With the advance of self-publishing and the ease in which it can be done (CreateSpace, Smashwords, Word Alive Press, etc.), anyone who writes can be a published author. Or can they?
The question was put to me long ago and has only recently been resurfacing with the onslaught of self-published books. Can self-published writers legitimately call themselves authors? It's an interesting question and one that needs to be addressed. What makes a writer an author?
The first short story I sold to Chicken Soup for the Soul was an exciting one for me. I received a letter from the publishers who ended it by saying, "Pat yourself on the back, you can now officially call yourself an author." Of course they were assuming I'd never been published before, but it got me thinking. Is the title of author only reserved for those who get paid to write? For years that has been the norm. So what do we call self-published writers?
Technically, a writer is paid by a publisher to produce a work from which the writer will get royalties. No one pays self-published writers to produce their books. It is quite the opposite in fact - self-published writers have to pay someone else to publish their books. And they usually pay out substantial sums of money that they probably will never make back. Of course there are exceptions to that rule (The Shack, by William Paul Young comes to mind), but it is not the norm.
So, is it unfair to self-published writers that they not be called authors? Some say yes, they haven't paid their "dues". While that may have been true in the past, when self-publishing was just starting to become a "thing" I don't believe that is true today. Yes, about ten years ago those who self-published, produced books with amateurish covers that resembled something done on Microsoft Publishing. Some didn't bother with editors, beta-readers, book-formatting or cover design, but some did and excellent books were produced in the process. Unfortunately, many of those books went unnoticed because of the perception that ALL self-published books were horrible.
Up until about a year ago I was reviewing CBA approved books and nothing else. If a self-published book got by me, then it was only because the author did an excellent job on the cover, their story and on promoting it to me. Today, most of the books I review at Interviews & Reviews are self-published and to be honest, I am seeing some high quality stuff. Unfortunately, I am also still seeing amateurish books full of typos, grammatical errors and worst of all horrible covers! Yes - I do judge a book by its cover! Please indie authors do yourself a favour and spend $500 dollars on a professional cover. It will only help you in the end. BTW, I never post reviews of horrible books (unless the author doesn't care) but instead contact the author and explain why I won't be reviewing their book.
According to Michael Koslowski, (see video below) of GoodEReader.com, "If you can earn your living from your writing, you are a professional author, anyone else is just a plain old writer." One comment on his website defined authors this way:
Writer - Someone who writes stuff.
Author - A writer that creates a finished work.
Professional Author - An author that makes a living off of finished works.
Personally, I believe anyone who produces a book (traditionally or self-published) should call themselves an author. Indie books can be bought on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. They can be found in libraries and in bookstores, the same as traditionally published books. If done really well, no one will know how your book was published and as a reader, I have to say - I don't care how the book I'm reading was published. If it catches my eye and I can't put it down, I'm going to keep my eye open for more by that author. In the end, I believe most readers feel the same way. What about you? What do you think? Should Indie Authors be able to call themselves authors? Leave a comment below.
Today I am very pleased to welcome guest blogger and author Laurinda Wallace. Laurinda has some very wise words on using Beta-Readers, what they do and what you need to know. Enjoy!
What's a beta reader? That question has been asked plenty of times when I mention the term. So here's the definition: a beta reader gets to read my manuscript after I've finished the revisions and before my editor gets her hands on it. Betas offer input on everything from the plot, to characters, to settings---everything. Nothing is off limits. My readers are six women who've agreed to give me honest feedback about each book I write. All were handpicked by me because they meet the qualifications below:
1. They love to read and know a good story a mile away.
2. They know and like me well enough to give honest opinions.
3. Each has a different perspective to offer and they're creative.
The betas have improved each book with their insights, corrections, and sound advice. Although I haven't taken 100% of the recommendations offered, the majority of comments have been incorporated into the manuscripts. This part of the editing process is indispensable to prepare for the editor and to polish the book.
Because beta readers are entrusted with an unpublished manuscript in electronic form (which tends to be extremely portable), I've developed beta reader guidelines, which clarify responsibilities and expectations. I strongly recommend doing the same with either your current beta readers or for the group you may be forming. If you are serious about writing as a business, procedures for your business practices are fundamental. A great deal of trust is placed upon the beta readers, which is one of the reasons I choose readers I know and give them guidelines, so there's no guessing.
