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Today is release day for Eat My Shorts! I should be enjoying the day, spending time with readers and, you know, doing the things writers do on release day.
Soooooo…what am I doing here?
Well, it’s another day, and that means another scam in indieland which needs to be discussed. (Disgust? Oh, yeah, I’ve got plenty of that too, as you’ll see shortly. Shit like this makes me salty as FUCK!)
So, Suzan Tisdale posted this gem of a screenshot on her Twitter feed this morning. And it spun me into a dimension of pissed off I didn’t even know existed, which is a shockingly high bar to clear given all the other “-gates,” bookstuffers and miscellaneous DAFUQ?!?!?!? crawling out from under indie publishing rocks lately.
This jewel comes from a website entitled “Fiction Profits Academy,” which charges $2500 for a six-week course in scamming Amazon and readers. No, I’m not going to link to it, because I refuse to clutter up my website with this crap. If you want to seek it out and fact-check for yourself, I strongly encourage this, but please make sure to have a receptacle handy for the vomit. The copy on the site is pretty typical late-night infomercial, get-rich-quick dreck which purports to teach subscribers how to make a six-figure income from books on Amazon without actually writing them!
Let me say that again.
WITHOUT ACTUALLY WRITING THEM!
I’m going to take a moment here and enjoy a mental montage of Denis Leary, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black all taking stabs at this fascinating new low in dumbfuckery. Throw in Christopher Titus and Robin Williams just for flavor.
So, let’s parse just this one screenshot. I assure you the rest of the website is just more of the same, but this screenshot in particular is REALLY offensive to me as a writer, a reader, and someone who’s trying to make his way legitimately in this business. So I’m going to translate what this is actually saying, and fix what I can.
Let’s start with
Why writing your own book is a waste of time
“Ugh. Do you REALLY think people make money from their writing? God, writers are so STUPID. Readers just want content. They don’t CARE where it comes from! They don’t CARE about actually having a relationship with the author! They don’t CARE where their money goes! If you were really smart, you’d get someone ELSE to do the writing FOR YOU and profit from their work. After all, keyboards are dirty and germy, and you might break a nail or get a cooty or have to ACTUALLY DO SOME FUCKING WORK!!!”
and the secret to getting it done quickly without any effort at all!
This is called “false advertising.” There’s effort involved; it’s just not YOURS!
“Oh well, LOL! We’ve already established writers are just stupid suckers who will do anything for a dollar. They’re whores…why not make them suck off YOUR bank account? You break them off $20 on Fiverr or UpWork and they’ll bend over backwards to write your 30k novella!”
Do I really need to explain why this might be offensive? All right, then!
To keep my lights on and my family fed, I sometimes do some nonfiction and technical ghostwriting. I undertake the tasks I choose very carefully and for an extremely limited number of clients, and I make damned sure the compensation I receive is in line with what the client is demanding of me.
But I have NEVER, NOT ONCE ghostwritten a piece of fiction or academic work. I won’t do that because if I’m writing good fiction, it’s going out under my name. Period. Full stop. I’ve been asked and I’ve shut that shit down quick, fast and in a big damn hurry. Because my fiction work is my passion and my pride; I’m not going to cheapen that by doing someone else’s homework for them.
For the record, I am not averse to other ghostwriters doing what they have to do. They have every right to make their money any legitimate way they can, and I applaud them for their willingness, even if it’s not a way I personally choose to go. If you can make a living wage writing fiction for someone else, and you want to do so, great! Make your paper, Boo-boo. It’s not on you what your client does with your material once the payment clears.
How to find an amazing and affordable ghostwriter
Oh, wait. There’s more to this one.
Week 2: How to hire world-class writers at rates so low, you’ll be embarrassed to tell others!
Let me fix this one for you. What it OUGHT to say is
HOW TO EXPLOIT HONEST, HARDWORKING AUTHORS’ TALENT, TIME AND ENERGY SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIFT A FINGER WHILE PAYING THEM THE MEREST FRACTION OF WHAT THEIR TALENT IS WORTH AND DUPING THE READING PUBLIC INTO THINKING IT WAS ALL YOUR OWN IDEA AND WORK!
Does that make you sick? It makes me absolutely want to rage-barf.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what legitimate indie authors have to deal with. Shit exactly like this, using these same tactics and techniques, is why the first real book in many romance categories on Kindle Unlimited doesn’t show up until #11!
There’s a reason I’m not on Amazon, and a lot of people say I’m cutting my own throat. Maybe so.
But if tactics like this are what it takes to make it to the top and actually get readers to read my books, I’ll pass, thanks. I’d rather be broke as hell and know every penny I earn is earned honestly and from my own effort than from screwing over other writers and readers alike.
And now, a moment of honesty and vulnerability.
Yes, I said it.
I’m scared that readers won’t find my work because of people who pull shit like this. I’m scared that my work will be buried under a mountain of scammy, ghostwritten, half-assed, slickly publicized garbage designed to inflate page reads because “KU is so convenient and cheap!” I’m scared that real writers are about to lose their voice altogether because of people who game the system. I’m scared my entire industry and genre in particular are about to become the sole province of people who see ghostwriters as their personal serfs and readers as their personal ATMs.
And when I get scared, I get angry.
And when I get angry, I #GETLOUD!
Please join me. Support legitimate authors who put in the time, effort and labor to write their own work, their fantasies, their voices, and had the courage to put them out into the world to rise or fall on their own merits. Share their work. Purchase their work. Review it. Tell your friends and family, when and where you safely can.
This isn’t just about me. I’m not even on Amazon. But when they’ve picked Amazon clean and they’ve either changed their ways or folded, the scammers will be on to the next. And the next. And the next.
If we don’t stop them now, how do you know the next book you read is actually by your favorite “author?”
One voice alone doesn’t mean much.
But a lot of “one voices” speaking together is a powerful force for desperately needed change.
Please. Help us.
Help your favorite authors survive.
Thank you for your attention.