Hi dear friends,
I am back again with a discussion topic for you! It was born from a private and very interesting discussion that I had last week with a FB friend and I would love having your intake on this topic!
Topic of the day: do author’s behavior influence your reading/buying experience? And do they have a duty to their readers?
My title is the good, the bad and the ugly because I’ll speak about certain “not so rosy” side of the publishing world AND I will also give rewards.
First thing first, let’s begin with the bad and the ugly.
I do tend to do my chores first then get my reward. Or eat the less favorite food on my plate and keep the best for the end. Yes I am that kind of girl 😀
The bad and the ugly: when author’s behavior totally deter me from reading them (anymore).
You won’t find names in this “bad” section as my purpose is not to bash but rather share some behaviors or strategies that I encountered or have been aware of that really put me off.
- Recently one author asked her team to buy her books after ARCs so it’s a verified purchase.
Let’s elaborate and give some context here. We all know that bloggers and sometimes readers get ARCs from authors and/or PR team/publishing houses. Are these ARCs simple gifts? Not really. As I said some weeks ago even if they can’t really hunt you if you don’t review the book it’s certain that you won’t get other ARCs if you don’t review them.
It’s a “win/win” as bloggers/readers get free books and authors get free publicity. Well with some nuances but go THERE to have them.
When said author is asking people who got the ARCs to buy the book to have a “verified purchase” I guess the reason is that Amazon is becoming picky in the reviews it lets posting on its site. A “verified purchase” is a higher probability of being able to post a review.
But it’s more than that!
It gives readers the impression that the reviewer did not get the book for free but bought it. Technically this is true but it is also misleading and …lying!
Amazon asks that you state if a book was an ARC. If you don’t mention it, that won’t be a drama but there is a gradation with a “verified purchase”. This gives a “seal of approval” from Amazon. The guarantee that the review is genuine as it is a result of a purchase and not a “gift”.
Not only would this behavior be misleading for other readers but there is also a financial aspect involved.
Some ARCs reviewers don’t have the means to buy many books. ARCs is a way to enjoy their passion. You could argue that library exists and that’s true but foreigners like me don’t always have libraries with books in English.
On a side note, when I get an ARC I always try to “give back”. You will find them in my weekly Friday giveaway.
That’s a mean for me to share the love and thanks the author for his or her gift.
2. “Under Cover” Invite Only strategy
Some months ago I wrote a long “rant” about the “Invite Only” strategy. If you are interested you can find the details HERE.
To give you the gist of it: “Invite Only” is when an author asks for people to promote her books but won’t give ARCs. To get them you have to be “invited” so, part of her or his inner circle.
I have no real problem with this IF you announce that strategy when you ask people to promote your book.
What had me raving was the author never having mentioned that ARCs would not be available for “commoners” when we signed for the promo.
Once again that is misleading!
There is a difference between signing a google doc asking to review when they mention that ARCs are limited and not a guarantee (that I can live with) and asking for promo giving “false hope” of incoming ARCs.
3. Bashing other authors or readers/bloggers
Some years ago I was really furious when I learned that a really well known author attacked one of her fellow authors who wrote a controversial book. She made it into a social media campaign with all the big guns.
Sorry but that I will never accept. Criticize someone’s personal behavior (like sexual harassment) when it’s proven that said person has been found guilty that I can understand. Destroy said person because she wrote a controversial book, sorry but no! These are fictions! Stories coming from the author’s imagination. They are not true. If you don’t like said stories then don’t read them but others could like them. Weird? Maybe but everyone has his or her own personal taste in books and you DO NOT JUDGE someone else’s reading taste. Ever!
And it’s not so uncommon to have some author attacking reviewers for “bad reviews”
4. Trademarking common words
Another ugly side of the publishing world can be found in the “Cockygate” affair.
For those who have not heard of this affair: one author trademarked the word “cocky”. preventing any author to use it as a title, on the covers etc plus asking authors to change past titles or be sued!
