Clarissa Johal: Frightening Friday - Dear Reader

Friday, September 2, 2016

Frightening Friday - Dear Reader

For authors, there's nothing more soul shattering than a bad review. I'm not talking about a review where the reader genuinely didn't like the book. That's to be expected. I'm talking about a "review" wherein the "reader" was quite obviously having a bad day and venting into cyberspace. But they aren't venting into cyberspace. They're venting at real people, doing their jobs, who have lives and bad days of their own. I'm going to speak my mind in this post, so if you don't like it, please move along. Authors don't speak their minds, you know. We fear career suicide or retaliation, so we bite our tongues so as not to piss someone off and garner a bad review. Reviews are our life blood. Without them, our books sink into obscurity. Good reviews propel our books forward, while bad reviews are the kiss of death.

I'm is a sassy mood because I just finished practicing on my trapeze. Be forewarned. *;) winking

Dear Reader,

Most ebooks can be bought for 0.99¢ or for the hefty price of $2.99. That's an awful lot of money, but you have to admit, it's less than the price of a latte. A latte that takes minutes to prepare, and fifteen minutes to consume. Books (presumably) will take more than that - if you take the time to read all the words.

If an author disappoints, you are welcome to enter the world of writing and give it a try. Be prepared, there are days where I spend hours working on just one sentence. In fact, I would suggest setting aside 10 hours a day/365 days a year in order to craft an entire novel. Unpaid, of course (more on that later). Don't forget to have your book professionally edited, which isn't unpaid. Once your novel is complete, I welcome you to the months or years of trying to find a publisher.  If you manage to do so, and regardless if your book has been edited, expect to spend another 1-3+ months in editing. In that case, a complete stranger will take your beloved sentences and rip them apart. You will follow this carnage by rewriting those sentences in order to create a better book. All of this time is again, unpaid. The publisher will then format your book and assign you a cover designer. A word of warning: you may not like the final cover design, but you'll have to live with it because you're under contract. If you self-publish, you'll need to create a cover design of your own that grabs the reader's attention at a glance. If you're artistic, go for it. If not, expect to pay dearly for a decent book cover. After that (if you self-publish) you'll format your novel to the exact specifications of each sales venue, upload it to each site, and agree to the terms. All unpaid. Sound like a lot of work? It is. But it doesn't stop there. Once your novel is published, whether you work with a publisher or self-publish, you'll need to spend a number of hours per week in order to market it. That's unpaid too, by the way.

So what is the payoff of writing? Financially, about 18-30% per book of the list price, maybe less if you have a publisher. Not enough to pay the bills, trust me. Most authors work another job, maybe even two. Writing is a labor of love. The "payoff" is a review from someone who enjoyed the novel. A "bonus" would be a reader who buys your next book. Most authors don't mind the occasional bad review, again, it's to be expected. What authors don't deserve a mean-spirited diatribe (if you don't know what diatribe means, look it up). Depending on what's going on in that author's life, the mean-spirited diatribe may roll off their back like water, or bring them to tears and make them want to quit. I've picked up the pieces of many a fellow author who've wanted to quit. For the readers and "incognito" rival authors responsible for that: Stop Being Mean. If you don't like the book, fine. Leave a 1-star review, don't give the author lip-service, send a kid to literacy camp to write a better book, do whatever constructive thing you can manage. Review ranting because you're frustrated with your own life is a waste of precious time you could be spending on Something Else.

Authors appreciate the time you take to read their books. We appreciate the fact you spend your hard-earned money on them. We appreciate the time you take to review them. If our books don't meet your expectations, most authors are truly sorry. We work really hard and try our best. Some of you like our efforts, while others don't. Now, for those who feel the need to leave a mean-spirited review that "really" has nothing to do with the book, you are more than welcome to write your own book. Good luck on your future reviews, by the way. May your book become a best-seller. *;) winking

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