Nothing says “I love you” quite as much as readers bullying authors using one of Amazon’s shitty tools to do it.
I am exhausted.
A few times a week, as of late, I get this lovely notice. “One or more of your books has quality items that need to be addressed.”
Ignoring the twitch-inducing grammatical structure of the notice’s statement, let’s go into what happens when you see this warning.
Anxiety. It begins with a chill for me, one that starts in the spine and spreads elsewhere. I know when I click, I will see the ‘quality warning’ banner. There is always a quality warning banner. It doesn’t matter if your error rate is 1 in 10,000 words or 1 in 1,000 words. There is always a banner. If you drop below 1 in 5,000 words, it’s not a quality warning. It’s suppression. (Removal from sale.)
Amazon has put the power over publication in the hands of unhappy readers.
If I don’t do what Amazon says, I’m penalized. If I don’t agree with a change, I have to literally write them a letter over every rejection justifying why I won’t do as this reader says.
Yes, I literally have to justify my creative choices in my book.
If a reader doesn’t like it, it is on me, the creator, to justify why I shouldn’t change my book to a reader’s recommendation.
I did not sign up for this.
Readers also didn’t sign up for this.
If I have asked you to proofread for me, you signed a legally binding contract to not discuss the book you received with anyone until after publication.
If you have not received the NDA, you have not been invited to proofread for me. Period.
I leave a form on my site as a courtesy. I don’t like errors. I like fixing them.
I do not appreciate fixing errors at someone else’s ‘guidance’ when they were not hired/contracted/requested.
The author to reader contract is simple. You give me money, I give you a book. That is it, that is all.
If you didn’t like the book, you have the choice to go to a vendor and leave a review trying to convince other customers to not buy the book. (Guess what? That’s what reviews are for, to tell other readers if they should give the book a chance, not to communicate with the author.)
I will say it’s never appreciated when readers do this. Ever. But, that is your choice and right. I definitely don’t appreciate it, nor will I ever.
If you loved the book, you have the choice to go to a vendor and leave a review telling other readers you loved the book.
Authors LOVE when people love their books and take a moment to leave a one liner just telling people they loved the book. (Seriously, they bring joy.) I absolutely do appreciate this, because it is a signal you actually want me to succeed and continue writing books.
Which reminds me… need to talk to Jenny about how to scan for reviews on new titles and share only the positive things with me.
Okay. That’s done.
Yes, yes I did stop working on the post to ask Jenny to do that because I’ve forgotten numerous times so far in the past week. Oy, oy, oy.
This error reporting tool has completely trashed my emotional, mental, and physical health. My anxiety medication can no longer keep up. My blood pressure is spiking to high heaven. I am getting these notices multiple times a week. I’m struggling to find the motivation to do the basics, including eat. Especially eat. I love food, but the idea of investing any effort? More than I want to deal with, frankly.
This is literally killing me from stress.
Release weeks are now my living nightmare. I know, when Silent Stalker releases, the vocal and unhappy minority will speak up the loudest because it isn’t the book they wanted me to write. Someone will find a typo, and they’ll tattle to Amazon. And yes, it is tattling.
Mistakes happen in books because books are written BY HUMANS. There is a literal person behind the keyboard working on that book. A person with feelings. A person who is worn out by the incessant demand for perfection.
Guess what? Perfection costs a lot fucking more than $5.99.
Essentially, when you buy my book, you are paying me $0.019 cents per HOUR of my time. Yes, that is not a typo. You’re paying me just under two pennies an hour for my time. That isn’t including the expenses I dish out.
Writing a book is a labor of love, and the approximate 300 hours I spend per book? My patreons essentially throw many pennies at me so I can feel like I have a ‘job.’ (And it’s hugely appreciated. Hugely.)
But the $5.99 people pay for a book is not an invitation to be a jackass.
Ditch Amazon’s tool. Go into Amazon’s chat and tell them the tool is harmful and leading your favorite authors to quit publishing. Tell them if the tool continues to do so, you’ll just buy books on another vendor or retailer. Tell them it’s not okay for them to act like publishers and editors when they are neither. They’re a VENDOR.
Amazon doesn’t care what authors say. The customer is always right is how they function.
And only when the CUSTOMERS bitch in force will anything change.
Frankly spoken, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but something has to change, because this is literally killing me.
Quitting is always an option, and yeah… no amount of money is worth being the target of bullying. And that’s what this tool is, it’s Amazon-sanctioned bullying.
If you want to tell readers to not buy my books in reviews? Fine. Tell them not to buy my books in reviews. Be that asshole who feels like they must tell everyone why they shouldn’t buy a book. That’s reflective on you and not on me.
But to bring Amazon into it?
That’s just bullying.
Amazon forces me to shovel out the shit these readers spew.
I can avoid reviews.
I can’t avoid Amazon’s penalties.
But seriously… am I allowed to quit?
Frankly spoken, any job feels like it would be better than being an author in a society where I’m penalizes by a fucking corporation if I have more than one error in every ten thousand words.
And no, I’m not okay.
I’m absolutely not looking forward to Silent Stalker’s release, because readers have taught me this: they absolutely will slam me if their $5.99 doesn’t buy them utter perfection.
If you’re not happy with the book I wrote, please just go write the book you’ll be happy with rather than shit on me because I didn’t write the book you wanted.
If you think you can write a better book, by all that’s sacred, go do it and publish it so people have a great book to read.
Otherwise, maybe keep your vitriol to yourself for a change.