|Posted on June 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM|
To quote the fictional character Gordon Gekko, "Gripe is good."
"Actually, that's not what Gordon Gekko said, but who cares. This is the Internet. You can make up quotes all you want. If people look it up, they'll just come back to your quote. Then you can re-post on Facebook as a meme and look smart." - Benjamin Franklin, as quoted from his horse while overlooking the Battle of Gettysburg from Little Round Top, in 1869.
But really, griping is good in this Bronze Age of e-books. Readers can go right to the author with glaring errors, formatting issues and the hospital bill for when they fell down that gaping plot hole.
I never take this criticism the wrong way, since it's making the reader a part of the e-book experience. Even better, I can make changes right away and get a new version up in a matter of hours.
Griping doesn't always have to be negatively. It can be backhandedly positive, too.
Here's an exchange on Facebook I had recently with Heath Lowrance, contributor to many anthologies (including Burning Bridges) and the cult noir novel, The Bastard Hand. I'm told the latter is excellent, but I wouldn't know. It's not out on Nook.
See? Gripe is good. Just like that, there's an answer from the publisher and a plan.
The takeaway lesson here is if you have an issue with an e-book, there's never been a better time to get something done about it. Authors offer the ultimate in customer service. After all, they spend months - even years - getting a product out to you. They care about the reading experience. You might put your concerns a bit more gently than I did (I've worked with Heath before, so I know he knows I'm just shittin' him), but there's almost a guarantee something will get done about it.
"Plus, there's nothing makes an author's day like feedback from a reader. Did anyone bring crackers? I heard the cheese here is good." - Amelia Earhart, shortly after landing on the moon, 1959.