What can YOU do to help an author?

I’d like to take a quick moment to explain something some people might not realize is a thing. One of the scariest moments in an Indie/Self-published author’s life is that span of time between the knowledge that someone has bought your book and the moment when said reader posts a review with how they liked/disliked the book. Okay, so maybe it’s just the scariest in my life. I like to pretend I’m not alone and crazy and that everyone has these feelings and reactions, okay? Okay.

That being said… yes. If I see a purchase of my book I turn into one of those stalker tweens that refresh the page a gazillion times hoping to see a review pop up where vast blankness currently resides (The definition of Insanity? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?). Until then, the clouds of self-doubt and faithlessness roll in and steal any confidence I may have held for my work. I second guess myself at every turn.

Should I have done this instead of that? Was this too strong? Too cheeky? Could they even read it over the tidal wave of grammar and spelling issues that I MUST have missed? Does the story just plain suck?

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Now, maybe I am crazy and am the only one who really freaks out about this. (Doubt it!) The fact still remains that until that review is written, I am thinking the worst. Like the last three years of my life was a waste because my book sucked SO bad that the reader didn’t even want to acknowledge they read it or were taking the “if you can’t say nothing nice” approach. Dramatic? Probably.

Here’s the down and dirty of it. Authors… especially Indie/Self-published authors… need that feedback to grow. We need to know if something isn’t working so we don’t continue to churn out book after book with the same mistakes because, let’s face it, we love to write and we will overflow the market with as many stories as we can. We respect literature. The last thing we want to do is butcher the English language or flood a genre with sub-par tales and boring characters. With self-publishing, this is even more important. We are not backed by a publishing house staffed with editors and marketing departments. We do this very vital part ourselves, or enlist non-professionals to look it over to give us “fresh eyes”. This in no way means we have it all covered.

We need feedback, people. We need to know that what we are doing is worth all the frustration and sleepless nights. We need to know the good AND the bad. Don’t hold back a review of a book you read just because you didn’t adore it. The biggest disservice you can do to a writer is sweep the stuff that doesn’t work under the rug. Tell us if you didn’t like it. Tell us WHY you didn’t like it and in detail. The more constructive criticism we get, the better we become. The better we become, the more enjoyable books we can place in our reader’s all-consuming hands.

So, think about the last five books you’ve read. You are bound to have, at least, one out of five you did not care for. Go back to the websites you purchased it from, the author’s websites, your OWN blog, or an awesome book site like Goodreads.com and give each of those five books an honest and constructive review. Don’t worry about hurting author’s feelings. We are masochistic by trade. We won’t lash out because you didn’t enjoy our book.

Unless you are just being mean and unhelpful and rude.

Then we will kill you off in our next novel.

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