La Diva I: The Non-promoting, Social Media Whiner

Let me tell you a little story about La Diva. She is not alone in my book of tales about people who throw fits about how their book isn’t selling, nor is she any one person I’ve encountered in my career.

La Diva has a job, as do most of us. She labors long and hard at that job, but does have this dream of becoming an author. La Diva spent a year putting together what she deems are a dozen of the finest books ever written. Her prowess as an author is unmistakable. No promotion for her. These books will sell themselves. Haven’t all of her friends told her this?

La Divan proceeds with her master plan, arguing against any efforts to get her to be more active on social media, to talk about her books. Month one rolls past and she’s waiting for that massive royalty check. Sure, she’s checked her rankings on Amazon, and the numbers are pitiful… in the millions, but that has to be wrong. All of her friends and family bought the book. They told her so, therefore the rest of the world has discovered this masterpiece and is snatching it off the virtual bookshelves.

No royalty payment arrives. Her statement indicates no sales. She’s astounded. This has to be wrong. Obviously, the publisher is lying and hiding royalties from her, because her friends and family would never lie.

She fumes through the rest of the month, certain she’ll have a massive royalty check the next month. The publisher will apologize for missing the payment, but just in case there’s something to this social media stuff, she spends a couple of hours one day working on Twitter and Facebook.

That turns out to be too hard, so she quits. There’s one place where she can vent her frustrations and everyone will sympathize with her. The loser publisher, as she now things of this company, has created a page where the authors can talk. Well, she’s about to talk—long, loud, and hard—about just how she’s being cheated. And she proceeds to do just that, sitting back with a sense of satisfaction once she’s finished scorching everyone’s ears about just how lousy this publisher really is.

The responses come in fast and furious. Everyone talks about how they do this and that in order to draw notice to their books. No one sympathizes with her. Worse, the publisher announces that statements and payments have gone out.

Well, time to check email anyway, so our diva does that and discovers yet again she hasn’t earned a penny. This is not right. She’s infuriated and returns to social media, this time complaining on her personal, public page. This time the responses assuage her irritation and she has definite proof that those people have bought her book. Why, almost fifty people responded, saying just that. She takes screen shot after screen shot, copying each one into an email she then sends to the publisher along with a note that she wants an accounting of all of her sales immediately. She wants the sales reports, so she can see how much they’ve cheated her.

Instead, our delightful diva receives a message she can’t believe. The publisher reminds her that she’s not allowed to post messages like she has about the company on social media. She’s in violation of the contract, and since she’s so unhappy, they are willing to release her from her contract. Of course, she’ll have to agree never to post anything derogatory about the publisher again, and to remove all posts she has already made that do just that.

Releasing a screech that would do the best opera singer proud, our diva proceeds to put up post after post, outlining how her publisher is cheating her. She also contacts every lawyer in her town, demanding that they sue her publisher, but discovers that she can’t afford any of them, and they won’t take her promise of a massive payout once she wins the lawsuit.

Reality slams into our darling diva at this point. She’s done, finished. All she can do is lick her wounds, sign the release the publisher sent, and move on. She does this with all due speed and begins a search for a publisher who won’t cheat her, only to discover no one wants anything to do with her. A couple of less than nice publishers indicate they will never take on anyone who acts as she did.

Then she checks her social media and finds out that she’s lost friends and followers during her temper tantrum. Those left no longer respond to her ongoing diatribe about the ilk populating the publishing world. She’s beginning to feel alone and lost and has no idea how to go back and fix the problem. Her books are gone from the sales venues. A final statement from the publisher indicates that her friends and family weren’t truthful to her about buying her book. In fact, no one has purchased what she thought was the best book in the world.

La Diva sinks into desperation. She will get her book published, no matter what she has to do. She sends out query after query. Publishers stop responding. Several others tell her that her best bet is to self-publish her book, as no one in the industry will have anything to do with her. Her social media meltdown has become legendary, and no one wants anything to do with her.

Does defeat bow the neck of our proud La Diva? Oh no, she refuses to admit defeat. In her mind, self-publishing was always the best option, but silly her, she listened when people told her to get a publisher. So, our dear diva goes about the process of getting her book back onto all book sales venues without the back up of a publisher. It takes her far longer than she realized, as she continuously has to go back and fix errors. Once those books are for sale, she harangues everyone she knows to buy her books. Her fingers are numb from pounding on a keyboard, promoting those books herself.

When last seen, La Diva had sold a few books. She even received a few reviews, but nothing like she had expected. Still, she hunches over the keyboard daily, promoting the books she refused to promote with her publisher, and writing more. Because everyone knows that you have to publish more books to be famous…

More on La Diva next week.