I swear, everything I see on Facebook these days pisses me off as an author. I’m supposed to be taking a break – and I have limited my time significantly over the past few days – but damn it! If I keep logging on and seeing posts such as the one I saw today, I may just have to quit entirely.
I don’t really know the details… all I know is some guy published a book last week, and today he says he’s going to pull the book on a set date in a few weeks because readers are revealing the spoiler. Since then, his sales have soared because people want to get their hands on his book before it disappears forever and ever!
From what I understand, he now says he intends to add to the ending.
Hi, I’m Lori L. Otto. I think the spoiler in my Emi Lost & Found series is pretty damn big. Knowing it can completely ruin the impact of the entire book, if the reader lets it. I’ve heard from both sides of that. One major blogger said she thought it kept her distanced from the characters. Another major blogger said it helped her prepare for the inevitable. So… there’s a good and a bad side to it.
The spoilers are out there. If you search for them, you’ll find them… you’ll even find them on this blog, because I do address this situation for some readers who are too devastated to read on. At first, I panicked because of it… but this is one of those things you just have to let go of. I cannot control everything.
What are two things I never would have considered?
- I never would have
pulledtold everyone that I was going to pull the book.
- I never would have changed the ending. It simply is not possible.
And why? Here are the reasons, respectively.
- If I had any intention of pulling a book due to content issues, I’d do it quickly, without telling anyone… like, in the hopes that no one saw it in the first place, and that no one would miss it. Why wouldn’t I warn potential readers? Because it seems very shady. It’s like a limited-time offer… like supplies have just dwindled on a commodity and everyone must get it NOW! Does that not seem like manipulation? And, I mean, an author doesn’t even have to lower the price for this special offer. Readers must buy at cost, must buy now, and must help the author reach the best seller chart! (And when that happens, what author is going to pull their book?!) [On a side note, I understand this author’s reasoning for waiting to yank the book is that he’s on a blog tour for the next few weeks… how convenient for him! To publicize that he’s pulling the book while promoting it on numerous book blogs. Great strategy, he-who-says-he’s-not-smart-enough-to-use-this-as-a-marketing-ploy. I like how he assumes all bloggers will still want to spend their time reading and reviewing a book that won’t even be on the market in less than two weeks. They have a lot of other things to do. Pulling your book might be a relief to many of them. Hey, author, you should offer them the choice to back out. Oh, did you pay for this blog tour? Surely your inflated sales will cover the cost.]
- As for my second point, there is no other ending to the story. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to explain that to distraught readers (ahem, Casey <3), but it’s probably nearing a hundred now. (No, I’m not a best seller.) If, someday down the road, an alternate ending comes to me, I would write another book, be it a short story, a novella or a novel. Depending on its length (and depth of story), I’d either offer it for free or at a minimal cost. At this time, though, that’s the end of one character’s story line. He’s not in my head anymore to add anything else. Maybe some authors work differently… but I can’t write what’s not there. Have I tried? No… because I have living characters who do have stories to tell.
What *did* I do? [POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT.] Well, people wanted more of a character that really didn’t have a future… so I wrote a novella about the past. That novella is perma-free, and has become the favorite book of the series for many readers. There are creative ways to… well, maybe not to give the readers what they want, but to meet them in the middle somewhere. They cannot dictate our stories. They’re ours to tell.
With my latest book (that came out on the same day as this other author’s, but NEWSFLASH, I’m going to leave mine on sale even though sales suck), I’ve had some complaints from people who didn’t like the ending. Well… I’m sorry. What happened to my characters is what’s meant to happen… and they can either trust me and read on, or they can end their journey with my characters now. Either way, I can’t change it. I *won’t* change it.
Anyway. No matter what this author does now, the ‘damage’ is done. The damage is multiple things. He’s manipulated many readers into jumping on the bandwagon and buying his book that, what, isn’t good enough? Isn’t ready for prime time? He’ll likely hit the Amazon best seller charts due to the promotion (which I, admittedly, am adding to). He’s also caused a lot of people to distrust him for this marketing stunt. But it doesn’t matter if he pulls it or doesn’t now. What matters is that he threatened to. Readers in the know will be mad for a bit, but other readers will soon discover him, not know any of the drama, and start fresh. I’ve seen it happen to an author who clearly plagiarized some books and is back to selling books under her published name. As individuals, we may not be so forgiving… but as a collective group, this is a market that grows every day.
Authors are learning they can get away with cheating the readers… and that’s disheartening to me. I would never be proud of becoming a best seller by manipulating sales or by stealing content from other authors.
We’re all different, though.
It’s a good thing we are.