The other day I was reading another writer’s post on Google Plus.
On the cover of the writer’s newest book was the picture of a piece of jewelry. She was going to give a few pieces of this jewelry to a few readers. However – and this is the part that annoyed me – in order to be considered for the drawing:
1. You had to buy the book.
2. You had to leave a review.
Only then were you going to be in the running to win this piece of jewelry.
Here’s why this annoyed me:
The Reading Compact
- A writer and reader are two sides of the same coin. I tell a story. You read it. I bring my life experiences to the story. So do you.
- I work very hard to create the story. In return, you honor me by buying it.
- This is the compact we have. Nothing else matters.
If you want to go and leave a review, good or bad, that doesn’t have anything to do with the arrangement you and I have. If I want to give you something, that doesn’t have anything to do with the arrangement you and I have. Both are separate.
I want to jump up and down when I see writers making conditions for their “gifts”. In my humble opinion, they’re screwing up the writer/reader compact. They’re bringing in something totally extraneous.
I think you have to be careful when you’re marketing the reading experience.
If you buy my cookies I’ll give you milk with that
You go into the grocery store wanting to buy a package of cookies. You know this particular grocery store carries a brand of cookies you really like, chunky, soft, and they don’t make you sick to your stomach (no sugar alcohols). They’re also calorie free and contain no carbs (I want the name of this brand).
One day, you go into the grocery store, but you’re stopped just before you buy the cookies. The grocery store manager says to you, “I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a gallon of free milk if you buy these cookies.”
“How nice,” you say. “I like milk and cookies.”
“But you have to go home, eat the cookies, and then go to Grocery Stores R Us and leave us a review.”
You look at him like he’s absolutely nuts. “I just want to eat the cookies.”
“It’s the only way you’re going to get a chance at the milk.”
I would be willing to bet that most of you would walk away because the milk has nothing to do with your enjoyment of the cookies. Would you also be annoyed?
I was, but I’ve been seeing this kind of behavior a lot lately. I guess writers are desperate for readers to review their books. It’s a way of marketing themselves. I can’t help but wonder, however, if they’re not shooting themselves in the foot.
What do you think?