Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keeping It Positive...NOT - by Ginger

How about that?  Rita blogs about positive attitudes and goal setting, and I'm following up with a gripe.  I'm honestly so tired of the multitudes who have nothing better to do than rank books on the 'stupidest' notions.  I normally don't even look at the rankings or reviews because to me, anything less than three stars is a knife to my heart.   Imagine someone tell you that your baby is ugly or stinks.  :)

 I was actually checking Amazon yesterday because I had a specific purpose in mind, but in my search, I found two "ONE" star reviews on a short story I published some time ago...rather my publisher published.  They accept short stories, I submitted one, and it was accepted.   I really loved the plot, and sometimes, there is no need to make something entertaining into a full-length read.  Some authors like to write short stories, and some like to read them...but, evidently not in these cases:

Review #1 - I gave this "book" a one star because it is not a book but a short story. It didn't even take 15 minutes to read. I don't like short stories and would appreciate it if authors would not represent their short stories as books. I thought I had downloaded eight books and that was supposed to last me a week. All but two were short stories and I read them all in one half day. Now I have to buy more. Do you think it's fair to pay the same price for a short story as I do for books?

Review #2 - I enjoyed this author's writing and would have liked to have read a "book" by her... not an extremely short, short story! An interesting beginning that could have been developed into an interesting book. My mistake for not checking the file size. A definite rip-off, beware of purchases from this publisher if this is their idea of a book! 

My first point:  READ the description.  The length of the product is listed at 19 pagesThat should have provided a BIG clue to what you were getting for ninety-nine cents.  I can't help that some authors are selling their novels for the same price.  I guess my publisher happens to think the time and effort put into editing, providing and cover and uploading the story should garner us something...and not crappy comments.   How is my fault that the person in the first example repeated the same mistake over and over when selecting his/her weekly allotment?

My second point: To the person in the second review, I have full length books available, so read one, and don't tarnish the reputation of an honest and helpful publisher because YOU didn't do your homework. 

Third and finally:  I'm assuming your main complaint is not what you read, rather the length...specifically since "enjoyed" is listed in the second review. How does that equate to ONE star?

I suppose the point I'm trying to make...and not just for myself, for all those authors who are griping right now, and hurting, because of the thoughtless and painful words left behind by readers who didn't bother to pay attention to what they were buying is we don't mind CANDID reviews that help us.  A peer of mine just received a poor review because she wrote a horror novel, someone read it, got scared, and gave it a low ranking because they don't like the genre.  Really?  How is that the author's fault?  HORROR....it means scarey.  *smile*

I'm definitely not against constructive criticism.  If you read my work, and honestly feel I could have done more, then tell me, but do it a way that doesn't sting so badly or translates into venom. If you must give me a low ranking, make it based on something I can improve.  When I write and submit short stories and they're published, don't bite my head off because you didn't notice that nineteen pages isn't going to take much longer than the time required for a good poop.  I don't think any author, publisher or Amazon is out there trying to rip off anyone.  I know it's certainly not in my best interest if I want to maintain my integrity as an author, and you can bet it's at the top of my priority list.  When you ask people to avoid an author's work, you aren't just hurting that person, you're hurting everyone involved in the process.  Does that matter at all?  I suppose to some it will, but there are those out there who just fall in the "misery loves company" group, and since I'm thinking up sayings, I guess I ought to adopt "suck it up," as my new motto.  :)


Meg said...

I am totally there with you, Ginger, on this one. Good grief. We were taught if you can't say something "nice" or good, SHUT UP. This translates to ratings, especially when the AUTHOR IS NOT AT FAULT. Wish these same reviewers had been taught that!!

Lorrie said...

Authors are not stupid. The presses that publish us are not stupid. Amazon is not stupid. But I do wonder about a tiny percentage of readers at times. You would think, if they were true readers, they would know better and read the number of pages, read the genre and know what that genre implies.
And with books, they do get a sample of the reading material to see if they might like the book.

I'll just sit here and scratch my head in amazement at any unkind, rude, reviews.

I, too, like an honest review. But you can phrase it without venom.

At least that's my pennys worth.

