Monday, January 30, 2012

Labeling Books

I’ve heard of people downloading free books and then leaving low star reviews because they were angry because they turned out to be Christian books. But I’ve also heard that similar things have happened to books in other genres after readers found out they were not what they were expecting. One idea is that books should be clearly labeled as Christian. I’m not sure that would help, since most Christian books are already labeled as Christian. It seems to me that readers are grabbing up free books as quickly as they can get them and they don’t bother to look at what they are until they already have them on their Kindle.

I wonder if maybe the solution isn’t in adding even more labeling but in providing a better means for people to voice their frustration. The only reason we authors find it upsetting when they leave low star reviews is because it makes our book look bad when it is really just a case where someone didn’t like the subject. I’m not sure how many people pay attention to the stars on About the only thing I use them for is to jump to the reviews that will tell me what is wrong with a product. I mostly ignore 5 star reviews because they don’t tell me much. But I don’t trust the stars to tell me if the product is good or not. I’m about to convince myself that it doesn’t matter.

But people do need a place to vent. If they download a free book that they don’t like or worse, if they purchase a book and then discover they don’t like it, there’s really nothing wrong with them having a place to complain about the book. We authors want people to love our books, so we don’t like the idea that people would be giving us one star reviews for no good reason, but a lot of the bestselling books average about three stars. It turns out that when you have about the same number of people who hate you book as love your book, you end up selling more books because people won’t shut up about it. High emotions surrounding a book will cause it to sell. Well written books with very little emotional attachment don’t sell.


McKenzie McCann said...

I see it in two ways. First, I understand the reader perspective. They don't like a book, so they give it a low rating. Okay, that makes perfect sense. They didn't like it.

On the other hand, the writer put so much time, effort, blood, sweat, tears, and gave themselves carpal tunnel to create this, and you're giving them a one-star review because you don't like the genre? What bitches.

Readers aren't acknowledging writers and writers aren't acknowledging readers. That's the main issue I see.

Angie Ledbetter said...

I guess it's not as important what's being said in reviews as the mileage authors get from being discussed in general.

Timothy Fish said...

McKenzie, that is so true. That lack of acknowledgment is one of the hardest things for people to take.

Angie, that goes right along with the idea that as long as you have name recognition good things will happen because people may not know anything about you, but because they recognize your name they'll pick you over someone they've never hear of.

tiffany @tea w tiffany said...

Agree with you, especially this part: "High emotions surrounding a book will cause it to sell. Well written books with very little emotional attachment don’t sell."

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Peas keep writing :-)


McKenzie McCann said...

It's hard for either side to see the other, especially when things get personal. Since writing is very personal by nature, it gets ugly fast. Look at Goodreads. That's one jungle of emotionally-charged reviewers and writers, and I used the term 'jungle' for a reason.