Honest opinions and the review that almost made me a hypocrite

Note: Please understand that I am not going back on everything I have said regarding reviews, reviewers, and reasons why you shouldn’t respond. I am, however, expressing disdain over a particular incident. I am not telling reviewers how to review a book “properly” or any nonsense like that.

I recently read a review of a book that I am particularly fond of that made me second guess everything I’ve ever said about engaging reviewers. It made me want to rage at the reviewer so hard I thought I was going to Hulk-smash my computer. That would have been a bad idea, of course, but nevertheless it upset me.

It was odd because this feeling came from a book that I had nothing to do with. I think we’re all a bit guilty of checking reviews for things that we like to make sure that other people have the same opinion. They don’t, but we can still hope.

So there I was, staring at this review on my computer screen, and I could feel my morals slipping. I started hashing out plans for a full on assault of the reviewer. I honestly wasn’t certain if I was legitimately angry or just annoyed. It’s silly thinking about it now, but at the time, I was really really upset.

Now before anyone goes off on me and tries to destroy my nonexistent career, let me provide you with a few facts. This particular book is part of a series, it’s a permafreebie, and the reviewer was pretty decent in their review for the most part. They did give the book a favorable star rating, but it was baffling.

So, keeping all of that in mind, allow me to share with you all what infuriated me so. The reviewer was upset with what they considered a “cliff hanger ending” and called the author of the book a scammer basically because the book is part of a series.

I can’t stand CLIFF HANGERS to begin with and […] I would of never gotten it to start with.
I hate being scammed into buying another book, if the book or series is good enough I would buy […] without the scam.

Now… What the fuck? What the actual fuck? Aren’t books that are part of a series supposed to leave SOME issues unresolved because they are part of the overarching plot line of the series? Shouldn’t an author want people to read their other books? This book does not have a cliffhanger. I mean, it keeps you wanting to read more (as a good book should), but it doesn’t end randomly or set up a big scene to quickly end and laugh in your face. Just as a reminder for everyone- Miriam Webster defines a cliffhanger as

an adventure serial or melodrama; especially :  one presented in installments each ending in suspense

I don’t understand how getting a freebie is a scam. I honestly don’t. If you like the fucking book enough to read the rest of the books in the series, then the author did their fucking job. If you don’t, that’s fine. You don’t have to buy the other books. I know that might sound like a foreign concept to some, but you don’t. It’s not a requirement. So if you got a free book that you didn’t like, you only wasted a short period of your life; you were not scammed. I mean, if I considered every free book I didn’t like a scam, I’d be the world’s easiest fucking mark. I do have an alternate theory that the reviewer actually liked the book but thinks that they deserve the other books for free.

I would really like you all to weigh in on this. What are your feelings about this situation? How would you handle it? Please don’t forget to comment and follow!

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About Maegan Provan

I am an indie author and proud of it. I try to update as much as humanly possible, but I'm a busy bee.

Posted on August 23, 2015, in Random Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. There have been at least a couple of times where I wanted to argue with a reviewer. Wanted to. But didn’t. It’s never a good idea to argue with a reviewer. I’ve seen authors do it and it just makes them look unbalanced and unprofessional. In the case of a certain wildly popular erotic romance book, I’ve also wanted to argue with reviewers who rated it favorably. Sometimes we just feel very passionately about something, but arguing isn’t going to make anyone change their minds.

    There are times I’ve felt annoyed by the endings of books. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers. At all. When a book is part of a series, there are going to be loose ends that are taken up in the next book in the series. Not everything is going to be resolved. I’m okay with that. I don’t like it when a character is literally left on a cliff at the end of the book, or when we don’t know whether someone is alive or dead. (I can think of a popular, traditionally published series that did this, and though I was extremely annoyed, I still read the next book in the series.) Each book should have a somewhat-conclusive ending. I like to use the Harry Potter books as an example of individual books in a series done right – each book has a solid beginning, middle, and end, but each book still builds on the series as a whole.

    There is also a trend where a full-length novel is broken up into three parts and each part is sold as a “book.” The ending of each “book” is in a totally random spot as if the author just took the total word count and divided it in to three, without any regard for where each part ends. This feels a little manipulative to me. If the book is free, I might not read the next in the series, especially if I feel manipulated into buying the next. But I wouldn’t call it a scam, especially if the book was free! If you get something for free, you are certainly entitled to review it unfavorably, but calling it a scam because you don’t like cliffhangers is pretty harsh.

    Sorry for the mini-novel I just wrote in your comment section. There have been a lot of “how to review” articles going around lately. It’s really a touchy subject. I generally take the side of “review any way you damned well please” when it comes to readers and reviewers. But there’s always that one review that *almost* makes me change my mind. Good post!

  2. yes! I’ve wanted to argue with reviews on books that I loved – not books I wrote, but books someone else wrote that I adored – especially when they are something stupid like that. Calling a full FREE novel a scam is a bit bizarre – even if it did have a cliff hanging end it’s still not a scam – a scam is when you’ve been tricked to pay for something that does not deliver. so long as it is a full length book that makes coherent sense then you got what you paid for (or didn’t pay for in this case) whether you liked the book or not. It isn’t a scam because it wasn’t “as good” as you thought or because it didn’t end “right”… Now I’m ranting :p I’m all for reviewers reviewing the way they want and saying “I hated this book.” but to label something as dishonest when it isn’t… that’s just insulting to the author and misleading.

    • That’s my point. I’m upset that the reviewer called the author a scammer. That’s the worst. It’s actually a little disgusting. I really want to ask the reviewer if they expect to get the other books for free or if they’re really just that stupid… I’m mean, I know.

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