Things I Shouldn’t Say …
I am going to make enemies writing this post, but I have decided that I don’t care. This topic has been on my mind lately, as there has been an excessive amount of drama going on between authors (mostly of the Indie variety) and reviewers (mostly of the book-loving, honest variety).
I’m usually the type to stay out of most of it (though if you know me in certain arenas, you know I’ll speak my piece about it). But there are some things that I just need to say sometimes, even if my life would be easier if I didn’t.
Today on Facebook, several of the writers I’ve liked or followed over time have been sharing a picture titled something about supporting your favorite author.
I’m fine with that up to a point. I shared a picture a week or two ago with general suggestions on how to support indie authors if you’re so inclined. But the one today rubbed me the wrong way. And it was because, as these things often tend to do, it stepped over the line — going on and on about how being a writer is such a sacrifice, time away from family, having to market, not making any money, blah, blah, blah … and the least readers can do is press the like button, and leave *high* star ratings. Yes, it specifically clarified that star ratings should be high, even going on to make sure readers know that a single negative review can “tear an author down.”
And, dear readers, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry there are authors out there who feel entitled to demand something of you (especially when you’ve already given them your money — or even just your time, which is actually the more valuable of the two.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy as can be when someone presses the “like” button on Amazon on one of my books, and over the moon when someone takes the time to write a review. I’m appreciative and grateful. But I don’t expect it of you. It’s enough for me if you’re willing to sample my work. If you enjoy it and drop me a note about it — you have no idea how much it makes my day, every single time, every single message.
Even if you didn’t enjoy my work, and you choose to leave a negative review — I do NOT begrudge you that. I still appreciate your taking the time to try, and even more your time to share that experience with other readers who might share your tastes. Period, end of story.
As for authors — please stop. Writing is something you chose to do. Putting it up for sale, whether you have a publisher or not, is a business decision. I don’t care if it took you thirty years to write it while you ignored your children and your hair fell out from lack of washing it because you were glued to your computer screen. Readers don’t OWE you anything. Stop with the “give something back to me” routine. Stop taking negative reviews as personal attacks (yes, even if the big meanie said that your book sounds like it was written by a third grader).
Stop playing games and defending other authors whose books you haven’t even read. Stop writing fake reviews for each other, and recruiting ten thousand people to click like on your book, and tagging your books with the names of famous people.
It’s insulting to readers, and it’s insulting to the rest of us authors who are trying to connect with readers instead of playing games.
I know this is a long diatribe, and I’m sorry. If you took the time to read it, thanks. I’m sure I’ll be attacked for it. I’ll probably even get negative reviews on my books from “anonymous” folks who want to make me put my money where my mouth is (though the sad part is, it’ll be from other authors, not from readers).
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to readers everywhere who want to be in love with stories, and not the people behind them, and thank you, too, to the (many, many) professional authors out there who also want to keep it real.