Friday, August 2, 2013

Honor Among... Writers?

First, let me shamelessly promote myself.  To The Bone is free on Amazon for the next several days, and if you don't have it yet, you should go get it!  It has a new cover, a bit more "noir" feeling that I like a lot.  Please feel free to let me know what you think. :)

And now for bloggity stuff.

This isn't my first post about writers and the importance (at least it's important as I see it) of honestly dealing with readers.  Awhile back, there was a big shit-hitting-the-fan kind of explosion as people found out about authors paying for positive reviews of their books.  I talked about it while it was all going down, you can see what I had to say HERE

My opinion hasn't really changed.  I think buying positive reviews is shady, and certainly akin to lying to the people you are asking to pay for your work.  If you don't believe in your books, don't publish them.

That's enough about that, I've already said my piece.  However, there is something else going on right now that I find equally shitty, and I wanna talk about it.

I posted on a very popular writers' website that I would love to give some free copies of my books out for honest reviews.  Let's be real here, my "honesty is the best policy" policy isn't magically bringing people in to read and review my stuff, and I'm okay with that.  The road is long and all that, and I'm ready to trudge and toil in obscurity for as long as I need to.  But if I can give out a few books and get some folks to say whether they loved or hated them, I'm gonna give it a shot.

I got a few responses back, and they all pretty much looked like the one I'm going to share.

I'm not going to say the name of the site, or the author who contacted me, but I am going to share what was said in one of the emails I got.

"Dear Ken

I write to you after read you post on (redacted) Also I enter to you blog just1writer and felt in love with your 2 beautiful dogs (my wife and I have a girl/princess/daughter dog that we rescued from the streets 15 years ago! Her name is (redacted)!).

First of all I want to wish the best for your new book TO THE BONE. 
I am an author too and I would enjoy to share with you my new thriller/sci fi  novel, (redacted)
I am willing to reciprocate with you a positive and great review on Amazon  and want to help you to share my enthusiasm with potencial readers. As I know that maybe you are very busy with your own project to read the full version of the book,  I propose to you if you want, doing the following:

This week I am going to read the Look Inside of TO THE BONE and I write a kind and positive review on your Amazon book's page, and then it would be very valuable and helpful for me if you could do the same. My book's link is (redacted)
When I post the review, I will send to you my user for you to know!!

If you want to know more about me and my work, this is my website where you can see the book trailer (redacted) and also the Look Inside on Amazon too.

Let me know if you accept! Anything that you need, tell me and would be a pleasure to help you!"
Gee, this guy seems really nice.  He reached out, mentioned my blog and my dogs, shared a little about himself, and offered to review my book.  Well, at least the first two or three pages of my bookAnd to be honest, the first few pages are really good...  So, I decided to take a look at what the guy was selling.

The book he asked me to "review" has 22 reviews already, 18 of which are 5 stars.  

I'm a suspicious type.  I can't help it.  I don't wanna begrudge this guy anything, but if he's made this stupendous offer to me, I'm guessing he's made it to someone else as well.  I wonder how many someone elses there have been.  Maybe, his book is fantastic and all of his reviewers are honest and read the entire book and just want to let people know how great it really is.  Or, in a worst case scenario, maybe none of those folks have read the book, and everyone lied in order to get a five star review of their own.

I'm not a moron.  I hope.  I know that sometimes people lie.  Advertisements lie, book sellers lie, publishers and readers lie, my mom lied to me, your mom lied to me, (tehe, mom jokes) and even television and internet news sources lie.  Everybody lies sometimes.  I get that having a dozen fake five star reviews makes your book look better than having one or two real four or five star reviews does.

Those reviews mean the difference in lots of ways.  Sites like BookBub won't let you give them your money if you don't have several good reviews already.  Some people won't read a book that doesn't have X number of reviews when they cruise the page.  And some folks just want to know that someone else thought it was worth their time to read your work.

Plus, when you're unknown, it can take years to build a fanbase, and who's got the time for that?!

But I still stand by what I said last time.  If you don't believe that your work can stand on its own, don't publish it.  Keep working on it, keep meeting people, keep tweeting and tumbling and facebooking, keep editing, and keep writing.  I don't think it's cool to lie to potential readers.

I never will think it's cool.  Asking folks to review your book is one thing.  Asking people to lie is another.  It's shady and shitty and dirty.  

Ok, that's it for this one I guess.  Maybe next week I'll tell you all the ways that I'm a dirtbag, but this week I'm feeling so fresh and so clean clean.

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then