Just a Quick Note to Readers of this Blog

Just wanted to let you know that for some reason I am not able to view the notifications section of this blog; it appears empty, and I cannot get to it. I apologize in advance for not being able to answer any comments or visit the recent blogs that have visit mine in the past couple of days, as I usually like to do. This happened once before and it fixed itself fast, so I am hoping it does. Never thought of it before, but the feeling is as having a blind blog. It feels lonely without being able to view the notifications, as I enjoy this part of the blog.

Love, and have an awesome day.

Today, I Must Rant

Over the weekend, I was disappointed and annoyed. I am sure that this happens to many indie authors, and I would like your opinion on this issue. I checked my books on Amazon and realized that other independent Amazon sellers were selling the paperbacks at unreasonable and shameful prices. One of my novels was priced over $100 dollars. It made me angry because, this is stealing from readers, and I worked very hard to produced those books, and I don’t like the idea that someone is allowed to sell my novels at an exorbitant price, and make more on one book that I would make as an author in selling several. Do you understand my point?

I checked several indie authors and most of them had the same problem with their novels. I checked a best-selling author who publishes traditionally, and she did not have this issue. I don’t know if this happens with indie authors because many are not in the category of best-selling authors yet, but to me, there should be a stop to this madness. I understand that every seller has the right to price their product, but ridiculously overpricing a novel that the author has priced reasonably is unethical. I don’t know who would pay over $100 for a used book that they can buy new for under $15.00, but obviously someone does, otherwise this would not happen.  Amazon should regulate this issue. Of course, there is the argument that no one is putting a knife in the neck of the buyer, if they want to buy the book for the abominable price.

As an indie author, what do you think? Are you experiencing this?

Now, to my other disappointment – The FAKE WordPress blogs. I saw that a suspicious fake WordPress blog (that had no content) posted one of my posts (A Gift for You) as a reblog. When I looked at the blogger/blog there was no content at all in the site, only my post, making it appear as if I was the blogger giving away my novel. Immediately, I reported it to the WordPress team. I am awaiting a response. This happened yesterday. Again, I understand this happens, but it would be nice if WordPress would require their users to legitimize themselves by having a full profile and the required information before allowing them to have a blog. I think there should be a measure in place. As an author, I love WordPress, and overall, it has a great community and an awesome team. It is my blogging platform by choice, and in my opinion the best out there.

In both instances, my husband was upset and irate, because he knows how much effort and care I put into my work. I think there should be boundaries and regulations that would not allow this type of issues to exist so easy. And the word here is EASY.

What has been your experience as a blogger or indie author?

 

Versatile

versatile-blogger-wordpress

I want to thank Oawritingspoemspaintings for The Versatile Blogger nomination. I’m honored because someone thought of this blog enough to nominate it. I don’t take these awards for granted.

If you enjoy poetry and art, as well as a bit of everything in good measure, stop by Oawritingspoemspaintings and enjoy what this blogger has to offer. You will find something to your liking. The blog is undergoing a bit of fixing the images, but be patient, it will get done; in the mean time, you can enjoy the many other sections this versatile blogger has.

Thanks again Oawritingpoemspaintings for nominating Inkspeare.

Indie Exhaustion and Social Media Fatigue

"I Am Tired" - NARA - 558861

“I Am Tired” – NARA – 558861 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a topic that most independent authors know very well. Our society has changed much and continues to evolve. The way we do things, the way we work and communicate, the way we live and handle time – all this has changed dramatically over the past decades. The old models don’t seem to be working anymore, and new generations find themselves in the middle of an old system and the emerging of another.

Social media and internet communication/socialization is growing at high speeds. For independent authors it is the best of times, however it is all happening so fast, and it might be exhausting for many. Indies do it all, but they also want to keep up with social media trends.  I have read advice about “becoming involved in everything, in as many sites and social media venues as possible.” I think that this is advice that I cannot take to heart, at least in my case. Why? Because it leads to exhaustion, mental chaos/fatigue, and worry (in the sense of having to keep up with all those social media sites).

I keep things to a minimum. I cannot write under exhaustion or mental chaos, neither will I be able to do much of my work, if I was to follow that advice. I keep this blog that I enjoy immensely, an author website (that I am developing slowly), a Facebook page (that I don’t visit as much as I’d like because I truly enjoy Facebook), and a Twitter account, which I plug-in with this blog, and might visit from time to time (and I have considered removing the Twitter account since I am not very active in it, other than posting through this blog).  I do have other work related websites that I keep up as well. I was tempted to join Goodreads and Shelfari (and almost did), but realized that doing so would add a layer of fatigue, and more sites to worry about keeping up. I believe that I am not involved in as many sites as other authors are, and I know my limitations. I believe in being involved in fewer sites and being active than in too many that I cannot keep up with them. That is why I decided not to join Goodreads and other sites that interest me (at least for now). I love interacting with people through social media, but need to keep a balance on what I can truly handle. I believe in answering posts and emails, as well as visiting other sites and sharing. I believe that it is not possible to do this on too many sites at once. I also believe that belonging to too many sites at once would impact the quality of the interaction, and the enjoyment of it as well.  Therefore my need to keep it as simple as I can.  I’ve seen blogs were the blogger limits himself/herself to post and does not answer comments or interact with readers. To me, it defies the purpose of blogging and social media in general. Why would I want to post/write something if I am not going to answer a comment about it? That would be as talking to myself in the mirror. Communication, sharing of ideas … is the purpose of social media, among other things.

