I’m Really Stepping In It Now…

Yes, it’s another one of those times where I’m posting a little more than usual. I have a good reason though.

A few days ago, I read an article by Duskgate Chronicles author, Breeana Puttroff, that I agreed with 100%. However, having not seen the referenced post, I didn’t give it another thought. Now that I have, I feel like I have to add my two cents.

I write because…I’m a writer. I love to write. I’ve been doing it since I was fifteen. It’s what I do. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say I think it’s what I was born to do.

Sure, I’d love to get rich at it. But if I never made a dime, I’d still write…I have to write. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be nearly as happy as I am. It’s just too big a part of my life to ignore.

That’s why I’ve jumped ship and gone to the .99 cent side of the ‘what to charge’ fence. It’s more important to me that people are actually reading my stories, than it is for me to make a profit I feel is worthy of me and the work I put into them. (And how does one determine that price anyway?)

Taking the time to write, then deciding what I’ll charge for the books…they’re choices I make. I choose to take time to sit at my computer, rather than in front of the television. I choose to take a lower profit. No one twisted my arm and forced me do either one of these things.

So what am I getting at?

Reviews and star ratings, in my opinion, are like tips for hourly employees. Really nice when you get them…but they’re not owed to me. Yes, I ask for them at the end of each of my books. Something to the effect of, ‘If you’ve enjoyed (title of book), and even if you didn’t, please take a moment to leave a short review at Amazon.com.’ That’s it. The only time I’ll ever mention it.

I know most people won’t do it. And I’m okay with that. They’re busy, and I’m just honored that they chose to spend some of their valuable time, and hard-earned money, to read one of my books. So I will never try to guilt them into doing more. Not ever.

Know one knows better than I do that writing can be mentally exhausting. Sometimes I’ll feel like I’ve gone ten rounds with Rocky Balboa by the time I’ve finished some scenes. But it’s like a job made in heaven when compared to other things I could be doing.

I’d much rather be parked in my comfortable desk chair, in my climate controlled office, than delivering mail in 90+…or -0…weather. Or building a house, cleaning motel rooms, or playing cook at a busy restaurant.

Those people get paid to do their jobs…and so do we. Maybe not as much as we like, but when a person lays down $X.XX for our books, it’s no different than us paying for a Betty Crocker Cake mix, or a Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s. A lot of effort was put into creating both products…but Betty and Ronald don’t expect us to hit their websites and rave about how much we love them.

What makes us think we deserve more?

Because we spent months (or even years) writing our masterpieces? So what. It was our choice. We chose to do it. And the reader paid for the fruits of our labor.

End of story.

Anything else is just gravy. We should be grateful for the reviews and star ratings…but they’re not owed to us.

Sorry if I stepped on any toes, but that’s my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me, but I think readers would appreciate it if you did. I mean really…who likes having a guilt trip laid on their shoulders? Not me.

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16 Responses to I’m Really Stepping In It Now…

  1. mj monaghan says:

    This was very good, KK. I hadn’t given it much thought as a reader, but now that I have, I agree with you. This thought was particularly good:

    “… it’s no different than us paying for a Betty Crocker Cake mix, or a Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s. A lot of effort was put into creating both products…but Betty and Ronald don’t expect us to hit their websites and rave about how much we love them.”

    That is so true. In fact, probably a LOT more effort was put into some of the least expensive products on the market today.

    The bottom-line to me, is just not to be too pushy. I almost never accept a Twitter “Follow” from someone who is all about their own writing all the time. It’s so self-promoting.

    It’s funny, I love to write, but it’s not a completely consuming passion. I CAN watch tv for hours without thinking about writing. I think I just have too many distractions that I like in addition to writing. Then again, I’m not a fiction writer, like you. The only thing I’ve written that was good was a little play called “Romeo & Juliet,” and now someone named Shakespeare is trying to take credit for it. 😉

    • You made me laugh out loud, MJ. Really had me going there for a second. I thought you were going to say that you wrote a revised version of the play for school, or a community theater. Too funny! Darn that thieving Shakespeare!

      I think you’re right about the amount of effort involved in the least expensive items. Even if you don’t start in the wheat fields (for the buns), and cattle ranches (or wherever they get the meat for the burgers…never said I LIKED QP’s)…those kids being worked like slaves for minimum wage (and I do know what I’m talking about here) are busting their butts to provide cheap, low quality meals for us (LOL…I don’t like fast food as a rule, sorry).

