Could You Write the Book for Me, Too?

Scarlet on BL posted this. Let me just repost that screenshot:

Screenshot (40)

Well now, isn’t this just so special? Let’s talk about this.

“Congrats! You are on my list…” Run, run now. “to receive an ebook… for free” Oh really? Just how “free” is free? “in exchange for a positive review.” Oh-oh, a positive review. It’s good to be so certain that your book is the next best thing to Hemingway or Rowling or whoever but “in exchange” is already a price attached to this incipient literary crapsterpiece (and usually when they insist on a positive review the book sucks Nile water).

But it’s free, and surely if you absolutely, positively hate it— well, we’ll get to that. “After reading”, at least the author wants you to read it. I’ve seen authors imploring their fans for reviews and trying to make it easier by saying they didn’t have to read the book. Oops, looks like that “free” price tag is getting a little more expensive. “please help me spread the word by posting positive reviews about it on all social media sites”. On all social media sites and please notice that you are posting only positive reviews. But just in case you didn’t notice, “This includes positive reviews on…”, s/he will just ever so gently repeat it. In the first three sentences s/he uses the phrase “positive reviews” three times.

Already I don’t like this book. But wait! There’s lots more, Amazon, Goodreads, and any other, s/he left out Booklikes and Leafmarks; continues with, blog, vlog, Instagram, Tubmlr (sp), Facebook, Google, or any …“, left out Scrazzle. This isn’t so bad, just copy and paste and paste and paste and…

Why do I feel so tired? Now you are instructed to only where but when, please mention it BEFORE and AFTER reading“, at least s/he said please. including links to it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble…, I wish s/he would be more specific.

Now we get into the whatifIhateit instructions, written with a sense of disbelief because how could you possibly hate this book? Maybe because the author took twice as long to write your rules for reviewing as s/he did to write the damned book. Am I the only one thinking this “free” book is too much work? Do I even know this author?

“IF”, and that’s a big if, “for some reason”, and really, it would be such a teeny, tiny, nit picky little reason, “you don’t like the novel”, GASP, SMELLING SALTS, “don’t think it’s worth a 4 or 5 star review”, OMG, you brute, you bully, you bully thug, you have no taste, “please DON’T leave a review on  places like Amazon,”.

Why not? “as 1-3 star reviews REALLY HURT the Indie AUTHOR”. What about the poor, bewildered, exhausted reader? The poor, hard working reader who is spending all their spare time reading the book, mentioning the book, linking to the book, and finally they are ready to post and paste their review. If you, Dear Readers, are that poor reader take your finger off the post button because, “promotional sites will remove the author if you don’t have at least a four star average”.

Three words:  Not. My. Problem.

Cold? Not a bit, this is a business transaction and you are not getting a “free” book, you are working damned hard for that book. The author is not without a point about this but here you have to make a choice; if you are lucky the book will live up to the author’s hype but if it doesn’t, what are you going to do next?

I recommend sleeping on it because if you’ve been busily following the author’s instructions you need to rest. Maybe a good meal, some wine. A pedicure.

So what to do if you didn’t like it, “write me and share with me why.”, or not. Just don’t tell any one else. Ever. You’ll kill my career, my glorious career. It doesn’t matter if I have written a big, steaming pile of fewmets, it just matters that you don’t tell anybody. Ever. Because I don’t care, I just want to sell it. To as many people as possible before someone who doesn’t know better or is a jealous hater tanks MY GLORIOUS CAREER by leaving a nesty, career-killing 1-3 star review.

But you won’t not like it. I spent a lot of time on it, nowhere the amount of time I’ve spent on writing out these instructions but this is the important stuff. This is where I become rich and famous. I just need as many of you as I can con persuade into writing those 4 and 5 star reviews.

Now here is the very best part. I can’t believe any author is quite this mind-numbingly stupid.

“As a huge favor, in your review, please DO NOT write things like, “I received a free copy from the author for an honest review…” Why not? “That’s an automatic turn off in review world and discredits your review from those who need to read it, so please don’t do that. Pretty please. :)” What the…?

