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.