It gave for weeks of reactions from authors and bloggers/readers all banding together to end this insane affair.
I am happy to report that we won!
Why did she do this? Some say there is no bad publicity but I bet that no one wanted to read her books after this totally unfair strategy!
I get that writing and publishing a book is a business. Either authors don’t have another source of income because “they have made it” either they have another job and write on their free time. It takes hours, days, weeks, months or even years to write and publish a book.
They should rightfully be compensated for their work.
That does not excuse a lack of ethic or misleading people.
I will go even further: the more you are famous, the more you have a duty. You have responsibilities. You have to set an example. And better a good example than a bad example!
Do we expect too much of authors?
Well at the end of the day, they are like you and me: humans. They have flaws and they have bad days.
The big difference is that when I have a bad day, few people know it. It does not ripple like author’s bad behavior.
Authors are “in the spotlight” and it means that their behaviors, their words have power and influence others. Needless to say that I cut ties with above mentioned authors.
And to end this discussion post, I want to give you some “good”.
In French we say that “on lave son linge sale en privé” meaning if you have something to settle with someone you do it behind closed doors. But if you want to praise, do it publicly! That’s what I intend to do here, give you some names!
I am certain you would have others to add to the list and please do it in the comments below!
One year ago I read my first Kennedy Ryan book: Flow.
Contrary to every people I did not like it and gave a low rating, explaining what bothered me.
To my biggest surprise Kennedy replied on my review and told me she totally got my points, thanking me for my honest review!
When I praised her for this very fair behavior she told me that she asked one of her “low rating” reviewer to become her beta reader!
I had read several of her books and knew her fairly well but when I read an ARC of My Valentine, I was really between a rock and a hard place. I was disgusted, plain and simple and was not certain I would finish the book!
Imagine my embarrassment when I contacted her and told her that I was 30% in the book and I did not think I could finish. Not because it was poorly written, on the contrary but because it was too dark, sick and twisted for my own personal taste. Too far from my comfort zone …
I asked her “What would you like me to do? Write DNF and explain or say nothing?”
Well she told me “Do what feels right to you” “I trust you” She also added that’s what she loved : I told the truth, no sugarcoating.
And that’s what I did.
Erin Watt and their PR Nina Bocci
When I got an ARC from Erin Watt and ended up not loving it as much as I thought I would, I decided to contact their PR Nina Bocci.
I was on a blog tour and you are supposed to promote the book, not to say that it’s not to your liking and point the flaws!
When I asked her: what should I do? Delay my review? Post it on time? Her answer was that they totally understood that the book could not work for everyone and that I was perfectly fine posting the bad rating on the scheduled time!
When I invited Chloe to participate in my Romance and Love Celebration, she did not know me. The other authors participating had worked and talked with me before but not Chloe.
Not only did she accept immediately but she wrote a long love letter from my favorite couple of her, saying that it was through their story that we met. She poured her heart out for someone who was a stranger to her!
I could go on and on as I have known many authors who are really good persons in real life like: Emma Scott, Amy Harmon, Laylah Attar, Beth Flynn, Suanne Laqueur, Jane Harvey Berrick ….
I know it feels like my personal “walk of fame” here but the message is important.
SOME authors have behaviors that hurt or shock others. They may be extremely talented writers but their lack of ethic is a deterrent for me and I stopped reading them (or did not begin).
MANY authors are just really good and generous persons. They are humble despite their celebrity. They do have bad days and share them with their followers but they don’t disrespect others. They lead by example. THEY INSPIRE.
That’s for these authors, and for YOU ALL readers, bloggers that I come back many times a week writing posts about their books, my latest crush or ugly cry.
Pfew! Sorry this has been longer than intended!
Now it’s you turn!
Did you recognize some behaviors here above? Did you encounter other off putting behaviors? Did it influence your reading experience? What are your most generous and beloved authors? Share some good below please!
Thanks for reading!