Response to criticism

Never a good idea, but still, I’ve no intention of shutting up in this case.

So, the Amazon reviewer bravely hiding behind the name Ja’chyra whose moral outrage at the agency model led them to their one star review of Ragged Man. You’ve enjoyed the series thus far – that’s nice – but you won’t be buying any more because of the evil publisher stealing your money by supposed price fixing.

Ah well. As modest as my success is, and I’m well aware it is modest: fuck you.

I don’t need readers like you, people who think a book should cost no more than three quid and / or work for the Amazon propaganda department. The kindle edition is £7.99 – if you think that’s excessive, please do go and read only self-published works for now on and enjoy the self-righteous glow you’ll get from poor writing, structure, editing and frequently unfinished series. The average income for professional authors in the UK is, if memory serves correctly, about seven thousand pounds. Most of your favourite authors probably didn’t get stunning success on their first book and actually had to work other jobs and make sacrifices to continue doing what they love. They understood that, and they accepted it, but don’t pretend that means every royalty didn’t matter and they don’t know how lucky they are to be successful. I know I’m lucky to be mid-list and there are others who’re finding it even harder, and their royalties also need protecting.

That you’re embracing an Amazon business model that has picked a random number as a suitable price for books makes it likely you’re also the sort to buy books from supermarkets and download all your music for free. In short, you think you have a right to something for nothing or almost nothing and I don’t need readers like you. Here’s a newsflash for you – the discounts in this country are killing publishing, squeezing more and more money out of the authors and forcing the publishers to cut an already wafer-thin margin. Aside from the bestsellers where economies of scale come into play, the majority of sales in the UK basically don’t make any profit given the work involved, the bulk of sales are worth it largely just for profile and sales figures, not money.

So I’ve lost a reader, that’s mildly annoying. But you’ve made it far easier to wave you goodbye by being a twat who doesn’t feel I should get paid for my work. I would love to do that at your place of business, but I’ll settle for simply not giving a shit about you any longer.

32 thoughts on “Response to criticism

  1. I’m sorry you’ve been affected by the one-star review “campaign”. As an author, I think it is an absolutely ridiculous idea.

    As a reader of ebooks, however, I feel I need to point out that there is another side to this that isn’t all about “getting books for free”.

    Last year, I tried to (legally) download a copy of GGK’s “Under Heaven”. The only price available was £2 more expensive than the hardback, Having downloaded the book, it then failed to work due to a problem with the DRM that took days to sort out.

    Another book (one I declined to buy) had an ebook edition that was £1 more expensive than the hardback and a whole lot more expensive than the paperback, which was already available. Clearly, something isn’t right in the pricing model.

    As with all situations of this type, a blob of truth at the heart of the argument allows all sorts of other nasty stuff to gather around and feel justified. Fix the very real problem, and the fake problems look as stupid and greedy as they really are.

    1. Oh sure, some of the pricing is excessive, but the absolute assurance that all books should cost £2.50 gets on my tits. Certainly ebooks shouldn’t be higher than print editions and should at worst be level, but for Ragged Man the hardback’s £19 (because they know they have to give huge discounts), the TPB is £13 for the same reason, and the e-book is £8.

      Out of curiosity’s sake, were the editions more expensive than the E-book before or after Amazon’s offered discount? I think on the pricing it might be two separate issues that need to be looked at.

      1. were the editions more expensive than the E-book before or after Amazon’s offered discount

        This was before I had a kindle and was reading the ePub format as sold (in the UK and Ireland) by Waterstones, so I have no idea how to answer your question.

        My most recent purchase on amazon was Iain M. Banks’ “Surface Detail”, which is currently $13 as opposed to $17 for the hardback. That seems fairly reasonable to me. fyi: Amazon sells ebooks into Ireland in dollars.

        I can’t find an ebook edition on waterstones at all for this one, but the UK hardback is £10.19 atm.