As a courtesy, my beta readers are contacted before a manuscript is ready and are asked for participation. Everyone's schedule is busy, and I never want to obligate/overload a beta reader. They are much too valuable for that.
Speaking of value--beta readers as a rule are not paid, but I always send a token of appreciation. A copy of the final product is always welcome.
A sample of beta reader guidelines is provided below.
SAMPLE BETA READER GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES
Thank you for agreeing to be a beta reader for Your Publishing Name. We LOVE readers and we’re happy to have you as part of our team. Your input is essential to us in producing outstanding books for readers and it’s our intention to make this process interesting and fun.
How Beta Reading Works
1. Your Publishing Name does everything electronically. Manuscripts and your comments will all be by email.
2. You will receive the manuscript as a Word file. A deadline will be stated in the email. Deadlines are generous and will usually be about four (4) weeks.
3. Comments should be made using the insert comment feature in Word. Please do not worry about punctuation, missing words, or other mistakes in the copy. It is a draft and will be professionally edited before publication. We do endeavor to give you a clean copy so that typos, etc. are not distractions.
4. Once you have completed reading the manuscript and have made your comments, email the copy back to the author by the deadline.
5. You may be asked to read the book once more after the editing has been completed.
6. Beta reading doesn’t make you any money, but you will receive a token of our appreciation in your mailbox.
The Kind of Comments We Need
1. Characters – like or dislike and why.
2. Plot – too predictable, too slow, not enough action, or an absolutely fabulous plot.
3. Inconsistencies, errors about characters i.e. tall, dark, and handsome in one scene, short and geeky in another.
4. Is the story visual? Can you see the characters in your mind? Are the places descriptive enough? Is there too much description? Are there scenes that are confusing?
5. Is the dialogue natural or stilted?
6. What you liked and disliked about the book. What you’d do to make it better.
7. We want HONEST feedback. Please do not be a softie and like everything. Authors must have tough hides. Every story can be improved and we’re counting on you to help us do just that. Readers are discriminating, sophisticated, and know what they like in a good book. We want to provide that product and your help is vital.
After the Read
You have a special place of trust in being a beta reader. You’re getting the first peek at a book before it is published. The manuscript you are entrusted with has not been through the formal copyright process, although the copyright is technically in place when fingers hit the keyboard. All titles will be officially copyrighted before publication. Please adhere to the following “Do’s” and “Don’ts.”
After you have finished reading the manuscript and have emailed it back to the author, please DO delete the file completely from your computer. This means the trash basket on your desktop too.
Once you have received confirmation that your comments have been received by the author, DO delete “Sent” emails as well.
DO NOT share the manuscript with friends or family. We are in the business of selling books and would love to have them buy the title when it’s published.
DO brag about being a beta reader. Let friends and family know when a book is coming out. Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool and we need your help as our business gets underway. You played an important part in the book birthing process, so don’t hold back.
DO have fun as a beta reader. We’re readers ourselves and have spent many happy hours in the pages of a book.
What's Needed From You
1. Contact information: Name, mailing address, email, and phone number.
2. Honesty, sense of humor, and some of your time.
Thank you Laurinda, that is excellent advice! For more information about Laurinda you can visit her website at www.laurindawallace.com
About the Author:
I have had the pleasure of interviewing many authors - some well known - some not. I have a standard questionnaire that I send out via email to all authors requesting interviews. On the questionnaire, which I try to update from time to time, are about twenty questions. I ask each author to answer no more than eight because I may have follow up questions to ask them. The best thing about email interviews (aka blog posts) are that you can take your time answering them, whereas a live interview might cause an embarrassing brain blip. For example - you forget the name of your book - which I did - on the radio - and it wasn't pre-recorded. Yes, I was having one of those days. But with an email interview you only need to answer the questions and make sure you have done a proper edit.
How Do Blog Interviews Work?
You have just released your first book, sent out your press releases and now you are getting requests for interviews. If all goes well you will receive interview requests for t.v., radio, newspapers and blog posts. Blog posts? Can they even generate excitement about your book? That all depends on how you treat the questions sent to you.
Not quite. You need to infuse your personality into your interview as well. Let your readers get to know you. Pretend it's a radio interview. How you answer the questions says a lot about you. For example, one worded answers make you sound like an automaton. I have asked the question, "How many books have you written?" and received this answer, "Two." Instead of jumping at the opportunity to promote their other books, the author showed a lack of interest in promoting their work and/or a lack of interest in an email interview. If that is the case - don't agree to do one. If you don't have the time to answer questions in written form, don't agree to an email interview in the first place.
