I Don’t Want To Do What People Want Me To Do

It’s amazing to me that no matter how much you do for people, there is always someone wanting more.

I’ve been dealing with a group of new authors, trying to ease their way into social networking, promoting them via my interview blog, teaching them how to blog and whatever else they need to do and yet that isn’t enough. They want me to coordinate a review exchange.

Nope. Not going to happen.

I tried to do an excerpt exchange with one of my Facebook groups, and it worked for a while, but what happened is what always happens. A few people end up posting excerpts for everyone, and the rest go along for the ridesmiley. And posting excerpts is easy. It’s not like having to spend a week or two slogging through a book and then trying to find something positive to say because you can’t say what you really want to: “This book stinks. All the perfume in the world won’t make it any less offensive.”

Unless a review exchange is done right, it comes across as exactly what it is — an exchange. Even if the review is honest, it is still quid pro quo, though considering how many books sailed to stardom on paid-for reviews, it’s a small payoff.

Even if all the authors did what they agreed to do and read the books and posted the reviews, I’m still not going to do coordinate the exchange. I’ve spent most of the past seven years promoting other authors because . . . well, because I could and because I had the time. But with my life about to change in ways I can’t yet guess, I simply cannot take on any more. And more importantly, I don’t want to do what people want me to do.

It seems as if so much of my life was about doing things I didn’t want to do, and I’m tired of it. I’ll still have to do plenty I don’t want to do because there is the small matter of needing to make a living. I’ve been coasting the past five years living with my father and taking care of him, and I might be able to coast a couple of more years, but then . . . well, I’m not going to think that far ahead. Either things will work out or they won’t, and I’m not going to waste my time wondering about something that may or may not happen. For all I know, I could end up selling a gazillion books, becoming Oprah Winfrey’s best friend, or going walkabout and with no need for money.

Meantime, I am doing what I can (within limits — the limits being no reviews and no coordinating review exchanges) to help other authors. If you wish me to post an excerpt from your book, you can find the submission directions here: Submitting your excerpt. I’ll be glad to post your excerpt. Just don’t ask me to review your book. You have no idea how jaded I really am, and I guarantee you would not like what I have to say.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Now Interviewing Authors

I was talking to someone who writes childrens’ books. He has a publisher, but is on his own to find an artist. He said he hates working with artists, that they make him want to pull out his hair. I understand because I feel the same way about writers. (Except for you, of course!)

I have a couple ofearf blogs where I promote other authors because . . . To be honest, I forget why. Maybe because I thought by helping other authors, the karmic energy would help catapult my books out of obscurity, but it didn’t work that way. And now doing the author interviews has become a bad habit.

I’ve been posting a lot of such interviews lately, and oh, my. I have come to believe that authors don’t know how to read. Or maybe they have such an overweening sense of entitlement because of their “talent,” they think the directions don’t apply to them. Whatever the reason, too many of them don’t follow directions, give only half the required information (such as book title), leave off the questions and post answers that make no sense without the questions, and the most heinous sin of all — write boring responses.

I’d mostly been taking a break from this self-imposed task, so I thought I’d be able to handle the idiocies of it once again, but apparently not. Of course, it could be I’ve just gotten too crotchety to take lightly the idiocies of the world.

I like being nice, but not when being nice makes me feel . . . not nice.

Still, I do have the blogs, and I do have the time, so if you wish me to interview you, and if I haven’t scared you off, click here to find the directions for my Author Questionnaire.
Click here to find the directions for my Character Questionnaire.
Click here to Let me post your excerpt!
And please, please click here learn How To Do an Online Interview

I promise I won’t be crotchety. At least not much.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

An Accidental New Year’s Resolution

UntitledtWhen I first got the internet in 2007, I embraced it as if it were a wonderful new friend. At the time, my mother was dying and my life mate/soul mate was sick. There was nothing I could do about either of those circumstances, and the internet gave me a place to escape from my real life.

The terrible times continued. My mother died, then three years later, my soul mate died, and one of the few ways I could escape from the grief was to spend time online. (Screaming also helped alleviate the grief, but being online was so much easier on my throat.) I moderated writing groups, connected to thousands of people, dived headfirst into blogging. I used a couple of my blogs to promote other authors because  . . . well, because the blogs were there and it seemed like the right thing to do.

