Do You Think It’s Wrong For Authors To Ask Their Fans To Vote For Them In Competitions?
I had to sit and ruminate about this for a while, to make sure that what I wrote, was really how I felt. I am not going to talk about how some of the things that were written were totally incorrect, that would be another rant altogether.
It starts like this:
“Recently a reader emailed me a link to a site where another author is doing a contest for the ever popular Scarlet Boa. The reader was a little shocked... a little surprised. She asked... "Did you see this? Is this okay to do that?" She and a couple of friends had been talking about it and they wanted to know if it was... okay...
Nope, I hadn't seen it. I usually don't spend much time on websites unless I'm haunting it looking for my latest fix... ie: SL Viehl, JD Robb, Anne Bishop... ~Lora, Jaci, Mary Wine... well, I don't haunt them. I NAG them and they give in to me and let me have the book early just to shut me up.
So no, I hadn't seen it. IT being a contest. A contest to have readers scouring the Scarlet Boa until they found this particular author's entry.Those who enter the contest have a chance at winning a pretty decent prize."Okay? As in... is it okay for you to enter?" I asked her.
Her response was "F***, no...I'm choosing the one I like the best. But can she DO that?"Ahhhhh... THAT kind of okay. I see. My opinion... nope, it's not okay. And here is where I get pissy.
This isn't a prize in my opinion. And before anybody gets offended... IN MY OPINION.This is a bribe. Something to make you look more favorably upon her entry, and ignore all the hard work that others put into their entries.”
To be fair, the author in question didn’t actually ask for her fans to vote for her, but even if she had, would that have been a bad thing to do? Is it truly wrong that authors ask their fans to vote for them? Especially relatively unknown authors?
Gaining recognition for your writing, much like any other art form, wholly depends on people being exposed to your work. You could be the best thing since sliced bread, but if nobody reads what you write, how are people going to know?
What would I do if I was an author who was just starting out, but had managed to gain a small legion of fans who really appreciated my work? Would I play nice, sit tight, and expect Big Publisher to come knocking at my door because I was so f*cking great that they couldn’t possibly help but know how utterly fabulous I was?
My name’s not Dorothy, and I’m not from Kansas.
The post goes on:
“So how is this not a bribe? Can you find a way to make me see otherwise? So far, granted, she isn't telling you that you have to vote for her to win. But lets face it. Be honest. Most people will want to vote for the lady that just might give us a prize~it's human nature.”
Apart from the fact that the author wouldn’t know who’d voted for her and who hadn’t, I think calling it a bribe, seems a tad melodramatic.
That line about voting for the person who may give us the prize? Crock of shit. They’ll vote because they like the author, pure and simple, the winning a prize bit, is a happy bonus.
That’s generally the way loyal fans operate, even those amongst us who wouldn’t want to own up to such utterly disgraceful behaviour. I can pretty much guarantee that some of the blogger's own fans probably behave in a similar fashion.
Did the fan vote for the author because her entry was the best there? Wrong question, the right question would be, did they have a vested interest in any other author who had entered the competition? You may not like it, but there it is.
“But what about all the other authors that worked hard to enter? The unpublished ones who can't afford a website to promote and show off and ask you to go look for their work? And there are some pretty darn good excerpts.”
Ummm, do you know what I say to that? I say tough titties.
You may argue that it’s unfair to unpublished Writer A, who doesn’t have the same (or any) fan base as Published Author B. My question would be… what’s your point? Whose problem is that exactly?
Are you trying to tell me that Author B, should give a rat’s arse about writer A’s struggles? Hmmm... not sure that’s how life works.
What some of the comments don’t take into consideration, is that once upon a time, Published Author B, was once an unpublished author like Writer A, but through, probably, a lot of hard work and effort, managed to get contracted. One can assume that she got the contract on her own merit, and without the aid of loyal fans.
“What about the ones that are in her group that worked so damned hard on their entries... all that hard work, now some of them may feel they don't even have a chance. And why?
Because here is a published author who really ought to have some more professionalism parading a contest in front of readers solely to draw attention to her entry.
And let me tell you honey... there's apparently a few of them that are not impressed with this contest. How else do you think *I* found out about it?”
The funny thing about this, is that last year, I clearly remember an un-pubbed writer, actually begging for votes also. It didn’t occur to me to have a problem with it at all. In fact I voted for her. Do you know why? Because I didn’t give a toss about anybody else who’d entered, that’s why. So sue me.
If you don’t blow your own trumpet, who the hell is going to do it for you? Besides, just because somebody tells you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to. Readers have brains too. This is the internet after all, nobody would know if you didn’t actually vote for them.
“What about the published authors who entered and have a wonderful following but did nothing to promote it? There's quite a few published authors in there. I know. I'm one of them. Yet I haven't gone and posted merrily away... HEY GO LOOK AT ME...”
Ermm… Surely that was this author’s perogative to not promote herself? She could have done so if she wanted to, or is this about playing nice again?
“So tell me... whatever happened to merit? You know, when you enter a contest and you win because you were the best? Not because you offered a bunch of people a chance to win something. A lot of us can do that. The difference is... some of us want to win because we deserve it. Not because we bribed people into it.”
Show me an author who hasn’t ever used the goodwill of their fans to promote themselves, and I’ll show you an author who probably hasn’t sold many books. Unless of course they were divinely blessed.
“As a side note~I'm aware of the fact that some people will take offense. Well, as I stated... MY OPINION...take offense all you want. But this is a contest that's supposed to let the best writer win.”
Erm… Hello? Does the best film always win at the Oscars? Or is it the films with the most money and hype that usually end up being nominated in the first place?
I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m just saying that all’s fair in love and war. And let’s face it, the world as we know it, wasn’t built on people always doing the politically correct thing. If it was, we’d all be polyester-wearing, tree-hugging vegetarians by now.
If you have an advantage over somebody else, the politically correct thing to do, seems to be to play fair, don’t rock the boat, be nice. I hate to say it, but that’s such a female way of thinking. I don’t agree with that thought process at all.
I say, do what you have to do as long as you don’t hurt anybody else, and no, I’m not talking about hurt feelings here, cuz some people are so hypersensitive, you’d offend them by breathing the same air.
I suspect that the real problem with the contest isn’t people trying to gain, what may be considered to be an unfair advantage, but rather the way the actual competition is structured.
I talked a while ago about the bitchiness within the romance industry. In my opinion, this perfectly illustrates my point. The blogger may not have intended to come across as bitchy, but in my opinion, if it looks like a tomato, and tastes like a tomato, that’s exactly what it is. A tomato...