Carrots and Sticks

I wrote a version of this post on April 21, 2014.

The other day I was reading another writer’s blog post.

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 away 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 and prove it by sending the author the link to the review.

Only then were you going to be eligible to enter the drawing for this piece of jewelry.

It’s like the old carrot and stick gambit. You offer your readers a piece of jewelry then bludgeon them over the head with your demands.

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 with your hard-earned money.
  • 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” by linking a review to it.

I was annoyed when I saw the conditions for the jewelry giveaway, 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?


12 thoughts on “Carrots and Sticks”

  1. How about the ones that give you a point for doing A, a point for doing B, three points for doing A and B. My eyes are glazing over just about then – it IS like junk mail, isn’t it?

  2. Good point. I’ve been going through my Kindle at night, purging it. I can’t tell you the amount of eye rolling going on. I went through a period of downloading anything free. Big, big, big mistake.

  3. You know, Stephani, when I see things like that it makes me ballistic. I don’t know why. I have no idea why I get SO annoyed. Maybe it’s because a reader is doing you a favor by buying your book and reading it. Why should they have to go through anything else?

  4. I would venture to say that MOST people don’t leave reviews. I don’t write book reviews any more, not since I read Amazon’s terms. I’m a writer and in direct competition with another author. Even if I love the book (which is the only kind of review I leave), I’m not supposed to write a review.

    Early days, however, I left rave reviews for Jim Butcher. Loved his books. (Confession time: haven’t read any lately.)

    I do write product reviews, though.

  5. I don’t think readers should jump through hoops. I don’t ask for reviews. If people want to write them, fine. If not, fine. I just hate seeing the “I’ll give you something if you give me a review” marketing tactic. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  6. Oh, see, I’d be so turned off by that I would never read the book. I just think it’s wrong. Someone has bought your book because of a promise you’ve given them – a promise of a few hours of a different world, a story that enchants, excites, involves. Messing with that promise just spoils the whole experience – in my humble opinion.

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