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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Should FREE Books get good reviews?

I saw this on one of Amazon's Discussion boards yesterday. 

YES they should get reviews, but people need to be honest in reviewing the books.  If the book engaged you, was interesting, if you enjoyed it, then write a good, warm, glowing review of the book.  If on the other hand the book was unmitigated crap and even though it was free you felt it was an utter waste of your time and you couldn't get past the third chapter, then go back to where you got it and review it honestly.  If I get a bad review I am going to pay attention to that and spend more time working on perfecting my craft of writing, editing, and polishing the next book to make it better.  I do that anyway, because I want to be a Great Writer.  I want the day to come where Agents are calling me asking if I will give them a chance with my next series to get my books traditionally published.  I realize this ranks right up there with all the thousands of valet parking attendants, waiters and waitresses in LA expecting the talent scout to pick them up for the starring role in Ron Howards next block buster movie.  Probably not going to happen!

Self publishing gives everybody a level playing field to get noticed and to have their masterpiece put out in the world in an ever growing environment to be read by the general world public.  Their work will, as I have said before, live or die by word of mouth or in today's world by book reviews from those who have read it.  I feel in this digital age it is up to the reading community to definitely start participating in reviewing and grading the material they read.  All of it!  If it was good, tell the world.  If it was crap, tell the world.  Be honest!  It is the only way of helping sift through the tons of crap out there.  The public is taking the place of literary agents and editors of large publishing houses by their reviewing and grading self published authors.

If another word was never written by another author from today till the end of time, there is enough stuff published to read for your entire life and you still could not read all there is to read.  So readers need to be stingy with their reading time and read what they enjoy.  Read what they feel they get something out of.  When they are paying for it they need to be stingier because now they are investing their money and their time in this piece of literary work.  The way to help determine what you want to read is by seeing what other people are reading and what they thought about the work, before you buy it.  When I am shopping for books, I look for books with really good reviews, or ones with really terrible reviews.  I totally ignore the 2 to 3 star, blah, blah, blah books.  My time is too important.  Why read the really bad ones?  Was it really bad or just controversial and rubbed people the wrong way?  I tend to lean towards the controversial ones they upset readers because it opens up new avenues of thought for me.

One final note is that I keep reading about self published authors who rush their stuff through to get their next book on the market, and do not spend the time to polish their work, edit it properly, and work to improve their skill as a writer.  As writers, I believe, self published or not we need to be held to the same standards or higher than the people who are traditionally published or we should not be doing it.  Here is the catch, if you're self published and nobody is noticing, or buying your stuff and all you get is bad reviews, maybe you shouldn't be writing.  If you're writing and stories are good, people will read it, buy it, and support you with good reviews and positive word of mouth. PERIOD.

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