Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reading and Reviewing Indie Authors

I read a blog the other day about why Indie authors shouldn’t market to other Indie authors. The thrust of the blog was that by reading the works of other Indie authors and then trading reviews was a fruitless endeavor because ordinary consumers (those who aren’t authors) aren’t going to buy the review of one Indie on another Indie’s work.

I disagree. I will admit there are pitfalls there. If you find a novel that really stinks and say so, you stand the very real chance that the author will take it out on you by posting a scurrilous review of your book, even if it’s a great story and a barn burner. There’s a solution to that. If you read a stinker, just don’t review it. Simple!

As an Indie author, I have been reading a lot of books by my fellow Indie authors. I’ve given some great reviews but only when I felt they were deserved. I’ve had other books either sent to me or ones that I’ve downloaded during a promotion that were poorly formatted, poorly written, poorly constructed and those went straight to the dust bin of my Kindle. I did write one review of a book I liked but where the formatting was kind of screwed up and I mentioned that in my review, stating it made me give it 4 stars instead of 5. The person promoting the book thanked me, and the formatting issue was immediately addressed. But in that instance it was ONLY the formatting, and it wasn’t such a problem that it made the book unreadable. The story itself was very good.

Competing for reviews is an arduous task. I’ve sent out requests to a lot of book bloggers and reviewers and many of them will tell you they won’t post a bad review. If they don’t like the book, they will let the author know it didn’t make the grade but they won’t bash the book publicly. There are those who would say that’s unfair. I ask why? 

In this day and age, when you can go to Amazon or Smashwords or just about any online venue and read portions of the book before buying, you can pretty well judge whether or not it’s your type of book. You can see right away if the author has writing skills, whether or not it’s difficult to read due to the formatting of the text and whether it’s worth your time. And if you make a mistake you can get a refund!

I market to everyone who enjoys the types of books I put out there. Writers are generally known to be avid readers. It’s the reason they’re writers! So why shouldn’t I let other writers know about the books I’ve written? Why shouldn’t they let me know about theirs? I love to read and always have a stack (now virtual) in my To Be Read Pile. Being the voracious reader I am, it gets to be a rather expensive habit, so I love the fact that I can gets lots of books for free or pay $5 or less for a book. Plus, there’s the added bonus of finding some real gems.

So I think I’ll go on reading and reviewing other Indie authors and happily having them read and review me. If I get a bad review here and there, I can take it. It’s part of the bargain. Luckily, the reviews of my books from fellow authors, as well as bloggers and people who are total strangers to me have all been good. Except for one. Actually, that review of DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES was my favorite because it was recommended for “A dirty mouthed sailor” and one of the main characters, a criminal named Albert Crawford, was accused of having a “terrible potty mouth.”

So the next time you’re on Amazon or Goodreads or Smashwords and you see a review from me, know that it is sincere and not just a fawning attempt to wring a good review out of that author for one of my books. I only review books I think are worth reading and I leave it to you to discern the ones that aren’t.

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