Did you know today is National Authorâ€™s Day?* Not many people do. How to celebrate? Wellâ€¦umâ€¦how aboutâ€¦kiss an author today!
Speaking of authors, I guess I am one now. Officially. Mostly. Sort of. Apparently enough of one that my ideas have already been lifted. As usual when being co-opted, I feel a mix of amusement and anger. This time I also feel a touch of envy.
I came across a particular ring of e-book-selling sites a year ago while endlessly researching online. The sites were well-done and compelling, but the substance was lacking. Their main selling point was the usual olâ€™ â€œmake tons of moneyâ€ that you see with anything connected with escorts.
I hadnâ€™t checked any of her sites since my bookâ€™s site went live on 9/21/06. Yesterday, on a whim, I went back to one of the sites. Lo and behold, the site received a major makeover on 10/20/06 (the format is the extended-letter look of spammy sites). The content is much more compelling now. The main selling point is no longer about making tons of money as an escort but rather all about how the author helps the reader decide if she should be an escort, whether or not to go independent, how to protect her health and safety, how success doesnâ€™t always mean making lots of money, being a happy escort and various beauty tips.
Gosh, this sounds so familiar!
Some of the topics were already covered in the previous version of the site (WayBackMachine failed me on this one, but another of the sites has the exact same text as the previous version of this one). Most of the topics now emphasized werenâ€™t there in the previous version. Reading this site made my heart pound because it now read like an ad for my book. I didnâ€™t get that gut reaction from the site during the past year of looking at it.
I can only draw one conclusion: she read the site and blog for my book â€“ very thoroughly â€“ and decided to re-market her e-book on this one site. I donâ€™t think she rewrote her e-book because her other sites have not undergone such a major philosophical overhaul.
The author also has a new, very flattering picture of herself (her former photo was a terribly unflattering full-face shot from above). Her face is tilted up and sheâ€™s looking back over her shoulder. If flipped the other way, the picture would be very familiar. I know I have a shot of myself like that around here somewhere! Hmmâ€¦where did I leave it again? I think I called it an author photo â€“ wherever itâ€™s floating aroundâ€¦out thereâ€¦onlineâ€¦somewhereâ€¦on my bookâ€™s site.
Naturally, it proves Iâ€™m on the right track; that I have a great idea; that Iâ€™m inspiring; yadda yadda yadda. I can deal with that. Iâ€™ve had people appropriating my ideas (or flat-out copying my work) since early elementary school. Although annoying, itâ€™s a very positive sign.
Needless to say, the online escort industry is rife with plagiarism. Some donâ€™t stop at copying and pasting words. I once had my complete ad (pictures and text) posted on an ad under another name! They removed my e-mail address and added their phone number, however.
But Iâ€™m envious too. She, or someone on her team, is a very good marketer. Iâ€™ve been floundering around, wondering how to present the ideas in my book in a compelling way. Some of the points that I didnâ€™t think were important apparently are. Reading the re-vamped site was amazing. I wanted to buy her e-book! I was sold! Thatâ€™s her job, right? And mine too.
My low-key promotional style worked as an escort. To be successful with my book(s), I need to be less shy about tooting my own horn. Thatâ€™s not in my blood and probably never will be. But sheâ€™s shown me the light.
No, Iâ€™m not going to use her words as a template, although the idea crossed my mind during one infuriated moment. Instead, I fall back on what I always do in these situations â€“ innovate, expand and improve on my original idea. Thanks to her work, Iâ€™m forced to look at my book with new eyes to come up with new ideas (I already have a few). I have confidence in my own imagination, which is infinite if given room to move.
The main argument is whether or not I should waste so much energy worrying about one person. Fair logic. A large part of this is motivation. Iâ€™m a lazy slob and getting mad lights a fire under my ass like nothing else. A small part of it is anger, of course. And a large part is what Iâ€™ve described above. By using her site as a reflection of my book, I can find flaws because itâ€™s always easier to find fault with another than with oneâ€™s self. I can also find the good because sheâ€™s pointed it out (or at least the good of what sheâ€™s gleaned from the info on my bookâ€™s site).
And finally â€“ my amusement. Iâ€™ve gone from feeling like a voice in the wilderness to feeling overly significant. Itâ€™s a fun continuum to explore, even if based on one admirer.
*National Authorâ€™s Day is a real day, promoted mostly by some Print On Demand/book packager services and a few libraries. It’s a real, but not much-observed holiday. According to my Simpsons wall calendar, today is noteworthy for kicking off International Drum Month. No mention of National Authorâ€™s Day.
For any newcomers
My bookâ€™s site can be found here: TheInternetEscortsHandbook.com.