@Amazon and their Review Gatekeepers

It is so fucking frustrating as an indie author when people have been reviewing your book but Amazon is like naw fam, I don’t feel like posting this. 

This has been happening to me so often that fans (not just my writer friends, actual fans) have reached out annoyed that their review is still not listed on my book page. 

At this point, it isn’t even that Amazon is deleting them. Like, I haven’t even SEEN them. Amazon is legit just not posting them at all. What the fuck? 

These are people who actually purchased my book, read it, enjoyed it, and want to post a review. Why is Amazon doing this? 

It doesn’t make any sense. Like I’m not paying for reviews, I’m hardly even begging my friends to review it because I legit know they won’t. 

These are legitimate fans of my work like post their fucking reviews Amazon, you coward. 

Let Me Educate Y’all About the Indie Writing Community

It is 2018 and I’m tired of y’all treating us out here like second-rate citizens. 

I have made a ton of amazing friends here that will last for a lifetime. So I’m here to set this record straight.

First thing’s first: What is an Indie Author? 

An indie author is someone who publishes their work independent of an agency or a publisher. 

The most common place for people to self-publish is Amazon, but there is also a whole slew of indie publishing houses that charge a fee to publish and promote your books. 

Why would someone self-publish? If they’re really good couldn’t they just land a book deal? 

Ahahaha. 

Oh, you sweet summer child. Your writing being good or even great has nothing to do with a book deal. Agents are looking for “what sells” (and so far I’ve learned it ain’t LGBT). 

Most agencies are thirsting after people with an established career like actors, YouTubers, social media influencers, or indie authors with a massive following because these people are a “safe bet” and easier to market. 

The publishing industry also has a really hard time changing or picking up anything “new” or “cutting edge” like you see a lot of in indie publishing because they may view as “too niche” or “too weird” to sell. 

I know this well because I myself am a marketer.

Why would someone choose indie publishing over traditional publishing? 

Lots of authors have different reasons. 

For me, I actually queried first. but  I kept getting rejected because people seem to believe that it is “unrealistic” to have more than one LGBT character in a story. Two if the character has to have a love interest. 

That didn’t sit well with me, considering I’m gay and most of my friends are gay. There are a lot of us out here and we tend to flock together. I mean come on, I live in San Francisco. 

And in a fictional world of my own creation, I feel like most people can be gay if I want them to be. It’s not like I never write straight characters, I do. But I prefer to write LGBT and POC where I can. A lot of my characters are multiracial. 

Also, if you ever wondered, querying takes a lot out of you. It’s like applying for a job where everyone is mean and says really mean shit to you that isn’t even true. I’ve been rejected so many times for bullshit reasons.

Are you a real author if you publish indie? 

UMMMMM. Yeah, man! As real as it gets. You wrote a book. You sold a book. Someone paid for something you wrote. Be proud

But don’t most indie authors suck? 

Ummmm NO! Who told you that??

Indie authors are just people trying to write the stories they want to tell without interference from a “””well-meaning””” big publishing house editor or book agent. 

That being said, I have read some truly awful indie books, but I’ve read way more great ones. 

So get off your butt and support indie authors. 

Especially if you wanna lay around and whine about not having representation for LGBT or POC people. 

You can find all that in the indie world, my dude. Indie authors are out here doing the most. And you’re really missing out. 

Book Cover Appreciation: Marjorie Diaz Book 1

Hello everyone! Friendly reminder that I’ve got a new book out about vampires with an ace MC and a full cast of POC characters. It’s even on KU if you’ve got it. So.

Description: 

Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy hunts girl for sport.

Marjorie Diaz has no idea who this guy, Patrick Watkins, is. When he saunters into her senior seminar class during her last semester of college, the last thing she expected was to fall in love with him.

She’s swept up into a whirlwind—and often times fairytale-esque—romance. That is until his family kidnaps her and her entire world turns upside down.

With the help of her best friend Lucian Maravalle, she has to run for her life, and try not to think too hard about the fact that the secrets everyone has been keeping from her, could very well cost her everything.

Oh, and that vampires are real and she’s managed to unwittingly piss off a whole family of them.

Book one in the Marjorie Diaz series.

Cover art by Ariel LeAnn of Cat’s Paw Media

**THIS TITLE IS LGBT WITH A FULL LGBT AND POC CAST**

How to Review Books

Recently I published a tweet talking about how important it is to review the works you read. Every single book your reading deserves a review, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. You owe it to the author to tell them what you thought. 

Another thing I get is “How do I review a book?” or “How do I make my review sound good?” 

And honestly, that isn’t something you should worry about. How did the book make you feel? What were things you personally liked or disliked about it?

Reviews are your way of telling the author that you enjoyed something they wrote or to criticize them constructively on things you didn’t like. Or even both at the same time. 

It is absolutely 100% okay to write a review that simply says “I really liked this story! I can’t wait to read more from you in the future!”

You don’t have to write a novel. All you have to do is give the author the praise and recognition they deserve.

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018

These are in no particular order, haha. Just 10 books I read this year that I really, REALLY liked. (LGBT Titles are marked because y’all know I’m tryinna sell those the most).

