Now I know why

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 12•16

Savvy authors distance themselves from those less savvy

eNovel Authors at Work…A group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. …..ALWAYS FREE…..

Listen up. I was dumb as rock when I entered our digital universe. I signed a seven book contract with an online publisher that was the pits. They did not move sweet romance books. I went to the publisher’s Skype forums and was told SEX SELLS. So? The other authors sneered at me because I wrote sweet romance. I wanted out. Took two years.  A senior editor moved on to open her own business. She was gonna help me to the tune of $1000. Paid her. Later, I learned she had been fired. I won’t go into everything that happened, but I will tell you this: I had the common sense to know I was getting scammed. My bad. I was easy prey. I stopped on a dime and learned this indie publishing business. eNovel Authors At Work is the result of that dime.

Yes, we all need help. I asked a colleague whose name I recognized as having been with the same trad publisher as I had, and she directed me to a pair of books.  I bought and read those books. I’ve read them several times over, because I did NOT know the language. Blog? Oh, you mean an article?  Next I figured out blog is both a noun and verb. What the heck is a bot?  An ASIN?  Where the heck do I find those suckers? I never heard of an algorithm, even in Physics class. Each step of my learning experience, I reread the books and discovered I understood more and more. Now, I understand every blamed word in those books. Yes. I do. My experience also turned me into a skeptic. Not a day goes by that I don’t question  some feature of a promotion, or a promoter–or an author’s agenda. I’m not tech savvy so I still run into snags. But! A service provider such as a formatter, editor or cover artist or indie author who is dishonest has a short shelf life in my tiny sphere of this business.

Yes, I still ask for help from savvier colleagues

but I’ve learned to give value in return. I promote their books. I send business their way. I send a small Thank You gift. I buy their books.

Which brings me to my topic. I spend time in associate forums and lend a hand where I can. I know how to write a book. I know how to promote a book. I know how to sell a book.  In one forum there was clarion call for a list of free and inexpensive promoters. I posted the link to a site that had such a list. Next an author said she could not find the list on the site I posted and asked me to download and email her the list.

Uh. No. Honey, I ain’t your personal assistant.

And therein lies the reason I’m having a South Alabama redneck hissy fit. That kind of author can suck you dry. They want to be spoon fed. At some point each of us has to get down in the trenches and learn how to get the job done. We learn from mistakes, mishaps and misdirection. That does not mean we cannot seek advice from a colleague. Hey! First Ask Google. Ask Wikipedia. Ask Amazon.

Entitlement. We are not entitled to the next author’s skill, craft, ehow or time. All of which is a valuable commodity. Everything I learn is on this site or a sister site is in PLAIN ENGLISH. Misinformation and rumor is rife in the indie universe, especially about Amazon and Bookbub and Reviews. Read the TOS. If you don’t understand it ASK and keep asking until the question is sorted and you get it.  I see trad pubbed and indie authors in business for themselves every day. Here’s why: They want to get paid for their knowledge. They ain’t giving it away for free. I do, because I know my limitations and I don’t want to go into business. I’m good right where I’m at.

An author I trusted referred me to site as wonderful for creating covers. Worst experience with a cover artist I ever had. Cost me $300. Plus, I had to ask a colleague to step in and repair the cover so I could use it. So! I revisited the Author Resources and Useful Links pages on eNovel. NO service gets on those pages now unless a member has used it successfully.

I preach know who you’re talking to and listening to in this business. I recently saw a post in which an author was praising a promotion site. The author gave a thumbs up to the site saying it moved books. I looked at her books. All of ’em. Honey, her books are so low in stats they could sell Gorilla Glue because they’re stuck at the bottom. I know books sink in stats.  Mine do when I’m not in promotion. So, I put the author’s books in an ebook tracker to check the stats for the past six months. Ranked in the millions for months. I also checked the site. It gives you a little bit free and next starts trying to get into your wallet.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Jackie Weger. Indie Author.

Usually when I post a blog, I fill it with live links…Not doing so today. Here’s why: You won’t click on those links to learn our industry. Nope. Not my problem. You can find the books I read in Author Resources.  Adding this: I adore indie authorship. I love Amazon and Kindles. We are living and publishing in historic times. It can be ugly or good. It is what we make of it.  And that is a wrap of this rant. Y’all have a good one.

@JackieWeger 2016.

Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Add to the discussion.

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  1. We all have to learn from our mistakes and keep learning.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Well said, Aurora Springer, eNovel’s resident molecular biophysicist, crystal expert and creator of some fine Science Fiction tales. See? I know who I’m talking to…laffin’.

  2. Roberta Kagan says:

    Great post , Jackie. I know I’ve learned a lot from mistakes I’ve made. I’m still learning, every day.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for sharing, Roberta Kagan. You are dead on. Mistakes are terrific learning experience. Sometimes costly. The members of eNovel are super. We learn from each other and value one another’s craft, skill and experience. We don’t just take. We give back and lend one another support when the opportunity arrives.

