Friday, January 21, 2011

It's That Time Again...

Hiya!
I’m possibly going to offend someone today, but please bear in mind this is just my opinion!
Now, it’s “that time” again, when we’re asked to vote for books. Anyone can nominate a book, cover, editor, you name it. However, to “win” a good place, you need the dreaded votes. Some authors are totally unaware if their books are on that site because perhaps they realise that it isn’t a big deal. Me, for instance. I agree that if someone nominated you, that’s a nice thing to have done, and if you promote the fact you’ve been nominated, excellent. But what I dislike is the barrage of emails I get asking me to vote for them.
Why would I vote for a book I’ve never read? Despite knowing the author, wouldn’t it be wrong of me to go and vote for this person to win best book or best whatever, when I have no clue what their book is about? In my opinion, yes. The same goes for the following: Why would I vote for an author I’ve never read and don’t even know? Same with covers. Why would I vote for a cover I didn’t like when there were nicer ones there to choose from? Do people just blindly go along like sheep, doing as they’re told and clicking the links provided?
There are many authors who ask for votes and state that if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, feel free to vote. This is preferable to me, but even more preferable—and I’m not talking about the poll that is currently going on because I haven’t voted there since I realised it wasn’t a fair voting system—is when I go to the link, having read a book, and I vote for someone else entirely. I don’t mean that in a nasty way toward the person who may have sent me to the site to vote, but if I get there and see a book I enjoyed more, you can bet I’m going to vote for that one instead. This isn’t being mean, this is being honest and true to myself.
So now we come to unfair voting. There are some people out there who create multiple email accounts so they can vote several times. They also have their friends and family do the same. They garner far more votes this way, and for what? To “win” a poll that doesn’t reflect the true feelings of the people who matter the most—the READERS. For me to sit here and do that, and just say for argument’s sake I won, I would have won unfairly. I wouldn’t deserve that win because I had manipulated the voting system. Again, for what? To make myself look good? So I can go about telling everyone I won, therefore I must be an awesome author and you really ought to go and buy my books?
Umm, no. I’d prefer to let the readers choose which author and book they liked the best. If someone else won, good on them, and I mean that with total honesty. I don’t feel envy or jealousy toward someone who may win over me.
What I’m saying is, that it would not sit well with me if I won because I had bombarded people with vote pleas. For a start, I couldn’t even bring myself to type the email asking for votes. It would embarrass me. I’d be knowingly putting pressure on someone to click when they otherwise wouldn’t have. I’d be giving someone a dilemma if they didn’t like my book but felt they should vote because I asked really nicely and in an overly-excited manner. Why lie to myself? Why be pleased I “won” because I just happened to entice several hundred people—the majority having never read a book by me in their life, possibly have never even heard of me before I asked for votes—to vote for me?
I find it all very bizarre that people get so excited about a poll that is so easy to manipulate—and believe me, a great percentage of authors know this poll isn’t worth bothering with. A few years ago I watched two people literally fighting for the #1 spot. One would have, say, 4 votes more than #2, so #2 then rounded up a few more votes and overtook #1. #1 then did the same. It was exhausting to watch, because the authors were clearly watching the other’s votes totting up and off they’d go again to ask for more votes.
WTF?
I’ll say again that this is just my opinion and how I feel about these kinds of polls. They’re fake, they mean absolutely nothing when you win unfairly, and to have a “win” on my conscience that wasn’t done in the correct way—because fairly means readers have voted because they wanted to, readers who have actually read the damn book—is something I wouldn’t want to live with.

40 comments:

Tess MacKall said...

While it's nice to be nominated for sure--I was--on another awards group--it's also obvious that a lot of the voting is indeed about "popularity" or in some instances, as you mentioned, whoever takes the time to create fake email addresses or gets their family members and friends to just go and vote.