Love From the Barricade by Ashley Jean Granillo

This book was incredible. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I was there I couldn’t put it down. I’ve become very close with Ashley Jean after purchasing and reading Love From the Barricade and I am excited to say she has more in store for next year!

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life

Bravo. This book made me laugh, cry, and just THINK about the kind of life I’ve lead. There are so many quotable moments from this book like Aijae’s words have stuck with me. She’s an incredible character and I’m so glad I’ve had the privilege of knowing her. 

from my official review of Love From the Barricade

The Last Fire Mage by C.M. Lanning

**This title is not available for purchase ATM. I beta’d the release for Lanning prior to it being under contract. It is now under contract with (currently unknown) and will be available in 2020**

Genre: Paranormal, Urban fantasy

Lanning is an excellent storyteller, his writing style, while sometimes a bit crude provides a no-holds-barred look into the lives of Fay and Connor Rosa after the disappearance of their mother. 

from my official review of The Last Fire Mage

Lovely, Dark, & Deep by Justina Chen

This one came as a surprise to me. However, considering I met the author and the woman the book is based on at a panel in Pleasanton, CA I basically fell in love with this book immediately. Justina Chen is a treasure.

Genre: Slice of Life, YA

The way Viola fought her illness, in the beginning, was so real for me. How she didn’t want her life to change, but it just kept changing. It kept getting worse until she fell into letting other people choose things for her, something she was deathly afraid of when her story started.

from my official review of Lovely, Dark, and Deep

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Anyone who knows me is not surprised to see this book make my list. Considering I have read everything this man has ever written and he’s the reason I became an author in the first place.

Genre: Science Fiction, YA

On page one, I was apprehensive. Then I realized, without even noticing I’d somehow read 50 pages. Then another 50. And another 50 until it was suddenly 5am and I forgot to sleep. 

I was so interested in Rafi and Frey and their story and their sisterhood that I literally forgot to sleep. I’m a grown adult. I have a JOB. I had family in town from 3,000 miles away. But I literally couldn’t put this book down. 

from my official review of Impostors

Deadline by Stephanie Ahn

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. One of my absolute favorites, tbh. Stephanie Ahn is an Urban Fantasy genius. She’s incredible and a force to be reckoned with. It takes a lot for me to be reduced to a rabid fangirl after one read, but Ahn really does it for me.

Genre: Urban fantasy, Paranormal

This book is so impossibly good. I love Harry and Luce and Miri and AUGH THIS IS SO GOOD. I’m so glad I found this. I’m so sorry I’m not being super eloquent but oh my god this book was so exciting. I loved the demons and everything. I just have so many feelings about how great this book is. Thank you for writing it.

my official review of Deadline

A Closed and Common Orbit Becky Chambers

THIS IS AN LGBT TRANS/GENDER QUEER TITLE. Oh man, this one took me by surprise. I loved the first book in the series, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. It was an incredible LGBT Read with an f/f and poly romance.

The second one continues with the LGBT representation. It is a truly incredible book.

Genre: Science fiction, slice of life

I absolutely adored the first book in this series and the second was also incredible. The story it tells about Lovey’s journey to accept herself and what it was like for Pepper to grow up as a discarded clone was heartbreaking and incredible. 

from my review of A Closed and Common Orbit

Soul Echo: Discovery by Lisa Stapleton

Lisa Stapleton is an incredible author and one of my best friends. Soul Echo: Discovery is a FANTASTIC read. It even features LGBT elements, but I wouldn’t call it a full-blown LGBT novel.

Genre: Science fiction, romance

I just wanted to sing my praises for Bonnie and Camilla. Even though I didn’t really like Camilla that much, or well, I should say I couldn’t relate to her.

However, I feel like Bonnie and Cam could DEF relate to each other. And I ship them now.

from my official review of Soul Echo: Discovery

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE! It wouldn’t be a top 10 list from me without Malinda Lo on it. Other than Scott Westerfeld, she has to be my favorite traditionally published author. And she is definitely my favorite traditional LGBT author.

Genre: Thriller, YA

Malinda Lo does an excellent job of capturing what its like to be a creative teen. She is also incredible at writing thrillers. Every step of the way, her story has dark and unexpected twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this book! And I have. I absolutely love all of Lo’s work. She’s an incredible LGBT writer.

My official review of A Line in the Dark

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

THIS IS AN LGBT M/M TITLE! I suggest this book to any of my friends who even slightly like m/m as well as great Urban Fantasy. A really great read, truly.

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve read this year. I recommend it to every single person I know who even vaguely likes M/M. This was actually a huge inspiration for my Marjorie Diaz series and holy cow this book is incredible.

The prose and characterization are insanely good. The story kept me guessing and kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. Incredible novel. Truely incredible.

My official review of Wonders of the Invisible World

Axiom: The Last Hope by Rachel Marie Pearcy

THIS IS AN LGBT F/F TITLE. Tbh this is how I want all of my science fiction books to be from now on. This book was fantastic.

Genre: Science fiction, Romance

It’s been awhile since I read a story so compelling I didn’t want to put it down.

Pearcy creates a dystopian world full of fear. A world where biological warfare and a war-ravaged Earth forced everyone to flee to the moon under a tyrannical regime.

from my review of Axiom: The Last Hope