Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: What do we owe our readers....

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What do we owe our readers....

Okay... a troublemaker I know... *and love, admittedly...* is the inspiration behind today's blog.
Said troublemaker lives in Australia. Said troublemaker loves to read. I've gained a number of readers just from her recommendations alone. When you've picked up a LOT of new ebook readers and print readers all from the recommendation of one reader, you realize just how much one reader can affect things.
And she's not alone. There are readers of mine like her in Canada, England, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and Singapore, just to name a few. And most of them buy print books, which means they pay a pretty penny. They all talk about the authors they like. The more they talk, the more others might buy. Okay, not might... do buy.
This is one of the reasons why I appreciate readers from across the globe. You read my books, you buy my books, I love you and you can enter whatever contests I have. And it's even cooler when I get an email, well, so and so said I should try you...and this person is from Singapore, or Italy, or other places that I can't type without misspelling, so I won't try... *G*
But the reason for today's entry was the author who sparked the uh... hmmm... discussion.
Author stated...(and I'm paraphrasing...I'm not linking to the blog, because frankly, I don't want to give her the got a little rude) "I don't see why some reader from out of the country thinks I owe her anything more than a thank you."
Okay, somebody opens a door for me~I say thanks. Somebody lets me cut into the flow of traffic without waiting ten years~I wave thanks.
Yes, I'm very grateful to my readers. Now I'm not about to open a vein in gratitude, and they cannot have my first born, my second born, or my soon to be third... But they should get a little more than a simple thank you. I'm not saying they should all get a free book, or you should fly them to the moon. But they deserve a bit more than the same thing you say to somebody who said bless you when you sneeze.
I write for a living. I get to stay home and actually see my kids and play with them, instead of hitting the PC to pound out one more chapter when I get home from work. That right there is worth more than a simple gee, thanks.
But more...readers see something in my writing. They shell out their hard earned dollars, and whether they loved the book or hated it, they still thought it was worth their time, and for that, I think they deserve more than a simple thank you.
They deserve our respect. Even if all they do is look at the book and think about buying it, I think that deserves respect.
Regardless of whether or not you think it's worth it to send books overseas, you owe readers in general some courtesy. Dragging something out into the very public world of blogging when a reader was simply expressing her opinion and, it's kind of tacky. It showed a complete lack of respect for her opinion, and basically, for her.
It's even worse when you cut off commentary the second it seems that others might agree with her, or they can at least see this reader's side.


ClosetGoddess said...

I agree with you Shiloh.

One of the first things I noticed when I met my fav authors in person, is how genuinely happy they are to meet their fans. When I first went to a conference it was way before I knew anyone, in fact the only person I knew was Cissy from Writerspace and I was so nervous about meeting my idol Jayne Ann Krentz. She turned out to be such a nice person and the other authors I met that day were too that it made me want to get to know more of them.

Same thing with authors, if I know them personally I make an effort to try and buy their book. There was a time for a few years when I wasnt making any money, but now that I am... :)


Erin the Innocent said...

Thanks for this blog Shi :)

Michelle B said...

I, too, agree with you, Shi. I happened upon the blog in question after all was said and done and was shocked at the author's comments and behavior. What's sad is that the author doesn't seem realize that not only does she not get this positive word of mouth you spoke of, she has now lost at least one additional reader (me) after seeing how she handled the whole debacle. Granted I didn't read her books before because I had not heard of her, but as I love to read, I am a potential reader for just about anything (except horror because it gives me nightmares!)


Jaynie R said...

...and I have to add that this whole situation has prooven that Shi is not really brat as she has been gushing about said troublemaker on blogs all over the web.

thanks gorgeous.

Lori said...

I am not an author, but I do where this makes good sense to try to reach all your fans whether they live in the United States or not. I cannot imagine that an author would not try to reach her fans and to so openly and outrageously comment on it.
I know that I feel truly lucky to know each and everyone of the authors on this site and I am always telling everyone how wonderful your books are. I think that it is great that you are so wonderful to all your fans even those who, oh my goodness, dare to live outside of the United States.
Thanks for being you, Shi and to all the other wonderful and amazing authors on this site.

Maura said...

Thanks Shi - I was rather put off by that author's whole attitude and behavior. I definitely will not buy books by her, now or in the future.

I just cannot support her at all.

Shiloh Walker said...

jaynie... shut up.

I don't gush.

geez... have a simple opinion and look where it gets ya...


Just in general, it seems like a lot of people were thrown by the attitude, ya know?

mandymroth said...

"said troublemaker"

I'm snoring here. Shi, tell Jaynie to stop throwing stuff at me. I lub her. Hey! That one hurt, Jaynie!


Great blog, Shi!

Lisa F. said...

I'm in left field - I don't know what author you are talking about. But with the popularity of the internet and the ease of buying books and ebooks, the reader base is definitely worldwide. I've seen some contests where it was stated up front that winners outside the US would be eligible for a different prize, and I think that's great. You know upfront what's happening.

Shiloh Walker said...

now now, mandy. i can't say JAYNIE THE TROUBLEMAKER... oops, just did.

Jaynie, if I don't let people bash authors in the groups, i'm not going to let them THROW things on the blog. behave.

thanks for everybody commenting. :) always apprecaited.

Jana said...

