During my two day freebie book promotion, when I was watching the number of Fractured Facade downloads skyrocket, I felt like I was in a casino, finally winning at the slots.
Unfortunately, the downloads were free, so whenever the jackpot hit, it was like winning plastic chips. Three weeks ago, I thought getting my book into the hands of thousands of people was just fantastic. Now, I realize a lot of those people shouldn't have my book in their hands. They're not the people I wrote it for.
Although the quick downloading brought me high rankings, I'd rather it have stayed lower if it meant my reader was choosier. Just because something is free, it's not always for me. Before I download anything I check out the description, reviews and sample. The sample is what tells me if I want to invest my time or not. Reviews are great, but I trust my own eyes to know what I'm looking for more than someone else's opinion.
But in Amazon's Free Casino, it's a crapshoot. Sometimes you'll touch a reader in a special way, and other times, a reader may not want to touch your book with a ten foot pole. Out of 10,000 people, some will have different ummmm "taste" than I have. Some may even find my writing "distasteful." Hopefully, many more will find it authentic and necessary. For those that have a problem with characters using words that "offend them" I'd like them to know it's called dialogue. And sometimes, it's colorful. And frankly to me, it's not profane, but to others, it's enough to stop reading and write a one-star review -- the only review they ever wrote -- just focused on what they deem to be a book "so filled with profanity" they couldn't finish it. I think that's a ridiculous statement.
Yeah, there's some cuss words. That's how we talk in Brooklyn. "Pissed off," "shit," "hell," "bitch" and wait for it..."fucking bitch" are spoken by a woman, yes, a woman, a woman grappling with turbulent times. In order not to "offend" any righteous reader, I want them to know what they're getting into before reading my book. In the sample there are "cuss words." On Shelfari, I even quoted Marie: "I didn't know you needed a stage name to pick up dog shit." This way if someone had a problem with "shit" they'd move on to the next free book. I know I most likely wouldn't download an Amish romance or Christian fiction book as it's not my preference. My in-your-face writing may not be yours. So, if words easily offend you, please do not read my book. Just like in real life, people either love me or hate me, so why should my writing be any different.
On the other hand, if you are one of the 10,000 people who actually read and liked Fractured Facade, please consider leaving your review, or letting me know so I could hound you to leave a review. Since the freebie, I've had some five, four and one-star reviews on Amazon. And five and four star ones on Goodreads. At first I was pissed at the one-star reviews, but after I checked out what, if any, other books they did like, I knew they were not my target audience. I thought their opinions would make my sales suffer, but other than bringing down my rating, it hasn't hurt. Other authors have said you're not a "real author" until you get a one-star review. I say bullshit. The check from Smashwords I received holds more weight as to my "real author" status.
Recently I read a book review from a friend who absolutely hated a memoir she tried to read. After reading her review and checking out the others on Amazon, I thought to myself, "Hmmmm, this sounds like a book I might like," so I requested it from my library. I know her tastes are different than mine, so I'll be curious to see what I think of the book. Her review didn't stop me from getting it...in fact, had she not reviewed it, I would never have known about the book.
By far the best thing that's happened with my freebie is that people I had never known before have reached out to me, and some of them have even become Facebook friends. And you know what? We seem to have much in common. Those are the type of people I want reading my book...the ones that get it. Still, I'm starting to think that maybe giving away free books to the masses is not the be-all, end-all after all...