Four things independent authors can do that are guaranteed to piss off readers

In addition to being a writer, I'm also a consumer, and in light of the rapidly growing independent eBook projects out there, I see authors making mistakes that, in my humble opinion, are only going to serve to annoy their readers (because they have, or would annoy me). I'd like to share some of these with you.

Of course, if you're doing any of the below and are meeting with good sales and reviews, then just ignore this post. You obviously have nothing to learn from me.

Here we go:

1) Not mentioning that your eBook is a short story or novella. I can't say this has happened to me personally because I always check the file size, but I've seen plenty of reviews from pissed-off readers who thought they were getting a full-length novel...especially when the price being charged is not 99 cents, but $2.99, the same price as many full-length indie novels. As a guidline, all of my eBooks are over 400 KB (and I'm sure if you're reading my blog you've read all my books, tee-hee), so if an eBook is just 60 or 80 KB it's going to be short.

Which brings me to my next point...

2) Charging $2.99 for a 20-page short story. It's not nice to fool readers.

3) Putting out a backlist title with a shiny new cover and a book description that fails to mention that it was previously published. Truth in advertising, folks, because as I said, it's not nice to fool readers into buying a book they've already read.

4) Putting out a book with a shiny, professional-looking cover that is unedited (or poorly edited) and full of errors. No one among us is ever going to be perfect, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for it. At least make an attempt to have the inside product look as nice as the outside packaging. What would you do if you rented a room for the night in a hotel with a beautifully decorated lobby, then got to your room and say dingy sheets and filthy carpeting? You'd go to the front desk and demand your money back and never stay there again.

Did I say it's not nice to try to fool readers?


Anonymous said...

OMG!!! You are absolutely correct. I am not an author, but as a consumer that purchase a lot of books and ebooks I have complained about those very things. Can I add one more? Please authors stop chopping your books into what amounts to shorts reads and then selling them as books 1, 2, 3 etc. There are no new character story lines, just a continuation of what the same characters were doing in the previous book.

bettye griffin said...

Ouch! I wasn't aware that this practice existed. Not getting any new material is even worse than record labels putting out CDs with just one new song on it. I still remember how I staunchly refused to buy the Maze Greatest Hits album (at that time vinyl still ruled) because I was annoyed that I would be paying for songs I already had on other albums plus just one new song, no matter how great it was (and Before I Let Go was a great song)!

Here's something interesting: While checking out some proposed titles I'm interested in using for future projects on Amazon to determine previous use, I came across two self-published books, one 66 pages and one 143 pages, both selling with a price of $24.95. Is that ridiculous or what? It wasn't surprising to see that no one appeared to be buying either title.

Thanks for commenting!