I have been looking at the various reviews I get on my works, and wanted to share some insights. When I first began publishing my work, I was crushed by anything less than 4 star reviews, but over time, I've come to appreciate them. Once in a great while, the lower ratings actually give me some usable feedback. Granted, many 1 star ratings are just hilarious. An example is the lady who claimed to be into k9 for several years who claimed one of my stories was "anatomically incorrect". I have to say I laughed for quite some time at this one, considering I am quite certain of such things :).
At anyrate, I've noticed that often my best selling titles get a low rating on one site, and on another they will have several 4 or 5 star ratings. What is really nice is that I often sell more books on the site where that title has a low rating.
Its taken some time to accept that not everyone appreciates my work, just like any other author, but those that enjoy what I right are a loyal bunch, and I am eternally grateful for their support. If you are reading this, you are most likely a fan of what I write, and if you have suggestions, or ideas, never hesitate to contact me at my email address. I will always answer you, and will always consider my readers opinions.
I love to hear from readers. I appreciate the feedback I get from those that enjoy my work, and with that in mind, I've decided to have a little contest. I would love to hear from my loyal readers what they would like to read about. Use my contact form to submit your suggestions. The story proposal that intrigues, inspires, or titillates me the most will get to see their idea turned into a short story. The winner gets a free copy of the finished story.
Rules for Submitting a Proposal:
You must be at least 18 years of age
Your submission needs to be a general idea for the story: Don't flesh out the details, that is my job :)
Stories written based on ideas from your submissions become my sole property upon publication. You will get a free copy, but hold no other writes to the story.
By submitting a proposal you are agreeing to the above terms.
3/1/13 We have a Winner! Two of them in fact. I couldn't decide between two of my favorite suggestions, so I merged them into a single story which will be released at Smashwords and B&N within the next few days, and the other major retailers shortly after. Our winners will be recieving personal emails with coupons to collect their free copies of the story that was the result of their ideas soon!
All the recent concern over censorship are rooted in the need of some people to assail our very imaginations. All this misguided effort is the direct result of social pressure gone wrong. It is not only the prerogative but the responcibility of artists of all types to question the social norms of society. This is not to say that society doesn't need norms for the safety of the populace, but as society develops, the customs and mores of the past need to be examined with new eyes to discover if they still hold merit in the world of the day. Fundamentalists will always fear change, for they are unable to adapt in an ever changing world. Were it not for the questions posed by the thinker's of the day concepts like freedom, abolition, and women's rights would never have been taken up by the masses and the evil's of the past would still plague the society of today without opposition.
According to Mark Coker's latest update (dated Mar 12 2012) a meeting with paypal has resulted in Smashwords green lighting a return to their pre Feb 24th TOS. This is good news for everyone. Let us hope that it is the last word in this fiasco. I know it will come as a welcome relief to many, and hopefully will be remembered as a V
Today, Anuj Nayar, Director of Communications, for Paypal blogged in some very sugary words about how the acceptable use policy that has brought on an outcry of censorship was only good business for them, and that they had no intention of censorship but rather suggested that they were preventing their service from being used to purchase items that "might" not be legal. They suggested that works containing the banned subject matter "often includes images" and "sometimes intentionally blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction". I have read a great deal of fiction over the years that is now banned by this decision and I don't recall either of those too assertions being held up by the works I have seen. I believe this is an attempt to quiet the furor of the mainstream without actually capitulating to the admission that they are censoring legal content. Mark Coker at Smashwords is IMO doing a good job of working for the benefit of his authors and publishers, but one man or one company alone will not bring Paypal out of their medieval stance. If they fear images (which could be illegal) or works that are not fiction (not sure how that works) then by all means require that all books containing illegal images remove said images, and require fiction author's to clearly state that their work is a work of fiction. These are two things that publisher's could do quite simply I believe, and thus we could all return to business as usual.
In case you haven't already heard, this week is the "Read an eBook Week" at Smashwords. Many books are free/discounted.
As those that have read much of my work know, my erotic fiction tends to jump across the line in the sand recently drawn by paypal. I obviously don't like that many of my titles will be fading from the eShelves of the major retailors, but what concerns me most is what shall be next. There is a growing number of people in this country it seems who feel it is their Divine Right to dictate what is acceptable and what is not. This can not be allowed to stand, or next it could be books on opposing religious views or political positions that are not in line with whoever controls the money. My works certainly offend some people and some of the things I write about I wouldn't consider doing personally, but that doesn't mean I can't indulge in the fantasy. Many women have rape fantasies, yet none that I have met and talked to actually desire to be raped.
If there is one thing I have discovered in my journey it is that personal bias is not a just measure of right and wrong. We need a simpler definition I think. Perhaps our Wiccan brothers and sisters have the best rule: "an it harm none, do what you will".
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