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TBD
by TBD

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Kindle Edition published 2016-01-12
Bestseller ranking: 757432

Product Description
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: Tactful way to say this to readers?  (Read 2879 times)  

Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 11:08:42 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

There's a big difference between "give my book a five star rating" and asking for a review without asking for an honest review.

"Thank you for reading TITLE. Reviews are a great way to tell others what you liked and didn't like about a book (Reviews are a great way to tell others if a book is worth their time) (Lots of variations of this). Please consider leaving a review at the retailer of your choice. Thanks!"

Honest review is implied here. Saying "please consider leaving an honest review at the retailer of your choice' can be seen as insulting the reader's integrity.

Online Bards and Sages (Julie)

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2017, 11:09:09 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

Nobody asks for "honest reviews" unless they expect praise. Take it from someone who used to review indie books regularly and was attacked on more than one occasion after giving an "honest review" that was three stars or less.

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Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
If you are asking readers to reach out and talk to you, but have no intention of responding to everyone, you appear rude. It's one thing if you aren't comfortable responding to all your emails, though even a short sentence or two thanking them for reaching out can be appreciated, but soliciting responses and not responding shows you value your own time more than theirs.

My husband once sent an email to Brandon Sanderson when the Wheel of Time series finished. The series means a lot to him, because it was something he shared with his father before he died. So he sent a heartfelt email thanking Sanderson. He didn't expect a response. About a month later, he got one. A long one.

Now, I don't know if it Brandon Sanderson wrote back personally (he's quite busy writing all his books), or if it was a PA, but it left a lasting impression on my husband and now we buy multiple versions of all his books at release. (Not that it makes any kind of difference.)

Online Ann in Arlington

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2017, 11:25:57 AM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews. I've seen authors say 'If you liked my book, please give it a five star rating' and find this a lot less palatable than a request for an honest review.

Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

But, I still don't like being asked for an honest review. Where you see it as a person being open to less then stellar, I see it, too often, used as a 'nudge nudge wink wink' type thing where what they're really saying is "don't bother if you don't like it". Just assume that, if you're asking me for a review, I will give you an honest one, and you don't need to remind me of that. :)

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Offline Tilly

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2017, 12:07:09 PM »
I actually like it when authors ask for honest reviews because it means they are open to receiving less-than-positive reviews.

I've found the opposite to be the case and the authors who gush that they just want "honest reviews" actually just want all their friends and families to leave them glowing 5-stars and they can't actually handle honest feedback. I've seen authors have meltdowns in public forums over well written 3-star reviews because apparently anything under a 4 doesn't qualify as an honest review.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2017, 12:12:57 PM »
At the end of one of mt recent stories, I put:

All reviews are greatly appreciated. Even 1-stars. If you didn't like it, 1-star me, baby.

Once, anyway. I didn't get any extra reviews out of it and not any 1-stars.

I think readers are going to review if they want and only then. Worrying about reviews is a waste of time.
 

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2017, 12:21:41 PM »
Should I feel bad now that I just threw out my email, twitter and web page links with a "I hope you enjoyed Elera, next book coming soon"in the back?. :D
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Offline JulianneQJohnson

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2017, 12:30:26 PM »
These are questions you ask your beta readers or you ARC's. Not the general reader.

Best thing you can do is try to get them on to your ARC list,  send them a free book and then ask all those questions.
I agree with this.
             

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2017, 09:16:21 AM »
Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

Ugh, I know what you mean. The dealership did this when I bought my car. And they always want you to leave a glowing review right away. Not after you've had time to decide if you like their service/product or not. One service guy my parents were talking to immediately started trying to justify his terrible Yelp reviews as soon as I mentioned that I'd looked his company up. All these excuses. So very off-putting.

To the OP: if you want suggestions but don't want to reply, you could try to come up with some kind of digital suggestion box form on your website. People are used to physical suggestion boxes not getting replies so maybe that would work. Although I kind of agree with everyone else that the whole idea may not be the most advisable.

Offline JsFan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2017, 11:23:59 AM »
There's a big difference between "give my book a five star rating" and asking for a review without asking for an honest review.

"Thank you for reading TITLE. Reviews are a great way to tell others what you liked and didn't like about a book (Reviews are a great way to tell others if a book is worth their time) (Lots of variations of this). Please consider leaving a review at the retailer of your choice. Thanks!"

Honest review is implied here. Saying "please consider leaving an honest review at the retailer of your choice' can be seen as insulting the reader's integrity.

