Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Sorry?...

I'm a little stunned.

You guys know me, I don't always comment on your blogs, but when I see something you've posted and it hits me like a ton of bricks, I have to add my two cents.

So here it is.

First of all, let me just link you to this post here about an indie author who went on a review rant. This post will link to another where you can see the details of it all.

Second, let me state right here and now that if I offered up to review your book and haven't AND you have not heard from me about it. I'm sorry.

Last thing I need is someone listing me as their source of angst. I mean... I can be, but not in this instance!

Now for the rest of my two cents. It doesn't matter if you are an indie author or traditionally published author. If you ask me to review your book (because hey, I've reviewed books here) please keep in mind that I have stuff to do with my own book, my work, my family. Even with *gasp!* other books. If I can't finish your book, for whatever reason, I will try again. If I still can't, I will email you. Personally, I don't like to give a bad review. I'll give you my review in private if it comes to that point, not for all the world to see simply because I know how hard it is to shake off negativity.

I also am seeing a trend in some of the indie authors out there (not that any of them have contacted me personally) that have the frame of mind that they're somehow better than traditionally published authors. Writers as a whole are pretty humble creatures. We don't expect anything or think we're entitled to special treatment because we write. So why have that attitude? Are you so jaded by the publishing industry that you would turn on your readers and fellow authors? If that's the case, stop writing and find something else to do. Otherwise, stop whining and work on your book. Hire an editor, join a critique group, make your self published book the best it can be to avoid getting bad reviews.

I try to review books I read, whether asked to do the review or not. If I like the book, I am going to review it. There were a couple of reviews I did that were not glowing, rave reviews when I was helping another reviewer on their blog, but I didn't enjoy posting them. I did contact the person I was helping and said, "I can't do this anymore, some of these books are soooo bad!"

If indie authors want to maintain respect, let me suggest that you act in a professional manner. Act like a published author! Don't call people thieves or liars if they did not review your book. Not everyone will contact you if they don't like your work, they'll just drop it, ignore you and hope you'll go away. If you really want that bad review, it can be done. But why would you?

Tips on professionalism:

* Politely email the people and ask if they've had a chance to read your work, if not, when can they do so? If they have, but didn't like your material, either thank them for their time or ask for constructive criticism.

* Don't bad mouth people, their blogs, their books, etc. Karma will come back to you. People will see you acting petty and think, "Wow, I am NOT going to read their book if they're going to be like this..."

* What you post on the internet will find a way to remain on here FOREVER. So, with that in mind... THINK about what you post before you post it. I'm sure I have stuff out there I would LOVE to take down...

* Treat people how you want to be treated. The Golden Rule. If someone offers up a review of your book, offer one in return if they are a writer. If they're not a writer, link to their blog or website. Support the people that support YOU. However, if they don't follow through on their review promise, don't get pissy. Again, politely email them and say, "Hey, you promised a review for a review. If you are unable to review my book, I will not be able to uphold the deal we had." Of course... maybe try not to sound so rude... But people will read things online in their own voice and you may end up coming across snarky anyway. So begin with "I'm not trying to be rude."

Overall, no one is entitled to anything more than anyone else in this business. Yes, indie authors seem to have a harder time of it because of the route they choose. But I know several indie authors and respect the hell out of them because of taking this route. I also respect them because they ACT PROFESSIONALLY. No matter what route you take, this is a difficult enough of an industry as it is, why add to it? Writers have been pretty good about supporting their fellow writers. I really don't see a need for such competitiveness in this field because readers will choose what they like, no matter what. Not everyone is going to like your book to begin with and it isn't your job to force them to like it. Take it in stride.

And I hope everyone reminds me of this when I get my bad reviews. Hehe!

Do you have anything to add to this? Did I not review a book for you and contact you? By all means, leave comments. Not the best way to start off the week, but hope you all have a good week regardless.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mel, well said!!! Wow. Sadly I know bloggers and authors who don't follow the Golden Rule and from both sides of the fence.
This is awesome - can I like to it for the Ninja News on Wednesday?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! You covered this tricky area beautifully.

Remain professional - always.

Mel Chesley said...

@ Alex ~ Thank you. And absolutely.

@ Donna~ Thank you as well!

I'm a Golden Rule kind of girl, things like this really get to me.

Carol Phipps said...

Bravo! Well said, Mel. I'm sorry, however, to hear that writers out there can be so mean spirited and rude. It certainly won't get them anywhere in this business. and you, get bad revues? Lady, you can write and anyone who says otherwise is just jealous!


Mel Chesley said...

Aww thanks Carol! Now I blush. :D

But seriously, I know not everyone will love what I write and I expect and respect that. I can say the same of others. Not everyone likes fantasy.

Nicholas said...

Rule #1 - Don't mess with my "little Sister"
Rule #2 - I'm a patient man
Rule #3 - Remember rules 1 and 2.

Unknown said...

I agree that calling out reviewers like that is completely out of order. I know of a few occasions where my backlog has become so big I've had to completely drop a book because I've not been able to read it in time. I feel bad about doing so, but I feel worse for those reviewers who've been 'named and shamed'. Not professional at all.

Mel Chesley said...

@ Nicholas ~ :P

@ Jamie~ Exactly. Things happen and it is up to the person doing the review to inform the writer. If the reviewer doesn't get back, the writer has every right to contact said person. But don't be rude. I feel bad when I can't get to a book as promised or can't fulfill any aspect of the review. But I do keep in contact to the best of my ability.

Ciara said...

I've witnessed such behavior. It's sad and hurts the profession. Well stated.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That's such great advice. I'm avoided certain blogs because of rants that are really unprofessional.

Mel Chesley said...

I've seen a couple of rants on blogs as well that are pretty bad. I either stop following or wait a week and give them a chance to apologize for their rantings.

Nicki Elson said...

I heard about this. I don't think it's so much about the guy being an indie author as about him being unstable. I mean, how could any rational adult expect to get 100% response to every single book sent out for review? Who expects to get 100% response to anything sent out there in the world, right? But clearly, this individual is not rational.

Mel Chesley said...

I agree, Niccki. He is not quite right in the head. Sadly, the fact that he's an indie author has had its repercussions.

Jennifer Lane said...

Somehow we forget the adage "Life is unfair" when we've written a novel, I guess. ;) I agree with Nicki that the review process can feel unfair, and that's life!

I feel very honored when another author takes time out of his/her busy schedule to review my novel, and I definitely try to do the same in return. But life can get in the way.

Mel Chesley said...

If I pick up a book and like it, I'm going to write a review about it on my blog. If a fellow author asks for a review, I won't turn them down unless it isn't my cup of tea. I don't ever expect anything of the sort in return, but would always appreciate any review I can get. Even the bad ones.
But yeah, life tends to get crazy, doesn't mean we have to react so badly when something of this sort isn't done. Reviews are helpful. In the end, the reader is what makes or breaks an author.