Saturday, 28 September 2013

Is bad really better than good?

Warning: this might end up being a little bit of a rant.

I'm squeezing this post in between lots of guests - and on a Saturday afternoon when no one reads blogs anyway, no less - because it's topical.

Last Friday, I read an article in the Daily Mail about Quin Woodward Pu who sent a bizarre text to a man who 'dumped' her after two dates. (Note: after two dates, surely there is nothing to actually dump, it's more of an it was nice to know you, have a good life kind of deal?) A lot of the comments called her a narcissist and a bit delusional.

Reading the article further, I discovered this story had already been covered on Buzzfeed, which is more and more a trait of certain UK papers. Then, reading even further, I discovered this twenty-six year old woman was also a blogger and had two self-published autobiographies available on Amazon. (You'll recall the words narcissist and delusional from the previous paragraph, yes?)

But hang on a minute... what great publicity!! (Cue my cynical head, because - boy! - as a writer I would love this kind of free advertising for my books... albeit with a little less laughter at my expense.)

I attempted to follow the link to her blog, but my anti-virus programme blocked it (LOL!), so I did the next best thing and looked up her books. I found one here and the other here.

Do you see what I see (apart from the fact that this unknown woman has put herself on both book covers)?

The first book has 146 reviews, at the time I'm writing this. Mostly they are one star, and quite a number of them are from people who'd spent $10 on the paperback version... and what's more, when you read the reviews, they are from people who had bought the book after they'd seen this text melt-down by the author - and who assumed the book would be bad.

I'm going to reiterate that, because this is the source of my rant: people spent $10 on a book they knew was going to be bad. 

I know many writers, self and indie published, who would love to sell over 100 books in two days (myself included) - but they don't, we don't. It would be lovely to think that when we write, edit, proof-read and generally make our books the best they can be, readers would be on the other side of the process waiting to read them. But no! Apparently notoriety is a much bigger draw.

If anyone knows how we can change this, please let me know!


34 comments:

  1. but could we as good writers be happy with ourselves if we knew we'd put out a lousy product, even if hundreds of people bought it? would a master chef be content to sell hamburgers, especially bad hamburgers? just because people want to eat garbage doesn't mean we should supply it for the sake of saying we had a best seller.

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    1. No, of course we wouldn't. But it would be refreshing if people didn't buy books they knew were bad, just to tell other people they were bad. How many brilliant self-published novels are available that haven't even charted yet? This writer is making money when other really good writers aren't. It's not even a case of being a best seller, or making a living wage from writing - it's about being recognised as being a good writer.

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    2. it would be entirely refreshing if people didn't do all kinds of things. we do the best we can in the world we live in.

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  2. I guess I could say that you didn't want those readers anyway. They just wanted to be in the know in a briefly relevant topic. The really good self pub books will either fly or not. It's hard to know what people will buy (look at those snuggies, or read Dr. Suess' The Lorax). And there are tons of traditionally published books that win awards but can't sell through. It's a hard in the real world, but shameless self promotion does turn to money. Being recognized as being a good writer is awesome, but there's something to be said for platform and promotion.

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    1. Lol, the snuggies example is a good one! I guess I'm just dumbfounded and exasperated. It's good to have voices of reason when you fancy a rant though :-)

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  3. As I have commented on another subject entirely on my own blog - it's a skewed world.

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    1. I'll pop over to see why your world is so skewed. (Great word, by the way!)

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  4. In college I learned that bad publicity is better than no publicity. I'd prefer to sell less books than to have such negative feedback though.

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    1. I never really understand that phrase. I suppose if she just wants to make money and then stop writing it's perfect, but I'm aiming to have people want to read my books for a very long time... fingers crossed!

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  5. I think it is just crap. Writers like you deserve to sell tons of books and get attention for them. I don't get how certain people get published, when clearly all they care about is fame and not actually being writers.

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    1. I accepted a long time ago that I don't write books that will become bestsellers, but I know a lot of people who should expect more than they're getting. Yes, there will always be people who care about the fame more than being talented - look at all the so-called 'celebrities' filling the papers!

