Fiction and Writing

It’s Not About Authors – It’s About Readers.

ThinkOfReader

 

I’m going to take a moment to talk about attitudes.

Now, I get that being an author is really hard. I’m an author, I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into writing, editing, and marketing my books. I’m right there in the trenches, as an author.

I’m also a reader, and I have to be honest, as a reader, we need to have a talk.

There’s no real easy way to say this, so I’m going to go ahead and be blunt. I see a lot of authors out there with a really unpleasant attitude.

Their basic line of thought is ‘what can my readers do for me?’

They’re all about how readers should review, because reviews are there help the author reach more readers. Their readers should buy their entire catalogue of books, at full price. They should shout about their books from the rooftops and buy extra copies for their friends and family. They believe, or at least seem to believe, that readers owe them that.

Let that sink in a moment.

They believe that because someone bought one copy of their book, that because that person handed over some of their hard-earned money in return for a piece of entertainment, that that person now owes the author lots more money, time, and effort.

Now I’m not saying that all authors are like that! There are hundreds and probably thousands of really nice, wonderful, caring authors out there who adore their readers.

I’m not even saying that all of the authors with that thinking are that extreme.

The fact remains though, that attitude does exist, and it needs to change.

How does this attitude come about? We’ll ignore the worst offenders, those who chase down their readers and friends and bully them into buying their books. We’ll focus on those who don’t really mean any harm, they’re just not looking at it in a reader-friendly fashion.

I see a lot of memes, posts, tweets, etc with phrases like “if you want to support your favourite author…” and “reviews help authors, so leave a review.”

When people post things like that, they’re putting a lot of pressure on readers. I have spoken to quite a lot of readers who now either don’t review at all, or very rarely review, because of the pressure authors have put on them. When I, as a reader, see authors posting things telling me what I can, and should, do to support them, I take a step back.

As a reader, it’s not my job to support authors. As my dear beloved husband would say, ‘I’m not your mother.’

If I find a book that I really enjoy, I will tell my friends about it. People who follow me on Twitter have no doubt seen me jump up and down and squee about books I love. I’m not the only one, lots of readers get a huge kick out of sharing books they love.

Writing books isn’t about putting out a story we as the author love, and then demanding everyone give us money, and time, and energy.

Writing books is about touching people (not like that!), it’s about giving them an experience only we can give them. It’s about changing their life if only for a second. It’s not about what readers can do for authors, it’s about what authors can do to make readers happier.*

Next time you see a meme that is author-centric, take a moment to think about it before you reshare. Do you really want readers to see you as that person?

(I’m not getting into the fan entitlement debate).

 

HollySiggy

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9 thoughts on “It’s Not About Authors – It’s About Readers.

  1. Well said and it needed saying! I have indeed seen posts from authors that “tell” the reader to look for the book on Goodreads and “leave a review.” I can understand the pressure on Indie publishing, but I agree there is a line, a limit of decency that the author needs to recognize. Let the book do the work. If it doesn’t then maybe the author needs to work more on the book!

    Very timely post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think 99.9% of everything you said here is absolutely valid. It’s awful when I see authors badgering readers or posting tweets that are only there to guilt people into reviewing. However, I think letting readers know that reviews help authors, especially indie authors, is harmless when done right. Some readers just don’t know how the publishing world works, either as a traditionally published author or an indie author. To some, it’s news that, hey, if a book has more reviews, more people will take a chance on it. Some, when they learn that, might consider leaving a sentence or two on a book, especially if they really enjoyed it.

    Still, I think there’s a huge difference between saying “hey, just so you know, a review is another small way to help support your fave author, but no pressure!” and “I can’t believe none of you reviewed. This is so sad and makes me not want to write” — or something to the effect. I think there’s a difference between letting people know other ways they can support you (because, hey, they just supported you by spending their money on your book), and guilting/harassing them into leaving a review.

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    1. I definitely agree. A quick ‘hey so this is my debut and I’d really super appreciate an honest review if you have a moment, thanks so much!’ is very different to the meme that goes around guilting readers. I’ve sat down with groups of readers who said they don’t review any more because of the pressure. They feel that they have to write a great big essay, and that the author is breathing down their neck, so they don’t bother at all. That’s a problem. We need to try and make reviews a safe place for readers again, because they’ve become this horrible battle-ground, and it’s harming everyone. 😦

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      1. YES. I absolutely agree with this. Nobody has to write a 5-page essay on the book, but sometimes that’s how reviews come across, especially if readers see, say, book bloggers doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You have the most amazing insight, Holly. What I love about your perspective is that it isn’t one-sided. So many times, in all different scenarios, we forget to take a look from the other person’s side and we lose the ability to create a holistic environment. The world would be a better place if we were all a bit more considerate of how people see life & not always looking only through our own lens.
    Thanks for your wisdom 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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