Writing Skills Matter–Go Figure!

Grammarly is a site that offers an outstanding, automated grammar checker (it’s like having your very own superb proofreading elf, though I still recommend you hire a professional editor and proofreader before publishing anything).

Grammarly recently surveyed about 450 freelance professionals. Surprise! Writing well matters. Employers rated the freelancers, then folks at Grammarly checked the writing skills of the freelancers. They found those rated highest by the employers were also those who wrote well. Perhaps not surprisingly, IT and programming professionals as well as finance management professionals had the most mistakes in their writing.

Here is the handy-dandy infogram that spells it all out for you. Spells! Get it? (Click on it if you can’t read it clearly, then use the magnifying glass that magically appears to zoom in closer, ok?)

Grammarly infogram

So listen up, kiddos. If you want to be successful in a majority of fields and want to get paid the big bucks, then you need to do more than post an emoticon on Facebook or pack a fistful of hashtags into a tweet. You need to write good. I mean, of course, well. Write well and the world will beat a path to your door and shower you with hundred dollar bills. Or something like that.

And now for my favorite comic strip and a writer who did not write well but decided he wrote good anyway. (Jefferson Smith’s cartoon archive available here.)

Jefferson Smith comic

Copyright Jefferson Smith, 2014


The No-Sales Dungeon at Amazon

I’ve been published by a publisher and I’ve self-published. Neither is a cakewalk. Both avenues take hard work, compromise, and a few regrets. In either case, after your book has been published, there’s Amazon. Many writers have a love/hate or hate/hate relationship with the ‘Zon, as we call it in the biz. Can’t live with it, can’t kill it. For some, it’s their bread and butter; for others, their dry, burnt toast.

If you’ve written something mainstream and the powers that be at the ‘Zon shine beneficently on your book, then it may be pushed before eager customers, with such phrases as, “Customers who bought this… also bought ….[name of your book here].” Ah, sweet success!!

However, if you write what is known as erotica or erotic romance or even “women’s porn” as it’s sometimes called (which is just rude) and you put a suggestive cover on said book, you may find yourself in Amazon’s dungeon. It is dark, windowless, and nearly impossible to get out of. And you’ll find that no readers are looking at your book down there. Worse still, if they search your book’s title, it may not show up in the results. That’s the curse and purgatory of the ‘Zon’s dungeon. Here’s the thing: even erotica authors have to sell books to make money to live so they can write more books. That’s how it works for any genre. And despite the current slew of 99-cent and free digital books, no, writers can’t use the zero “income” they earn by “selling” for free to buy food or clothing! Huh, go figure! But that’s another rant.

This rant is to do with Amazon tossing an erotica author’s books in the dungeon. For having a suggestive cover. On erotica. Suggestive. Not nudity. Someone’s idea of suggestive. Which must equal offensive to someone at the ‘Zon. How do I know the dungeon exists? Sorry, I won’t answer that, but you can determine the Amazon rank of a book by going here: http://www.salesrankexpress.com/. Type in a book title and you can see if it is labeled “none” (meaning safe for now until someone at Amazon deems otherwise), “not adult” (meaning safe forever), “ADULT” in big red letters (meaning off it goes to the Amazon dungeon). And the kicker is that it has to do with arbitrary reasons, as I said, such as a cover that is too suggestive to someone’s eye, or a keyword or a book description that rubbed someone the wrong way. And the other kicker is that you will find loads of erotic books labeled “not adult,” even if they are about college-age kids boinking (can I use that word?) their mom’s friends or multiple partners having sex without a plot or even a whiff of a story to be read anywhere between the covers.

Getting down off the soapbox. Almost. One final statement: Writers need to sell books to make a living. Readers can buy or not buy, and bad writing usually falls by the way side because of bad reviews and readers not buying. However, if a reader wants to buy books of a certain genre, then the playing field, or in this case, the digital bookshelf of Amazon should be level. If you’re in the dungeon, it’s not level. If a book doesn’t show up in a reader’s legitimate search of the site, even though the book matches the reader’s search criteria, right down to the title, then that’s censorship. Isn’t it?

See below: Writers are serious about selling!! (Jefferson Smith’s cartoon archive available here.)

Book fair etiquette


Ten Days in to 2015 — I Am Charlie!

Not too much to write except that we must all, in whatever language we speak, stand with France and say, “I am Charlie!” Charlie Hebdo will now become a rallying moment. Terrorist groups are threatening that England will be next with a similar cowardly bloodbath. I am sad and outraged and

I am Charlie

A Wordless Meme

squint eye memeI like this meme without any words, because I do that “squinty have to make a decision but am not sure” thing about a million times a day (if the image is not doing it, then click on it and it will).  My son watches the cartoon called Futurama, and this character named Fry is doing the squint of uncertainty perfectly.

There is a funny “7 Popular Internet Memes You Should Know” post by Brooks Huber that includes this Fry one.

Lost in a Kiss on Sale — 99 cents!

Love Historicals presents Lost in a KissFrom now until the end of 2014, less than a month away, the boxed set Love Historicals presents Lost in a Kiss is on sale for the paltry sum of 99 cents. That’s eight novellas by critically acclaimed and bestselling authors for only 99 cents. You simply can’t go wrong if you love historical romance or want to explore some passionate history for the first time.

Be transported back in time and all over the world, from the middle ages of Europe to the Scottish highlands to 19th-century America. Knights, Native Americans, riverboat gamblers, and lords vie for the hearts of ladies, damsels, and even brothel madams. This rich collection contains all new historical romance stories. Get Lost in a Kiss today!

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