Over the last few days I have seen my fellow authors post about bad reviews or bad comments, returns, or worse of all no sales. It breaks my heart. I,too, have had the same problems. What I'd like to do is put this all into perspective.
In all honesty, when was the last time you bought something at a store for .99 cents, brought home, used it, then said, "Ya know, it's not everything I thought it would be, I'm returning this." ? That's right, never. Or if you said "Hmmm, just last week." then you have more serious problems and can stop reading this now.
Yet in their defense, they have every right to expect that the writer has done everything in their power to use the correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In addition, they have to make sure their characters are realistic and their story is engaging. Oh and please!, give them more than ten pages, they are paying .99 cents for it, for crying out loud!
Here's the catch...you have to do this all on your own. So spend every extra minute you have, after working all day, possibly take care of a few kids, other life necessities, to write your masterpiece. You may have to stay up late, miss that party, or possibly alienate a friend. Okay, you are allowed to ask family and friends to edit for you, so try not to alienate them...
Now after the hours you put into writing, you also have to publish. Pity the reader, they have no idea the different formats you have to adhere to from publisher to publisher. (Which is why we all mostly stick with the free easy one.) Don't forget the cover! Some of us are paying for cover art, others can't afford to. We have to make do with what is available for free and hope to manipulate it into something eye-catching. Hopefully we have a program to add the title and our name.
You finally press the button to publish and then you wait. You wait with almost the same anticipation as the birth of a child. It's arrived and you announce it to the world!!! After all the labor and time you have put into it, you still only ask .99 cents for it because you are an unknown author. You're saying, "Please take a chance on me!"
You have done all you can...and you wait...for reviews, for sales, for some one to take notice...maybe do an interview on a blog. Exciting stuff!!
But, here's where it gets stupid, there will be the fraction of people who like to poo on your parade. They don't give constructive reviews. Their point seems to be to show how they know so much more than the writer about writing. Which turns it into more of a bad comment, even complaining a short story was too short! They read and return, that to me is criminal for a .99 cent book. (Author note: I have a "How to" book that is $7.99 and after they know "How to" they return it, I also find that criminal.) However, it's perfectly legal...
Bless the reviewer who is constructive and intelligent, good or bad. I say again, BLESS THE INTELLIGENT REVIEWER! We live for what you say, it's the temperature of our work, so please take the time to review.
Lastly I address no sales. Ask yourself if your blurb is interesting. Make sure you have made enough noise to let everyone know its available. Shout it from the rooftops of Facebook, Twitter, do interviews on blogs, etc. Sometimes it's a matter of the cover not grabbing someone and shaking them into reading. I'd try that first.
A writer's work is never done, if someone told you this was easy...it's not. Sometimes people get a lucky break but for the majority of us, we have to work very hard to get very little. If you are in this for the money, I wish you luck. If you are in this because you have a desire to write and possibly share your books with others, then welcome to the club.