Stones To Abbigale

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Stones To Abbigale, original cover
Stones to Abbigale, or STA, is Greg's first published novel. It was released in early 2015 and is available on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes.

Greg originally listed as a coming-of-age novel, but multiple reviewers complained the main character did not seem to grow up or change by the end of the novel. Greg had changed to be listed as a contemporary romance novel by the summer of 2015.

Plot

Stones To Abbigale is about a teenage boy named James (Greg's middle name). James falls for a troubled girl named Abbi and they face many tragedies and hardships together.

Pre-Release

On October 4, 2014, Greg announced on Twitter that he wrote a book and it's been sitting on his desk for months. He said he still needs to edit it and jokes it will be out in 10 years. (Source) The next mention of this book was on November 8, 2014. Greg announced on Twitter he has free time and will be working on his book. His release date goal is December 31, 2014. (Source) Greg's last mention of the book before its release was on November 30, 2014. He announced on Twitter that he completed the first edit of the book and will need two more edits before release. (Source)

Release

Greg released the book on March 29, 2015 through Amazon as a self published kindle ebook. He listed "Onision" as the author, publisher, and editor. He also listed "Lainey" as an editor. He first announced it through Twitter, not giving a link to the book or revealing its name. He says this was because he was too afraid, despite his history of releasing literature to the web. (Source)

Promotion

To promote the hardcover copy of his book, Greg would post images from fans that have purchased the book to his Twitter and Tumblr. At first they were pictures of the book fans posted, eventually it became selfies of fans holding the book up or reading the book. He continued re-tweeting these images for months.

Description Change

A few of the first Amazon reviews to trickle in the first couple of days complained that the Amazon book description gave away too much of the plot and was a turn off. Greg re-posted one of these reviews on his Tumblr on March 30th. He complained that the reviewer left a negative review, but never even read the book. (Source) Shortly after, Greg changed the book description to not give away any of the story at all. He reveals the story is not purely fiction, but loosely based on his own life.

Original Description

James is an analytical teenager who has yet to truly understand love until he begins talking to a girl named Abbi. Abbi is the same age and has a complicated past that James learns more about as their relationship progresses.

The two go through a number of challenges together, many more traumatic and difficult than most people experience in a lifetime.

James finds himself defending Abbi both verbally and physically. The depth of love he feels for her is tested repeatedly but James remains strong always standing with Abbi, through it all.

New Description

I want to be direct, my name is Greg. I go by “Onision” online. This book is made up of events that occurred in my own life mixed with fiction from the made up life of James.

James is essentially a better version of myself. His home, his school & his life all resemble my own at his age. The people James analyzes and is surrounded by are not so unlike those I’ve known as well.

I have experienced much of the loss James has however his happier moments are more often than not also mine.

I want to share my story without it being purely non-fiction. I simply felt this approach would make for a far better book.

Stones To Abbigale is not a book I wrote, it is a piece of who I am.

Cover Changes

Greg holding up Stones To Abbigale v2.
On March 31, 2015, Greg posted a picture to Twitter of himself wearing a blood soaked white outfit, ((Spoiler)) the outfit his character Seth wore to shoot up Lakewood High. ((End Spoiler)) He revealed he just completed a photo-shoot for the new cover of his book. (Source)

That night, he revealed the new cover of Stones To Abbigale, which would also become the cover for the release of the hard copy of the book. The new front cover was very similar to the original, white with blood splats and bloody words. The back continued the blood soaked cloth background, but also had Greg dressed as Seth holding a gun. His head is cut off at the top of the page.

There were some complaints about the cover change. One was that the text was hard to read. Another was that it was too similar to the book covers of David Moody's Hater series.

On April 13, 2015, Greg changed the cover to Stones To Abbigale for a second time. This time, the cover features Taylor dressed as Abbi. Taylor, like Greg, does not show her face in this cover. Greg only changed the front cover this time, keeping the back of the book with Seth and blood.

Greg claims the second cover change was due to the previous cover being too bloody. (Source)

By July 2015, Greg had changed the back cover to match the new cover and feature Taylor's back, getting rid of the Seth imagery all together.

Price Changes

When the book was released as an ebook on Amazon, it was priced $5.99 USD. When the hard copy released, Greg priced it at $9.99. He eventually sold it on iTunes as an ebook for $9.99 and eventually raised the ebook price on Amazon to $9.99 as well. When he released it on Google Play, he priced it for $2.99. On August 6, 2015, Greg says in a video that Amazon contacted him because they were not happy his ebook had a lower priced option on Google Play. He says instead of raising Google's price, he lowered Amazon's price to $2.51 as well as dropping the price on iTunes to 2.99. ($ource) The decision to do this might have also been to promote sales two days before the pre-order to his second book, This Is Why I Hate You went live.

Greg stated several times he did not write the book for money. (Source) In fact, when the book was initially released, he often commented on its poor sales. (Source) It seems over time, the book became increasingly more popular amongst his fans.

