Today I return to my irregularly scheduled rant, because today I got screwed over.
Freelance aggregation services bring people with project into contact with freelancers who bid on those projects. Way back in early March one of those buyers hired me to edit website content for her. I did so. The project was delivered on March 7 and accepted as complete on March 9.
Today I received a message from the service regarding a dispute on payment of the work that I performed and delivered and which was accepted. Needless to say, I am fuming.
The sum paid wasn't that much: $28. But the fact that a customer can ignore the service's own rules and dispute a payment made for work delivered almost two months ago infuriates me. I have searched for the website containing the content (both pre- and post-editing), but cannot find it, which makes me suspect that the business went belly-up. I did send a complaint to the freelance platform; we'll see if anything comes of it.
Still, it's simply wrong to retrieve funds paid for good service rendered more than a month afterward.
Argh. Ugh. Grrrrr.
Anyone who hires a service that is performed, delivered, and accepted is obligated to remit fair payment for that service. One shouldn't be able to decide weeks later that, no, he or she doesn't want to pay. If you make an agreement, stick to it.
Last week Russian Lullaby and Pure Iron both received scathing, 1-star reviews. Wow, that stung!
Negative reviews and rejection are part and parcel of the trade. Authors, regardless of genre, must develop thick skins in order to avoid withering beneath the pain of harsh criticism. It behooves the author to remember:
Authors should heed the warning of multiple reviewers complaining of poor editing. That's your cue to hire a professional editor to fix those issues and re-upload the content file. You can then post an announcement in the book's description that the content has been professionally edited as of "this" date. Shoppers reading the book description will likely keep that in mind when they come across the reviews complaining of poor editing.
If you write romance, as I do, and you get reviewers complaining about explicit sex in your book, make sure that you haven't misclassified your book's category as a "sweet," "clean," or "Christian" romance. Readers expecting nothing steamier than a lingering kiss can be quite offended when they encounter detailed, premarital coitus.
Contrary to most marketing wisdom, oftentimes it is best not to respond to the negative review. Responses easily come across as defensive. Bite your tongue and ask yourself if responding is really worth your time and energy. The negative reviewer for Russian Lullaby mentioned she downloaded the book for free. That, I thought, deserved as response because, as of this date, the book has not been offered for free except through Kindle Unlimited. The reviewer has not responded to my question about her purchase, so, unfortunately, I have no lead in figuring out whether some other site has stolen a copy of my book and is compounding that theft with offering it at no charge to its customers. (That actually happened acquaintance and I helped shut that website down.)
The negative reviewer for Pure Iron accused me of plagiarism. While I freely admit to getting ideas/concepts from sources other than my imagination--in this case, a musician who plays both guitar and violin--the development of said ideas/concepts involves no plagiarism whatsoever. However, an indignant response would have been perceived as defensive and, therefore, not worth the effort. However, I do want to assure people that I do not condone plagiarism and will not be party to it.
While every author hopes for and wants only glowing reviews, it's become another truism that a small percentage of negative reviews can also help sales. Negative reviews give the product authenticity by avoiding the perception that "the positive reviews are all from the author's family and friends."
Every reader has a right to his or her opinion. No author can prevent that. The author's best defense is to write as well as he or she can and produce the best book of his or her ability. You'll take your lumps, but that will make every positive review all the sweeter.
I have a steady gig writing blog articles for the clients of a website design and hosting firm in Denver, CO. These articles require some superficial research that, nonetheless, show me how much I don't know about home repair, hardwood floors, landscaping, personal injury law, and medical marijuana.
Yeah, weed. There's more to it than a smoking joint and a stoner's smile.
My latest blog article for hire dealt with social media marketing. I long since came to the conclusion that my skills in that arena leave much to be desired. Therefore, I hired Fire & Ice Book Tours to promote Russian Lullaby. It was an experiment more than anything else.
I calculated that I would need to sell about 60 copies at the introductory price of $0.99 to break even on my investment. Royalties are only about $0.34 per copy. I don't have the sales figures yet, but I can attest to the improvement in market penetration. Never has any of my books accumulated so many reviews and so quickly. I'm giddy knowing that the book is trending at 4.4 out of 5 stars. Come April 20 or 21, I'll know how many copies sold from March 20 to April 20. Better yet, some of the reviews stated that the readers who never knew Holly Bargo existed would now be happy to read more of my books.
Overall, it's been a pretty positive experience. I think I'll leave the "real" marketing to the pros, although I'll keep doing what I've been doing because that's better than nothing at all.
Anyway, the latest book, an epic fantasy, has just been released. In spite of appearances, I am not generating reams of content on a weekly basis. The Diamond Gate actually took years to write and nearly 18 months to edit. Not a fast process.
This book is more like the stories I used to write before my mind dropped into the gutter. It's an unapologetic wallow in swashbuckling and derring-do, an epic fantasy adventure with swords, sorcery, and a PG-rating. I hope you enjoy it.
There's no real rhyme or reason to this week's blog post. Such is life.
The gig hunt for freelance work goes poorly this week. After a brief spurt of several projects, I'm in a lull. Such is the reality of freelance work: it's feast or famine. There have been some nibbles and a couple of projects I think I've got a good chance of acquiring, which would be great. Hope springs eternal, as the saying goes.
The Diamond Gate will, at long last, be published. Yeehhaw! This is an epic fantasy finished in late 2014, given to two beta readers for critiquing and editing, and finally--finally--finished this week. It's been uploaded to CreateSpace and the digital (Kindle) version will follow shortly thereafter. By the way, I do mean epic. This book at a 5 X 8 inch paperback size has over 450 pages. Lots o' swashbuckling and derring-do going on here. And, parents take note, it's what I'd consider PG-rated. Yes, there are intimate scenes, but they're more of the fade-to-black variety than explicit.
On the home front, our focus has been on the lovely Lady Anastasia, my 31-year-old Morgan mare. The last half of March she began dropping weight fast. Like it melted off her. For those who aren't familiar with equines, more horses live about 20 to 25 years. Stasia's doing really well at this point to be above-ground. I'm not looking for miracles, I just want to keep her comfortable. Starving to death because she can't properly chew her hay doesn't meet the requirement of comfort. So she had her teeth floated today.
In all honesty, it's a bit surprising that she still has teeth. Many horses that make it to their 30s don't. The wear was pretty even, but her molars had sharp edges that needed to be filed down. So, the veterinarian sedated the old mare, filed down her teeth, and subjected her to a half hour's indignity. Stasia will get over it. And she'll be able to chew better.
And, finally, I received a request to review another novel. I agreed to do so. Since editing of The Diamond Gate finished sooner than anticipated--sorry, family, for ignoring you while I worked on that--I began reading. I'm at the 30% point and...well...I've noticed several comma errors, overuse of passive voice, a few misplaced apostrophes, and long, convoluted sentences that need to be broken and separated. (Get the irony here?) I don't like the characters much. The heroine is rude and not a particularly sympathetic character. The hero might be interesting, but he's set out to destroy the heroine's career because she's a rival, even he aims to seduce her. Jerk. Romantic suspense it ain't.
It's past time for me to get my rear end in gear on writing fiction, not editing or reviewing.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.