Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Author Kyle Perkins to the stage…
This article is collection of my observations in the indie community. While some of these opinions are my own, many are just complaints I have heard from various authors. So readers, please don’t bite my head off. 😀
11. Criticizing authors.
Do we want your feedback? YES. Do we want you to personally message us to shit all over our work in a thinly veiled attack, disguised as constructive criticism? No. Whether you know this or not, bad reviews and negative feedback does hurt our feelings, no matter how tough of a face we put on. Authors are never supposed to react negatively to reviews, so most act like bad reviews don’t bother them in an attempt to either save face, or prevent fans from calling them crybabies that can’t handle criticism. For most of us, this has been a life dream, and this makes our work, our life’s work. We want reviews, and honest ones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be constructive. Tell us what you didn’t like, but offer what you did like. A “This book was fucking garbage” doesn’t really help anyone, and it’s a poor reflection of you. Negative reviews are fine as long as they are constructive and not just personal attacks. We just ask you to have a little tact when dealing with authors, because after all, we’re people too. You’re not writing a Yelp review about a McDonald’s down the street, you’re reviewing an author’s life work, so be conscious of that when contacting the author. We don’t come to the park and say, “Man, your kid is really good at monkey bars, too bad he’s ugly as shit.”
10. Returning E-Books.
This behavior is so disgusting. You’re not sticking it to the man and ripping off a Walmart to fight the system, you are robbing an indie author that is likely struggling as it is. This is incredibly selfish. Sometimes it takes an author months of hard work to get a book out, the least you could do is keep it. What’s worse is, I have met people with the audacity to try to justify their returns. I’m sorry, but if you have to go back and spend your precious time on refunding a 99 cent book, you should not be buying books. I have never met ANYONE in a position where they couldn’t afford 99 cents, so you are STEALING their work. Now, there is an exception. If you accidentally hit the one click button on a book and bought it by mistake, by all means return it. If you are abusing the system however just to get free books, you are a horrible human being.
9. Rating a book on the genre, and not the quality of work.
Look, we all have different preferences in books right? Cool! That’s totally fine. Giving a five star book a three star rating because it’s not your typical read is not cool however. This behavior is nothing short of insanity. I don’t go to an Italian restaurant and rate it based on how Chinese the food was. “The food was delicious, service great, but I usually eat at Chinese restaurants, so two stars.” I mean, come on. If you rate a book, rate it on the characters, the story telling, or how engaged you were. Your personal preferences are irrelevant. Cool, you like westerns, what does that have to do with the dystopian book you’re rating?
8. Using your network to bully authors.
So, some of you have a small network of readers, and pals that come to any event you invite them to, which is AWESOME for authors. Your pull in the community helps authors tremendously, and we love you for it. However, a few of you abuse this and get a big head. I have seen these small networks bully authors out of gift cards, prizes, and so on with the threat of pulling their friends from events at the last second. Even worse, some authors cave to the bullying and give these people what they want, reinforcing their behavior. That part is on us. Never use your pull to threaten an author, it’s a scenario where everyone involved gets hurt.
7. Demanding an author’s attention, and harassing them.
No surprise, authors are busy, right? Not only are we constantly writing books and building our market, but we need time to ourselves to create these worlds you like to spend a few hours in. I think a lot of readers think because they see an author online all day, that we aren’t working. Truth is, if we are online, chances are we are working. So please, don’t make us feel like horrible people for not responding to your messages in what you personally consider to be a timely fashion. We already feel guilty when we don’t have enough time to interact with fans, please don’t make us feel worse. Always feel free to message us, tag us, or interact with us any way you’d like, but don’t get salty if we can’t respond back.
6. Don’t trash our genre!
People have this idea of what “real writing” is and cling to it like it’s the last Furby on Black Friday. Dystopian may be your thing, and that’s great, but that doesn’t mean erotica books are somehow “less” of a book or genre. It takes the exact same amount of work, foresight and planning. Seriously, I have heard of people being put down, or blacklisted because they write in a genre that some people don’t feel is “good enough” or “true writing.” Of course, this is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like saying because you like football, baseball players aren’t real athletes.
5. Not leaving reviews.
Okay, so you read our book. You either loved it or you hated it, but either way, give us a
well thought out review. At the very least on Amazon, but if you can, do so on Goodreads and anywhere else you can think of. Especially if you received the book for free. We sometimes, like I have said before, spend months of our time on these books. How much is a month of your time and work worth? I bet it’s a lot more than we get paid, so you’d be pretty upset if you wrote a 60k word book and don’t even get a “Neat book” out of it.
4. Asking for free paperbacks.
Ask most authors, and if you really want their book or to sample their work before making purchases, they will send you a free e-book. Most authors give out free books all the time! Asking authors for free paperbacks though is a bit much. Not only does it cost us money to have them printed, but then we pay for the shipping to us, then to you. If you live in another country, it’s another whole ordeal. As I have previously stated, most indie authors are flat broke. We love to share our stories with you, and let you venture into our minds, but asking us to venture into our already depleted bank accounts puts us in a pretty awkward situation. Would we love to send you all hard copies of our books? Of course! Maybe someday we will as a thank you, but as an indie author, we don’t have the resources. So please, don’t make us feel terrible about this.
3. Posting spoilers in your reviews.
You have likely been on Earth long enough to know that spoilers are universally hated. It’s right up there with smallpox and drowning puppies. So please, don’t spoil our books in the review section! This hurts our sales and may stop readers from even picking up the book. This doesn’t just bother the author; it bothers other readers. If you are one of the people doing this, you are doing the same thing as people live tweeting the newest episode of GOT.
2. Putting pressure on us to write sequels.
We are really happy that you are excited about our books and want more of them, however, giving us unnecessary pressure isn’t needed. Trust me, we of all people put the most pressure on ourselves to get a sequel out and while your reminders may seem friendly enough, it just causes us much unneeded stress. Some books may not even have a sequel, and as bad as you want us to make one, that was never part of our artistic vision for the characters. Any good show knows when to drop the curtains.
1. Sending penis pictures.
To be fair, this one doesn’t happen to me often (but totally has happened). I have heard of female authors from all genres getting unwarranted dick pics. Fellas, we get that you’re proud of your junk and want to show it off, but there are laws in place to prevent this very thing. If someone wants to see it, they will ask. Considering you’re sending random dick pics at all would suggest it doesn’t happen often for you, but be patient. Your number will get called. The last thing any author wants to wake up to is a random picture of your penis. Whatever happened to flowers?
Now, with all that said….
We as authors adore and love each of our fans. Your support means the world to us, and you are the very reason we write. Sure, a lot of professional athletes say that, but they get paid millions. We don’t make a ton of money, so rest assured, everything we do, we do for you. This wasn’t meant to be an article taking shots at readers, but instead a guideline to break some nasty habits that cause us harm. Please, if we do anything that bothers you, let us know directly, or in the comment section below. This is a two-way street. =)
About the author: It was only recently that Kyle Perkins discovered his love of putting his imaginative daydreams in writing for others to enjoy. He founded and managed some of the largest text-based roleplaying groups on Facebook, which sparked his passion for storytelling and helped him sharpen his skills as an author. Since the January 2016 release of his debut dystopian novel, Reddened Wasteland, Kyle has published three other works with plans to release several more in the upcoming months, including the second installment of the Reddened Wasteland series. He’s a dog person, an Aquarius, and he lives in Florida, though he’ll tell you he lives on the internet.