A couple months ago, I used two of my Select days for my newest novel, THE SOLOMON KEY. Over those two days, I sold 1800 free copies, earning me the #4 spot in free action/adventure in the UK. While the 1800 copies was good for me, the promo failed to touch the success other indies typically have on their Select days. Perhaps it was because there were no reviews posted?
Well, I realized last week that my Select days were coming to an end, and I still had three days to use. So I scheduled them over this last weekend. Friday through Sunday. I was going to double or triple the last Select days, I was sure. I scheduled tweets to go out every hour for most of the three days, a practice that I found remarkably effective before (see that blog post). This was it, baby. My sales were going to take off after the free days were over!
A five star review showed up right before I started the promo. That was good. Even though it was a review that would polarize, it was still a nice sign.
And then came a one star review. Ouch. Now my average was three stars. And just in time for my Select weekend. Perfect. Unfortunately, neither review touched the plotline of the story in any way. One loved it, one hated it. One thought it was written well, the other thought it was written poorly. One loves end times reads, the other “A tired, old plot. Armageddon? Again?” If this person - who judging from the three other books they rated (and the stuffed animals) is way outside their genre to begin with - read the book description before downloading, I don’t know why they even bothered to read it. Even though “Armageddon” isn’t part of the story, it could share the same genre. So if this person thought that the plot was tired and old, why would they get it to begin with? And then write a review like they were shocked that I wrote about something they thought was tired and old. “Really?” Yeah, “really.” So they spent the .99 or 2.99 which they stated was, “A waste of money” – though because this obviously wasn’t this person’s genre to begin with, I suspect they grabbed it during the first two Select days and didn’t pay a cent for it – but that’s just a hunch Anyway, the two reviews couldn’t have been composed of more opposite opinions. They canceled each other out, giving the prospective reader no clue what they would really get. Of course, you got the people saying that the negative review was “helpful” to them. Yeah, thanks.
But I was still hopeful.
Until I checked the Amazon UK site.
Two reviews. Both one star. My average rating? Yeah, one star. “Badly written. Tries to emulate Mattew Rielly and Wilbur Smith and fails miserable.” Is it possible to try emulating someone you’ve never read? Anyway, the other review stated that it was “total rubbish and poorly written.” Dear reviewers that feel the need to tell the world how much you hate things, have the common courtesy to spell check your review before telling the world a book you read is written poorly. I’m pretty sure that even in the UK “pf” is not a word, and there is something within the English language known as “punctuation.” I’m sorry my book “gave you a headache.” And I’m sorry that such a headache wasted more of your time by making you write about it.
So here I go, jumping into my Select days with a five star rating and three ones – the majority of reviews by nice people telling the world not to read my trash.
The result? Only 46 copies given away in the UK, 362 in the US. Yeah, the power of negative reviews. However, as I was walking around sure that these kind people had it right, that I do in fact suck as a writer and should be marched before a firing squad for my crime against humanity, I happened to get a review on Goodreads. And it could not have come at a better time. A five star review that started out: “This is not a book for casual readers who don't want a lot of deep and historical facts and information in their story.” And then she goes on to actually talk about the story! (THANK YOU!) And she ends with “While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, I would highly recommend it as a must read for those who love history, and are hoping for a better world tomorrow. Not to mention this adventure makes 'The Davinci Code' look like a walk in the park.”
So I thought, yeah, this book isn’t for everyone. And I’m okay with that. Now if only the people it was written for would review it as much as the people who hate it…I might be okay!
So, a big thank you to the kind people out there who destroyed my Select days and would destroy me, too, if they could. Again, I apologize for writing a book that you didn’t like. And I’m sorry you may have spent 2.99 on it, though you probably got it for free, didn’t you? I hope the world produces more writers that think exactly as you do so that you can write more positive reviews in the future.
On a brighter note, my novel PROGENY has a collective 30 ratings with a 5 star average! And the second edition just came out, and there’s a trailer up! And the Select days are coming for that, too… which I’m sure will drop the average down some… but what else can you expect from angry people reading free books?