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Discussion Starter #1
One of my free short story collections has been doing really well, it made it to deep into the top 100 free on Christmas and is still hanging out around there. It includes a free 5-chapter preview of my zombie novel and has really helped that book's sales.

The problem is all the 1-star reviews. Kids seem to love it, but adults (who don't read the description) are posting a lot of 1-star zingers.

I know that's part of having a popular book, but today I got a 1-star where the customer complained that it was a ripoff because she really wants to read the Zombie novel, but doesn't want to buy it (it's on sale for 99 cents right now). She said it really upset her and that she's "so mad!!!!!!!!!" (explanation points are her's).

I broke down and replied:
"I am very sorry to have upset you so much. I put the extended preview so people can check out the book before buying it--that way they don't waste their money on a book that they don't like.
However, if you e-mail me at: mikejware (at) gmail.com I will be glad to send you a free copy.
Again, I am sorry the preview made you so mad.
-MJ"

Honestly, if she doesn't have the money to buy the book, I really do still want her to read it. I am glad to send her a free copy. I've done so in the past to people from countries that can't buy from Amazon.

Like many of us, I don't write for the money. The money is just a way that I can justify spending more time writing--it's an ends to a means. But I know a cardinal rule is to NEVER reply to negative reviews.

Did I just shoot myself in the foot?
 

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I don't think you hurt yourself at all. As a matter of fact, you probably took a step forward by showing yourself to be a reasonable person.

I reply to reviews all the time. I've heard that rule before, but I think there are exceptions.

Best of luck.
 

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I would actually not reward somebody for a one-star review. I mean, what's going to stop other people from complaining too and expecting to get a free copy of the book via email as a result? And why wouldn't they get it when this person did? It seems unfair.

Unless the book description is misleading and she really though she was buying the novel (and realized too late that it was just a preview). In that case, I would adjust the book description.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
dotx said:
I would actually not reward somebody for a one-star review. I mean, what's going to stop other people from complaining too and expecting to get a free copy of the book via email as a result? And why wouldn't they get it when this person did? It seems unfair.
Sure I guess it's unfair, but that's life. I don't think others will leave one star review just to get a free copy. But if they do, I'll have to start tracking them down and deliver them in person -j/k

dotx said:
Unless the book description is misleading and she really though she was buying the novel (and realized too late that it was just a preview). In that case, I would adjust the book description.
This is exactly why these boards are so great. Inside the book is makes it very clear it's a preview. But I don't mention it in the description. I've just added it--of course no one reads the description anyway or they'd know it's a kid's book.
Good advice, might save me another 1-star review someday.
 

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dotx said:
I would actually not reward somebody for a one-star review. I mean, what's going to stop other people from complaining too and expecting to get a free copy of the book via email as a result?
I agree with this.
 

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Do you really think that someone who has a $200 Kindle or some other similar (probably more expensive) device and probably every other electronic gadget known to mankind can't afford a .99 book?  

It is totally up to you of course, but yeah, I think it's silly to reward a tantrum over something ridiculous.  And I wouldn't apologize for their unreasonableness either.

I'm mean like that.  
 

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I gave up responding to reviews. Half the time they are my competition, or stupid kids with nothing better to do (i.e. "This book freaked me out!").

You'll never cure the mob.
 

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I wouldn't have responded and certainly not offered the novel for free. Giving a one star review because some greedy need is not met is not a nice thing to do and out of principle I would not enable such a person in their behavior.
 

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The only reason I think you shot yourself in the foot is that I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior.  She just pitched a fit because she didn't want to pay a dollar for something (after already getting a short story collection for free) and what happened?  You offered her a free copy.  So now she has learned that being a brat and an ingrate works.  Just sayin'...
 

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Not sure which review you are talking about.

I found this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00513D9HW/ref=cm_sw_su_dp

The book is listed for children, and she says it is great for children, but when it came time to star the book she went with the adult perspective. Makes perfect sense!

