Friday, May 1, 2015

Peter Newman's The Vagrant, and Negative Prepurchase Amazon Reviews.

I have not been updating this blog with the frequency I would have liked to maintain. But this issue is something I feel warrants a position.

Right now there is a controversy. In essence, Harper Collins released the debut fantasy novel by Peter Newman with a $15 hardcover price. The conflict arises when you navigate to the kindle side and realize the E-book is $20. That's right, the digital version is five dollars more than the physical version, which requires printing, binding, and shipping.

Needless to say, people are pissed. And rightfully so. The second part of the controversy is in how they're handling it. Already several 1 star reviews have cropped up, citing the price as justification even having not read the book, and in a way I agree with the reasoning. Price should absolutely be factored into a review, and at a $20 cost of admission I will likely never read it because I read books almost exclusively on my Kindle. In essence, the book is unacceptable in its current state, and the most effective and direct (and convenient) way to voice that would be to leave a 1-star review and cite the price, as others have done. I have not done that, nor will I. And here's why.

I decided to self-publish Sorcerous Crimes Division for a variety of reasons, namely because I was terrified of the prospect of soliciting dozens of people, in hopes for them to again solicit dozens of people in hopes the book might some day see a publisher. That's a gauntlet of blood, sweat, and tears that I just wasn't prepared to take. So I pulled up my sleeves,  painted my own cover, and pushed Tanner and Vulfort on an unsuspecting populous to a modest, but positive reception.

But If

If I had chosen to go with traditional publishing for my first fantasy novel. And if the publisher decided to use my precious work, and my blood sweat and tears on (what looks to be) some sort of e-book pricing gambit to drive potential buyers to hardcover sales, and if people responded by flooding the page with 1-star reviews... Well, I would be absolutely crushed. It's not hard to imagine my book, sitting at 4.5 stars, dropped to 1.5 or 2 stars because of someone else's actions, and I know that I, as an author, would be devastated. I probably would not have continued to write, and I wouldn't be finishing my second book now and beginning my third.

So please, think before you post a 1-star review that will follow that author just because you're upset with a publisher decision instead. An email to the publisher can make your feelings just as clear without harming Peter Newman's chances as an author.

-Scott Warren

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