An Open Letter to Readers who use Reviews as Punishment

Let me start off by saying that I adore my readers. I am in love with any person who takes time out of their schedule to pick up one of my stories and spend even the shortest amount of time in my worlds with my characters. As an author I love reviews, I love hearing about what you liked and even what you didn’t like about my stories, because most of the time we’re on the same page. But when your reviews become punishments for your personal preferences (the story wasn’t long enough, it wasn’t written in a style I liked, the woman on the cover is too light-skinned etc), they become a problem that affect me as an author and you as a reader of my future work.

Reviews are lifeblood for authors. They effect algorithms that put our books in front of more people and they give you, the reader, a voice when it comes to our work. But in this age of social media and being able to anonymously vomit opinions onto the internet, it’s becoming a trend to mindlessly bash, attack and demean authors and their work via “reviews”. Which is not okay, especially if you LIKE said work.

Yes, a review, whether positive or negative is your right as a reader to leave. But not reading descriptions and going on to leave off-base negative reviews on work that someone slaved over is just plain wrong. If you’re going to leave a review, at least have an informed opinion about the product. Because while it may have taken you ten seconds in a fit of anger to write, it will haunt and affect that authors career and future work for a lifetime. Let’s put it this way: if you worked hard on building a toaster and I told people not to buy it (by leaving a one star review) because it wasn’t a refrigerator, you would probably be upset.

Take for example my most recent Dragon God Erotic series. It’s my first real foray into the erotic short hemisphere and I genuinely enjoyed writing these four short stories. That being said, plenty of people are responding positively to them as well. Like all erotic stories they are meant to tease, to stir up emotion and get the blood pumping. They’re not really something you sink your teeth into story wise. But I pride myself on my world building and my character creation which means you’re going to get a bit of both in anything I write. Even if it’s only 8k words. And most of my readers new and old understand that.

Except for a few reviewers who don’t seem to get that they are not full length novels. I use the description and the “from the author” section of the amazon page to explain that they are indeed short stories. Amazon even has a handy little section beneath the description that tells you the page length of kindle books. You have plenty of warning before you buy and start reading the work. You even have the option of refunding the title.

That being said, why leave a negative review behind on a story that you admittedly like but want to see more of? That’s really not going to make me, or any author want to keep putting themselves in a position to be exposed to such devastation. And it’s not going to help the stories you love see continuations or expansion either. Quite the opposite, actually.

I said all of this to say that, reviews are wonderful things, ESPECIALLY when they are scathing and pointing out every plothole, annoying character, flaw and instance of purple prose. But when they are used simply to lash out at an author, to punish them because something didn’t go your way, they’re really affecting us both negatively. So I implore you, be constructive, but think before you review.

Thank you,

A.C. Greenlee

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Book Review: The Devil Inside by Author C.M. Bowen!

Kyunnie's Book reviews!

Author: C.M. Bowen

Genre: Erotica, Romance

Publisher: Lillium Publishing House LLC

Summary: Outspoken Executive Business Manager Brianna Richards walks into work one morning after a night of wine and her favorite books, only to find that not only is she in the wrong building, she’s in hell. From the shark-like demon secretary to a bullheaded Demon Lord with a death wish, Brianna finds herself in hot water with the head honcho of the Underworld, Lucifer himself.

Overworked and undersexed Lucien, also known as The Morning Star, has watched his employee Brianna run his business from a distance, only getting to see the woman he secretly harbors feelings for once a year. When she dies in a car crash and lands herself in hell, he see’s the perfect opportunity to fill an open position, and make her his.

My Review: This is an excellent first release for a budding erotica author. Testing the markets with short stories is definitely the way to go for newbies and seasoned authors alike, but whether or not the stories stick and garner an audience is up to the content of the story. I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters and the smut was phenomenal. I honestly can’t wait to have another one of these sexy little shorts on my digital bookshelf.