          1. One Star???

            I’m shocked that Ragged Man got a one star review. Must have been sent to the wrong department to be read, maybe it went to the Porno deptartment, and there wasn’t enough T & A for their likes. Or maybe it went to the Sciences dept, and they thought your “Geography” was different from the “Real” world. Maybe even Mr. Magoo read it with those blind bug eyes…At any rate, I couldn’t put it down once I started it. Besides, who gives a rat’s ass what one moron thinks? You have a faithfull following here in the U.S. who are more than likely thinking what I’m typing.
            Back to the pricing and ebook thing. I don’t buy my books from Amazon. I actually go to the Bookstore, generally Barnes & Noble. I pre-ordered 2 of your books online, but believe me, I paid more in the area of $28 U.S. plus shipping. Like I’ve said in the past, an author’s time is worth more than the publishers allow. Try and put it into an hourly rate…you can’t. You would go broke. I personally don’t look at the price when I buy a book. I don’t own a kindle ( never will ). There are a lot of people who prefer paper pages. Remember that “New Car” feel to it…..
            By the way, I told you I would not become a spoiler. I haven’t said a word about anything, some jackasses just don’t realize that letting one or two tidbits slip out added up with all the other two tidbit jackasses. It only means they can figure it out without buying the book.
            My advice????? Go to the nearest pub,down a few pints, and forget the bullshit review. Forget the economics for one night, and screw all the spoilers. I’d be more than happy to mail you a few bucks to buy you a pint. Let me know if you need any other advice…LOL Keep up the good work! Ron

          2. Re: One Star???

            ;0) Nah, don’t worry, am only annoyed that Amazon are encouraging people to do it because they being prevented from screwing authors!

  2. I’m sorry you’ve been affected by the one-star review “campaign”. As an author, I think it is an absolutely ridiculous idea.

    As a reader of ebooks, however, I feel I need to point out that there is another side to this that isn’t all about “getting books for free”.

    Last year, I tried to (legally) download a copy of GGK’s “Under Heaven”. The only price available was £2 more expensive than the hardback, Having downloaded the book, it then failed to work due to a problem with the DRM that took days to sort out.

    Another book (one I declined to buy) had an ebook edition that was £1 more expensive than the hardback and a whole lot more expensive than the paperback, which was already available. Clearly, something isn’t right in the pricing model.

    As with all situations of this type, a blob of truth at the heart of the argument allows all sorts of other nasty stuff to gather around and feel justified. Fix the very real problem, and the fake problems look as stupid and greedy as they really are.

    1. Oh sure, some of the pricing is excessive, but the absolute assurance that all books should cost £2.50 gets on my tits. Certainly ebooks shouldn’t be higher than print editions and should at worst be level, but for Ragged Man the hardback’s £19 (because they know they have to give huge discounts), the TPB is £13 for the same reason, and the e-book is £8.

      Out of curiosity’s sake, were the editions more expensive than the E-book before or after Amazon’s offered discount? I think on the pricing it might be two separate issues that need to be looked at.

      1. were the editions more expensive than the E-book before or after Amazon’s offered discount

        This was before I had a kindle and was reading the ePub format as sold (in the UK and Ireland) by Waterstones, so I have no idea how to answer your question.

        My most recent purchase on amazon was Iain M. Banks’ “Surface Detail”, which is currently $13 as opposed to $17 for the hardback. That seems fairly reasonable to me. fyi: Amazon sells ebooks into Ireland in dollars.

        I can’t find an ebook edition on waterstones at all for this one, but the UK hardback is £10.19 atm.

          1. One Star???

            I’m shocked that Ragged Man got a one star review. Must have been sent to the wrong department to be read, maybe it went to the Porno deptartment, and there wasn’t enough T & A for their likes. Or maybe it went to the Sciences dept, and they thought your “Geography” was different from the “Real” world. Maybe even Mr. Magoo read it with those blind bug eyes…At any rate, I couldn’t put it down once I started it. Besides, who gives a rat’s ass what one moron thinks? You have a faithfull following here in the U.S. who are more than likely thinking what I’m typing.
            Back to the pricing and ebook thing. I don’t buy my books from Amazon. I actually go to the Bookstore, generally Barnes & Noble. I pre-ordered 2 of your books online, but believe me, I paid more in the area of $28 U.S. plus shipping. Like I’ve said in the past, an author’s time is worth more than the publishers allow. Try and put it into an hourly rate…you can’t. You would go broke. I personally don’t look at the price when I buy a book. I don’t own a kindle ( never will ). There are a lot of people who prefer paper pages. Remember that “New Car” feel to it…..
            By the way, I told you I would not become a spoiler. I haven’t said a word about anything, some jackasses just don’t realize that letting one or two tidbits slip out added up with all the other two tidbit jackasses. It only means they can figure it out without buying the book.
            My advice????? Go to the nearest pub,down a few pints, and forget the bullshit review. Forget the economics for one night, and screw all the spoilers. I’d be more than happy to mail you a few bucks to buy you a pint. Let me know if you need any other advice…LOL Keep up the good work! Ron

          2. Re: One Star???

            ;0) Nah, don’t worry, am only annoyed that Amazon are encouraging people to do it because they being prevented from screwing authors!

  3. It’s incredibly inappropriate to give a book a low rating for reasons that have nothing at all to do with the quality of the book.