How to Make Your Blog Interview Great
As most of you know, I review Christian books at Interviews & Reviews and for Christian Life in London. On average I receive about three or four requests a week for a book review. Most of the review requests I receive are from self-published authors. However, I have had the pleasure of some of my favourite authors contacting me for a review, along with publicists and agents who have heard about me through Interviews & Reviews.
Usually books coming from publishing houses or agents have been through a thorough edit and have been proofread. And most self-published authors who are serious about their craft have invested in a good edit as well. But today I want to talk to those of you who are new to writing in general and are considering self-publishing or thinking about traditional publishing. It is a warning really. Beware of people who say they are editors.
An editor is first and foremost not your mother, your best friend, or someone who "thinks" they are good at catching grammatical errors. If this is who you have been using to edit your book, stop right now, you are doing yourself no favours. When I receive a book where the author has assured me it has been through an edit and I discover typos, grammatical errors, the frequent use of words like "just" (see my post on punctuation) and the over-use of exclamation points, I know their "editor" is either their mother, or someone who thinks proofreading is the same as editing. They aren't.
So What Should You Look for in an Editor?
There are no degree or education requirements for a good editor. However, having at least a bachelor's degree in English, journalism or communications certainly wouldn't hurt. A good editor will help you become a better writer. And a good writer will take the advice of their editor!
When looking for an editor a good suggestion I heard the other day is to ask them for a sample edit. Give them two or three pages from your manuscript and see what they do with it. If they catch your typos - great! If they suggest more appropriate wording - even better. But, if they send it back and say, "It looks great, I wouldn't change a thing." Don't hire them! You may be a good writer, but no one is that perfect. Here are some things you should look for in an editor:
A good editor has a critical eye. That doesn't mean they are critical, difficult people. It means they are unbiased in how they approach your work. Unlike your best friend or mother, who may point out a typo or two, but would never dare suggest you re-write a chapter. Whereas an editor might suggest you re-write a chapter and then after you do, he/she may suggest you re-write it again.
Yes, editing might sound like someone is trying to change your words into their words. And sometimes you may disagree with your editor's suggestions. But in the end you must look at your work with a critical eye as well, because ultimately you will show your manuscript to a publisher or an agent, or you may show it to a reviewer like me. And while I may contact the author and suggest she/he edit their book and resubmit it, publishers don't have the time or patience to point out your mistakes. They will see that it has not been edited and will pass it off as amateurish and move on to the next manuscript in their pile.
What are the things that grab your attention when reading a novel? Romance? Action? Mystery? Suspense? Perhaps your favourite genre doesn't lend itself to romance, but all novels have key ingredients and if you lack them your reader will soon get bored. It is part of your story arc and it is what will make or break your novel.
What are the elements of a good story arc? Pixar seems to have this down to a science and shared some secrets recently on how they did it. You can use their techniques with any genre of story. To put it simply it starts with:
The story as you know doesn't end there but has many more "arcs" (because of that's) that lead to more action and adventure for Harry. Until finally we come to the end of book one and discover . . .
The moral of the story . . . I know the first Harry Potter book had him solving a mystery that saved the school, but for the life of me I can't remember the moral of book one or rather the lesson learned. I think it has something to do with good conquering evil (since they all seemed to have that theme).
The point is, this is why Pixar has such huge success with their stories. They get the audience invested and involved in their characters. Then they create a situation the main character has no control over, which drives the story from there until it reaches a climax, where the character has to make a decision. The decision will either solve or drive the story further. You control that. Until you finally get to your ending. Basically, your story arc is six points that can drive the story forward and to a conclusion.
When I first started writing I made a lot of mistakes. I still do. I'm also cheeky enough that if I think something looks weird, and I know it shouldn't be there, I'll put it in anyway (my title to this post has a no-no). My major problems stem from bad habits. For example, when writing dialogue, I tend to use a lot of exclamation marks. I know I shouldn't. I know that I'm going to have to go back through my manuscript and edit them all out. But, when a scene is exciting, I forget and fall back into my 'old' ways.
I was thoroughly chastised once by a fellow writer, who read an unedited chapter of a novel I was working on. He counted 25 exclamation points - and that was just one chapter! I'm so embarrassed to admit that! Oh my gosh! There I go again! Ack! I can't help myself!
