Reviews Are Not a Form of Protest

My man Shawn has his Goodreads and Twitter accounts tied together, and this popped up today:

The man generally has good taste in books (I know this because he reads my stuff), and I dig that title, so I popped over to Amazon to learn a little more about the book. $12.99? Hmm. But we’ll get to that in a minute. I scrolled down and eyeballed the reviews. It had a fair amount of four- and five-star reviews, but also a couple each of one-, two-, and three-star reviews. I normally discount one-star reviews because they tend to focus on a specific, personal beef, but I decided to check them out anyway.

I was right, they’re useless. What’s more, they were offensive. Check it:

Amazon 1-star review 1

Amazon 1-star review 2

I tend to agree $12.99 is expensive for an e-book. At that price point, I, too, will be holding off on my purchase until either my to-read pile shrinks or I have a little extra spending cash. However, a review is not the place to air these beefs. A review should be about the book, not about your irritation with the publisher.

Would you beat up a Walmart cashier over his company’s pricing policies? No? Then why do it to the author? I’m sure Tim Powers has zero input in the pricing of his books. Why damage his reputation or turn away possible sales over it? It’s especially stupid for the first guy who claims to love Powers’ work.

Really, Mr “Publishing pro?” Your love is not worth an extra three bucks?

Writers survive on one thing: sales. Without reader support, they won’t see another book contract.

If anyone out there has a beef with a publisher’s pricing policies, I suggest they bitch at the publisher instead. It’s easy in this case because HarperCollins is on both Facebook and Twitter. Asinine one-star reviews are easy for an editor to ignore. On the other hand, if you start a campaign to get a whole lot of people telling HarperCollins directly that their pricing sucks, maybe the right people start to pay attention.

You didn’t like a book? That’s cool. Ding it as you wish. But at least read the book and make it an honest review, not just an angry missive to the publisher.

Don’t be a douche.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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