  3. Preach it! I love that you tell it like it is. 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you, Melinda Clayton who has helped me beyond measure and kindly so by putting me in the path of service I needed.

  4. I think the bigger thing here, and everywhere in life, is never stop learning!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Well, Hello, Michael Gallagher, owner of, one of eNovel’s highly regarded promoters. Thank you for visiting and adding to the discussion. For those of you who don’t know, Michael is steady on, builds his subscriber list organically and has not raised his prices for as long as I’ve been promoting with his site which is three and a half years now. He lives in Texas, has a family and a day job. Tax man. Woot. always delivers.

  5. Rosie Dean says:

    Always inspiring, Jackie, ours is a community that needs B.S. slayers. You are a warrior for the indie cause.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Gosh! Hello, Rosie Dean, British author of a raft of charming and fun romantic books. My all time fav is Chloe’s Rescue Mission. You know what? I like a little BS. It can be fun. But in our indie universe BS can be dangerous. Especially to a trusting newbie. Predators and users not only lurk but lure–worse they pounce on our wallets or suck our energy. Here’s a fact. Some folks are just plain dishonest and benefit because we much prefer to trust and take a writer or a promoter at face value. We cannot do that now.

      You know, I lived in a jungle village for years. We did not walk any path without our machetes. We knew danger lurked. We may be safe in our homes, but the instant we step into the Cyber World we’re in a landscape of vipers. Our only protection is our wits.

  6. Donna Fasano says:

    I feel like I learn something new every single day, Jackie. YOU are part of my learning curve. Thanks! 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Here’s the skinny on Donna Fasano. She’s a real USA Today best selling author–got there on her own with a single title, Reclaim My Heart. Donna got on Skype and walked me through uploading my first indie book. Her early articles on indie authorship were dead on and stand the test of time. She’s all peaches on the outside, but! When riled she very quietly can grab a tiger by it’s tail and tie a bow on it. Smart lady, fabulous writer of romance.

  7. The day we stop double-checking everyone and everything is the day we get scammed. I’ve seen so much for the past 3 years I’ve been an indie I know we can’t be too careful. And if it got too much and you had to rant about it, Jackie, no indie’s going to judge you. We all have those days! Tomorrow will be easier, I hope 🙂 Thank you for trying and testing everything so we know where we’re going…

  8. Indie publishing market creates wonderful opportunities but, like every market, it is not a place for everyone. If you love learning and, generally, finding out new things every day it might be something for you. If you prefer being guided then maybe you should look for a publisher. People who don’t understand that simple truth often find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tough luck.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for adding to the discussion, Portia: You speak a hard truth. I’ve been in that ‘tough luck’ spot as have many others. Which is fine, if it doesn’t clean one’s wallet. I’ve had a bucket full of help from my colleagues and I return the help. I own all of the books you see on this site–more than 400. I also pay all of the expenses to maintain this site and it is FREE. I continue to mentor and I promote colleagues books in my newsletters–also for free. AS it happens, I was trad pubbed for 20 years. So I know well that side of the industry. Now, I know the indie side. I recognize a lazy bones when I come across one. You do. I do. As well as the fifty authors in eNovel Authors at Work.

      Adding this: My accountant tells me in 2015 I spent $25,000 on editors, formatters, proofreaders, cover artists, maintenance/domain names on my two websites, fees for my newsletter, promotions and giveaways. My books have to earn every nickel I spend. I get your snark that the blog touched a nerve. But not to put too fine a point on it–if you aren’t an indie author, you don’t have a dog in this hunt.

      You can find Portia on her book review site. Specializing in Science Fiction:

      Thanks again for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger.

      Best, Jackie Weger.

  9. Linda Lee says:

    When I started out, I learned as much as I could on my own. I struggled through various versions of Word, spent countless hours teaching myself how to format eBooks on Amazon, created a website and a blog, and jumped on social media. Yes, I occasionally have to ask for help, but I’m always happy to share what I know with other authors, too. I draw the line, however, on the extent of time I have to spend doing that.

    Since we connected three years ago, Jackie, I’ve learned so much from you. You’re always generous about sharing your knowledge and experience with other writers. In case I haven’t said it recently: Thanks for all you do. 🙂

  10. Great post, Jackie. I haven’t been scammed in my Indie author ventures because I’ve been too broke to mistakenly pay for a scammer. I’ve had to figure out how to do everything from the ground up. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, too, like uploading my first book (unedited) to Amazon thinking I could get much-needed feedback. The ensuing tidal wave hit and I didn’t have anything to hold onto except for a few forums like KBoards.

    Since then I’ve networked with a few other determined authors and shared successes and woes, but it always feels like I’m just flying by the seat of my pants, trying new things, dumping others, all the while trying to keep up with constant changes in the publishing world. Your FB group helps and directs me to resources I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I’ve found a couple different groups to glean info from, but I don’t quite feel confident enough to share what I do and how I do it. Mainly because my books aren’t performing well and haven’t been for some time, and because what I do isn’t a whole lot different than anyone else in the group.

