I’ve been holding this one in for a few days, but I think the topic bears discussing. To date, I’ve been relatively blessed with my published books and their (mostly) positive online presence. Many could argue that’s because the total number of readers I have isn’t that many, but I think this topic is important for any author – no matter how many readers they have.
When I go onto Amazon to purchase a book for my Kindle app, if a book looks interesting, I, of course, read the reviews. These reviews will often have a direct impact on whether or not I purchase the book – even if that book is for free. And, like a car crash, I find myself looking at both the 5 star reviews as well as the 1 star reviews. The 1 star reviews are usually slightly fascinating and even if I mentally throw them out, they are still there, permanently marking the book for other potential readers.
While I could be seen as slightly hypocritical (obviously I have reviewed books on this blog and some of them were not positive), I follow the rule ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’ I would never leave my negative comments directly on Amazon, Goodreads or Shelfari. I keep my opinions to this rarely visited blog. If a potential reader somehow happened upon my thoughts, fair enough, but most likely my opinion is well buried and would not influence a potential reader.
So, when I saw on Tumblr that my book had been tagged, I instantly got excited. Then I saw this comment went with the book.
[Name redacted]: WTF I LOOK COOL. I hate this girl.
I know I am not a special snowflake, however, comments like this directed towards me make me genuinely sad. There are other equally disparaging remarks, which, if I am completely honest, made Monday a pretty bad day for me. And a quick check of the young woman who left these notes shows she’s a teenager, so part of me wants to chalk up her note, dashed probably without a second thought, to immaturity. But another part of me doesn’t want to let her off that easily. Yes, she’s entitled to her opinion and no, it doesn’t have to agree with mine. I guess I am still taken aback by the implied animosity in this statement. I’m not quite sure a silly book about a boy crazy girl drummer deserves this. Considering the book costs a whopping $.99, I just wish the commenter would return the book and take her money back.
It’s a brave thing to write a book, to spend hours creating it and then place it in the public sphere for consumption. Comments like above make me think twice about if I have what it takes.
What about you, fellow author, have you ever received something similar?