(Moved here 11/14/13 from 180 Degrees True South blog)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Desire to Denigrate

Before addressing the flogger persecution of Susan Frise Hathaway (I'll do that on Backsass) I want to touch on Brooks Simpson's gratuitous put-downs of my fiction writing and novels.

Although it has absolutely nothing to do with the Walker/Vandalism incident in Richmond, Simpson saw fit, in a series of posts about that incident, to denigrate Sweet Southern Boys, and a current marketing campaign for it, free downloads in honor of Mothers Day running until May 18. What has one got to do with the other? Nothing, except that he sees the incident as an opportunity to do what he loves best -- maligning Southern heritage folks.

Another Heritage Violation?

This isn't the first time he has written nasty commentary about my novels on his blog, although he freely admits he hasn't read them. But as you might imagine, he sure doesn't like it when somebody does the same thing to him.

He puts down my writing, claims no editor would accept anything I wrote (which is not true, since one of my novels, Storm Surge, was published by a royalty-paying ebook publisher in California), claims my novels are trashy and racist. I've blogged about that here:

Bigotry Against White Southerners On Display
When Is Reviewing an Unread Book Okay
The "Anti-Racist" Smear Mentality

He'll grasp at any straw that he thinks he can use derisively  -- for example, the fact that Southern Man has had several covers. I guess he doesn't realize that is extremely common even in traditional publishing, so it isn't the scathing put-down he apparently thinks it is. Click the links below to see multiple cover designs for these classics:

Nineteen Eighty Four
The Outsiders
To Kill A Mockingbird

I can only assume he thought he'd stick it to me where it hurts -- my writing -- because I pissed him off, I mean REALLY pissed him off, by pointing out breathtaking level of sheer meanness in the flogger persecution of Susan Frise Hathaway over the Richmond Vandalism incident.

The thing is, it doesn't hurt. His claim that I "can't give away" my novels shows his ignorance of the new face of publishing. Making ebooks free on occasion is a widely used marketing method.

Why You Should Give Away Free Copies of Your Ebook
The Anatomy of a Successful Ebook Giveaway
5 Reasons to Consider Giving Away a Free Ebook

Pros and cons are frequently discussed on the popular Kindle Boards "Writers Cafe" forum.

This is the first time I've tried this method, though at various times, my sister has temporarily made one or more of her novels free downloads, which created an increase in sales when the free period was over.

In fact, giving ebooks away is such a successful marketing strategy, Amazon.com created something called "KDP Select". KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select allows authors to promote their ebooks by -- wait for it --  giving away free copies if they give Amazon exclusive sales rights. If enough people download an ebook for free, Amazon will promote the book when the free period ends because of its popularity. Amazon, of course, does not make money on a free book, so if this did not make money for them (and thus for the author), they would not do it.

Temporarily offering ebooks for free is simply part of the evolving face of book marketing as a result of the digital revolution.

Certainly I would have sold more units of my titles by now if I had a huge budget for marketing and promotion expenses, but I don't. I don't even have a small budget for it. I lost my job (and both my parents) in 2009, the year I published Southern Man. Not long after that, my husband was laid off. Our unemployment benefits were much smaller than our salaries had been, and living expenses took all of that income, leaving none for book promotion.

My husband obtained work eventually, but my city's unemployment rate (9.8%) is higher than both the state (8.9%) and the nation (7.9%) average and I have been unable to find even part time work.  A small pension and retirement payment I receive, along with my husband's salary, meet our living expenses and additional expenses due to health issues I've experienced in recent years. But there is nothing extra for book promotion (or anything else), so I must use less effective but more affordable (i.e., free) promotional methods.

I bring this up this not to whine (I've never mentioned it online before, except for indirect references to my health issues) but to explain that my book sales are small not because my novels are trashy, racist,  poorly written or badly packaged -- they're not. None of them has ever received a bad review (at least, not from people who've actually read them). I've just had no funds for promoting them and thus readers simply don't know about them.

You know what P.T. Barnum said. Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing. 

That Brooks D. Simpson used my Mothers Day Free Book promotion -- which has absolutely nothing to do with the Richmond incident -- to take a cheap shot at me says a lot about his need to humiliate and injure others. (It isn't always successful, depending on who he's targeting. Some people might be able to humiliate me. But not him.). It's not surprising because he has certainly demonstrated his love for belittling and vilifying people he doesn't like numerous times on his blog. He claims it's because people get "history" wrong -- or substitute heritage for history. But what is the rationale for exhibiting such contempt for people over that?

No, it  has nothing to do with history. Just try to find any history in the invective from him and the odious comments from his followers that make up the recent attack on Susan Frise Hathaway.

It's not about history for them; it really is about hate, as I have noted before:

Am I Right or Am I Right
Comment Bot Anger
Flogger Namecalling

I cannot help but wonder how somebody who exhibits this kind of behavior could land such a responsible position at a major state university. 

Original Material Copyright © 2013 by Connie Chastain Ward. All rights reserved.