    I’ve lucked out somewhat by following my gut, finding a writer’s group headed up by a professional editor who I later hired and who landed a movie option contract for the series. The whole movie thing is a slow going process that may or may not work out. I have hope it will, but in the meantime, I continue to write and work toward getting my books into print.

    Jackie, you mentioned how some people who don’t want to do the work themselves can suck you dry. I’ve definitely run into those people. Entitled. Unknown. Unpublished writers who want the success without the hard work we’ve put into it. They think they can slide in and mooch off our know how, but the thing is, the know how is changing all the time and unless you’re eyeballs deep in the Indie world, (and have a book people actually enjoy reading), our know how won’t help them. Everyone in eNovel Authors at Work, I dare say, has risen to the top through their own hard work. They found you like I did because we never stop looking and researching for better ways to work smarter not harder. Kudos Jackie! Keep up the good work!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Lorena Angell. Thank you for sharing. I hear you–every word. And if we think it is just writer on writers, it isn’t. I hear privately from some of our promoters list on this site. I hear about indie authors who are rude, fail to price their books as promised, or don’t pay the fee. When I first started in the game eReaderNewsToday charged us on downloads…and authors did NOT pay those invoices–so it went to pay first. So we are not the only ones getting scammed. I’m so glad you have stayed out of that pit. Wishing you great good luck with the film.

      For those of you who don’t know Lorena’s stunning Y/A series: go HERE

  11. Great post, Jackie. I was caught out early on by an editor who took my money and did no editing. She’s now in jail for fraud because of another scam she ran, but that’s a different story….At the time, I did a blog post because I wanted to save other authors from her clutches.

    I’m like you; I give advice freely because I want to help, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Authors have to learn to be savvy, do their own research. It’s not hard to google to see if the person you’re going to work with or the site you’re going to use to promote your books gets results. Plus, not one person knows everything about this business, and things are always changing. Recommendations are only as good as the trustworthiness of the person giving them.

    Your site is awesome for information for authors, but they need to educate themselves. The first rule they should probably learn is this is hard work, and there will always be scammers out to grab some of your money. Love your honesty and willingness to help others. Keep up the great work!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for sharing that and adding to the discussion, Dionne Lister. In case you don’t know, Dionne is the Poo Bear behind booktastik and one of eNovel’s fav promoters. An Aussie, she is also the author of seven books. Fantasy/Y/A and Dark Fantasy. Don’t quote me on that.

  12. Good rant! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  13. You are the hardest worker and fastest learner I’ve met in a long time, Jackie, the ‘entitled’ will never understand how to put the hours of slog in. Although maybe these days you make it look too easy. 😉

  14. As we used to say, “Right on,!” There are too many people out there trying to suck the coins from our pockets and give back nothing. I just spent 22 hours driving, so I missed this yesterday. Everything you said is right on. It’s taken years and tons of sweat to transition from traditional publishing and gain enough knowledge to be an indie writer and to figure out the basics and make them work. Sharing, not using each other, but learning from one’s mistakes as well as learning from other indie authors who SHARE because we care – not who just take because they feel entitled – is the road best traveled.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for a long used and well-oiled adage, David Wind. I like those things because we all understand them. Everybody has an agenda. Everybody has an opinion. I get it. I do. But some will cross the line. Perhaps by accident, perhaps by not thinking. Some cross the line by snubbing their nose at the rules of society, a custom or good sense. I have a simple rule of thumb: If I saw a promoter/editor/author at a conference, would I approach any? Would I want to? Nobody gets things right 100% of the time. I don’t. What really annoyed me about that author who said she couldn’t find the list and asked me to download it and send it to her was this: First thing I did was check the link. It worked. And right there on the page was the offer of the list and the link to download it. Which told me the author expected the thing to fall into her lap. Ticked me off royally. Laffin’. Geez.

      So. Are you in Florida/ did you find you house in good order or did Matthew do a number on it?

  15. art says:

    Yup, Jackie, I agree
    Spend time writing and reading
    Not spending
    It’s not that hard to be an indie and publish a book for free
    My buddies, Felicity Jones (the out there artist and erstwhile Lit agent), and John Blandly, also a so called artist, as he says, are happier in the black than the red
    Icy Rivers, another writing group bud, swore off grad long ago
    Thanks again

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Art and adding to the discussion. We don’t exactly publish a book for free. There are out of pocket expenses. Editing, Proofing. Formatting. Cover art. I am glad to pay for those services. But I ought not have to beg the provider to ‘get it right’. The provider is supposed to know what s/he is doing. I’m happy to lend a hand to a writer. I do it every day. But I want my hand back!

      Here a funny: I just read a blog by an ‘expert’. Wants money to show me the way to get my indie print editions into book stores and libraries. The expert has one non-fiction book selling for a penny by 3rd party vendors on Amazon. ‘3rd party’ as in used book stores. I checked all of the books mentioned in testimonials by clients. None are in the money on Amazon which sells a million books a day. IMO a book can sit unread on a library shelf as well as it can on a virtual book shelf.

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