Now there is nothing wrong with family members and friends voting. Not at all. But one would hope that everyone who votes has actually read the book. Heck, I can even deal with someone reading all the books up for nomination and possibly liking one better than mine, but voting for me because they know me. Even that makes SOME sense to me.

But to go in and mindlessly vote when you haven't read a book is simply not right. While it's nice to win, it's even nicer to know that you won because you deserved it.

I sometimes wonder how authors who manipulate the voting--KNOW they just won because they promoted the contest well and convinced people to go over and give them a vote even if they hadn't read the book--feel afterward when they win.

Was it truly a win? Does that win prove they are better than the authors they were up against? Personally, I couldn't feel good about a win in which I know I'd simply done a better job of driving votes to the ballot box than the other nominees.

But that's just me. I'm thrilled that someone nominated Latin Rhythm for the Love Romances Cafe Awards and am truly pleased someone liked my book well enough to think it deserved to be in the company of those other amazing authors also nominated in the Best Contemporary category. I wish them all luck and hope the voting does indeed reveal the BEST book and not just a book that got more votes than the others.

Very thoughtful post, Nat.

Kelli Scott said...

I've had this happen...someone asks me to vote, and I get to the site and see a book I actually read and vote for it. It happens.

Dee Dawning said...

Natalie, you have vocalized what I've been thinking for years. Winning such a contest doesn't reflect how good a book is, but how popular or persuasive the author is. Or as you pointed out devious.

If you happen to win it's a faux win in a faux contest. BFD

When people ask me to vote, I run for the hills.

Kathy Otten said...

I agree one hundred percent. I actually never vote or read emails asking for votes.

lizarnoldbooks said...

I have to admit I learned something today. It never occurred to me to set up fake emails to vote more often. I don't have what it takes to manipulate rules I guess. Brave post. Thanks.
Liz

Harlie Reader said...

I only vote for books that I have actually read. No amount of begging is gonna get me to vote for you if I've never read the book. Sorry but I can't vote with a clear mind for something that I know nothing about.

flchen1 said...

Excellent post, Natalie--the only way for those awards to have meaning is if they are based on votes of people who have read the books!

C. Zampa said...

I agree 100% about asking people to vote for books they've never read. The BOOK, in that case, is not up for votes, but the author. If you want to have a 'favorite author' contest, then call it that.

I do NOT mind at all, solicitation by announcing a nomination. That's only fair. But I see so much promo'ing that is simply, "Please vote for me'. The key: Vote for ME. Not the best book, just ME. Now THAT does irritate me.

Anny Cook said...

I would MUCH rather receive an e-mail from a reader who's read my book than win something in one of the on-line polls.

Actually, a couple years ago I won a spot in this particular poll for my Flowers of Camelot series. Funny thing...I didn't even know it was on the list until they sent me a note after I won.

The truth is--all reviewer/publisher generated polls are going to be popularity contests--EVEN if they're only picked by the reviewers. Why? Because no reviewer/reviewer site can possibly read ALL the books out there. How could they say that Anny's Book is the best one? All they can REALLY say is it's THEIR favorite one.

Some say the truest poll is the one where readers vote with their money. I don't agree with that because how do you deal with the wall-bangers you pay good money for?

Perhaps the best way would be for readers to post their personal opinions. Unfortunately, few readers take the time or opportunity to do so.

Good topic, Nat!

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Well said, Nat! :)

Brindle Chase said...

They are popularity contests and often only tell who is more willing to spam their contact lists into voting for them, and who has a bigger fanbase.

But, I confess, I vote on some of them. I haven't read most of the books I have voted for. They are friends, or authors I admire. I see their name on the list and I give them my vote.

I won't however, go vote for someone spamming me, asking me to vote for them. If they don't ask, I just might if I know them and admire them and see their name on a list! =oP

Because I see them as inconsequential, a novelty at best, the awards mean nothing. You were voted best book of month by dozens of people who've never read your book or the books competing against you? Congrats... you've won nothing!

IMHO

CDEcho said...