I don’t know where to start. First, it would be a HUGE favor, all right. One that could land you in some trouble with the FTC, not to mention that some of those social media sites you are busily (or not) posting your review on take a dim view of reviewers “forgetting” that little disclosure. A review that includes the disclosure is not an automatic turn off to me, it  speaks to the reviewer being honest. And second, what the hell is the author trying to say with, “discredits your review from those who need to read it”?  Does s/he mean that readers skip over reviews that disclose? I’m really not sure.

So, to sum it up, the author wants you to promote his/her book by posting, linking, reviewing. The author wants you to do your very best to make sure the author sells a lot of books and maybe becomes a well-known, sought after author. The author does not want you to ever post publicly about the book if you didn’t like it. The author wants you to ignore the FTC rules and  the rules of the sites you review on.

All for a “free” book.


(from Webster’s online dictionary)

Full Definition of FREE


a :  having the legal and political rights of a citizen

b :  enjoying civil and political liberty <free citizens>

c :  enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination

d :  enjoying personal freedom :  not subject to the control or domination of another


a :  not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being :  choosing or capable of choosing for itself

b :  determined by the choice of the actor or performer <free actions>

c :  made, done, or given voluntarily or spontaneously


a :  relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome <free from pain> <a speech free of political rhetoric> —often used in combination <error-free>

b :  not bound, confined, or detained by force


a :  having no trade restrictions

b :  not subject to government regulation

c of foreign exchange :  not subject to restriction or official control

a :  having no obligations (as to work) or commitments <I’ll be free this evening>
b :  not taken up with commitments or obligations <a free evening>
:  having a scope not restricted by qualification <a free variable>

a :  not obstructed, restricted, or impeded <free to leave>

b :  not being used or occupied <waved with his free hand>

c :  not hampered or restricted in its normal operation


a :  not fastened <the free end of the rope>

b :  not confined to a particular position or place <in twelve-tone music, no note is wholly free for it must hold its place in the series — J. L. Stewart>

c :  capable of moving or turning in any direction <a free particle>

d :  performed without apparatus <free tumbling>

e :  done with artificial aids (as pitons) used only for protection against falling and not for support <a free climb>


a :  not parsimonious <free spending>

b :  outspoken

c :  availing oneself of something without stint

d :  frank, open

e :  overly familiar or forward in action or attitude

f :  licentious

:  not costing or charging anything

a (1) :  not united with, attached to, combined with, or mixed with something else :  separate <free ores> <a free surface of a bodily part> (2) :  freestanding <a free column>

b :  chemically uncombined <free oxygen> <free acids>

c :  not permanently attached but able to move about <a free electron in a metal>

d :  capable of being used alone as a meaningful linguistic form <the word hats is a free form> — compare 5bound 7


a :  not literal or exact <free translation>

b :  not restricted by or conforming to conventional forms <free skating>

:  favorable —used of a wind blowing from a direction more than six points from dead ahead
:  not allowing slavery
:  open to all comers

6 responses to “Could You Write the Book for Me, Too?

  1. Actually, according to Chick Wendig, Amazon does not care about the number of stars in the reviews of your book. They only care about the number of reviews. I know I look for number of reviews when looking for books and when choosing between similar books, I choose to research the one with the most reviews, more thoroughly.

    If the book is crap, there are no amount of positive reviews that can save it. And people are going to be pretty damn mad to come across all these positive reviews, and buy the book, only find out its a shitty book. I know I would be.

    Their problem is they keep focusing on the reviewers and not the readers. It’s not the reviewers that make or break a book. It’s the readers.

  2. My snarky bad-tempered side feels obliged to post critical reviews for authors who moan about how that could kill their “career”. If their writing is that bad, perhaps it deserves to die. I also feel a moral obligation to do my little bit to ensure bad books don’t get promotional opportunities.

  3. Wow! That is just crazy. I would never review from an author who sent me an email like this. Gives a bad rap to indie authors- some of whom are great to work with and are really talented. What a turn off.

  4. Pingback: Manifesto- I’m Not Impressed | 38 Caliber Reviews

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