Your version may be more artful, but it still doesn't prove that asking for honest reviews is questioning my integrity. That meaning is entirely inferred by you and I think it's unfair to criticise an author for it, since the author didn't say the words you read. I doubt that most authors have such low opinions of their readers, since most authors are first readers. Really, why would strangers expend the energy it takes to judge other strangers' integrity?

I don't think it's wise to ask a reader to write what they like and/or don't like because if you said this to me I would try to find things that I like and don't like about your book (because that would now be in my working memory).

It can also be argued that pontificating to me about the usefulness of reviews is offensive. I, for one, prefer a straight request, without all the reasons. I don't know that I even think actively about whether an author wants a review before writing one. I review books because (1) I like to and (2) I'm used to reviewing. The request is at best a respectful reminder.

Nobody asks for "honest reviews" unless they expect praise. Take it from someone who used to review indie books regularly and was attacked on more than one occasion after giving an "honest review" that was three stars or less.

I'm not one of those 'nobody' people; if I request honest reviews, I mean exactly what I've said.

Are you saying the authors attacked you because they asked for honest reviews?

Yeah, that's definitely a turn off. I see the same thing with merchants who ask you to go on yelp and rate them highly.

But, I still don't like being asked for an honest review. Where you see it as a person being open to less then stellar, I see it, too often, used as a 'nudge nudge wink wink' type thing where what they're really saying is "don't bother if you don't like it". Just assume that, if you're asking me for a review, I will give you an honest one, and you don't need to remind me of that. :)

But why not take the author at his/her word and imagine he genuinely wants your honest review? I've just said how I would react to being asked to write a review of what I did and didn't like. What's the solution, then, to refrain from asking for honest reviews to avoid offending you, or to ask for the good and bad and make me reach for bad things I wasn't going to say anyway?

I've found the opposite to be the case and the authors who gush that they just want "honest reviews" actually just want all their friends and families to leave them glowing 5-stars and they can't actually handle honest feedback. I've seen authors have meltdowns in public forums over well written 3-star reviews because apparently anything under a 4 doesn't qualify as an honest review.

How do you know that they just want positive reviews from friends and family? Have a good enough number admitted this, directly or indirectly? Why would authors put these words at the back of their books to reach friends and family --- I'd imagine they could talk directly to those in their circles and possibly give them free copies of their books.

I think life is hard enough for authors without attaching negative meanings to everything they say without any evidence that they meant to say what we've understood.

At the end of one of mt recent stories, I put:

All reviews are greatly appreciated. Even 1-stars. If you didn't like it, 1-star me, baby.

I think readers are going to review if they want and only then. Worrying about reviews is a waste of time.

I like this!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 11:31:12 AM by JsFan »

Offline JsFan

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2017, 11:50:21 AM »
At the end of Book 1 of my YA PNR, after my request to the reader to leave reviews and an invitation to join my mailing list, I want to write something like this:

If you would like to give me any feedback on the story, you can email me at ___

Feel free to tell me what you liked and didnt like about the story. Which characters would you like to see more of? Which would you like to see less of? Would you like to see [character name] end up with [2nd character name]?

Where would you like the story to go? What would you like me to write next? Feel free to make suggestions about the plot and characters.

Ill read and consider every suggestion, though time may not permit me to reply to all of them. Thank you.

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Im being cautious because I might get a deluge of suggestions, some of which may be unrealistic and which I might have to use a ton of tact to reply to.

While I would like to hear feedback from readers, I fear getting inundated with too many letters that would take too much time to reply to.

So can you please help me come up with a tactful way to encourage readers to send feedback while also warning them I won't actually be replying to any of it. If a reader gave me some brilliant suggestion, Id reply to that.

Im aware I may be opening a can of worms here and giving some readers the idea they have the right to dictate my story, but as I said, I want to make it clear I won't be replying.

Thanks!

I had actually decided to ask for direct feedback once I've published. Great teammates have been known to be found this way. I don't expect that I'll get so much mail that I'll be unable to reply or write. If that happens, I'll "simply" remove the promise.

I think it would be fun to reader-fund a book at some point in my author journey. I don't think I'll do that at the beginning, though, since my mailing list doesn't even exist and I think such an enterprise would require a cetain level of camaraderie with my readers to work.

Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2017, 12:03:40 PM »
Your version may be more artful, but it still doesn't prove that asking for honest reviews is questioning my integrity. That meaning is entirely inferred by you and I think it's unfair to criticise an author for it, since the author didn't say the words you read. I doubt that most authors have such low opinions of their readers, since most authors are first readers. Really, why would strangers expend the energy it takes to judge other strangers' integrity?

