Wednesday, January 11, 2006

To Amazon or not to Amazon?

That is my question.

I'm jumping into the fray again because I just can't help myself. I've read some stuff the past few days that has me on one side of the fence or the other. So, I'm gonna cheesy copy everyone else and blog about it. Hopefully, I won't get into trouble and if I do, well, hell--I can have an op too. LOLLOL

Sooo, the battle of controversies continues. If it isn't one thing, it's another. There are MANY as of late and the latest is an age old one--should readers have the right to post a review, if it's negative and should authors be allowed to counteract those negatives and turn them into positives?

You may know, I'm an ex reviewer. I've done gozillions of reviews. Some favorable. Some not so favorable. I'm blogging about this as a READER and an ex-reviewer. So don't go flippin' out on me. LOLLOL. I'm also speaking my piece on the matter because I'm saddened by mean spirited reviews. I didn't like them when I was a reviewer and that hasn't changed even tho I write books. Will I write a review for a fellow author's book if I liked it? Yep. Will I write one for them if I didn't? Nope and it won't matter how much I love them.

Sigh. Okay, first the review thing. Authors have to develiop thick skins to do this writing gig. You're throwing you innermost thoughts out there in the form of a book for all to see. Sometimes "all" doesn't necessarily want to read what your innermost thoughts are. Sometimes they just don't like you and whatever you've concocted out of your innermost thoughts, turned into a story and sold to a publisher. Sometimes they don't get what you meant. Cool. No problem. Write a review and say just that. However, say it in a way that doesn't use words that are childish, best meant for a playground of five year olds and save the bit about how you wasted two hours of your life on it and five bucks. Hell, you'll spend at least that much time trying to rectify a bad hair day in your life and probably more than that on something useless like trying to win the lottery.

All you have to do is say--I hated this book because--give examples. Is it necessary to say you can't believe anyone else would read it? Why is that hard to believe? For every 10 people who don't like it, there'll be 10 who do. Does that make them idiots because they liked it and disagreed with your particular hatred for it? Maybe they think you're an idiot because you didn't like it.

It's called having an opinion and certainly, EVERY reader is entitled to one. You spent your money and didn't enjoy it for whatever reason. State the reason, get over the huge financial deficit it's caused in your life and read something you like next time.

If you're trying out a new author and a new genre--hang onto your hats now--EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

If you like books that are say, inspirational and you pick up a book that's erotic, er, it's not going to be church the characters are attending. I think they'll be calling the Lord's name, but it won't be at choir practice. You're outside of your comfort zone and that's cool. SAY THAT in your review. This was a genre I didn't enjoy and don't plan to revisit. See how easy that was to say and say it well? Did I use a naughty word? Did I slam the author for ever dreaming up such a concept? No.

That's my point today. Every single reader has a right to voice their opinion. Good, bad or indifferent. Every author of said book has a right to do so as well. I don't have a problem with that. I do have a problem when the words used are downright nasty. Can you really have put that much stock in a books value to entertain you that you are compelled to post your disappointment with barbs?

Do you have to have a degree in literature to write a reader review? Nope. However, you can do it in a way that's far less scathing and cruel. If someone attacks you for the mean review you've written with something like, "Your reader review was illiterate and badly written," does that piss you off? Hell yes it does--in the same way it pissed the author off when you said her/his book sucked and was BADLY WRITTEN. Ya feel me here?

Can those very things be said without the playground-speak. Yep. Are you doing the consumer at large a huge favor by telling the world the book sucked? Er, no. It's a BOOK. Not a car that has faulty breaks and can potentially kill thousands. Do you have the right to attempt to save the world from reading the book anyway? As a consumer, yep, you sure do.

I just don't always like the way some go about it. Maybe my views are just too damned Rebecca From Sunnybrook Farm of me, but that's my take on it.

I choose to call it being civilized and constructive. You can definitely depict your ire and disappointment without slinging mud. You can save the worlds eyes by telling people what you didn't like. Like specifically.

Just my .o2
Dakota :)


  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Jaynie R said…

    won't it be good when R comes home and she stops asking us to feel her?


    I gave up on blogging about reviews a while ago cos I just got too pissy. People are thick, they just don't get it.

  • At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well said, DC.


  • At 5:31 PM, Blogger Bonita said…

    Dakota, you made very valid points. Anyone who has read something has a right to his/her opinion. Not all will agree with said opinion, but I like to think that is what freedom is all about. General nastiness is not reviewing, but flaming. All one has to do is state what was liked/disliked about the book and move on. If they have trouble writing a review, I am sure there are internet sites available to show different formats and types.

  • At 6:46 PM, Blogger Isabella Jordan said…

    As I always say it's not what you say but how you say it. WTG Dakota!

  • At 12:07 AM, Blogger Maura said…

    I've been known to write a review for a book that I didn't mind but didn't love but I've never written a review for a book I truly disliked/threw across the room. Not because I'm afraid of saying I don't like it but if the most constructive thing I can say is "who the heck gave this person a contract?" then that's not at ALL useful to ANYONE and (I feel) falls into the realm of the mean-spirited.

