The following makes painful reading for me at least. Evidently I have broken Amazon protocol, but I am new to this and not too clever at marketing, I followed what other authors were doing and what I was advised to do.

But this discussion heats up when I tried to distinguish credible gay relationships from fantasy ones. The short story, Brokeback Mountain is by a woman and is very credible. I don't mind gay sex being used for escapism, but that's not really enough for me. Indeed, the only reason I would question how apt it is to treat male relationships this way, is that I know how upset Lesbians can get at being a male fantasy. Personally, I would be honoured to be anyone's fantasy, but yes, I have issues.

So here goes:

J Austen says:
Anything goes. But m/m has silly conventions - the guys must act hetro and never be camp (at least the main pairing). It's the same as straight guy's lesbian fantasies.
I don't care if you're male or female, "just give us some truth" (John Lennon)

Ann Somerville says:
"the guys must act hetro and never be camp"

Uh, no. I just finished a book which in every other respect represents everything people have criticised about m/m, but with a camp lead. And Strawberries for Dessert has one of the campest men I've seen in fiction as one of the protags. PRetty good book too.

One book I won't be reading is yours, since you've been spamming it all over the place. Nothing turns me off faster.

J Austen says:
Never mind, but spamming everywhere?
Please be honest. I am here, as are you & on Twitter.
I did try a fluffy tale and gave up on it. I guess you have your reasons for being so defensive and nasty.

Ann Somerville says:
Stay classy, Mr Austen.

J Austen says:
I have not spammed anywhere, why lie? Why declare war?
The exception may prove the rule. 1 book you can name.
I had been warned by other writers of how nasty you can be.

Ann Somerville says:
"I have not spammed anywhere"

Yes, you have. You've linked your own book in at least three separate discussions, and this is a violation of Amazon's terms of service. There are whole discussions devoted to this problem:
"I had been warned by other writers of how nasty you can be. "

Whereas I have seen the evidence with my own eyes that you really aren't a very nice person.

Now stop linking your books in these discussions. You can rec other people's. Not your own (which is tacky in teh extreme.) If someone *asks* you for the name or link to your book, that's different.

J Austen says:
Oh so a few posts on amazon is spamming everywhere?
I am new to amazon and will make some errors, other writers have offered help.
The reason I looked at a fluffy tale was out of curiosity after another writer told me of how they were still stingjng after being attacked by you.
I understand why you are like this - we all have insecurities.
My virtue or finer .qualities can be of no concern to you.
I guess to you gay love is a fantasy or spectator sport, you have no concept of its reality.

Ann Somerville says:
"Oh so a few posts on amazon is spamming everywhere?"


"The reason I looked at a fluffy tale was out of curiosity after another writer told me of how they were still stingjng after being attacked by you."

I don't care. Really.

"My virtue or finer .qualities can be of no concern to you."

mate, your 'virtue' is of no interest to me. Neither are imaginary finer qualities.

Go away, you're a fool.

J Austen says:
I am a fool, yes. But you are a bully.

I started to write again, because I had learned to feel comfortable for the first time in my skin. I try to be a good person, but do not always succeed.
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Published on October 20, 2011 02:46 • 1,760 views • Tags: bullying
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message 1: by R. (new)

R. James, I'm sorry you're going through this - maybe consider it suffering for your art. Self important people can be callus and rude. Standing up to bullies is one thing, but the truth is that we will never eliminate bullies from this world. I have found that the most effective strategy in a case like this is to totally and absolutely ignore everything the bully says like it has never and will never exist. People like this live by sucking other's spirits dry and listening to their own vitriol. The Amazon rule thing I don't know about, but I'm sure you can go directly and privately to them with a question. Bob

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 20, 2011 04:53AM) (new)

Thanks that means a lot to me, many of her fans are also waving their fingers angrily at me. I'm too sensitive for my own good.

message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 21, 2011 08:51AM) (new)

People who attack seem not to have read the thread, as soon as I was aware of the policy, I admitted I was in error. I have very publicly apologised. But not in the thread to the Bully.
A polite message would have worked, but I was only doing as advised and what others still do - without being bullied.
I do skip reading rules and regulations, but that does not make me a bad person.
There's too many traffic warden types in this world who have nothing else to do but bleat on about rules. And use that as an excuse to be rude and attack.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks Bob and to all the other's who have sent kind messages of support. Yesterday I only knew of one other writer who had been bullied by her (indirectly from an other author).
The messages I have received today confirm that this is not unusual behaviour for her, the posting issue is an excuse, she likes to attack.
I've seen the best and worst of human nature today.
And while this has boosted my sales today, the Bully and her cronies have won, as now I want to "go away". My inner peace matters more to me than my success or failure.