I don't think it's wise to ask a reader to write what they like and/or don't like because if you said this to me I would try to find things that I like and don't like about your book (because that would now be in my working memory).

It can also be argued that pontificating to me about the usefulness of reviews is offensive. I, for one, prefer a straight request, without all the reasons. I don't know that I even think actively about whether an author wants a review before writing one. I review books because (1) I like to and (2) I'm used to reviewing. The request is at best a respectful reminder.

I'm not sure I understood what you are saying here, so if I misunderstood I apologize. There's no way for me to prove asking for honest reviews, over just asking for reviews period, is implying that someone has questionable integrity, because there is no right or wrong answer. It's not provable either way. It's opinion, and frankly, I sway the direction of not offending unintentionally because some readers will read that implication. How do I know? Because I talk to readers, both as an author and as a reader myself.

As for it being unfair to criticize an author, well, fairness has nothing to do with how someone feels or interprets an author's words. I don't understand the rest of your paragraph. You seem to be arguing that readers shouldn't infer an author's intentions (or maybe the author's assumption of the reader's intentions/integrity?) As for authors having low opinions of readers, when it comes to reviews, I've seen a lot of 'bad behaving authors' as have many readers.

The point is that asking for an honest review over just asking for a review without the qualifier isn't going to give you more reviews, or better reviews, or going to have any positive effect. So why risk offending some of your readers for no gain?

As for how I worded the review request example, this was just an example I pulled out of my booty. I don't actually ask for reviews at the end of my books, so I don't word it like anything. Other, quite successful, authors have stated in the past that explaining why reviews are important to authors and other readers lets readers know when they otherwise don't realize that reviews are important. Personally, I don't worry about reviews at all.

As for it not being wise to ask what they liked and didn't like because then they might leave a review saying both what they liked and didn't like, I strongly disagree. I want people to say what they liked and didn't like because it informs readers (who reviews are for. They aren't for me.) whether the book is a good fit for them before they buy it. I mean, I have to question this here. If you're really looking for an honest review, you'd want the good with the bad right? Not just the good? Otherwise, you're not looking for honest reviews; you're looking for good reviews.

Too many authors these days complain about their low star reviews (even 3-stars), calling the reviewers trolls, or questioning what kind of person would leave such a low rating. There are enough examples of authors who ask for honest reviews who turn around and argue against the low star reviews that readers are wary of the wording. It happens a lot with ARC reviewers specifically, because it's usually emphasized by the author to leave an honest review.

You don't have to ask for honest reviews. (And my post was specifically about the difference between asking for an honest review and asking for a 5-star review. There's a middle ground, which arguably is the better choice.)

Online Ann in Arlington

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2017, 04:13:45 PM »
Quote
The point is that asking for an honest review over just asking for a review without the qualifier isn't going to give you more reviews, or better reviews, or going to have any positive effect. So why risk offending some of your readers for no gain?

This.

I'm not saying that EVERY reader is going to read 'honest review' as 'positive review'. But I know that a lot of readers WILL read it that way even if the author doesn't mean it that way.

OTOH, if you just ask for a review, without the qualifier, there's nothing for anyone to read into it.

For me, the question is "why risk annoying people if you don't have to?"

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Offline Tilly

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2017, 05:00:20 PM »
How do you know that they just want positive reviews from friends and family? Have a good enough number admitted this, directly or indirectly?

Because other forums are full of threads from authors lambasting readers for giving their "book baby" anything less than a 5/4 star review because all their other reviews (from family) are 5 star. Goodreads is particularly bad for authors calling genuine reviewers the t-word for anything less than a 4-star which apparently isn't "useful feedback" while at the same time they are whining that they can't get "honest reviews" on their books. And yes I have seen authors say that critical reviews aren't useful feedback (again in GR forums) because they don't like being told their basic craft is lacking (usually).

And you're right - they don't just want positive reviews from friends and family, they want them from other authors too. Goodreads is (unfortunately) host to numerous groups where authors can swap "positive feedback" with each other in the form of reciprocal 4/5 star reviews on Amazon and GR. When you read the small print in these groups they often specifically say "positive feedback" only and that authors are required to ONLY post 4/5 star "honest reviews".

Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: Tactful way to say this to readers?
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2017, 05:32:58 PM »
I don't ask for reviews.  At the end of my book, it says I hope you enjoyed the story and here's my website and email. 

I think I've had one person email me and over 900 follow my website.

Social media is where I talk to readers.  Facebook is a great place to chat. :)

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