      Oh I completely understand about Twitter. For the most part, I avoid it. One, it goes against my long-winded tendencies, and for another…nearly everything I see from my followers is a plug for something of theirs. No real conversation, which is the only thing that would make Twitter fun for me. Yes, I like to talk. 🙂

      I enjoy a lot of other things, too. Usually I can’t sit for hours watching something though. Unless it’s like (you just know I’m saying it again) The Avengers, I have trouble sitting through a movie, and I just hate that I have to watch White Collar on television. But they make you wait 30 days after it airs on Hulu so…

      Regardless, writing is always on my mind. Even today, and I’m spending it watching the first…and only (because the execs at FX are idiots)…season of Terriers. Sometimes I really need to escape, and August 30th will always be one of those days. Still, it took me a couple of hours to watch one 52 minute episode…AND it sparked another idea for a story. Not a copycat thing…just one brief scene brought to mind an entire plot…like instantly. So now I’m going to take a pause before I watch the next one to jot it down. 🙂

  2. Emma says:

    Like you, I love writing. And if I never make a penny from it, I’ll keep going because it’s a passion.

  3. I love you, Kristy. There, I’ve said it out loud on a public forum. The world knows. I totally agree with you on why I write. It’s not a choice for me, but a compulsion. Pricing? I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Reviews? Yes! A simple request and then done. No begging, no manipulation, no buying reviews! Please, dear Buddha, no buying of reviews. You rock.

    • Oh, I love you, too, Tameri! I think we need to make a date. 😉

      Thank you very much…from one compulsive storyteller to another. You’re spot on about the pricing…it’s a completely personal preference. I just found that when I lowered the price, my sales picked up dramatically. The profits did, too, but that wasn’t the important thing. People are really reading my stuff…and it’s a great feeling. 🙂

  4. Great post Kristy. Like Karen, I don’t have a book published so I can’t really comment from experience other than to see as a reader, I always MEAN to go write a review but often forget. LOL!! I’ve got a list of books I’ve read this year that I want to go back and give some glowing feedback…and I will…someday.
    I think in the end, when it comes to price and asking for reviews, the most important thing is to do what feels right to you. It’s not about what other authors think or publishers etc. It’s about what sits right in your heart and honoring that…because in the end, it’s you who has to live with those decisions.
    I think it’s wonderful that you’ve thought a lot about what is right for you, in pricing and asking for reviews, and that you stand by it. That rocks!

    • Thanks, Natalie. 🙂

      I’m with you on the always meaning to. It’s something I work at, and sometimes I’ll spend an hour or so trying to catch up on my Amazon reviews (not just for books either). But more often than not, I’ll finish a book, head to the kitchen to start supper…and forget all about it by the time I get back to my desk. LOL…one of these days I’m going to have to go through my Kindle list again…and play a little more catch up. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Louise! I know what you mean about reviews. The only time I actively seek them out is like when I bought my electric pressure cooker. I definitely want to get something that works. But books? Unless one has a really low star rating…with a LOT of reviews…I might see what people have to say, but for the most part, I go by the blurb…same as I do in a bookstore. What appeals to some people won’t necessarily appeal to me. And what others hate, I might love. 🙂

  6. well said, Kristy. I don’t charge .99 for my book, but it’s up to each of us to decide what the book is worth. reviews? they’re so nice to get but no one owes us one. And I have to admit I never read them when I’m thinking about buying a book…after all it’s just someone’s opinion.

  7. Karen McFarland says:

    You go girl! I, at this moment do not have a book published, so it is pretty hard for me to cast my feelings into the discussion, that is if your looking for a discussion. I would say that people ask for things all the time, but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to get what they ask for, does it? On the other hand, as someone once said, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Or does it? 🙂

    • Thanks, Karen! I don’t know that I’m looking for a discussion so much as giving a different perspective.

      Does it hurt to ask? Nope. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask. But like others have pointed out, too, trying to guilt readers into it by talking about all of the sacrifices we made to get a book out there…I just don’t think that’s right.

      Everyone works hard at what they do to earn an income. When I read things about the sacrifices writers make, I think of my sister…a CPS supervisor who has to deal with severely abused and neglected children on a daily basis. I think of the EMT I know who was at the scene of an accident…where a man had been decapitated. And another where the person tried to blow his face off with a gun.

      Compared to things like that, writing is a pretty darned good job. And a whole lot easier than most. 🙂

  8. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    Bravo, Kristy. Well said!

  9. Awesome post, Kristy. I know we’ve already agreed about this, but this is exactly how I feel about it. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Breeana! Like you, I try to stay out of stuff that could cause friction, but things like this bother me. Indies already have to work harder at overcoming a prejudice against the fact that we chose something other than the traditional route. To start putting guilt trips on readers… I just can’t sit back and keep my mouth shut about it. I think we all need to walk a fine line…before we wind up with a reputation similar to the one used car salespeople are stuck with. 🙂

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