I decided to go ahead and put my novel Progeny up for free again for a few days after the initial sales boost from the last promo seemed to settle down. This time, however, I posted the news to Facebook pages, book sites, etc (thanks to all those sites...World Literary Cafe, Pixel of Ink, Independent Author Network, All things Kindle, and so many more...and thanks to Doug Dorow for turning me on to them:). Well, by the end of the third day I had acquired the #1 spot in a few of Progeny's genres. And, I figure, once you make the #1 spot, the spot itself starts promoting the book. So I decided to go with it and added another day. The next day I actually got the #1 spot for mystery/thriller and #16 overall in the Kindle store. So I used my last day to ride out that achievement, too.
All in all, I sold about 24,400 free copies over the five-day promo. For some reason, only about 300 in the UK (last time it was 6,000). So, now I'm set to wait for the aftermath, to see what those free sales would do to my regular sales. Last time, it really sent my sales through the roof (comparatively), but now I've been hearing how Amazon switched up a few things and authors weren't seeing the same boost anymore. Well, it's been over a week since the promo and my regular sales ranking never broke over 1,000. I believe last time it reached low hundreds. But, it's been consistent, hovering back and forth between #1,600 and #3,000. Yes, my sales more that tripled as a result of the promo, and at my highest set price thus far. In fact, the borrows are keeping pace with the sales, and at one point, they were actually tied. I'm also seeing a little pickup in sales for my other novels, which is good. So far, I've gotten three reviews (can't be sure they're from this last promo, though) since, and they've been four and five's, so I haven't gotten that dreaded 1 star promo yet.
With all that good stuff said, however, it seems that the news I was hearing was right. While I'll take an increase in sales (by now it's more like 5x my norm), it isn't anywhere near what it was just a month ago when I last did my promo (selling 24,000 free copies- so the numbers are about the same). And reading other authors' testimonials of the huge success they had in the early days of Select promos, it seems I was too late in getting on that boat. So I'm wondering how many authors now will skip out on the Select program now that the return isn't as good as it once was. In fact, it seems many authors are tired of selling their book for free at all. If the number of borrows go down, I think we'll see a lot of Indies jumping ship. I'm not sure why pubit isn't doing anything to match Amazon, but if there was any kind of format available through Barnesandnoble.com via the Nook, I think many authors would have already elected to return their books to the Nook shelves. We'll see. Seems change is in the air, and everyone's awaiting the next big thing. This time, whatever it is, I want on it in the beginning, not the end.
I'm sure that by now most authors out there have experienced the ravings of an angry reviewer, a person that hated your work for reasons other than objective criticisms concerning the quality of the work. I'm speaking of the reviewer that didn't like the content of the work, and so decides to tell the world that, objectively, the work is a piece of crap. Totally subjective in nature, but advertising as objective truth - their truth, which as far as their ego is concerned is the only Truth. Therefore, in the courtroom of literary judgment, they swing the gavel that passes the sentence for everyone. And we should all bow down before their opinion and thank them for enlightening us with their egocentric and narrow-minded declarations. After all, they just saved us from reading crap. And crap, by the way, is crap. Who wants crap? I don't want crap? Do you? So the insinuation is two-edged...don't read this crap because it's crap and no normal person likes crap, and if you do like it, well...you're not normal...you're a freak that likes crap. And thus the universal decree is passed by the angry reviewer that thinks we all care what they think of themselves...because, in their minds, they are the standard of normal, and every normal, sane, and logical person has to share their opinions. They are the god of normal. Of what is true. And so what they say goes. For everyone.
Clarification: there is nothing wrong with critical reviews. But here's the point of this post...to those readers that just read a book they didn't like...think before posting a rant. Think about what the post is going to say about YOU. That's right. In many cases, the review says more about the reviewer than it does about the book they're reviewing. For instance, some of my books deal with Christian themes. Okay, I get that it's not everyone's cup of tea. Fine. But don't trash my book by calling me narrow-minded and a bigot. Not unless you want the world to know you're a complete hypocrite. After all, who's the one being intolerant and going off on rants? Not me, not my book. So rather than just saying, "I didn't like this book because the author references God and faith and I'm an atheist" which is completely fine, they have to go on and on with the name-calling, letting everyone know how angry, ultra-sensitive, and immature they are.
I just got a review from a person that complained, "Do not even begin to read this book unless you're a conspiracy theorist, believe the Mayan calendar crap or enjoy listening to a hard core Christian spew his fantastical preachings."