    People are such morons.

  4. It’s incredibly inappropriate to give a book a low rating for reasons that have nothing at all to do with the quality of the book.

    People are such morons.

  5. Seriously?

    Hey Tom, Steve Diamond from Elitist Book Reviews here.

    The level of idiocy present in that post baffles me. Insane. Yeah, it’s better that you don’t respond to the review directly…that’s what people like me are for.

    1. Re: Seriously?

      OK. Mr. Steve Diamond…..Just out of curiosity….How many stars, or what kind of review did you you give The Ragged Man? I Loved it. I’ve been reading science fantasy since 1981, and must admit I don’t come across many authors I would bother to waste my time blogging. There are as a matter of fact 4. No need to name them. I think Tom has a marvelous technique for spinning plots, sub-plots, characters, and of course the gods.
      Anyway, what did you think?
      By the way I like the way Tom fires back . It shows he doesn’t think he’s getting snobby, and still a member of the ” regular guy gang”…lol

      1. Re: Seriously?

        Steve gave a very nice one indeed – think I reported it in a previous blog posting actually.

        It is kinda sad actually that the bigger your profile, the harder it seems to voice an opinion on things like that. Whatever my opinion on one star reviews, my main issue with it was that the 40% lower ebook price was still considered excessive, but the whole concept of responding negatively to any reader comment has infuriated some people it seems – anonymous internet folk having a greater right to their opinions maybe?

          1. Re: Seriously?

            ;0) glad to hear it! I like to think my real fans aren’t the whining neurotic freaks who give the internet it’s bad name!

      1. Re: Seriously?

        I’m always calm and restrained, Tom. I promise. Those are my best traits…well, beside humility and awesomeness.

  6. Seriously?

    Hey Tom, Steve Diamond from Elitist Book Reviews here.

    The level of idiocy present in that post baffles me. Insane. Yeah, it’s better that you don’t respond to the review directly…that’s what people like me are for.

    1. Re: Seriously?

      OK. Mr. Steve Diamond…..Just out of curiosity….How many stars, or what kind of review did you you give The Ragged Man? I Loved it. I’ve been reading science fantasy since 1981, and must admit I don’t come across many authors I would bother to waste my time blogging. There are as a matter of fact 4. No need to name them. I think Tom has a marvelous technique for spinning plots, sub-plots, characters, and of course the gods.
      Anyway, what did you think?
      By the way I like the way Tom fires back . It shows he doesn’t think he’s getting snobby, and still a member of the ” regular guy gang”…lol

      1. Re: Seriously?

        Steve gave a very nice one indeed – think I reported it in a previous blog posting actually.

        It is kinda sad actually that the bigger your profile, the harder it seems to voice an opinion on things like that. Whatever my opinion on one star reviews, my main issue with it was that the 40% lower ebook price was still considered excessive, but the whole concept of responding negatively to any reader comment has infuriated some people it seems – anonymous internet folk having a greater right to their opinions maybe?

          1. Re: Seriously?

            ;0) glad to hear it! I like to think my real fans aren’t the whining neurotic freaks who give the internet it’s bad name!

      1. Re: Seriously?

        I’m always calm and restrained, Tom. I promise. Those are my best traits…well, beside humility and awesomeness.

  7. Good post

    Just wanted to say I totally agree with you. Books should not be free or next-to-free for everyone. I think eBook pricing still needs some tweaking, although Gollancz and Orbit do seem to have the best (and fairest for the reader, not sure about the author) pricing schemes.
    Your response has also made me really want to read your novels, because it’s nice to see someone not tip-toe around idiots in the hope of not offending. I’ve been meaning to get to your series for a while, but I get a lot of stuff to review, so I tend not to buy many books, and keep getting distracted by advance copies and other things like that… Apologies. I’m like a book magpie…
    I’ll post the review as soon as I get around to it. (On Civilian-Reader.blogspot.com)

  8. Good post

    Just wanted to say I totally agree with you. Books should not be free or next-to-free for everyone. I think eBook pricing still needs some tweaking, although Gollancz and Orbit do seem to have the best (and fairest for the reader, not sure about the author) pricing schemes.
    Your response has also made me really want to read your novels, because it’s nice to see someone not tip-toe around idiots in the hope of not offending. I’ve been meaning to get to your series for a while, but I get a lot of stuff to review, so I tend not to buy many books, and keep getting distracted by advance copies and other things like that… Apologies. I’m like a book magpie…
    I’ll post the review as soon as I get around to it. (On Civilian-Reader.blogspot.com)

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