Marie Higgins said...

AMEN!!! I totally agree with you, Ginger. I've written a few short stories in my time, and one or two short, short stories. It seems all my bad reviews come from short stories, and the biggest beef with these readers is that my story is too short. Eh? Really? That's not a reason to give a bad review. If the story is good and gives the reader a happily-ever-after, then they need to review on that. Not because it's short.

Thanks for venting to us, Ginger. All authors will support you in this rant!

Ann Herrick said...

It's too bad those reviewers didn't pay a little more attention and see ahead of time that the short stories were short stories!

Kathy Fischer-Brown said...

Well said, Ginger!

Unknown said...

People are cruel and say and do mean things, and as writers, we kind of have to get used to it and brush it off. A lot of these folk are likely just having a bad day and what an easy target - an author. After all, we're not real people. We're just names on a book cover. Ha! Not so. We have feelings too. I like your analogy to a baby. Our novels are our babies. Please don't insult them.

Heather Haven said...

Hi Ginger! Well said, toots. My first short story, Corliss, recently came out and I have done everything but put the words 'short story' in the title. However, I'm sure someone somewhere is going to get their nose out of joint over it, and there you are. My observation is, everyone wants to write, whether they have the talent, time, initiative, or whatever. I think the negativity often comes from "I can do that" or "dang, you're doing what I want to do, so phooey on you." In any event, reading is very subjective and sometimes people have a slant on our words unfathomable to us. Fortunately, none of these people put their shoes under my bed, so I try to keep it in perspective. Try is the watchword here.

Sydell Voeller said...

Ginger, I couldn't agree more. I hope zillions of crappy reviewers read this post and get the message!

Juliet Waldron said...

This is balm to the soul of the injured writer. :) Thanks, Ginger!

Ginger Simpson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marie. I just couldn't let these two go...if you want to rate me...rate me for reasons I control. :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Yeah...readers are supposed to read. :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Thanks, Kathy. Appreciate the visit and comment.

Ginger Simpson said...

Yep...from the very beginning I heard how we authors have to develop a thick skin, but hearing is much easier than doing. After so many years of writing, my skin should be able to withstand the heat of reentry from space, but I still can't swallow reviews that offer nothing but inane reasons for low ratings. Be constructive...we don't mind learning things that help us improve. At least I don't, as long as you pepper in a little something positive. I can't imagine most of us would be published if someone didn't think we had value as a writer.

Ginger Simpson said...

You are so right. All we can do is try!

Ginger Simpson said...

Wouldn't that be lovely? Unfortunately, I think those who need to learn are too busy out there leaving crappy reviews instead of learning something helpful. :)

Ginger Simpson said...

Kindle has been a blessing in some ways and a curse in others. While our sales have definitely blossomed, even when someone gets something for free, they still have to find a way to be unkind. If my post soothed a few souls or opened a few eyes, I'm glad. :)

Gail Roughton said...

Nail on the head. If you buy something that SAYS it's 19 pages, or 20 pages, or 15 pages -- DON'T complain it was short. If a horror novel SCARED you -- that's a reason for a five star. It did what it was SUPPOSED to do! You don't like erotica, don't start a one star review with "I don't really like erotica". If you don't like sweet romance, don't start a one star review with "This was nothing but a sweet love story with no heat level at all". Duh. The only genuinely bad review I've gotten to date complained that the book was frankly unbelieveable. Again. Duh. That's why it's labeled as a PARNORMAL romantic suspense!

Margaret Tanner said...

Of course, you have hit the nail on the head. No sane person would buy a book that says it is only 19 pages long and then complain that they were ripped off because it wasn't a novel. If you don't like erotica, paranormal or whatever it is that you don't like, why buy the book and give it a low rating?
I could rant her for hours about this kind of stupidity.



Anita Davison said...

I can sense your frustration, Ginger - they expected a full length novel for 99cents? Really?
I read a review once where the reader had bought the book because it had the same title as one she had read before and loved. But two chapters in it was clear the second one was nothing like the first book so she didn't bother to read it and gave it one star! The poor author didn't deserve that at all!

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