1. Thou shall pay for editing and proofreading. (You cannot, under any circumstances, edit your own material. You will only see what you meant to write and not what you actually wrote.)
2. Thou shall give away review copies. (If you’re going to contact people about reviewing your work, put up or shut up.)
3. Thou shall not respond to any review, positive or negative, ever, until the end of time, unless you requested the review, and then you may simply say thank you. (Do you see Stephen King and J.K. Rowling flaming reviewers on Goodreads?)
4. Thou shall not plagiarize. (Write your own material. This should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised.)
5. Thou shall make at least 95% of whatever publication you’ve sold to the reader be exactly what the reader has bought. (The last 30% of your book shall not be interviews and ads for other books.)
6. Thou shall not put your editor’s name next to yours on Amazon or other booksellers. (This option is there for editors of anthologies, not the wonderful person who made you sound literate. Thank them in your novel. Trust me, it means more.)
7. Thou shall not commit the unforgivable sin of sock-puppetry. (This is the worse form of public masturbation).
8. Thou shall not trade reviews for reviews. (So, you and your buddy wrote a book, eh? You wanna give him five stars so that he can leave you a fiver in return? This is just as bad as sock-puppetry. Don’t.)
9. Thou shall not troll other writers. (No matter how much you hate Douchenozzle McShit-Stain, you are not allowed to leave him a one-star review on Amazon which states: “He sucks balls at sucking balls because he can’t suck his own balls. Oh, and this book is trash!!!!!!!!!!! A few more words to make 20 so Amazon will accept this review!” Even if you know that Mr. McShit-Stain has done the same to you. Forget it and move on. He’ll only drag you down in the end.)
10. Thou shall beware the company you keep. (Be mindful of groups created on social media. Sure it’s cool to be in a group of like-minded individuals, but when it comes out that Douchenozzle McShit-Stain was added to your group without your knowledge, things might get hairy. I’m not saying don’t do it, but you need to remember that old addage: “Guilty by association.”)
To be taken seriously, you must be better than the authors of books people buy at Walmart. Not as good as, but better. You have to rise above your own soft pride and fragile ego. Reviews are for readers, not you. If a reader wants a question answered, they will contact you.
You want to know why indies have trouble finding reviewers? Because the possibility of backlash is heightened when dealing with an indie. Readers have been shit on with such frequency and velocity that they’ve become shit-shocked. First, there’s the immeasurable amount of unedited garbage floating around out there. Next, you have those ass-hats which choose to berate and belittle the very people who buy their work simply because said reader called them on not providing quality material. And last but not least, you have the insufferable wet-spot who inflates his reviews by having four-hundred Amazon accounts, as if readers can’t tell by the Look Inside that there’s no way this steaming pile deserves anywhere near 300 glowing fivers.
Indie Author, you’ve been called out. The only way to sustain the momentum of this movement is to be better and not complain when no one reads or appreciates your work. Be thankful for every reader you do reach. Be thankful anyone’s even paying attention to you in the first place. Seriously, have you seen how many books readers have to choose from? Exactly.