Category Archives: The Weeping Empress

Up for discussion: Is there a ‘you get what you pay for’ attitude to free books?

“You get what you pay for.” My mom used to say this all the time. Usually just before she chose to buy the more expensive brand of whatever she was shopping for. The phrase came back to me recently when thinking about book sales and reviews.

There are hundreds of free ebooks available on any day of the week. I know I peruse them all the time. Authors are regularly encouraged to give their book away in droves as a boost to sales. But I’ve starting wondering what the side effect of this might be. If someone gets a book for free is it actually worthless in their mind? And if considered worthless from the get-go are they more inclined to LEM it?

Personally, I think so. From my own experience I find myself willing to pick up a much wider array of books than I am willing to pay for. I’m willing to chance a lemon on a free book. But I’m also more willing to drop the book, which is always hard for me. I tend to feel haunted if I don’t finish a book.

But I had a new aspect to the question of the possible side effects of the ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality bite me in the ass recently — reviews. I only review books I’ve finished. I might leave a comment, but don’t feel right leaving a rating and review on the piece as a whole if I haven’t actually read it all. It’s an individual decision that not everyone shares and I respect that.

But, here is my hypothesis. Someone gets a book free, considers it of little value since they paid nothing for it, then aren’t willing to put much  time into it. If it doesn’t grab them immediately they don’t wait to see if it gets better.  This increases the likelihood that they will  review the book without finishing it. And you can assume that if they didn’t finish it they didn’t like it, which results in more bad reviews.

I’ll tell you what got me thinking this. Now, before I do, let me add that I’m not calling anyone out or accusing anyone of doing anything wrong. I’m not even talking to or about any individual person. I don’t expect everyone to do things my way and that’s ok. 

My book, The Weeping Empress has been on the market for a while now, has garnered 70ish reviews, and I’m thrilled to say has carried well over 4 stars. It hadn’t ever gotten a really bad review. That is until now. It got three within roughly 24 hours! (It was actually 28, but who’s really counting?) Again, I’m not having a go at the reviewers for leaving the reviews. It is the timing of them that I am considering. I doubt that there has been any collusion or conspiracy, but it is notable that so many appeared practically at once.

The last person read the book and genuinely seemed to just dislike it. Everyone likes different things, so fair enough. The other two, though, not only didn’t finish the book, but read very little of it. One wrote an absolutely scathing one star review based on the first two pages (or 1/127th) of the book. The other gave it two stars and stated that he had read the first chapter, didn’t like the word usage, and if he didn’t like it more by the end of the second chapter he was done. Ouch on both counts.

All three were posted on Smashwords and I can’t help be make the connection that last month was the big Smashwords  sale in which The Weeping Empress was available for free. I accept and take on myself that if people are reacting in such a way to the beginning of my book there may be something I need to address, but I also can’t help but wonder if its free status didn’t make it easier to discard and disparage.

I, of course, know that there are going to be people who dislike the book. I respect and appreciate that. But what do you think of three within a day of each-other, all within a week and a half of a large free giveaway? Am I making a spurious association? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Some quick announcements

Sign Heaven Hell

I know you haven’t heard much from me lately. I’m in the last few weeks of pulling my dissertation together and it’s pretty much Hell. But it will be finished soon (thank God(dess)) and I will be free again. In the mean time here are a few highlights of what has, is, or will be going on in the world of Sadie Forsythe and The Weeping Empress.

R.T. over at The Fraser Files posted a great 4.5 star review this morning, as well as an interview. I recommend checking it out. He writes about books, culture and the culturally deaf community. I know I learned something.

Mysti Parker over at Unwritten is having a, frankly, amazing giveaway that includes The Weeping Empress. I offered up 15 ecopies, thinking that was the normal range. Turns out most people only offered 1 0r 2, which left me looking like an outlier, but oh well. If you’re interested in a copy all you have to do is leave an email. Even if not after The Weeping Empress I would recommend heading over there. There are over 100 books up for grabs.

The July Smashwords sale was a raving success. The Weeping Empress was downloaded 250 times! I couldn’t be happier with that.

Enter to win or grab it free

There is roughly a week left to slide on over to Smashwords and grab a digital copy of The Weeping Empress for FREE. You don’t even need an ereader as you an read it on your computer.

Because I wanted to highlight this fabulous freeness I am running a Goodreads giveaway to win a signed  hardback edition. So like I keep asking, ‘Why not go grab yourself a digital copy and hope it gets upgraded to a hardback at the end of the month.” Who doesn’t like an upgrade?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Weeping Empress by Sadie S. Forsythe

The Weeping Empress

by Sadie S. Forsythe

Giveaway ends August 01, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win