I had written a response, but thought better of it since you posted a complaint here.
 

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Ya, I kind of think it's wrong to reward a one star review about not wanting to pay for something with something free... and something that you worked hard on too. Whatever your writing is like, in anyone's opinion its gotta' be worth more than 99 cents.

I get that you just want someone to enjoy your writing, but looking at the big picture if everyone does it, then people will stop paying for stuff. It's the knock on effect. On the other hand, you are perfectly within your rights to do as you choose.

The other day I got a review that said: 'This book is about a girl dating a billionaire and its got a thong on it!' (and that's all)

Not the best review in the world, but I can't complain at 4 stars, probably only for the thong ;D If someone can give me four stars for a thong, I'm pretty sure they can give you more than one star for actually reading the book! Bet they spend 99 cents on more ridiculous useless crap that you can never imagine.
 

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MJAWare said:
One of my free short story collections has been doing really well, it made it to deep into the top 100 free on Christmas and is still hanging out around there. It includes a free 5-chapter preview of my zombie novel and has really helped that book's sales.

The problem is all the 1-star reviews. Kids seem to love it, but adults (who don't read the description) are posting a lot of 1-star zingers.
That 1-star is unfair because your description clearly says it's a preview. Your comment seemed kind, but made it look as though you'd made a mistake.

I would change the product description. The line where it says the zombie novel is a preview is far down in the description. I would put that line in bold and move it to the top (or something like that to make it more visible).
 

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Oh, wow! You have some of the funniest reviews I've ever seen.

This is one of my faves:

"I didn't find the book scary I wish it was really really scary so scary it would make me wet my pants. I'm sorry it didn't scare me but you could always write more books but this time try to make the books even more scary."



Mike, I think you're just going to get some odd reviews simply because of your target audience. The one I just quoted was obviously written by a child.

And the adults who are apparently picking your books up accidentally then giving bad reviews because the book is for kids... well, I think that fact alone speaks for itself. I can understand someone accidentally purchasing a book not meant for him or her, especially if the book was free, but to go out and write a review of it, trouncing it for being exactly what it's supposed to be? Geez!

My advice: Ignore them.
 

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Lynn McNamee said:
And the adults who are apparently picking your books up accidentally then giving bad reviews because the book is for kids... well, I think that fact alone speaks for itself. I can understand someone accidentally purchasing a book not meant for him or her, especially if the book was free, but to go out and write a review of it, trouncing it for being exactly what it's supposed to be? Geez!

My advice: Ignore them.
I got one of those on my boxed set. It went something like this: "Well, I guess I missed the target audience. I bought this having no idea it was meant for 12-year-olds, but once I started reading about Taylor Swift and other unrecognizable celebrities I knew I'd made a mistake. I wish I could give this away."

And then she 1-starred me. Because she couldn't be bothered to read the product description where it CLEARLY stated it's a YA. Not only did the description state that in the very first line, but then both my mini blurbs for each story mention she's a teenager. Not to mention that it's on the Teen Mystery Bestseller list.

Whatever...
 

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I got complaints about my free short story being too short!

I decided it was a compliment. It still annoyed me that some reviewers gave a low rating because of the length - even though they enjoyed the story  ::)
 

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Joe_Nobody said:
I don't think you hurt yourself at all. As a matter of fact, you probably took a step forward by showing yourself to be a reasonable person.
More than reasonable, in my book! You showed yourself to be a much more generous person than I am, MJAWare. Sheesh, what a review.
 

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"People will pay $3.50 for a cup of coffee they'll drink up in fifteen minutes, but complain about a 99 cent book that they can enjoy for days."
Sure. Both make them feel good.
 

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dotx said:
I would actually not reward somebody for a one-star review. I mean, what's going to stop other people from complaining too and expecting to get a free copy of the book via email as a result? And why wouldn't they get it when this person did? It seems unfair.
Unfortunately, that was sort of my reaction, too.
 
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