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa James, first of all, I'm sorry you're going through this "initiation by fire," but I hope you can learn from it. Here's what I think you should learn from this (if you'll forgive me "should'ing" you for a sec ;-)) but YMMV

1. Amazon sux. In fact, Amazon groups on Goodreads can also suck. Be careful (which segues nicely into...)

2. Be professional--even when assholes bait you and trolls flame you, be really really CAREFUL to be professional. Whenever you say anything anywhere in public (and don't assume it's not public if anyone besides YOU is reading it) it's a possibility that someone somewhere will twist it around and claim "This represents this writer's stance on...[everything]" It won't be true or apply to "everything" but the audience will generalize--so don't give them ammunition.

Yeah. It won't be easy to refrain from engaging in a back and forth but don't do it! Be professional and polite and if you can manage it without sounding overly snarky, pleasant. I call that the 3 P's of survival in a hostile environment--and you'd better believe that selling something in the world today is a HOSTILE environment, especially for an artist (or worse, artiste, like a writer who cares about his art).

3. Don't name-call or make anything personal. Ever. Even when the assholes are getting down and dirty and personal with you, never stoop to their level. It'll DEFINITELY come back to bite you in the ass (and not in one of those good, sexy ways either! haha)

4. Don't generalize the m/m romance genre too much. I agree with a lot of what you're thinking (I think) but I would never put down my fellow writerly types--and I don't even write m/m romance, per se, just have gay and bisexual characters in romantic suspense stories! But I've read some of the m/m forums where m/m writers hang out. It's a bunchaton of hetero women and a few gay men. I don't think any straight boyz hang out in m/m romance forums (or read gay - m/m fiction) I don't have a CLUE why these women read or write it. To be quite honest, I'm not really turned on by reading about two men having sexual contact. Oddly, I am very turned on by writing my characters doing it though...very weird. I think it's because whenever I write, I get inside the head of each and every character--I become them. I think that might be a part of why other women write m/m romance. It's a way for us to fantasize about men we can never have.

I'm a hetero woman and I like men--and I definitely like men to like me back more than they like each other (grin) Unlike what I've seen in the m/m romance forums where I've lurked, I've had a lot of gay male friends over the years. I'm not a fag hag to anyone (AFAIK) and I don't make a point of seeking out gay men but I do seem to gravitate towards them sometimes. I think it's a personality type I like. I have intensely BAD gaydar, laughably. I don't think most of the m/m romance writers I've run into, however, really have had much (or any) contact with gay men. Don't even mention lesbians. I totally freak people out when I explain I lived in a lesbian-dominated town, by choice, for 5 years and loved it more than any other place in that region where I lived. The lesbian majority ensured I would be safe and happy, never at risk from the asshole straight men who like to assault women and think they have a right to do so--and the laws which let them do it.

I think the world is full of all kinds of people and as indie authors, no matter what genre we're in or what kinds of characters or plot twists or "bizarre things" we conceive and bring to the page, we all have certain responsibilities to our readers to allow them have THEIR own opinions. They don't have to buy our books. Market to the people who WANT your book. Screw the rest of them.

And just to be totally snarky, I really must shamelessly self-promote here :-) If you aren't following my Webbiegrrl's Writings blog yet, you should. I have a Monday Marketing and Tuesday Tip feature every week--and the Monday Marketing blogs have been going through the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing as they apply to Indie Authors. Ries & Trout really founded the whole concept of branding and "perception is everything" and how to just "take it" (market share). You can't get much better than the originals. Check it out.

Monday Marketing Series Applying the 22 Laws to Indie Authors

Cya on Twitter!

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey posting adverts on my blog! First good laugh of the day, thank you.
Your rules make sense. In an ideal world I would not be doing any of this advertising personally, and I fear if I continue I will carry on making mistakes.
Half of me worries and wants to tip-toe past the self imposed gate-keepers, but the other half wants to burn this whole mad house down and have a big party in the ruins.

message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa to be fair to the undiplomats, Amazon does NOT want us (indie authors) there unless we come with "pre-sales" (but we are unable to setup a pre-order unless we are a publisher of many). In other words, Amazon has stacked the deck against indies....yet several of us still make it work. I get more clicks from Twitter than anywhere else and I get my second greatest number of clicks from Goodreads so you're already in the two best places to promo. Ffffffff......orget :) Amazon. Post the links but don't waste precious time on a site where you're not welcome to speak. Just create community here, on Facebook, on Google+ and maintain your Tweeps on Twitter. You'll never miss the toxic waste once it's absent :)

Really I think your entire experience had more

message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 21, 2011 06:58AM) (new)

I've learnt a lot, including why some bad books sell and many good books fail. A bunch of mostly second rate writers are in effect running a protection racket, like a wannabe Mafia.
Either you pay your dues to them & accept your inferior status in their hierarchy or they beat you up. That's the real reason they are vigilant to self-promoters, they have sown it up so they recommend each others books, regardless of their merits.
They are so used to bullying their way that they have become complacent and by their own actions have exposed their game.

message 9: by Sarah (last edited Oct 21, 2011 09:20AM) (new)

Sarah Yoffa can't agree with you there James, sorry. I do agree the industry's got a few bad seeds influencing the audience at large, but I feel you're taking it too far or assinging too much weight to the nasty few.

