If You Liked This Book…

There’s a discussion over at Dear Author about the practice of purchasing Amazon reviews. Apparently, there’s a service called Fiverr that offers to post 5-star reviews for books–at a price. In a word, ugh!

But that’s not really what I want to talk about. In the thread, Courtney Milan pointed out that some authors are more assertive than others about soliciting reviews from readers, and that this might in some cases account for a high number of reviews relative to sales for some books. The strategies authors employ to accomplish this include offering a free copy of the next book in exchange for a review or even just suggesting that, if the reader liked the book, she should consider reviewing it.

Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this practice (although the free next book in exchange for a review thing makes me squeamish for reasons I can’t quite articulate). But, I don’t do it and I don’t have any intention to. And part of the reason for that is…what about the readers who didn’t like the book? I think they are just as deserving of encouragement to register their opinions as the ones who do like the book.

I don’t want to be seen as soliciting only those expressions of opinions that serve me. By the same token, I’m not sure that adding a note at the back of the book that said, “Whether you loved this book or not, please consider reviewing it” feels a great deal more comfortable. I figure readers can decide for themselves whether they feel strongly enough, one way or the other, to review my book.

I also never, ever answer fan mail with a suggestion that the reader consider reviewing my books. That might seem like a perfect opportunity, since the person obviously liked the book(s) enough to take the time to personally contact me, but it just feels icky to me to do that.

What do you think? If an author asks you to review a book, are you more likely to do so? Does it seems presumptuous to you?

Amazon Is No Longer Price-Matching All Self-Pubbed Books

This is a word to the wise–if you normally shop at Amazon and don’t shop around before buying, you may now be paying too much for certain self-published books.

I discovered this morning that the price of my novella, THE LESSON PLAN, has reverted back to $2.99 (the list price) on Amazon rather than $1.96 (which is its price on other sites). Without going into a long-winded explanation of why I had the list price at $2.99 on Amazon and less elsewhere, I’ll just say that this was giving me more favorable splits on my sales (70% instead of 35%) due to the way in which Amazon chose to calculate payments on my sales. (I emphasize that this was Amazon’s CHOICE. They were never under any obligation, under the Terms of Service, to pay me 70%. The fact that they did so was to my benefit, but I knew at any time, they might change that. I just didn’t expect them to change it by NOT price-matching.)

The reason this matters to consumers is that Amazon has made a pretty big deal in the past about always having the lowest price for digital books, or at least, never pricing their books HIGHER than any other retailer. Occasionally, because price-matching took time, there might be a period of time during which a book was free or cheaper on other sites than on Amazon, but by and large, you could pretty well count on Amazon having a price that was at least as low as any other retailer. Now, you can’t do that.

Edited: I was going to leave the price at $2.99 on Amazon, but on further review of the TOS, I’ve decided I really have to drop it to $1.96 or raise it to $2.99 everywhere else. I will, however, point out that if you have a Kindle, you can get THE LESSON PLAN at AllRomance eBooks in Kindle format without DRM for $1.96 and ARe’s royalty terms for authors are much better, if you care about that sort of thing (which, of course, you are not under any obligation to do!).

Just thought I’d give you all a heads-up :). If the book you’re looking at isn’t discounted, look around–you MIGHT find it cheaper elsewhere. Others may not be as quick to decide to lower the price on Amazon as I’ve been.