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  6. They say any publicity is good, but I wouldn't want something negative like that drawing attention to my books.

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    1. No, I'm sure if I was attracting negative publicity like that it would backfire completely!

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  7. I think the answer is all contained within the one word, narcissistic. And the people who buy the book? Want to see what's behind the story. Are they really surprised it's bad? I doubt she is interested in writing good books, just people reading about her. I'm happy for all those involved to just get on with it. They're losing hours they could have spent reading a great book.

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    1. That's a really good way to look at it, Rebecca :-)

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  8. It's a question of pride. In this day and age, it seems that trash sells whether it's writing or music (cue Miley Cyrus right now), or reality TV (cue the Kardashians). But I like to think that their 15 minutes of fame will run out sooner or later. As an author, I want to put out a superb product, try to market it with taste, and hope for the best. Then I can sleep at night. We have to rise above the crap.

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    1. You're so right, Joanne, and you certainly rise above the crap - I'm looking forward to buying your poetry collections, and seeing you on my blog tomorrow morning! :-)

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  9. Hi Annalisa .. this could come back to bite her later in life ... responding to negativity of any form is just not good news ... and the people who wasted their time looking .. strike me they need their heads examined too ... Walk away is the best deal ...

    I hear you though - but think people aren't that sensible and let themselves in for all kinds of trouble, while the ones that deserve our support don't get a look in, or have to fight for it ...

    Good rant - Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hilary. It's those struggling but brilliant writers who really deserve our money.

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  10. I feel like this is a common thing nowadays, consuming a media because of it's reputation to be bad. And I have to admit, I love Plan 9 From Outer Space because it's bad. And I know there are books out there I want to read simply from negative comments, I want to hear what the hype is about.

    I do however prefer to have my books be well written, and would prefer to have my books read because people think they are good. Sadly, I don't think we could ever stop people from flocking to the bad, call it the train crash effect, because it's human nature. But I do think that if as authors we don't project an image that caters to that it will help.

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    1. Train crash was the phrase running through my head when I wrote this post - and yes, I guess it is human nature. I'm almost tempted to have a really public meltdown of my own, whilst wearing a t-shirt advertising my books ;-)

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  11. People love to hate, don't they? Queuing up to pay 10 dollars for something so they could bitch about it... crazy. Slow and steady wins the race, Annalisa!

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    1. Slow and steady, yes, you're right... I hope :-)

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  12. Oh yeah - and thanks for your comment on my blog - The Road to Rouen doesn't read at all as non-fiction - I'm not sure whether it really is. Reads more like fiction, but presumably based on truth! If you want a chuckle, give it a go! I liked the book you recommended, by the way - The Book. Very unusual. :-)

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    1. I might check it out then. The Book is really interesting isn't it? Glad you liked it - I only recommend books that I think the right people will enjoy!

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  13. It seems like every now and again a story like this circulates. Someone engages in a publicity stunt to get attention, albeit negative. I guess it comes down to your core values. If you want, I could start some kind of rumor Annalisa and see if it helps you out! ;)

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    1. Lol... I think I'll try to sell books without salacious rumours for now... But I'll let you know ;-)

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  14. I didn't hear about the Quin Pu breakdown you posted about, but I think I now I have a name I can give to friends who do the same thing on Facebook. I have a friend who has about three Quin Pu's a week on FB. :/

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    1. There have been times I've written what I really think on Facebook, then deleted it before posting, because I know how it sounds! It must be tiring to have a friend like that... You definitely just need to link to the article on your timeline :-)

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  15. 'Quin Pu' ...what a great neologism.
    I like that better than 'meltdown' and 'hissy fit.' LOL

    I'll never understand people. *shakes head*

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    1. I think it's just too easy to have these 'moments' in the public eye. I also think our so-called newspapers are more and more reliant on what they can find on Twitter, Facebook etc that real news is few and far between.

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  16. Quick! Let's invent a controversy and sell some books. LOL

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    1. Or a huge, public argument maybe? Marketing for the both of us :-)

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Please comment - I love a good chat!