That’s the old saying, and you know, I’m beginning to believe it.
I had this acquaintance. Fortunately, I don’t have this acquaintance any longer, but the following anecdote about him is relevant to this rant – You see, at Christmas time he expected you to go shopping for him and buy him something nice. Well, that really isn’t the spirit of the season, but so be it. The thing is, you couldn’t give him cash or a gift certificate (gift “cards” weren’t around just yet). If you did something like that, then you didn’t “care.” You hadn’t put any “thought” into his gift. And, he wasn’t about to give you any hints about what he wanted. You should “know” if you were his friend, family, whatever…
Okay, I can kind of see that first point, the second is a bit thin, but whatever…
However, here’s the rub. No matter how much thought you put into the gift, no matter how much attention you paid, or how much shopping you did, come Christmas day, after opening said gift, he asked for the receipt.
Yep. He would take EVERYTHING anyone had given him… I’m SERIOUS… EVERYTHING he had received and then return it, most often for the cash.
Kind of makes you think, “Why bother?” Know what I mean?
Well, that’s the feeling I’m getting right about now… As you all know, I rarely if ever publicly respond to negative criticism. Truth is, I don’t even read reviews – good or bad – because they are nothing more than an opinion of an individual, and in the end don’t mean much of anything. It has been my experience that negative reviews sell just as many books and positive, so it’s a wash – all except for the fact that negative reviews tend to make you feel bad. So, I’m just fair about it – I don’t read any of them. No offense intended to reviewers out there. That’s just a little quirk of mine. However, what I am responding to HERE is a little different. While it’s still the opinions of a handful of individuals, said opinions were delivered directly to me via email and social networking sites, and they are so rude under the circumstances, that I feel compelled to make my feelings known.
So, here you go…
On Sunday last – that being December 12, 2010, I made an announcement. I was, to say the least, pretty damned excited about it. You see, I had an idea. Not only could I do a little marketing, but I could give a gift to all of my loyal fans. I could write a holiday-themed, paranormal suspense thriller novella, and just give it away.
Yeah. Free. No cost. FREE.
To do that and not go broke, of course, it would have to be an e-book. Trust me, the publisher is in this to make money – and so am I. But I convinced them that the benefit of giving away the e-book as a marketing tool would be worth the investment they were making in my work, the piece itself, and all of the things necessary to create said e-book. Not having an e-reader really isn’t an issue either. You can download free e-reader software from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc that allows you to use your PC. Or even your smartphone.
But, just to be sure, we plan to make it available as a PDF and provide the option of reading it online as well.
So, that’s what we did. I wrote it. I set aside everything else I had to do for a two week span and I wrote. Granted, I had fun writing it, but my schedule will now likely kill me because I have to do two weeks worth of stuff I neglected, all in a matter of 4 days. But, that’s MY problem.
Now, another reason I had fun was NOT just because I have fun writing anyway, but because I was excited to GIVE something back to my fans this holiday season.
So, on Sunday I announced it. Just like I announce any of my book releases.
And, you know what?
For every ONE “Yay, I can’t wait” email I have received, (which is NOT the reason I did this, mind you) I have also received THREE “I don’t want that, I want a hardcopy” or “E-books suck” or “I don’t do e-books” and even “Why can’t you just send me a free paperback?”
Not a very heartening ratio…
There were others, equally pissy and rude. (Receiving THESE types of comments was also NOT the reason I did this, as you can imagine.)
And then there is also my personal favorite, “Oh, I thought it was a REAL book.”
In all honesty I had convinced myself to not say anything. To simply let this slide and forget about it. But the “Real Book” comment was the last straw.
So… If you are one of the folks who sent me a nice email, and are excited about the release of Merrie Axemas, thank you. Even if you didn’t send a note and are still excited about it, thank you. AND even if you don’t plan to read it, but had the presence of mind to NOT complain as if I owed you something, thank you.
YOU are the reason I write for publication, and not just for myself…
However… If you are one of the people who felt you had some sort of entitlement to open your mouth and complain, or say something insulting and rude about a FREE gift – one that you aren’t obligated in any way to accept in the first place, and has no strings attached – Well… You’re welcome. Way to get into the spirit. Happy Freakin’ Holidays to you…
I’m just sorry I don’t have a gift receipt to give you so that you can return it.