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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Self-Publishers Shouldn't be called Authors, by Michael Kozlowski.

The following is a response to Michael Kozlowki's Op-Ed which can be read HERE. I strongly suggest that you read it before reading my post.

Dear Michael,
Let me see if I understand your logic. Based on your Op-Ed, it appears that you've redefined the definition of author as being a status rather than an occupation. In other words, you're arguing that someone who—before uploading their novel to Amazon Kindle—had their manuscript professionally edited and formatted; had the subject matter fact-checked by industry professionals; then later had the cover image professionally designed; and who owns all the legal rights to their novel; then unless the person earns a living from the sales of said novel, then they cannot be considered as a genuine author.
You wrote: “If you can earn your living from your writing, you are a professional author, anyone else is just a plain old writer.” Please explain this. Let’s say for arguments sake that someone writes and completes a novel. Said person then uploads it to Amazon Kindle. They don’t initially sell enough copies to earn a living. However, right before word of mouth spreads and sales increase at an exponential rate, the aforementioned person dies tragically. By the end of the year, the book earns over $100,000 in royalties in the deceased's name and the novel continues to sell extremely well several years later. According to your arguments, the deceased isn’t a genuine author. After all, how can one make a living off of a novel when they’re dead?
It was discovered about a year ago that Pastor Mark Driscoll used a marketing company to manipulate his way onto the NYT Bestsellers List. How did he do it? According to an article by Warren Cole Smith, his church paid $25,000 to ResultSource Inc. to coordinate a nationwide network of book buyers who would purchase his first book, Real Marriage, at locations likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list. His megachurch, Mars Hill, also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk (http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/unreal_sales_for_driscoll_s_real_marriage/page1). For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the profits from this venture were high enough to be considered as a living income by North American standards. Based on your arguments, only this would define Driscoll as an author.
It’s funny how you mentioned Snooki to argue your point. According to what you stated in the video, she's a real author due to her being able to make a living from selling her books—even though she
admitted that she had a co-writer. If you were really knowledgeable about how the publishing industry works, then you would know that the real reason why her books are selling is because of her established Jersey Shore fanbase. This is why celebrities have an easier time getting book deals from publishers as opposed to the average person. For example, HarperCollins didn’t hesitate to publish Sarah Palin's first book. One cannot argue that they worked with her because of her outstanding writing skills, since it’s public knowledge her book was ghostwritten. But more importantly, according to Rupert Murdoch biographer, Michael Wolff, "HarperCollins does not really believe Sarah Palin has written a valuable book—or even that it is really a book, not in the way that HarperCollins has historically understood books, or in the way that people have counted on HarperCollins to have understood a book.” (http://www.newser.com/off-the-grid/post/340/books-are-bad-for-you.html).Given those facts, then it’s safe to argue that if some young woman named Nicole Polizzi had written the same books before gaining her celebrity status as Snooki, her first book wouldn’t have even have sold 0.1% of the number of copies it has sold to date. But then again, based on your arguments, both Palin and Snooki are real authors.
According to your Op-Ed—and considering that your own self-published books on Amazon aren't on any bestseller's list—in my opinion, you come across as someone who's frustrated at not achieving the same success as other authors. Thus, you are using this post as a means of elevating yourself by tearing down others. I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you to acknowledge the fact that other authors have gained exposure from the novels they wrote. You, on the other hand, resorted to writing an emotional and inflammatory rant in order to draw attention to yourself.
One last thing. It’s important to mention that if you really believe everything you wrote, then— based on your arguments—technically, you couldn’t call the man and woman who (allegedly) raised you, your real parents. After all, they never made a living from raising you, did they?
So who are you? Are you an author or just a writer?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. My gift to you.


Russell Brooks is the author of the action/thriller, THE DEMETER CODE, available everywhere online. Visit www.russellparkway.com for details.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Canada Reads 2015

Hello, Everyone,

I need your help.

The CBC is looking for books for Canada Reads 2015. This is a program that's meant to promote Canadian authors, like myself. I would appreciate your nomination as this would be an opportunity for me at getting THE DEMETER CODE thrown into the Canadian spotlight.

Submitting is easy, as it cold be done via 
TwitterFacebookInstagram or email.

To make things easy, here are ways you can submit THE DEMETER CODE:

1. Copy and paste the following as a TWEET:


THE DEMETER CODE by @NoOtherRussell
http://ow.ly/i/7FbFp #CanadaReads

2. Copy and paste the following in an email to the CBC at: CBCbooks@cbc.ca.

Wab,

I'd like to nominate THE DEMETER CODE by Russell Brooks for Canada Reads 2015 http://ow.ly/i/7FbFp

Kind regards,

(Your name)


3. If you love Facebook or Instagram, you can either take a Selfie holding my book, or download the book cover pic and then upload it. It's important not to forget the hashtag: #CanadaReads.

The deadline for the public call-out is Nov. 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Please spread the word and thanks again for your support.

Russell


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Street Lit: Is That All Black Authors Can Write? My response to Nortina Mariella's Essay.

I stumbled across Nortina Mariella's essay a few days ago. After having read it three times I have every reason to believe that the author doesn't understand how the publishing industry works. She has the impression that the so-called THUG/HOOD/STREET LIT is the only kind of books that contemporary African-American authors are writing. The truth is that the reason why she saw these books on book shelves in the African American section was because the companies that publish those books pay stores to place them in those sections.

While I was on my way to publishing my first novel, I had a chance to converse with Jerry Simmons, the former VP of Time-Warner Books. He explained to me that a publisher's client is a bookstore, and not the consumer. When you walk into a Barnes and Noble or any other bookstore and you see a book pyramid, or your favorite book in a particular spot, it's because the publisher paid the bookstore for those areas.

One must think of shelf and floor space like real-estate. The more visible the location, the more expensive it'll cost the publisher. The author of this article falsely accused African-American authors of only writing this kind of literature. A reason why she may not have seen other kind of books written by AA authors in the AA section was because their publishers may not expect to make any profits in those neighborhoods. By the same token, it just further demonstrates how publishers have a lot of control over what consumers can access.

Rather than accuse Black authors of not writing the books that she wants to read, she could have easily gone online and researched the ones she wanted. She then had the option of either ordering it online, or going to a real bookstore or placing a special order.

If she were shopping for books up here in Montreal, most of these Street Lit titles she wrote about wouldn't necessarily be the only books found in the AA section. Almost six years ago when I discovered Eric, I searched for his books in the front among the Bestsellers. I was told that I could find his books in the AA section--in the BACK of the store. Riddle me this. Why is it that a Black NYT bestselling author is placed in a less visible location at the BACK of the bookstore rather than at the front among other White NYT bestselling authors? And this was 2008 Montreal, Quebec, not 1950 Selma, Alabama--if you catch my drift. And here's the best part, an acquaintance of mine attended Eric's book signing when he came to town. According to her, the audience was predominantly White. You'll never see Alex Cross in the AA section, even though the series has a strong AA platform.

I didn't feel comfortable with that book placement so I didn't give the store my money--but keep in mind that I didn't know how the publishing industry worked until later. I went to my public library where there are only two sections--A Children's and an Adult section--with a subdivisions for French and English books. I found all of Eric's books under D in the adult section, where they are up to this day, just a few rows away from mine.

Sunday, November 2, 2014