My advice is to just ignre them. Be above it. Always remember it takes two to tango--and to fight. And I should note I am a conflict seeker and resolver. I never walk away from a conflict w/o resolving it--when it matters. These ppl? Do they reLly matter to you? Why give them so much power in your life? when/how did they earn that power over you?

message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 22, 2011 04:49AM) (new)

I know it's not the only reason. I know Mills and Boons sells in truck loads, where as the best poets have to get day jobs. But I do believe this analysis holds true on Amazon, having now read through several forums threads.
The sales I have had are largely down to other helpful writers - whom I have only met over the internet. 2 very successful and good writers helped with errata and other technical issues.
But writers have messaged me, to concur that I am being subjected to shenanigans. And messages are being sent telling people not to read my book (by people who have not read it).
I am not saying that these few rotten elements succeed entirely, my sales are up. But they do scare away many better writers away from the forums. Three very good authors have told me this themselves. So rather than a fair, free for all discussion, we have a mediocre bunch recommending each other's mediocre efforts. And many better books are being passed over altogether.
I did not even know about the forums before I self-published although I was a keen kindle user, so I doubt they have influence on most readers.
I was both fascinated and appalled by what happened. The initial attack happened at 4.00 am during a migraine. No doubt the trolls will see this as me playing to the gallery for sympathy, but it is true, my earlier tweets will prove this. I could hardly see, let alone read my android. It was kind of surreal, and a reading of the transcript will show that I did not have a clue what the Bully meant by spamming everywhere. I thought she meant I had been sending out spamming e-mails. It took a few posts before I had a clue what she was even ranting about.
The Bully pretends it is all about good Amazon etiquette – ironic as Amazon have deleted her posts now for actually being abusive. Her true motive was to defend the fluff she passes of as fiction. I had not named her book, but I was gently teasing her kind of nonsense in the genre. But I did not intentionally tickle a sleeping dragon, I swear.
I am moving on, but I have to own all this, including where I have acted rashly. One of my main inspirations has always been about dealing with abuse. So while unpleasant, I do think it important to assimilate it's true meaning.
Now the spooky thing – and a factor that may cause the crazier of my critics to think I cynically conspired this whole event, my last 2 blog entries seem to have anticipated this. I re-read them and had shivers down my spine. And on the 18th October I had tweeted “The wind outside is outrageous and any minute now I'll be flipped in to the Merry Old Land of Oz where I've got a witch targeted”. It was a random outpouring, it was very windy. I have only just discovered that the bully does indeed live in the Merry Old Land of Oz. It may be a common perceptual error of the bi-polar mind, but this feels like the hand of destiny. Therefore I must live every moment of it.
But I have removed myself from the forum, just before the voodoo dolls came out.
This will not define me. There's far worse things happened in my life, it is those things that largely define my negative aspect. Otherwise and for the most part, I aspire to joy and when my Bully called me a Fool she was right, but she did not know the true meaning of the word.

message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa i replied to that tweet remeber? I wanted the witch's magic ruby slippers (size 8 or in EU terms, I take a 39-40 :-)))

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I remember. It is so spooky, I'm a little shaken by it. Synchronicity or insanity? One side of my brain rejects it as complete nonsense and proof that I'm ill, the other side is revelling in what it considers proof that the Gods, though testing me, are pushing me through this for some greater purpose.
I can't believe I just wrote that! I hate new age nonsense, and I'm bleating like the genuine article.
Maybe my next blog should be on the dangers of too much imagination?

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Yoffa James wrote Maybe my next blog should be on the dangers of too much imagination?

There is no such thing as too much imagination ;)

message 14: by Sara (new)

Sara So sorry to read you've been bullied. Sadly, Ann Somerville is well known within the m/m community for this. I know she has active vendettas against more than one other author (KZ Snow, for one). As difficult as it is, ignore her & she'll move on to her next target.

message 15: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 24, 2011 03:46AM) (new)

Thank you Sarah, I am trying to.

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James Austen
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