    If I cannot quantify WHY I do or don't like the book, I definitely won't write a review. The last review I wrote in my blog was a lukewarm one and I tried to tell people why I felt that way (hopefully it got across). Because I had specific issues, I went ahead and wrote them.

    - Maura

  • At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Paula said…

    Very well said, dear DC....
    of course you know my feelings on the subject mirror your own. And we really do miss your entertaining reviews on our site. Very few people have your gift with words, and with a couple of notable exceptions, everyone appreciated your efforts. I still will pull up an old DC review if I want to think of a creative way to say something. Thanks for saying what needed to be said.

  • At 7:55 AM, Blogger Dakota Cassidy said…

    Ladies--thanks for popping in. I know a good nasty review can be hella fun, but it isn't always fun for the person you're chewing up and spitting out. And remember, karma has a way of coming back around and biting you in the ass for spewing because you lost five bucks and a couple hours of your time. Is it worth it?

    Paula can be one of the first to tell you that it's far easier to write a review and be s hit over it. It's really hard and takes extra effort to write one that's well thought out, explains your complaints well and gets your point across :)

    Dakota :)

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Shiloh Walker said…

    Dakota... you summed up basically how I feel about amazon reviews very well.

    Maybe I'm Rebecca From Sunnybrook too, but there's not reason * in my opinion * to slam a book.

    Yep, I've read some that were BAD... Some I really did want to throw across the room. However, somebody else will like it. And if a book was that bad, I'm certainly not going to waste my time messing with posting a review on amazon.

    For those that want save the world, as you called it... lol... from the dire fate of reading a bad book, slamming the book, using playground language as you called it, and just generally being mean spirited, I'm actually more likely to buy that book. And I doubt I'm alone. People are curious. They wanna know if it was really that bad. So in effect... this actually can sell books.

  • At 3:32 PM, Blogger Dakota Cassidy said…

    Oh, indeed. Don't we all rush out to see a movie folks call controversial and trash? yep.

    Thanks for poppin' in, doll :)

    DC :)

  • At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well stated Dakota.

  • At 11:01 PM, Blogger Millenia Black said…

    I agree anyone should be allowed to give their opinions, but I think Amazon (and others) should take more care to prevent malicious and spurious reviews. It can be a real problem because, as I learned when my book sold, industry folks (movie people, editors, agents, etc.) do refer to Amazon to help gauge how a book may be doing, which can help or hurt their impression accordingly. Amazon did implement the "real name" credit card identification process, but folks are still able to post fake reviews using "pen names".......maybe they could track IP addresses and have a maximum post rule...or something.

  • At 12:24 PM, Blogger Dakota Cassidy said…

    Thanks, Des!

    I saw your comment over at Karen's blog, Millenia and I suppose that could be the case undfortunately.

    However, the print venue and the e-book venue are so different. You can have 100 5 dildo reviews as an e-author, but when the broader audience of print comes along and reads your book, the opinions are much broader too. I think it could be because the e-book reviewers are used to the erotic content and "walk on the wild side sex". As are the e-book fans. It's what they look for when they buy an e-book by an erotic author. You just can't shock them. They know what to expect when they pick up an e-book that's erotic. The story will most always be terrific, but it will contain real, live, down and dirty SEX.

    The print readers, who mostly don't even know the e-books exist, find themselves a bit shocked, I'd say. For those who are ready for the sex to smoke, after reading books that left them wanting more, it's fine. For those who aren't prepared for the sex to actually occur and occur with graphic detail, I think they kinda freak. LOL

    What's been marketed thus far in erotic like Lori Foster ect, is a VAST difference from what we write. I would venture to say it's more sensual, versus our naughty :)

    I partially blame the bigger NY pubs for not preparing their readers for the content.

    With fame comes controversy and putting yourself out there to a broader audience who won't always like you.

    Not everyone will enjoy your work. It's a fact of life and one we, as writers all have to deal with.

    However, reviews that are using words like some I've read, are just mean. You truly can say, I didn't like this book without the word skanky.


    Good luck to you!

    Dakota :)

  • At 6:13 PM, Anonymous barbara said…

    I recently began having to write a quick review of the books I read for a Harlequin 100 books read in a year challenge. There is no reason to be nasty about a book. If I didn't particular like the book all I have to say is a very simple I didn't really like this book, it was too long or too convoluted or not what I was expecting. I guessed the plot too easily or I found her earlier books better. Even the worst writers and there were some I wondered how they got a contract to write such a bad book are at least deserving of some respect.

  • At 4:28 AM, Blogger mandymroth said…

    I agree with you! There really is no reason to take it to the point some reviews do. I guess everyone needs their 15 mins. I'd just like to think they didn't waste it having to come up with all that--though, I can't see where it took them too long. How hard is it to use ALT four letter words? LOL

    Again...well said, D!


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