So This Came in an Author’s Newsletter…

[title redacted] was released with the same lack of fanfare as most of my other efforts and thus didn’t really get the shot at a wide audience many think it deserved. What that means is, very few reviews, goodreads adds and not a lot of word of mouth. This has been a pretty standard feature of my career: work hard to get a book out and it barely blips. Later on, when people hear that I had a book release, they’re undoubtedly shocked. “I love your books, why didn’t I hear anything about it?”

*Image from here.

Okay, so what they wrote isn’t reasonable cause for my sudden rage – rather, it’s just the last straw of something that’s been bothering me for a while, building up inside me until I finally decided to fully share now.

I’m farking tired of authors blaming their readers for a book’s failure to “succeed”. We’re on your side, yet you’re blaming us. We do what we can to promote your work without being spammy. I share cover art when it’s released, pre-order links when they go up, book info if I get it all in time before I share the monthly releases, rate books when I read them, review books if I have something to say. If you have a guest post, I’d be happy to host it.

I’m doing all a reader can do without spamming. I don’t want to spam, because that’s against my ethics. Perhaps my ethics are standing in the way of your “success”. I’m not apologising for that.

I don’t pirate. I don’t illegally download. If I get a free book, it’s via borrowing from the library, or being approved on NetGalley and Edelweiss. Due to budgeting, I can only afford to purchase books via Amazon Associates credit, and I spend it on the least expensive items on my list (most of the credit goes towards international postage out to Australia).

I can currently only read eBooks on my laptop, and in an un-airconditioned Australian summer, I’m spending less time on my laptop to keep my temperature down. Because I’m not fast enough with my reading, a lot of stuff from NetGalley and Edelweiss expire before I can read them.

As for print books, I read library books first, because they have due dates. Want me to read your book faster? Donate a copy to my region of libraries, or any other regions in the consortium.

I don’t review every book I read, because I don’t have the energy for that. This month I’m trying to put together a collection of very brief thoughts on the books I haven’t reviewed.

I AM NOT BEING PAID FOR ANY OF THIS. Not reading, not reviewing, not blogging, not not-spamming. Maybe if I was being paid I’d give it more effort.

Please, PLEASE don’t be rude to the people who are on your side. We are trying our best. It may not be good enough for you.

Or maybe your book just doesn’t have mass appeal. Maybe it’s more niche. Maybe it’s NOT published by the big houses (Penguin, Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, Harlequin), so your book doesn’t have access to their wide resources of bringing your book to the reading community. Maybe your book is currently only published in eBook, and some readers (me included) only purchase print books.

When you blame your readers for your lack of “success”, you make us…not want to be your readers anymore. We prefer authors who appreciate their readers, instead of constantly informing us that we’re not doing enough to “spread the word”. When we feel good about ourselves, we’re usually happy to go above and beyond the call of duty. (Reminder: WE’RE NOT BEING PAID FOR ANY OF THIS, so anything we do IS above and beyond the call of duty.)

So maybe we’re not good enough for you. And when you behave like this, maybe you’re also not good enough for us. In which case maybe we should agree to disagree.

I’ll still read and review your books, though, when I can. But not when you PROMPT me to. If I acquire your book through legal means, I don’t owe you anything. You don’t owe me anything, either.


5 responses to “So This Came in an Author’s Newsletter…

  1. I understand and sympathize with your frustration, if that’s what the author is implying. But personally (and this is my bias as an author, perhaps) it wouldn’t have occurred to me to interpret that paragraph as the author blaming readers for not doing more, but rather as blaming their publisher for not doing enough to let their readers know that the book exists. In my experience, I’ve seldom heard authors blame readers or bloggers for weak sales of their book. Usually, for good or ill, they see it as the publisher’s fault for not putting enough money and effort into promoting it.

    • Aye, that paragraph isn’t solely to blame, and I totally understand how my reaction seems like an overreaction to just that thing. Instead, it’s something that’s been building over time…

    • Thing is, their publisher (independent, so they’re small) has been promoting it: cover reveals and giveaways, I think. They put it on NetGalley. Because it’s an eBook, there’s likely been no instore advertising, or reviews in print newspapers. I think it’s niche, so may lack crossover appeal.

  2. Ah, I see. I hadn’t thought of the small independent publisher angle — you’re right, that does seem to put more stress on the reader / reviewer side of promotion, though I’m still not sure the author meant it that way. I think that rightly or wrongly, most authors think that only if their publisher promoted their books more aggressively and/or gave it the right cover, readers would flock to buy it. Because the alternative is to blame ourselves for not writing the right sort of book or writing it well enough to engage readers, and that’s unbearable.

  3. I also think it’s more a rant against the publisher. But either way, I think the tone is inappropriate for a newsletter with readers as the main audience. This is a complaint best aired with the author’s agent, editor or best friend.

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