a “compliance tool” at the link where, unless your cover photo is a beach scene, you can check to see if your page is in violation.

Needless to say, I went into a tizzy because this conversation between Rhonda and me occurred about a week before Blood in the Past’s release and all I could think about was Facebook shutting down my page right around the time of my release, thus ruining my entire life. So I immediately contacted Kit at www.kitfosterdesign.com and asked him to alter my cover photo logo to include just my signature, placing the logo in compliance with Facebook’s stupid rules. Although I haven’t changed my cover photo yet, I plan to if my page is suspended. My brand is very important to me. That logo is everywhere. And only dire circumstances can make me take it down. That being said, here is the new cover photo…

Jordanna Signature

…which prompted the idea that I should join Authorgraph! Which I did! If you have a copy of Blood in the Past and would like a signed cover image with a personalized inscription, by all means, request one!
Get your e-book signed by Jordanna East

Jerks & Irks XL: Thoughts & Prayers

I think it’s fitting that I ended up writing this post on America’s Memorial Day. A day where most people worry more about the weather’s effect on their weekend shore plans and BBQs than they do about the men and women who dedicate their lives for the freedom that affords us such “first world problems.”

That mini-rant aside, my issue today is with the social media phenomenon of “Thoughts and Prayers” whenever something tragic happens. Most recently the Oklahoma area devastated by tornadoes and, before that, the Boston Bombings. When events like these occur, whether man-made or nature-made, my Facebook & Twitter feeds become flooded with statuses and memes depicting people’s “Thoughts & Prayers.” Flags waving, dramatic shadows, lit candles. All these little pictures. For what?

And every single time, I’m irked. Because the people effected by these tragedies don’t need your thoughts and prayers (Not to mention they’re probably too busy picking up the pieces of their lives to login to Facebook and Twitter and catch a glimpse of your supposed “support”). No. These people need your blood donations. They need your unused clothing and appliances. They need your non-perishable food. They need your money. They need to rebuild and recover. And I’m sorry, but your thoughts and prayers really don’t help with that. You can post as many memes as you want, they don’t make you a better person than your friend, who didn’t post a damn thing. As far as I’m concerned, “Thoughts & Prayers” statuses aren’t any better than someone’s check-in at the local gym. Besides, for all you know, the people who haven’t publicly acknowledged the event might have donated anonymously and chosen not to broadcast it. (Likewise, the meme-posters may have donated something too, but we all know that’s not always the case either.)

So if you want to elevate your status as a gosh darn human being, here’s how. Visit this USA Today post, which lists several charities that are assisting with the rebuilding and recovery. There are several listed in one place, so you don’t even have to search around. Many of these organizations even offer a “Text to Donate” option. You can help while standing in line at Starbucks for heaven’s sake!

Also, in the spirit of Memorial Day, you can visit www.purpleheartpickup.org and schedule a morning for their volunteers to COME TO YOUR HOUSE and pick-up your gently used clothes and household items FROM THE CURB. So your lazy ass can sleep in AND help out!

So what are you waiting for? Be a gosh darn human being!