If you couldn’t be bothered reading my post, just check out K. J. Charles‘s handy flowchart. It’s set out in an easy-to-understand format, with simple questions that’ll help you decide what’s really important to you and what to – or NOT to – do about it.
This flowchart is vital, because now is a really awkward time in author/public relations. And despite what some “reports” claim, it isn’t a matter of being “pro-author” or “pro-reviewer”, or “anti-author” or “anti-reviewer”.
I kind of hate labels. I like urban fantasy and futuristic fiction, but I do NOT like EVERY urban fantasy or futuristic book. You know when people share images of “bookshelf porn”, such as the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast? They don’t interest me, because likely the Beast’s collection doesn’t include particular books I want to read.
And I dislike labels such as “troll”, and especially “bully”. I particularly hate the label “gangster bully”. (Remember when I was “under investigation as part of an international gang”? No police or authority ever contacted me, though.)
Usually I don’t care when authors act out/misbehave/whatnot, because they’re mostly authors of whom I’ve never heard, or whom I have no interest in reading. But lately authors I HAVE heard of, and HAVE planned to read, have been…saying/doing stuff that I oppose, and when I see other authors liking their comments, supporting them, say they’re looking forward to the new book…
It’s sad, because I know I can’t fully enjoy their (the “misbehaving” authors and their supporters whom are also authors) books, knowing what I know. I’d rather know than NOT know, of course – informed decisions, et al.
When it’s STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU DON’T READ REVIEWS OF YOUR OWN WORK, that’s not said lightly. It’s not to be mean – it’s for your own benefit. Sure, every author can handle reading five-star reviews, and likely four-star reviews, too. But when they read three-star reviews, and lower, their tone can totally change. I’ve seen authors respond to every review of their book/s on Amazon, and the three-star-or-fewer reviews are met with comments of accusations, interrogations, and demands from the book’s authors and fans. (Usually the fans are worse about it than the author, though not always.)
When you’re NOT a sycophant, your reviews are responded to differently:
–Did you mention typos and grammatical mistakes? “You must provide the author with a full, detailed list of every occurrence, including page number, along with your suggested corrections.” Or: -“You should’ve paid attention to the story, not its presentation.”
–Did you mention being bored? “This is the most exciting book ever.”
–Did you mention that the “love interest” is creepy, a stalker, and sometimes downright abusive – psychologically, if not physically? “The love interest is totally romantic and the hottest, dreamiest character ever. He is my book boyfriend.”
–Did you mention historical inaccuracies? “You weren’t alive at the time!”
–Did you mention that there are entire chapters of walking and talking, with nothing that moves the plot forward? “Those are the most riveting scenes ever.”
–Did you mention the lead character is TSTL and always has to be rescued? “She is totally relatable, and a perfect role model for teen girls everywhere.”
–Did you mention the lead character is so cruel and dismissive to the other female characters? “She’s a total feminist, and the other girls are just jealous haters.”
–Did you mention that the novel isn’t 100% awesome in every single way? “You’re just a jealous hater, and trying to bring down the career of someone more awesome than you’ll ever be.” Or: -“You’re a troll/hater/bully/bitch/dick.”
Luckily, my reviews only very rarely bring out an author’s sycophants. Maybe that’s due to my choice of authors and books, but who knows? I’m grateful, of course, that I can rate and review usually without being bothered. I certainly wouldn’t go up to anyone else’s review to tell them they’re wrong. Your space is your space, and my space is my space. It’s only when people encroach on other people’s space that trouble begins.
REVIEWS ARE FOR CONSUMERS, NOT FOR THE PRODUCT’S CREATOR. Whether they’re written anonymously, pseudonymously, or under the reviewer’s complete and legal name is irrelevant. Some people signing a particular petition claim that Amazon should bring in terms of condition that people may only review under their real name (i.e. the name on the credit card they use for the site), as this will stop the “gangster bullies”. If that’s true, it’s not only some of the one-, two-, or three-star reviews that will disappear – some of the five- and four-star reviews will go, too. Because apparently you consider those “positive” reviews also “gangster bullying”, if the reviewer is anonymous or pseudonymous.
–Consumers will lose, because they won’t see a wide variety of reviews from a wide variety of sources.
–Reviewers will lose, because they have less chance of finding a “reviewer soul-mate”, someone whose likes and dislikes are so in tune with yours that you trust you’ll love the books they love, and so on.
–Authors will lose, because fewer reviews will mean less visibility. (Or something about algorithms, but I really dislike when authors/publicists use that word, because it makes everyone less human and more of a number, and that’s really freaking insulting.)
–Publishers will lose, because there’ll be fewer “praise” and blurbs to include in promotional material. Fewer bloggers will help publicise or promote, because if they’re pseudonymous the author won’t want their help or support, anyway.
–Sales will lose, because if you know an author dismisses you because you’re anonymous or pseudonymous, then you won’t want to buy the product.
On the other hand, if Amazon goes real-names-only, then blogs will be more popular and important than ever. So that’s a positive. Though consumers will have to turn to Googling to find these reviews. Which means the consumer loses again, because perhaps they couldn’t be bothered researching, which probably means they couldn’t be bothered purchasing. So that one positive isn’t really a positive.
But hey – if it keeps certain authors and their sycophants happy, that’s the important thing, right? Especially considering the high-profile author who publicised this petition has a new novel from an old series coming out later this year, and people are more likely to buy your book if it seems like you care about a “cause”, or whatever…
And if you’re not a sycophant of that author? You’re a “gangster bully”.
Interrogating the Critics from the Wrong Perspective
Death of the Author