I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter

Now you might wonder why I wrote that.

It’s a certainly clever tagline that was made popular back in the 1980s when margarine was the big thing. These days, we have course realize that margarine is basically just fake stuff and totally unhealthy for us. Unlike regular good old-fashioned churn butter.

And that’s really what this is all about. Fake versus real. How do you know which is which? A large majority of what you read on social media is fake. That’s what happens when you have a large audience of people who really don’t want to do much research and accept everything at face value without question. Any questioning these days is considered taboo. Question anything makes you a conspiracy theorist. We certainly live in different times.

So how does this relate to writing? For one thing there’s a lot of writing out there which I would call fake. This includes people who lift ideas from published works and quickly reformat it with some variations so it’s not to be sued for copyright, the prodigious use of AI, a lazy man’s way to generate large blocks of text sourced from a wide variety of other texts and reassembled by a computer algorithm. But also, having something of substance, not just superficial and frivolous ideas designed to mildly amuse an audience for the sake of a few bucks.

If you scroll through the listings on Amazon, you can usually find no shortage of these. In fact, a recent scam involved publishers creating a fake book filled with keywords, absolute gibberish, and publishing them under different titles in the Kindle Unlimited program and then having people and computers go through multiple page reads thus earning royalties from the page counts.

A decent author spends a massive amount of time researching before writing, and certainly a massive amount of time, editing and proofreading before publishing. Having so many fake books on Amazon makes it far more difficult to market your own book. Lost in a sea of titles that are meaningless, a fine piece of work can easily get lost and never find an audience.

Likewise, there are many awards that are totally fake as well. Designed to look prestigious, they rely on payment rather than credibility. Is it better though to have an award on your book cover, rather than none? You could be a best selling author on Amazon, simply by reaching the top positions in obscure categories where you have a little or no competition. For example, if you take your mystery book and categorize it in the category of of Borneo in the 18th Century, I can guarantee you will be the best selling author. You only have to make a few sales to hit the number one spot.

I can guarantee you will be the best selling author. You only have to make a few sales to hit the number one spot.

The term ‘best selling’ used to imply a lot of units sold. And for some credible book lists, this still holds true. That said, a lot of it is also prearranged between publishing companies and the holders of the book lists. You just have to ask yourself how someone can make a best seller list before their book’s even available for sale? It’s all a game. Look at me, look at me.

If I advertise myself as just another author in an ocean of authors, and my novel has just another novel, will anyone buy it?

When I was a young boy, my mother used to tell me that if I had to advertise a good deed that I had done, it was very self-serving and distracting from the good deed. The problem is nobody will notice anything you’ve done unless you stand up and shout it out to the world louder than the next person. So what is the correct answer?

I can’t believe it’s not butter!

~William G

PS: I hope you’ve had a chance to read our May issue of Books & Pieces. If not you can read it by clicking the cover on the right sidebar (desktop version) or scroll a little until you see the cover.

Just wait until the June issue. We have even more additions that I hope you will find enjoyable. And please, share the link and tell your friends about us.