I love exclamation points. They allow me to express myself in ways that a period cannot. And that is the problem. If I have to use an exclamation point, I am telling not showing.
Exclamation points, along with several words that I've learned to cull from my vocabulary are, unfortunately, a no-no in the literary world. My writer friend told me that editors will allow four per novel. Now, I don't know if that's true, but I can tell you one thing - there is no way in a blue moon that I am going to be able to limit myself to four exclamation points in a 300 page novel. It's impossible! See? There I go again.
For what it's worth, I no longer have 25 exclamation points in that chapter. I have zero. I'm heartbroken. I'm also wondering why my English teacher never told me someday I would have to give up these little wonders. I mean seriously, why make them at all if you can't use them? Who decided to cut them out anyway? I may just stage a protest in defence of the lowly exclamation point. But not now, I have to make sure the following words and phrases are not used either. I will protest their demise at a later date. And yes, I used a few of them in writing this post. I'm a writing rebel. I can't help myself. (I got this list a long time ago from a book on grammar and punctuation in writing. I cannot remember the name of the book, but I kept the list just in case):
Get rid of the following words and phrases:
These are all words that have to be done away with if you are a writer. Some of them are filler words. For example: I just went to the supermarket, is better said - I went to the supermarket. See what I mean? "Just" is not needed.
Lesson for today: Go through your manuscript and weed out the above mentioned words and phrases. Oh, and one more thing - don't forget to get rid of your exclamation points!
You've heard the saying, "never judge a book by its cover" but in the world of books that's exactly what many people do. It's that eye-catching title and cover that stands out on the shelf that makes a reader walk across the aisle of the store to investigate. The design, the colour, the picture and the font all play a part in capturing a potential reader. Even the texture and feel of the book can play a part.
But if you think it's just the front cover you have to worry about, think again. You've got them to walk across the aisle to pick up the book, but if the cover on the back of your book is not equally as captivating, they'll be putting it down and walking away.
For a fictional book, your "back blurb" should have the following elements:
As an example, the following is the back blurb on author Laurie Alice Eakes book, Lady in the Mist:
Terri Blackstock gets all these elements in a different format. Can you find them in this back blurb of Distortion?
A husband’s lies can have deadly consequences.
When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is murdered before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning, then returns home to break the tragic news to her boys. But a threatening voice-mail takes this from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack.
Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger too, unless she meets the killers’ demands. But as she and her sisters untangle the clues, her husband’s dark secrets come to light. The more she learns, the more of her life is dismantled. Was her husband an innocent victim or a hardened criminal?
You've spent months (maybe years) on your book, now make it sell and give it the best possible cover you can. Which leads me to where you can go to get that great cover. If you are traditionally published you don't have to worry, as your publisher will have in-house designers. For self-publishers, I highly recommend 99 Designs. They did the cover for my latest book He Who Has an Ear and have done the covers for quite a few of my author friends as well.The best part is they are affordable!
Here's how it works - you tell them what your book is about, what you are looking for in the cover. This is where your writing skills pay off because you really want the designers to understand your vision. Within 24 hours you will have designs from various designers all over the world submitting you a cover idea. I paid for the bronze package (the lowest price). I was told that I would receive no more than 40 designs. I received 80! The books at the top of this page were just some of the designs. And boy was it hard to make a decision, but it was also fun. I was able to get my readers involved in the choice for my next cover by showing them my choices via a poll and they got to vote on their favourite.
Why do the designers do it? It's a competition. The winner gets the money with a percentage going to 99Designs. And you end up with a fantastic looking cover. The picture below was my winning design.
What About Non-Fiction Books?
Non-fiction books work the same way. Here is what I have on the back of my book.
More than two thousand years ago the Apostle John had a vision he received from the Lord. He was told to write seven letters to the churches of Asia Minor. Out of the seven churches only two received commendation from the Lord. The rest were letters of warning. Compromise and disobedience, combined with a lack of knowledge of the Word of God, has placed the 21st century church in a precarious situation. These letters to the seven churches are a message for this generation during these last days. He who has an ear will know what to do and act accordingly.
