I've seen some amazing faux pas from authors in recent weeks. Some are annoying, but harmless; others are a marketing and branding catastrophe just waiting to happen. This week, I will share with you some etiquette tips to help you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of bad book reviews, approaching media and making friends with strangers online. If you have an etiquette question you want answered, submit it.
I cringe at some of the comments authors leave for reviewers and readers on sites like Amazon or Pop Syndicate for people who don't give them a five-star review.
These authors are rude, obnoxious and insulted that anyone dare say they just weren't that into them. It seems they expect everyone who reads their work to get down and praise the Lord for such wonderful prose – and stroke their "tender" egos like Mommy would.
As a book reviewer, I've experienced the bad when it comes to snarky authors wanting rave reviews for what I consider subpar work.
One author pitched me HARD to review her book – several times. It was self-published nonfiction about a murder near the author's hometown. I like true crime, so I thought I'd give it a try – even though I typically do not accept self-pubbed submissions.
A few weeks later, the author contacted me to find out if I'd gotten the book. The hard sell was still there, which made me a bit uncomfortable. I'd already said I would review it. Then, the author sent me another e-mail, stating flatly that if I didn't like the book, "I'd better not see a bad review of it online."
I was absolutely furious. This author wanted so badly to be reviewed before, but did not want to accept any negative consquences of a review. I had not started the book, but I knew after these multiple e-mail exchanges that no way would I be objective. I sent the book on to another reviewer.
On Amazon, I've seen several authors post horrid responses to readers who didn't like their work. Several of these authors had five-star reviews, but could only focus on the one or two people who didn't like them. One author was incensed that one of the readers didn't finish the book (the reader said they just couldn't trudge through it any longer).
Someone doesn't like your work, who cares? There could be a variety of reasons for it. The reader/reviewer could be:
- tired of the genre.
- tired of your recurring characters.
- having a bad day.
- too overwhelmed to care what you write.
- just not that into your book.
Not everyone is going to like you. Don't worry about it.
Build relationships with the readers and reviewers who DO like your work.
Allow your fans to stick up for you. That has more weight than you jumping into the fray intent on defending your publishing honor. Also remember that fans and reviewers may like some of your books, but not all of them. I certainly don't have any one author who produces work that are keepers all the time. Even my FAVs let me down a time or two. It happens. Don't ax a book reviewer from your ARC list for one bad review. Wait and see if there is a trend before you start chopping.
HOT TIP: There may be times when you need to stick up for yourself. If someone leaves comments that are untrue and damage your character or brand, go to the Web site to find out if you can have those comments removed. Before you pursue, ask other writers what they think of the comments first, or consult your publicist.0