Yesterday I read a blog post that pissed me off. Not the post itself, of course, but rather what had happened to inspire the post. It was written by a friend of mine who had recently discovered on her facebook wall a note by an indie author. I don't know who the author is, I wouldn't care to ask, but in this note the author basically said that the least a reader could do is to go on amazon and give them a five star rating.
You read that correctly. This particular author seemed to be under the impression that, just because someone had read their book, they were now entitled to a five star rating. Not just a rating based on what the reader thought, but an actual five star rating.
The author backed up these claims by pointing to the fact that writing a book is an extremely time consuming project. Therefore, it was their right to have a reader give them an amazing rating, even if their book was mediocre.
Now, I can't even begin to express how much is wrong with this train of thought. The first thing that pops into my mind, of course, is that the least a reader actually could do is not read their book. They don't have to spend their time and money reading that book, and for the author to try and guilt trip them into doing more boggles my mind.
Then there's the fact that every writer out there puts a lot of time and energy in to their books, but the same could be said for every single profession out there. I mean, there are very few people out there who stay home all day with their family. Jobs take time.
For that matter, bosses don't give races because you decided to show up for the day. If you want a raise (or a five star rating) you have to earn it! That book had better be damned good if you expect me to go anywhere and rate it!
Anyway, after I read that particular post, I got into a discussion with this friend, who was telling me about how much drama there is right now on the internet between Indie Authors and reviewers.
Before I go into this next part, I should tell you that I love reviewers. I don't follow any particular one, I don't even necessarily think that they're always right. I actually tend to read books despite what reviewers say, because in my mind, everyone is different. Just because they don't like something doesn't mean that I won't. But they serve a purpose. They put a book out there, whether the review is good or bad, that's another person talking about that book. The first lesson you learn as a writer is to bite your tongue and don't talk back to a reviewer.
For a while there I was even a reviewer. Nothing official, just quick reviews for everything I read. It was fun, and I like to think I helped at least a couple of people.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because of what my friend told me. It seems that there is a group of indie authors out there that don't like it when reviewers give them a bad review. Now, this wasn't really news to me. I've actually seen one author's response to such a review. It was unprofessional, and totally unbecoming of the author. I would never spend money (or even download a free copy) of one of this author's books ever again. (I didn't like this particular author to begin with, but that's besides the point.) Arguing with a reviewer just makes you look pathetic and desperate. Your work should stand on it's own, and it if doesn't, then maybe you didn't make it as perfect as you thought.
Anyway, it seems that these lovely authors have gotten together to put up a website dedicated to 'outing' these reviewers. It posts who they are, and basically gives indie authors a place to publically bash them.
I have to tell you, I was disgusted when I heard this. Authors bashing reviewers? Giving out their information? Awesome! Way to scare off reviewers out there who are trying to be honest about their work that their reading.
I can't imagine doing that to someone. i can't even imagine telling them off for a bad review. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Anyway, the point of this blog post was this. I love writing, and there's nothing I want more than to be a published author some day. There are times, though (especially times like these) when I wonder if I will ever want to be an indie author. I know that there are great indie authors out there that want to bring fantastic books to their readers and would never do any of the things I've talked about today. I'm sorry to those authors, because I'm certain you are the vast majority, and are scowling at those authors giving you a bad name. The fact of the matter is, I don't want to be lumped in with those people. I don't want someone to look at those indie authors and think I'm going to be the same way.
For now, of course, I'm going to focus more on my writing than on how I'm going to identify myself in the future. No matter what happens, though, I refuse to be an author who makes a reviewers job more difficult.