Book Reviews and Indie Authors

Okay, lesson learned. I had a long ass post here, and then my brilliant keyboard, which is way over-sensitive decided to delete my whole post, and the undo feature didn’t go back far enough. So here we go again, take 2, putting this in word before posting. Lesson learned!

Book reviews are so important to not just the author, but to other readers. I appreciate an honest book review. I know authors will give out ARC’s (advanced reading copy), to get reviews to help along the sales of the books. Reviews don’t have to be elaborate, they can just be a “hey, great book”. I love when I see someone who got an ARC post a legit, honest review including not just the pros, but the cons of the book. Because not every book is going to be “the best book I have ever read!!”. I have even messaged authors before to say “listen, I can’t leave a review on your book, it was just a total bomb, and I don’t want to discourage other readers, because they might see it in a different light”. This doesn’t mean I don’t leave negative reviews, because I do.

I understand that Indie authors have to do their own editing, they don’t pay for editors, proofers or publishers. They do it all on their own. That’s what makes them Indie authors, it’s not just a sleek label an author wants to put on themselves.

That peek inside feature for books? It’s probably one of my most favorite Amazon features. Because I am not going to waste money on a book that looks like a first draft. I can look past occasional grammatical errors. But I am not going to look past a preview that I cannot even get through because it is full of spelling mistakes and sentences that just don’t make sense. The author had to have seen these in their typing program, so why not spend the extra hour or two, fixing spelling mistakes so they can put out a good, clean book? It makes me wonder if they are more into money than building a fanbase.

I have left reviews that were negative in the past. But you know what? They were honest. I have gone back to those pages a week or two later and have seen that author rally their friends to boost the reviews for the sale of their book. Where is the integrity? An author needs to be open to constructive criticism. Not everyone is going to love your book. Some reviewers generally do care, and want to let you know that your book needs major editing. But to have your friends just fluff up the book for the sake of sales does the reading community a great disservice.

Authors do want to make money, but they also want to know that their readers love their books. But at what point do we draw the line in getting people to read the books? For me, it’s the unsolicited messages I keep getting in social media. These messages are telling me to go here or there and download a book. That turns me instantly sour. I don’t know you and what you are telling me is that you are getting paid to push this book for the author, so they can get reviews. The more reviews they get, the more noticeable their book becomes. The higher the book climbs in the best sellers, the more money they make. When you are soliciting me to go somewhere for a book, all I see is dollar signs.

Now I am not going to run around social media and trash talk these authors. But I will call them out on my personal social media page. Why? I feel like my time is valuable. I feel like my reviews are valuable. I make the effort to post on Amazon and Goodreads. I want people to know how I felt about a book, and that is worth something. But this “In Your Face” tactic of pushing books on people? It does the Indie Author community a great disservice. Your shining a seriously negative light on other authors.

Book parties, book releases, cover reveals and book teasers are awesome. They get your name and your book out there in a way that allows me (and others) to view at our own leisure. Not forced in our face through instant messenger. I want other readers to know that this is not okay. To not go and download these books. Let these authors and the people they are paying to promote them in this negative light that this is over the line.

The other thing I have seen authors doing, is hosting giveaways on their pages, or a promoters page. Post, share, tag!! The more tags, the more entries, share in a group for double entries, share on Twitter and get referrals for more entries…You get what I am saying. I don’t like this kind of promoting. Because if you look at some of the profiles of these participants, they are fake profiles. They are promoter profiles. They are friends of the author.

And who do you think is winning these giveaways?

I guess to sum this up, the best way to support an author, other than leaving a review, is to buy their book. Try and stand up to keep the world of Indie authors from spiraling. Talk about the good authors, the one’s with integrity. Share the honesty. Refuse the “In Your Face” tactics and fake giveaways and help give the true Indie Authors a leg up, to be recognized, to build a true fanbase, to make a living and get their name known, the honest way.