I have the introduction and purpose. The genre indicates it is about prophecy and that we will be looking at the Bible, so it covers eschatology and theology as well. I did not use any questions in the cover but it wasn't my choice. So, don't be afraid to use them. I had a few questions in my original draft, but because of the picture we used on the back I had to shorten things up in order to make room for my bio and picture. The summation on the back lets the reader know how important the letters in Revelation are to us today and hopefully will intrigue the reader enough to buy a copy.
One final thing you need to remember when designing your cover - don't neglect the spine of your book! Yes, the majority of people are buying online but there are still quite a few people who prefer "real" bookstores and holding the book in their hands before they make a decision. If you are lucky and your book is facing out on a bookshelf your cover will drag them in. However, not everyone is that lucky and you will probably have your book sitting on the shelf with its spine facing out. So make sure that title pops off the spine in big, bold letters.
Remember, you want to capture a reader's attention and you especially want to make a good impression on a reviewer, because they will consider your cover and its appeal in their final review. Put as much effort into it as you did into writing your book. A professional design says you care what your book looks like and it sends a message to reviewers and readers that the inside might be just as good as the outside!
So you have sent your ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) out to bloggers and professional reviewers. But you still have one more hurdle to jump - getting an endorsement. Not many self-published authors seem to think about this, but it is something all traditionally published authors have. So why shouldn't you? I had so many questions about endorsements - how to get them and from whom - that I was initially quite afraid to ask anyone. But then I realized something on my journey to publishing - it never hurts to ask.
But you may wonder, how exactly do I do that? How do I ask a well-known author or even a celebrity to write the foreword in my book or give me a one line endorsement? How do you that? The answer is real simple, you just ask them. There is nothing more to it than that.
For my Bible Study Learning from the Master: Living a Surrendered Life I sought out Rick Larson, the creator of The Star of Bethlehem DVD. I wanted his endorsement because part of my study talked about the star of Bethlehem. Because my study is appropriate for groups and if started in September it will coincide nicely with Christmas, I recommended in the study that watching the DVD would benefit everyone. So I contacted Mr. Larson, told him about my book and asked him if he could endorse it. It was as simple as that. I did not ask for a foreword because I knew he was a busy man. He was very generous and emailed me quite a few times with what he needed. I sent him a PDF file of my book and waited. When I did not hear back from him after two weeks I contacted him again. He apologized to me because he had been swamped, as he was working on another film (I knew he was a busy man) but he said he did get a chance to briefly read the study. He said, however, that in order to give it a meaningful endorsement he would have to read the whole thing and he just didn't have the time. But he didn't want to discourage me, so he asked me to send him a few lines about what I would hope he would say. He asked me not to go "too far" (I'd be tooting my own horn after all) and so I kept it simple and to the point. He wanted it to be something he could attribute to himself. In the end we ended up with, "Learning from the Master will guide those who read it into a deeper understanding of what it means to live a surrendered life." He responded with, "That's exactly what I needed. You may attribute it to me. Blessings! You go, gal!"
I was thrilled! I had my endorsement and in the end, Rick did something else very special for me. He contacted me again and made his DVD's available to sell with my book! You can get them for half price here. Not only did he bless me with his endorsement, but I was able to bless him by getting word out about his DVD.
Do you see what happened here? I asked him and he said yes. I ASKED HIM.
As I was about to write this post I came across an article written by Joe Gregory of publishingacademy.com. He made the very brave move of approaching one of the dragon's from The Dragon's Den to write a foreword in his book. He never spoke to the dragon but through his secretary. After sending in a requested ARC (a good sign) and waiting a few weeks for an answer, he contacted the dragon again. He was told that Mr. Bannatyne (the dragon) was very busy and would consider writing the foreword if he had the time. Not a good sign. So, he contacted Mr. Bannatyne again along with a draft of some ideas he could adapt. Within a few days the reply came back – yes! – along with a copy of the foreword for inclusion in the book.
Like me, Mr. Gregory had to send in some examples or ideas of what Mr. Bannatyne could use. So, I wondered if this was the norm and apparently it is. Most well-known people don't have time to sit and read your entire book, and prefer a "helping hand" when writing an endorsement or foreword. So, the following are some pointers on what to do when asking for an endorsement.
Endorsements give your book credibility. Don't be afraid to ask for them. You never know what can come about because you weren't afraid to ask.