Excerpt:

Bright light burned Brianna’s eyes as she tried to bring her vision into focus. Tears pricked at the corners from the strain. Taking a couple steps back, she bumped into the wall, her hands finding the smooth handrail. Soft, somewhat familiar music caught her attention as she rubbed the bleariness away. She groaned, her vision slowly focusing on her surroundings. She took her glasses off and gave them a quick wipe on the inside of her blazer, then looked around.

“I really need to stop reading in bed, one more chapter my ass. I’m spacing out so bad I’m forgetting I’m in the damn elevator.” Brianna looked at herself in the polished reflection of the stainless steel doors and sighed heavily. Dark curls had escaped the bun she’d thrown her hair in, and she tried to in vain to smooth them back. At least she didn’t look like she’d gotten to bed at 4 A.M.

The elevator slowed to a stop and a small ‘ding’ signaled that she had reached the target floor. Brianna stopped in her tracks as the doors slid open to reveal a pretty, darkly decorated room. This…was definitely not her office. The tile was black and silver marble, large plush couches and matching chairs lined the walls with very artistically carved tables with glass tops situated between them. Exotic looking plants accented the large receptionist desk and double doors on the other end of the room. It was a very nice waiting area, but noticeably there wasn’t a company logo or anything to advise her what business she had inadvertently wandered into.

“Janine, I have to go. The big man’s 4 o’clock is here.” Brianna took a few steps back and pressed the ‘door close’ button, groaning with frustration when nothing happened. She ran through the events of the night before and decided to cut back on her wine when she was reading. Apparently, she’d wandered into the wrong building when she was in a rush to get to work, but it was odd. She didn’t feel like she’d had that much wine, she wasn’t even hungover. How did she end up here and completely not notice?

“What the actual fuck….” The words slipped out of her mouth before she could stop them, causing the woman behind the desk to look up at her. She smiled and motioned Brianna into the room expectantly. Her brows furrowed in further confusion.

“Yes, I’ll call you back when I’m all settled here. I think this is going to be his last appointment for the day.” The woman was beautiful by all accounts, except for the fact that her mouth was filled with large serrated teeth that roughly reminded her of a shark. “Seriously, Janine. I. Have. To. Go. Buh-bye now.” The woman hung the phone up and turned her attention to Brianna. “Good afternoon Miss Brianna. I imagine you’re very confused at the moment.” Brianna just stared at the woman. 4 o’clock appointment? She would have remembered setting up an appointment in a place like this.

“You might say that. So, uh, you mind telling me where I am because this is definitely not where I thought I was going.” She nervously stepped out of the elevator and looked around. The woman behind the counter laughed, the sound was pretty but something about it made her uncomfortable.

“You’d be surprised how many people here say that exact same thing.” The woman stood and came around the desk. There was a grace with the way she moved that didn’t seem natural, and for the second time, Brianna was reminded of a shark. Her eyes were so dark they were almost black and the way she regarded her was unsettling at best. But she smiled warmly and beckoned her forward. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Brianna. My name is Divaki, but you can call me Diva for short.”

“Diva?” Brianna moved forward a little further. There was something about the way the woman carried herself and the way she spoke that made Brianna think ‘diva’ was definitely the appropriate nickname. The thought made the corners of her mouth twitch into a half smile. Diva winked at her and grinned. “So… What exactly is this place, I don’t remember ever having set up any appointments. The last thing I remember was driving to work,” she paused and concentrated on her memory of the morning. “We’ve had terrible weather lately, and I was pissed that it was raining because it was going to ruin my hair. My phone rang, but I couldn’t find it—”

“Best not to try that at the moment, you’ll just upset yourself, my dear. It will come back and it’s better to let that happen naturally than to force it.” Diva interjected and took another step toward her, her face a mask of concern. Brianna’s brow furrowed as she stepped back, ignoring Diva.

“I was looking for my phone…then the loudest screeching sound I’ve ever heard.” Her voice was barely above a whisper as her eyes widened. “And then I was in the elevator on my way here.” Realization clicked on her face.

Excerpt From:

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