My point to all this rambling is that if you (as an indie) are feeling a bit exhausted only from your social media interaction, and feel that you cannot keep up with it, and it is affecting you (and possibly your work), maybe it is time to cut some of it, and only become active on the sites you truly enjoy.

I would love to hear from you on this topic.

Blogging versus Writing

Lakhovsky: The Convesation; oil on panel (Бесе...

Lakhovsky: The Convesation; oil on panel (Беседа), 51.1 x 61.3 cm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I want to talk/write about the distinction between blogging and formal writing when you are a writer/author or work as a freelance writer. I say distinction because blogging and writing share many similarities as well as differences. I guess the question that I want to address here is, “Do you write as you blog?  No, I don’t, and I hope the answer is no for many.  For me, blogging is more about having a conversation, similar to the conversation you would have with someone at a coffee shop, for example. You let your guard down a bit, enjoy your coffee, the company, and talk about what is going on with you, your work … but also, listen to the other party, and share his/her interests.  When blogging, I may start a sentence with the words and, or, and I may use the words ending in ally with or without disregard, and tons of adverbs, depending on what I want to convey, and the mood.  It doesn’t mean that I advocate sloppy blogging. It means that I feel comfortable enough in the conversation to let go of some rules of writing and talk to readers of the blog as I would talk to a friend in casual conversation.

When writing a novel or working on an assignment, editing becomes the friend. It has been said that there is a conversation between an author and the readers of a novel (and there is); however, that conversation happens in the mind, between the lines, and certainly, after my friend “the editor” has meddle in the conversation.

Another point to consider is the purpose of the blog. Blogs that are formal, informative, and cater to a specific group of readers, should follow the applicable sets of rules, very different from conversational blogs that aim to grow a community, start a conversation, and share among bloggers/readers. I follow the same conversational rules for social media. I’d rather say “see you later gators,” than say, “I will see you later, alligators” – just to give you a common example. If I was writing an instructional, informative, or “formal post,” I would follow suit.

One thing that I find no need or excuse for in blogging or any other social media outlet, is bad etiquette, bad manners, personal attacks, improper use of language, and sloppiness (laziness). But to each its own.

As a writer/author or as a reader, how do you feel about blogging and formal writing? I would love to hear your opinion.

Me, Me, Me

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am back after a few days of unplugging myself from social networks, blogging, and other internet endeavors; however, I have to say that one issue fluttered by my head more than a couple of times – the .com issue; yes, I have to say that I was upset with myself for being so lax about obtaining the .com for Inkspeare, after all, I have blogged for years now, see why? Now, another blog has obtained the .com, and my only concern is that since .com is the first thing you think when searching for a domain, I hope that my blog won’t be mixed up with the brand new site that holds the .com domain, although I don’t know the name of the new site (parked). In addition, I am concerned about the type of content as well – Am I worrying too much here? (it could also turn out to be an excellent and wonderful site, on a positive note).

If I am, it is only because I have put so much work, blood, and sweat, into the making of Inkspeare (as well as thinking of the perfect name). After all, Inkspeare has been all about me – my journey as a writer, artist, and the bits and pieces about my life that I love to share with all of you, and I enjoy it so much.

I have to say, that after thinking about it these couple of days, I decided to get the .ME domain, so Inkspeare will now be Inkspeare.me.  Although my first choice was the .com for obvious reasons – everyone looks for a .com first, when searching; it is almost a reflex – I think that a .ME would be easier to remember than a .net or .org, or any other variations. A comment by Roxana suggested that it is more personal, and I happen to agree. Besides, the original .wordpress.com will still work if someone searches for Inkspeare that way, or click in any of the live links I have all over, so there is no harm done.  I would have preferred the .com better, but that domain is parked by someone, so it is not available now. However, I am happy with my decision of purchasing the .me domain. After all, Inkspeare, this blog, is about me and my journey, as well as the joy of sharing bits and pieces of that journey.

Having the .me as well as the .wordpress is comforting, in a way.  Maybe, my concern may seem a bit irrational to some, but Inkspeare holds a very special place in my heart and I have to admit that part of my soul is in it as well. It may sound a bit silly, but it is how I feel. One thing I have learned over the years, and that is to accept my feelings and never think of them as “less than,” but to look at them and release them. Therefore, I let the mourning of the .com go, and embrace the Inkspeare.me wishing for the best. Dramatic? Maybe, however true to me. Over the years of blogging, Inkspeare has been like a second home, so I hope you understand why I feel so strong about it.  For now on Inkspeare.me (as well as inkspeare.wordpress.com) is the home of INKSPEARE.

