Friday, August 10, 2012

Really? You Don't Read Reviews and Money Doesn't Matter??

I had to forcibly stop myself from joining in on a group giving advice to a newer writer. Most said what I was thinking but a few were way off. I decided to spill here because hey, it's my blog, and I can go crazy if I want to.

I have to laugh when I read other more experienced authors telling the new kids on the block not to worry about reviews. What author out there doesn't read reviews? Come on. It's human nature to want to know what others think of your work. The key is not letting reviews bother you. Good or bad, it's one person's opinion, and we've all got different ones. I've written over sixty books and I still like to know what the general feel is about a book. The bad reviews I ignore. The good ones I try to post to Amazon, to generate buzz. If I like the book I wrote, that's all that really matters to me. Sorry, but it's true.

Another funny piece of advice I read: don't worry about making money, just write. Well, in theory that's nice. If you have a day job or some other means of supporting yourself, and you write just for the hell of it, that's terrific advice. Realistically, money has to be at some point in mind when writing to make a living. Now, I don't sit down and see dollar signs when my characters are doing their thing, but the knowledge that I have a deadline is there, because if I don't turn in my book on time, my publisher might not publish my work, and I need that paycheck for bills, etc. It all runs together. I'm also not writing an erotic, Amish, futuristic vampire western. Why? Because it won't sell to my audience--not a money-maker. I might write it for fun for myself, but only when I have time, and that's a precious commodity I have very little of lately.

New authors tend to get very excited about piracy. About reviews. About everything. I know. I was a new author, and now I'm not. I also don't claim to know everything about the writing industry. It amuses me to see so many experts who don't seem to know all that much. Those who claim prices on books don't matter, because readers are loyal to publishers and will buy anything they put out, are talking smack. That's crap. Plain and simple. I'm a book addict, and I know many like me. We care about price, people. I refuse to pay seven dollars or more for an ebook. (Okay, I bought a new Jayne Ann Krentz for 12.99 once, so sue me.) It's an electronic book. I don't think I should have to pay that much for the publisher's office, coffee mess, and personnel fees. I understand costs related to cover art, editing, formatting and distribution. But my personal cap is six bucks, and that's pushing it for a 100K plus word  novel. There are some readers who will buy whatever an author puts out, because they like the author. But I think pricing influences sales, and you can't convince me otherwise.

Bottom line to new authors: You will get bad reviews. You will be pirated, but the people stealing your work weren't going to pay for it anyway. So you're not losing money, and karma is a bitch. Expensive books don't sell as well as cheaper books unless you already have a huge following. JK Rowling has no problem selling, true. How many writers make millions every year? Very, very few.

Authors helping authors is a wonderful thing. But writers who act like God's gift on the subject of writing are just silly.  No one knows everything, and the entire profession is based on subjectivity. Authors should question their publishers, their editors, or critique partners about things that don't make sense to them. Too many times I've seen writers bury their heads in the sand for fear of payback. Well, I'm just going to say it. There is no blacklisting in ebooks. Granted, if you act like an asshat on the loops, readers, writers and professionals will remember your name as that idiot who rants a lot, but asking about late pay, website problems, distribution errors, and the like are legitimate concerns.

I think all of the above applies to writers and nonwriters. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself despite the consequences. Some bosses are idiots, and sometimes coworkers act with the maturity second graders. But if you keep your head above water and do what you know is right, everything works out. That karma thing again. 


Susan said...

I'm not a writer so I've only got a comment on the part about the price of ebooks. I agree with you!!! It's an ebook so why does it need to cost as much or more than a paperback??? Besides, I don't know of any reader that's loyal to publishers. Heck, I don't even pay attention to who the publisher is! LOL!

Once a publisher starts printing an authors' books in hardback halfway through a series I start losing interest in the series because if I have to wait a year for the book I'm not paying $25-30 for it. Or $12.99 for an ebook. Now having said that, the only author I will do that for is Ward and her BDB. But those books are addictive! LOL!!!

I have so found so many authors who only do small print or self publish or ebooks that cost less than $8 that are awesome! I've actually lost track of several traditionally published authors because I'm not paying their publishers price when there are so many other authors who's work is as good or better and more reasonably priced.

Sarah Raplee said...

I agree with you on all points, Marie! Not that I'm even published, but I have been learning about the industry for eight years.

D. McCollum D. McCollum said...

You are so right! Unless writing is just a hobby you need to be paid for your work. As far as e-book costs, I agree with Susan and you, I'm not paying over $6.00 for an e-book. I won't be buying Amanda Quick(my favorite author's books except as a print book)or Nora, etc as e-books. One thing I don't think authors realize is when I buy an e-book I can't lend it to be read. I know e-books can be lent for two weeks, but the people, my family, that I would lend to are too busy to finish a book in two weeks! And many times by lending a book I garner a new fan who will go out and by more books by that author. Just my two cents!!