Home > Writing > Is that a Soapbox?

Is that a Soapbox?

As often as I’ve used and heard the expression regarding standing on a soapbox to rant, I have no idea where it came from or why. It turns out people with an urge to rant wanted to be elevated above their audience, so they grabbed a box to stand on. Allegedly the first of these wooden boxes had the word, “Soap” painted on it. I bet you didn’t expect to be educated while reading this, did you? 🙂

I mention the soapbox because I’ve got a bit of a rant coming on. Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep it light and humorous. A reviewer who’s been helping me catalog my books in Shelfari emailed me today to let me know that another author got pissy with her and complained to the admins. This author claims she screwed up some ISBNs on his or her books when putting them on Shelfari. She’s unaware of the discrepancy and requested details so she could fix it herself, but her status has been removed because of it.

Okay, so let’s put this in another context. Say a doctor accidentally removed a kidney instead of an inflamed appendix, then said appendix went septic and killed somebody. Wow, yeah, that doctor should probably have their license yanked. I mean, that’s the kind of threat we’re talking about here, right?

Or maybe the reviewer in question isn’t getting paid to do this. Maybe she’s just trying to help people out because she likes to help. Maybe she wasn’t drinking heavily while operating on the books in question and she was doing exactly what her records indicated she should be doing. And did I mention no body parts, internal or otherwise, were missing because of this incident?

In an unrelated bit of nonsense, I looked up fellow writer with whom I’ve secretly been competing against for some time now. This author doesn’t know it, and due to the genre differences and extra writing availability on their part I may never catch up, but that’s not going to stop me! Anyhow, I checked out some of this person’s books and found very positive reviews on the erotica stories she’d written AND higher prices. Case in point, multiple books are priced at $2.99 but are only approximately 50 pages long. Now flash back to my Vitalis books, some of which are only 50 pages long and they’re priced at $.99 – yet the reviews state they are great stories but so short they only merited a crappy rating. WTF?! I repeat, WTF?

Between the two incidents I’m reminded of a George Carlin quote, “Think about how stupid the average person is. Now realize that half of the people out there are even dumber!” I firmly believe that all of my readers are in the upper 50%, so I’m catering to a tougher crowd. I’m okay with that too because I love a challenge, it’s inspiring and it drives me to perform better. Case in point, I’m planning on my current Vitalis book to be well beyond that length.

And now the soapbox is empty – who wants it?

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to learn about him, his books, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

  1. August 13, 2012 at 14:11

    Hmmm, seems there are more trolls than YouTube can handle these days… Everybody seems to be upset about something these days, and it usually hurt feelings or like your reviewer gets booted. It stinks and I feel for her.

    I know what you mean though about the latter. Recently I was told by Smashwords that my anthology that I did for a charity for child soldiers cannot be included in the Premium catalog for distro to Amazon et al. In fact they told me that they wished me to unpublish it because Smashwords does not publish incomplete works.


    Tell that to the 500 new pubs every day (mostly erotica) that are 1500 words and are trying to sell them for 14.99. I guarantee they aren’t selling anything, and are very lucky if they have enough story to them to even feel complete. You and I both know, it’s hard to fit a decent story into 1500 words.

    Anyway thanks for the soapbox Jason, hope all is going well for you these days!

    • August 13, 2012 at 14:16

      Smashwords is a special place. And by special I mean challenging (or challenged). A great opportunity, to be sure, but also far more complicated on us and to themselves than they need to be. C’est la vie – we’re but rats dancing to the tune of the piper in many cases.

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