Several unsettling incidents happened recently that made me rethink what I’m doing online. These incidents didn’t amount to much. A contretemps over an excerpt someone wanted me to post. The discovery that a terrible writer I know who writes awful books is making a fortune. A discussion about talent vs. persistence (most writers seem to believe that talent is more important, which disheartens me — are writers really so arrogant in their belief of their talent?). Just trivial things, but they got to me more than they should have, and it suddenly dawned on me that if I turned off my computer, these things don’t exist.

The truth is, except for this blog, I’m not having any fun online. I seem to have fallen into an alternate universe of self-published writers. I’m even getting known as a promoter of self-published writers, but I find this new world of publishing very discouraging. Many of the excerpts I post on my blog are not well written or are excerpts from books I’d never read if they were the last books left on this earth. And that’s saying a lot since once I read everything that fell into my hands. So why am I promoting such books? I no longer know.

It used to be that self-published writers were iconoclasts, following a dream at any cost. Now so many self-published writers are conformists, following a dream at no cost. Even worse, they are a militant lot, demanding regard for no apparent reason. I have become friends with numerous self-published writers in an online sort of way, and I know that many are good at the craft and strive to get better, but just as many self-publishers dash out a book in a month (sometimes even in a week) and expect to be taken seriously.

To be honest, I have no regard for most of the authors published by the big six, either, so this isn’t a self-published vs. traditional-published discussion. It’s about me. I am not self-published, though many people assume I am (guilt by association). Nor am I published by a major publishing company. Authors who were published by small independent presses used to called “indie authors” but self-publishers have adopted that name for themselves, so now there is no name for us.

In my case, it no longer matters what kind of author I am since I am not writing much fiction. Being around so much bad writing and so many self-aggrandizing writers has stifled any urge I might have to contribute words of my own.

So, to save my sanity, I’ve decided to escape from my online life. I’m going to keep up this blog, of course, but I’ll be cutting back on other online activities, especially those that involve promoting authors I don’t know and don’t like.

This resolution isn’t accidental — I’ve been giving a lot of thought to where I want to go with my online life. What’s accidental is the timing. What was supposed to be simply a resolution has accidentally become a New Years resolution.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

Promoting Other Authors

Author, blogger, reviewer Sheila Deeth, interviewed me for her blog, and here is one of the questions she asked, followed by my response:

You are always such an encouragement to other writers, posting excerpts, interviews, character interviews, offering advice, sharing experiences. . . . What do you think drives your generosity?

I don’t consider such online activities as generosity, just part of the internet experience. I never quite knew what to do on Facebook, for example — I don’t like games or sharing cute animal photos or any of the other things that clog the news feed — so I built up a couple of discussion groups. It gave me a way of interacting with people and besides, I love talking about the whole writing process. As for the interviews and such. Well, that was a fluke. My personal blog is blue, but I figured out how to change the color, so just for fun, I did an orange blog, a green one, a red one, a purple one, and then I had to figure out what to do with all of them. A book blog and an interview blog seemed the obvious use for two of them since I came in contact with so many authors. The interview blog especially has a fairly good rating, and it seems a waste if I don’t have an interview to post, so I keep promoting it.

In the back of my mind, I hoped that all the author karma I’m building up would somehow help catapult my books to stardom, but so far, it hasn’t happened. But that was never the point of promoting authors on my blogs. As I said, that was mostly a fluke.

(You can find the rest of the interview here: My thanks to author Pat Bertram)

That is only part of why I promote other authors on my blogs. The truth is even less altruistic than I made it sound. I’ve had those two author blogs for several years and just posted sporadically until a couple of years ago. After the death of my life mate/soul mate, I got addicted to a few of the games on my computer — Spider Solitaire, Mahjong Titans, and FreeCell. I so desperately needed for something to work out, I kept playing the games over and over until I won. I couldn’t redo my life, so there was some sort of comfort in redoing something — anything — until it came out right. And the games were a way of taking a vacation from the pain that all but consumed me at times.

When I realized how obsessed I had become, I decided to go cold turkey and give up the games, but I still needed something to do to break the hold of grief when it got too much for me to handle, so I substituted blogging — posting excerpts and author interviews to promote other authors in addition to daily blogging here on Bertram’s Blog. I figured that at least I would be doing some good with my online activities, which is something that cannot be said about computer games.

As for why I keep up with promoting other authors now that my grief is dissipating . . . well, it’s the right thing to do. If you want me to interview you, you can find the questions and instructions here: Author Questionnaire

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Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+