I appreciate your comments Shi. As a reader who is always looking for more to read the fact that an author does not seem willing to do a bit of "self promo" for someone outside the country who might have more trouble buying their books, well it's just selfish. I admit to being curious as to who this was that thinks THANK YOU is more than enough. And yes it is the right thing to do to say THANKS, but to publicly lambast someone for thinking it might be nice to receive a written note or perhaps a book just to be nice, well that's going to far. Playing devils' advocate here...did said reader ask for a book & then slam said author because she said no? If so then said reader was being too presumptious. A note from any author is a big thrill for me.
Just my 2 cents.

Reema said...

As a reader not from the US i feel lucky to have known Shi, thank you for everything :)

Cryna said...

I am always so pleased when an author lets the readers know how pleased they are for the support. The authors on this loop are the best, and I am so glad that I have found this loop.

I cannot imagine why an author would not want to recognize any reader who is not in the USA. The rest of us buy their books/or not and word of mouth is priceless advertising.

As for contests, a lot of authors state right on the rules that it is open to just the US residents, but that is okay. Although I like to enter contests as long as they are up front about it you know going in - and I will still buy their books.


Shiloh Walker said...

Reema... smooch. Hope you're doing well.

Jana, the issue was that this author had a contest in her newsletter. It was only open to US readers. The reader emailed and wanted to know why.

The author emailed she was doing this for promo and since her books are only available in the US, basically she didn't see the point is wasting her money promoting it overseas.

That's shortsighted... amazon ships everywhere. As do other booksellers, but that's beside the point.

The reader emailed back, yeah fine, whatever but I won't be wasting my money buying your books if you don't think people outside the states are worth dealing with.

It would, and should, have been left at that... but the author then dragged it to her blog. She didn't explain anybody's side but her own, just implied that the reader was selfish and the author didn't think she deserved more than a thank you. Entire tone was snotty. And i'm pretty snotty myself so for me to think it was rude... eh...

The author had readers jumping all over said reader. Reader went to defend herself and several others voiced their support of the reader. As did other readers. As soon as THAT happened, said author disabled comments.

Dragging it out into the blog showed a very clear disrespect for that reader, and the way it was phrased... eh, I won't be buying any of her books. And it was worse when she decided nobody's opinion other than those she approved of were welcome.

PattiF said...

Interesting discussion. I read both sides and disagree with the author's reasoning. If it is a pain to go to the post office, why not just tell the non USA person that it'll take longer to get there since she has to get to the post office? Readers do talk about books they've read and sending them to non USA countries is an untapped market. Authors have to promote! Hey, if it means sending books to the North Pole, so be it. Those elves up there might just pick it up at the local Circle K after one gets it from an author and tells the others about it. :-)

I have bought a lot of my books due to word of mouth from people I know. And discovered authors who are now my auto-buys.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the readers from afar. I would not presume to try to direct how any author spend his/her promo budget and I suppose that an author does not owe me much other than what I expect from any other person. Must say though, many of the people that I associate with are people who are stationed in a series of countries and are active amongst the English speaking international community (usually a fairly good sized group who often go so far as to try to set up informal libraries and bookswaps since books we favor may be hard to come by). Books are treasures to us and we talk enthusiastically about the ones that we love...recommending as we go. Word of mouth goes in all directions even back to home territories, wherever home may be. I have been very fortunate to have come across authors who are both good-hearted and savvy. Kind of feel sad for the one who just didn't "get it."

Little Lamb lost

Lucy Monroe said...

Shi...what a sad situation. You gotta wonder why anyone would handle constructive criticism that way. I ship prize books outside the country all the time, but that's just me. My market has been international from the beginning, but even my books that didn't come out in other countries right away sold as exports.

And I like it that way. It's very cool to get reader letters, no matter where they are from, but it feels good to know that readers in other countries go out of their way to find my books. That's one of the reasons I've never excluded international winners from my contests. I have learned that due to custom controls for different countries, I'm better of tailoring my prizes to either fit international regulations for shipping or I state up front that the prize will be different for an international reader. (Did you know you *can't* ship nail polish to Canada? I learned that with one of my multi winner contests. LOL)

Anyway, not having read the blog, I can't speak to the author's reaction, but I can say with unequivocal certainty that I believe all readers deserve respect. I really feel close to my readers and love the fact that many of them consider me their friend. It makes me feel connected to a much broader community and the fact that it is worldwide fits my view of humanity a lot better than if it were limited to the people living in my own back yard.


Stacy~ said...

I read the blogs, all the comments, and ultimately my thoughts were that I was appalled by this author's treatment of others. Regardless of whether she mailed her books internationally or not, I couldn't find any reason to treat the people who didn't agree with her as she did.

I guess to answer the question "what do we owe our readers", my answer would be: respect.

Jaynie R said...

Since Shi is too nice to mention who the author was. Y'all can pop over to my blog for the whole story *g*

snowflake said...

Shi, thanks for appreciating readers regardless of their location.

Shiloh Walker said...

jenny... *G* why shouldn't i appreciate all of 'em? All my readers seem to appreciate me regardless of where i live.


and jaynie ... BABE... i was trying to avoid giving her any more hits out of curiousity although she claims NOT to want the interest. my butt. She certainly comes of as somebody who just thrives on stirring the pot.