Book Feedback

Stones To Abbigale received very mixed reviews, although a common complaint from fans and critics of the book was the constant grammar errors. Some readers loved the book, some going as far as to say it was the best book they have ever read. Others greatly disliked the book.

Common complaints amongst negative reviewers, aside from the grammar, included under developed characters, unlikable main character and characters that just seem to just get over a series of tragic and horrifically violent events.

Overall, there were more positive than negative reviews on Amazon. Stones To Abbigale maintains around a 3 1/2 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and a high rating on iTunes.

Response to Negative Reviews

Greg proving Seth is an interesting character.
Greg would re-post some of the Amazon reviews to his social media. He would say negative reviews were made by people that did not read the whole book and to thank the more positive reviews. He also would re-tweet all positive feedback on Twitter about the book. Greg stated he believes people leave negative reviews because they dislike him and not because there is anything wrong with the book. He believes the reviews for the book would have been better if he did not put his name on it. (Source)

On March 31, 2015, Greg uploaded "Why Are People Such Jerks Online?" to his Speaks channel. In the beginning of the video, he shows a one star review from Amazon. He starts off by showing how he tells negative reviewers to "go fuck themselves" by rating their review as "not helpful". He accuses the reviewer of not reading his book because they called his characters boring. He proves his characters are not boring by showing off his Seth costume. The reviewer stated "the plot can be summed up as whiny teen angst". Greg says if they actually read the book, they would know how wrong they really are. ($ource)

Facebook Controversy

Many Facebook commenters reading Greg's statuses about Stones To Abbigale were not pleased with, what some stated as, immature or hypocritical behavior on Greg's part. They believed Greg was showing he could not take criticism. Others pointed out Greg said he hadn't read a book in 14 years, except Stones To Abbigale. (Source) Some were also not impressed when Greg pointed out it was the best book some readers have ever read. (Source)

For a while, Greg's Facebook went relatively untouched by Greg's censorship of critics possibly due to him concentrating on other social media platforms at the time. When Greg noticed the comments aimed at criticizing his reaction to negative reviews, he went on a blocking and deleting spree. He then posted many rants about how useless Facebook commenters are and how he does not care about hate. (Source)

Greg lost a number of fans throughout the process of him calling out Amazon reviewers and Facebook commenters. Some believed Greg was being hypocritical because he criticizes a lot of people and things on his channels, but he appeared not to be able to maturely take criticism of his own work.

Inspiration

Stones To Abbigale v3
Right after releasing the 3rd cover to STA, Greg was asked on his forums how much of STA really happened to Greg. (Source) He replied:
1. I did know a girl named Abbi.

2. I did write her that letter.

3. She did have an abusive boyfriend (verbally at least).

4. I did lose my best friend in high school (technically after). He actually was basically my only friend for most of HS... just like the character in the book.

5. I did get beat up in High School, that entire scenario was extremely close to what happened to me, only there was an earth quake when I was in the nurses office... I thought it would throw readers off if I included that... reality in this case was just too much.

6. I did have a teacher and guidance counselor who admired me in High School. My guidance counselor and my English teacher were both very supportive. Ms. Robertson was originally written to be just like my actual counselor but I later turned her into someone entirely different in the book.

7. My mom did date a few men when I was in High School.

8. My sister did have boy troubles as well, similar to how I wrote it.

9. The room James lived in was identical to mine, though I didn't describe it too much. The home he lived in was the same as well.

10. I did deal with someone in high school much like James put up with Jason.

11. I actually did know a guy who sat next to me who peed in a jar, who was socially defective, just like the character in James' art class.

12. I did have a principal in school that acted just like Principal Leeman... only mine was in Middle School. I had a few problems at that school and ran into the Leeman character quite a bit.

13. I did read dramatic letters from my girlfriends throughout high school and did accept them despite their flaws... really the only thing I didn't forgive was being cheated on, which as you know, Abbi did not cheat on James but in real life I was cheated on.

14. I did have to deal with people sexually harassing my girlfriends.

15. I did skate to school.

16. Many events that happened behind that church happened in some form to me... some more intense.

...I could go on but it think you get it... James is a better version of myself, like I described before.

Amazon Review Spam

On August 5, 2015, Greg told his viewers to mention Jurassic Park in Stones To Abbigale's iTunes reviews. This may have been to encourage reviews of his book on iTunes because at the time it only had three reviews. A couple of viewers left silly dinosaur related reviews on the STA Amazon page. Greg began to promote this behavior by Tweeting pictures and praising the users that left the reviews. The next day, in a video, he said he wants to prove how flawed the Amazon review system is and challenged his fans to spam STA's Amazon reviews with reviews about dinosaurs. He also dictated a long review about how STA is hotter than 50 Shades of Grey for fans to post on Amazon. This resulted in hundreds of five star spam reviews on Amazon and Stones To Abbigale's star rank to go up to 4 full stars. (Source) This may have been a way to get attention on his book the day before his second book, This Is Why I Hate You, went up for pre-order.