Clarissa Johal: Tangled Tuesday- Reviews and #Book Bloggers Who Steal #authors #bookreviews

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tangled Tuesday- Reviews and #Book Bloggers Who Steal #authors #bookreviews

The title says it all but let me clarify. Authors need reviews to get our book in the spotlight. No reviews and our books sink into Amazon obscurity, never to be seen by the masses. We get those reviews via readers but we can also send out free copies of our novel to book bloggers. An exchange of goods, so to speak.  A book blogger gets a free book in exchange for writing an honest review delivered in a timely manner on their blog. It’s a win-win. As an author who doesn’t have the advertising budget Stephen King or Neil Gaiman might, I appreciate those blog reviews as much as anyone. What I don’t appreciate, is stealing.

Three scenarios:

1) A book blogger or review site advertises something like this: "Fill out the form, send us your book and we will post a review." (or) "...we will forward your book to readers who, in turn, will post a review."

2) A book blogger or review site signs up for a book tour, receives a free copy of your book with the understanding they are to read, review and post such in their blog.

3) An avid reader approaches you online and promises to read your book and post a review on their YouTube channel or blog out of the goodness of their heart.

Outcomes of 1, 2 and 3: Nothing. No review. No further contact. Crickets chirping. Snow falling. The sound of a breeze blowing through empty pages. You get it.

Most book bloggers are pretty cool. The majority post the review whether it's good or bad. A few prefer not to post if they really didn't like the book but will email the author with an explanation. I've even gotten an apologetic email stating the review would be late because life got in the way. That's completely fair. I'm talking about book bloggers who take your book...and then fade into the woodwork. Yeah, they suck. It takes little effort to send out an email excuse such as, "I'm sorry, I couldn't finish your book because I had to walk the dog. Because my house was destroyed in a fire. Because I had to boink the milkman. Because I'm a kleptomaniac and couldn't help myself." See how easy that was? No hurt feelings, no harm done. Both the blogger and author can move on.

What's an author to do? Too many authors are afraid to follow up for fear they'll be trashed on social media in retaliation. So they let it go. The "reviewers" get a free book which makes them no better than the pirating sites we authors rage against.

Let me just clarify what goes into "writing a book" for those who aren't authors:

In my case, writing a book takes, on the average, over a year of hard work. We're talking more than 40 hours a week with no pay. After I finish the book it may take up to nine months to be accepted by a publisher. After that, it may take up to another year for the publisher to edit and release the book on their schedule. I get paid when the book sells and even then, royalties (per book) are less than a $ cup of coffee. When someone steals my book, either by pirating or agreeing to read/review and then not doing so, quite honestly it pisses me off. Do I go into their homes and steal from them? No, I don't. Maybe I should. "Dear, So-and-So, I thought your cat looked intriguing, so I decided to take him. I'm sure you don't mind." Oh, wait. That would be leaving a note. Okay, strike that. No note. No explanation. I'll just steal their cat. I like cats.

Recently, I searched for a site where you could report a book blogger who habitually steals books. You want to know what I found? Nothing. Authors are either too afraid to make a fuss, or they shrug their shoulders and write it off. We get screwed over by bad publishers, why shouldn't we get screwed over by shifty book bloggers? We've come to expect it. But guess what? Authors talk. If you're one of those people who steal and run, you will get a reputation. Authors can be devious. We spend half our time on the internet, and the other half creating chaos in our heads. We will find a way to destroy you. Okay, that may be overly dramatic.

But we will.


Lynn said...

I recently read a post on another author's FB page that read, I think all books should be free. I wanted to comment, How much do you get paid for your work? I didn't, because of what you wrote here. I didn't want a storm of negativity coming at me. The mentality of entitled is weird.

Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Sorry for the late response--Blogger wasn't sending me a heads up! People are weird about books and authors. I'm not sure they realize how much we "don't" get paid.