First of all, I don't know what conspiracy theories she's referring to unless she's been trained to call anything a "conspiracy" that isn't popular in mainstream thinking. And the Mayan Calendar crap is an interesting part of the story, an element that ties into the overall work and was meant to make someone ponder certain possibilities as it did I. Nothing more. Again, someone is hyper-sensitive. And as far as my being a "hard core Christian" - well, I guess I'll take that as a compliment. Don't know anyone that would accuse Jesus of being a bad guy, so...thanks! "Spewing" fantastical preachings? I don't know what that means. I get that some people would rather drink piss than read a Bible reference, but the book has 29 reviews that came from a general market. 23 of them gave it 5 stars. So who's intolerant? The person labeled the review: Beware: Christian proselytizing. Yes, BEWARE! The book might turn you into a zombie or burn you at the stake! BEWARE! Proselytizing? Seriously? Because the story finds its elements in ancient scriptures and tries to make sense of mysteries that no one has answers to?
"Was nothing but a bunch of senseless Christian drivel about apocalyptic prophesies. The last chapter was nothing but that, a total add on that had nothing to do with the story at all."
Senseless drivel? Whatever. But the complaint about the "last chapter" being a "total add on" was actually the epilogue. In fact, I wonder if this person ever even read a fiction book before. Because it sounds like she's treating it like a non-fiction work that is making objective claims. It's called SPECULATIVE fiction for a reason. But, since this is the only novel she's rated on Amazon, maybe she doesn't know the difference.
She then goes on to say that the description of the book should disclose that it is full of "senseless Christian drivel" and "wacko conspiracy theories." Seriously? Because she's so offended by them? Maybe that should be printed across the front cover of the book. WARNING: CONTAINS WACKO CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND BIBLE REFERENCES. NOT SUITABLE FOR ALL AUDIENCES. And then maybe a disclaimer: What is meant by "conspiracy theories" is up to the mind of each individual reader and cannot be objectively defined since ultra sensitive minds like to refer to anything they've never heard before as a conspiracy theory. Also, many conspiracy theories are not theories but probabilities, and whether or not a theory or probability is "wacko" is also to be determined by the expert opinion of the reader. In short, this warning is pointless. You will either like this book or you won't. Duh. However, if you hate the Bible so much that the mere mention of it makes you want to get a gun, then please don't read this book, because it's full of senseless Christian drivel. Beware, it will make your anger issues worse, and you may end up committing crimes on a massive scale. However, if you, like most people, are open-minded and tolerant, you probably won't mind the biblical references and the POV's faith. Again, you will either like it, or you won't.
In the end, these people that are so furious at having been exposed to ideas they don't agree with seem to want warnings all over the book that say, "YOU MAY NOT AGREE WITH THE IDEAS IN THIS FICTION, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK." But such a notion is ridiculous. Ideas shouldn't be censored, and the people that are afraid of ideas or hyper-sensitive to them should realize they're in the minority and that author's don't have to cater their marketing strategies to their anger issues.
I didn't mean to make this a post about a bad review I got. I've gotten to the point where I couldn't care less about them. But this one made me think, not about my work, but about the mindset of the reviewer. What would make someone who had never reviewed a novel before post this one? From appliances to novels? What is the psychology behind these posts? What satisfaction do they get out of them. I'm not upset, in fact, I'm glad the post came in. I'm almost thinking about marking it as helpful because anyone that would agree with such a review I obviously don't want reading it. It wasn't written for them. The only reason I don't is because I think her hyper-sensitiveness misrepresented the book and may turn people away that might actually find it interesting. Maybe not. Who cares? I wrote it because the ideas fascinated me and thought there may be others who would marvel at such information.The point is, dear reviewers...understand that your reviews may actually tell the world more about you, give a glimpse into your mind and heart, than the book you're trashing.
And to all those who read my book or any other author's book and hated them, and to all those that will hate them, on behalf of writers everywhere, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for the misery we've put you through. I am sorry that we didn't have you specifically in mind when we set out to tell a story and that you were tricked into thinking we did. However, may I suggest reading the reviews and looking through the product tags before purchasing. You'll save yourself some agony and the rest of us from experiencing your wrath.
As far as the review I mention, I must at least thank the person for a two-star review. Given how much she hated the book, it was actually nice of her to throw an extra star in there. So this post isn't all about one review but many reviews I've read for numerous books by many different authors. I apologize to the reviewer for singling her out in all this.