Food for thought – How do you feel about domains? How do you search for a website; do you use the .com first or not? Have the internet capture too much of our attention and/or lives/identities? Is there such a thing as a virtual clone (your perception of your internet persona?

 

Celebrating Turtle and Robot – Watercolors Friday

This is our second Watercolors Friday, and I was just thinking about how much I loved watercolors when I was a kid (still do), even when I made a mess of water and pigment – Hey, I like that name for a blog “Water and Pigment.”  Getting back to what I was writing, childhood is a very magical time,  it should be, and as much as I  liked watercolors, I also loved reading, and following people around with pen in hand, pretending that I was an investigator (probably influenced by The Three Investigators).  This is why today, I want to celebrate a special blog – Turtle and Robot

Turtle and Robot is about children’s books reviews. The blogger (Jennifer Lavonier) reviews children’s books of all kinds and ages – from picture books, to board books, to books for early readers, middle readers, and young adults. She is a collector of these books, as well as a seller.  In her blog, she writes about those books that she loves. The blog has a very happy and lively design, representing the topic of children.  She talks about the books but also offers gorgeous pictures (the blog is a feast for the eyes) and tells you a bit about the author of the featured book as well.

I hope that you stop by this wonderful blog, especially if you have little ones, and want to know more about what is out there and get some new ideas as far as more great books for kids, as well as classics, and coming from a knowledgeable source, as this blogger has been in the field of children’s books for some time.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Happy Watercolors Friday to all!

New Trend – Spammers

I have noticed a new trend here, fake blogs started by spammers. They are going through the trouble of setting up a blog, copying some articles, and visiting your blog, commenting, therefore passing as legit bloggers, and unable to be caught by Akismet. I even saw two of those “blogs” posting the same article on the same day, and it wasn’t a share or reposted article. Sometimes, you will get an invitation to write in their “so along the same lines as your writing” blog, and when you click on it, it is all a bunch of crap and advertising. I have even gotten a direct email through the WordPress system from one of those spammers. I never thought that they could get into your email. Usually, I am not this blunt in my posts, unless something really boils my blood – and that did. As a result, the misleading comment will go in the spam comment section, so Akismet can flag it.

Let’s keep WordPress what it has always been, a great community of bloggers sharing ideas and content, and not crap/spam. Fake blogs do not belong here.

New Writers – Beware of Writing Sites

I am writing this post for all new writers who are thinking about joining writing sites.  When I started writing online, I wasn’t sure of what venue to choose so I selected a few popular sites to write for them, thinking that this would be beneficial for my writing career.  Unfortunately, I started to notice that one of those sites – called Triond, started allowing very bad writing – mostly from people who wanted to make a quick buck and didn’t care about writing garbage and ill edited articles.  The staff let those articles go through, without editing them.  Some of these articles were actually unreadable – just picture a string of keywords with no meaning to them.  Fearing that associating with that site would hurt my career, I contacted them and asked that my content be removed and my account canceled/closed.  My account was closed, and at that time, it seemed that my articles were blocked and they did not show as published.  This happened more than two years ago.

Today, while reviewing some links on this blog, I came across old content that had a link to one of those articles.  I clicked on it and to my surprise, the article did show up published.  I kept clicking on some of the old links and most of them were showing active.  Not only that, but there were all kinds of ads running on them, making Triond money.  I am disgusted.  Immediately, I clicked the contact link and wrote to them asking that my content be removed or blocked.  Lets see what happens.  I hope I get a response this time.

In the meantime, my face and work is plastered on that site, along with all the craziness and bad writing going on.  There are very good writers on that site too, not all  is bad writing, but a huge percentage is bad written content, and that is the only reason I wanted to disassociate my name from it.  I never had a problem with the site otherwise; I just did not agree with their practice of bad editing and letting anything go through to publishing.

Let my experience serve you as a measure to choose a writing site very wisely and carefully, to avoid situations like this one.  I hope that Triond listens and blocks all of my content, which they are not authorized to publish anymore.

Great Local Blog

Map of Aberdeen Township in Monmouth County. I...

Map of Aberdeen Township in Monmouth County. Inset: Location of Monmouth County highlighted in the State of New Jersey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was very happy to see Inkspeare featured on Aberdeen NJ Life, a local blog that is full of information, historic facts, entertaining posts, lively images, and much more.  This blog is a great resource if you want to know more about the Aberdeen, NJ area.  It offers freshly pressed posts of current news/events as well as a more broad view of the area and interesting historical tidbits, many times accompanied by great pictures from the archives.  You will also find interesting posts of what is happening on the area at a local level, from neighborly events to recent happenings.  Aberdeen NJ Life gives you a broad view and many times, detailed as well, of the interesting way of living in Aberdeen, NJ.  Reading the blog’s posts for the past  year, I realized how quickly the year went, and how much has happened in our area.  It was grounding as well as lovely and entertaining.  I also learned many facts about the history of the area.

If you are planning to move or are interested in getting to know more about this area, this blog does a great job at presenting it, and it does it in an interesting, fun, and historical way as well.  I want to thank the author for including Inkspeare on this awesome and informative blog.  This blog is now on my Favorites, for sure.