One of the most important things you can do to promote your book is to get reviews. If you are lucky and have a publishing house behind you, they will more than likely send out ARC's (Advance Reader Copy) months in advance of the release date. Most of these ARC's have not been through a final edit. They do this so that when the book comes out there will already be reviews (hopefully good ones) out there to recommend the book. It is also an opportunity to take one-liners from a review and include it in the book. Another reason for an ARC is to request an endorsement for a book. These endorsements would come from people whose name has clout behind it and would be included either on the cover or inside the book. We will talk about how to get an endorsement at a later date. But today, I want to talk to those self-publishers out there who need reviews and aren't sure how to go about getting them.
Fortunately, there are many options out there for you, but take a page from the publishing houses and do what they do - get your reviews in place before your book comes out. I have made the mistake of not doing that and I really think it harms the sale of your book. If I had done my homework I would have had over 20 reviews in place before my book came out. As it stands now, reviews are trickling in but they are coming in. So, the months leading up to your release date should be all about your marketing campaign and getting reviews and endorsements. But where do you go to get them?
After you select the reviewers that interest you, the program will begin to generate a list of reviews for the books selected (which you can export to excel). Some of the reviews will include emails and a website where you can contact the reviewer and get a better idea of their interest in your genre. This is an incredible time-saver! You don't have to go out and search for your potential audience - they come to you! This list kept generating names and stopped at 19 reviewers. As you can see from the example below, each reviewer's name comes up with a website or email or both. Now all you have to do is contact the reviewer and ask for a review in exchange for a free copy of your book. How easy is that?
Finally, you have probably noticed that I didn't tell you to go to your family and close friends for reviews. There are two reasons for this:
One of the hardest things for authors to refrain from doing is defending their work. I know because I've been trying to refrain from it for over a month. And let me tell you, it is not an easy thing to do.
Unfortunately, not all the reviews you get for your book are going to be glowing. There is going to come a time when you hit a nerve and people are going to respond - badly. There are different kinds of bad reviews though. There are the ones that pick apart everything you said and demand that you justify and explain yourself (they are just plain mean). Others will be legitimate complaints about your editing job. I have read books that made me sit back in stunned silence wondering why the author did not invest in an editor. When I get a book to review like that, I contact the author privately to let her know why she won't be getting 3 stars. Not every reviewer however, will do that. A wise author will make the investment in an editor or suffer the backlash of bad reviews. And let's not forget the cover. If it screams self-published you will hear about it.
So, how do you respond to a bad review? What if the reviewer misunderstood what you said, or simply didn't "get it"? Should you go on Amazon and explain yourself? The answer is no. I reviewed a book on Mormonism once (I can't recall the title) but the author, an ex-Mormon, was getting thoroughly chewed out for calling Mormonism a cult. Many admitted to not reading the book, but only went on to encourage people not to buy it and they left a few choice words for the author. Yes, some people are vindictive and if they are prepared to hate your book, you will never be able to convince them otherwise.
Mark Twain once said, "Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference." Keep that in mind if you are thinking of responding to a bad review. However, if that doesn't convince you, take a lesson from author Katherine Howett, who responded to a bad review on the reviewer's website this way:
"You obviously didn't read the second clean copy I requested you download that was also reformatted, so this is a very unfair review. My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks."
Katherine then went on to post three good reviews she had received for her book, to which others began to respond.
Anonymous said: "Wow...you blame the reviewer for not going and getting a different copy, dismiss his review, then post three more reviews from various places? Uh, can we say petty? The professionalism here is just astounding."
Anonymous said: "The author's response is a real turn-off. I'll pass, thanks."
While the comments by the author have been deleted on the original site, I remember them quite well. She then proceeded to tell all those responding to ... well... she dropped the F* bomb and elicited so many responses that at last count there were 308 comments, all negative and aimed at the author and her childish, unprofessional behaviour. The author later wrote an apology, unfortunately the damage was already done and her book started to get "trolls" on Amazon. She has since removed the book and it is no longer for sale.
What are trolls? Some are people that love to give bad reviews, like this guy who has written 276 negative reviews for Amazon. Others just like to make fun of the product/book they are reviewing. Amazon has enjoyed these types of trolls so much they have a link to them at www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=1001250201
Of course, this then begs the question - where do I find reviewers who can be counted on to give an honest review? I'll talk about that in my next post.
In the end, bad reviews for authors should be a learning experience in which they can improve themselves. If it is just a hateful review, it isn't worth the author's time of day so don't respond to it. Negative reviews are not fun, but if the reviewer gives a legitimate reason they can help you grow as an author.