The only contest I've ever participated in was for a web trailer, which you can actually watch quickly. I don't take these popularity contests seriously. I think they're more about publicity than quality. But I would have trouble asking other people to vote for my book without reading and therefore would probably not participate in this type of contest. The multiple email thing I think is definitely wrong.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post and a topic I've seen discussed.

Now, I often get emails from readers saying they need my vote...I usually go and see who else is in the running and honestly vote for the one I really like, and it might not be that original author who asked me to vote for her.

Valerie
in Germany

Cassie Exline said...

Oops, this isn't the place to come for votes, is it? Damn GPS. ;) In case you haven't guessed, yep I have a book nominated at the P&E Poll. Whatever it ranks, I'll be thrilled. I'd love to entertain the notion that I have that many friends to vote for little old me and I'd love everyone to rush out and buy the book and then vote for me. My publisher would too. Vote. Don't vote. Life goes on. But I do think if your publisher is listed, show some support with a vote. Fake emails, huh? Come on, GPS, take me home.

Zina said...

I feel the same, I have gone to a site and have not voted neccessarily for the person pointing me there, especially if I do see another writer that I like better, I never do a blind vote. I don't go back either and say I have voted for the person that asked me to vote if I didn't vote for them in the end, I don't believe in treating people like that. Today I was asked to vote for someone but once I got there I saw another writer, not neccessaily one I like better but I have read a lot more books by and really enjoyed them so I voted that way.

Zina

wendy said...

I only vote for books i have read and thats a lot of books but to lie and say i read a book and i like it when i haven't is something i wont do.

Hales said...

LOL. I found I was nominated and posted it on my facebook. I did ask for votes and then wondered if I was doing a no-no. I wouldn't expect people who haven't read me to vote but hopes that a reader or author who read me would. It's nice to see the congrats from other authors and friends too :)

On my personal site I asked my family members and friends to but I was just tickled to be on there.

Natalie Dae said...

Tess, I'm thrilled someone nominated your book too, but I know you won't be going out there begging for votes!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Yep, Kelli. I've done that often, voted for someone else. I just can't bring myself to vote for a book I've never read.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

LOL @ Dee running for the hills.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Kathy, I'll vote if I've read it and liked it above all the other books there that I've read.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

lizarnold, some sites have that nipped in the bud and they take your IP address and know you've already voted. Unfortunately, some don't, so you could click and vote several times a day providing you can be bothered to make up new email addresses.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Snap, Harlie!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Agreed, flchen!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Yep, C.Z, a fave author contest is about what they should do. Mind you, people would be offended more. "Please vote if you like me!"

Imagine if no one voted!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Yep, Anny, an email is so much better. More personal.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Thanks, Lisa!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

True, Brindle. You've won nothing in the end. All you win is knowing people did as they were told and voted.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

CDEcho, you're right. I suppose it helps with promotion if you can say you've won.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Same here, Val!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

LOL Cassie. It's nice to find out you've been nominated, especially when you can't find out who did it, though.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Yep, Zina. I think many of us do that.

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Good on you, Wendy!

:o)

Natalie Dae said...

Tickled is right, Hales!

:o)

Kissa Starling said...

I agree with a lot of what you said. These do seem to be nothing but a popularity thing. That said if your name and/or book are on there, someone did nominate you.

In the past I haven't paid much attention to these things but in 2009 one of my shorts won like #27 on P&E. To my utter amazement that book began selling more than the others and still does to this day. I really don't get it. For that reason alone I will convey links.

These days I look at it like a review. I thank readers in general for nominating me and give the link to vote if they wish. I don't do this repeatedly, I don't beg for additional votes and I don't check back and report to readers that I am 'so close' to number one. I detest that and delete a lot of links that come my way, especially if they come again, and again, and again. I don't mind authors posting it once. I'm happy for them. By the tenth time they post about it I'm not quite so happy for them.

I do vote for books that I have enjoyed and have occasionally nominated a book or publisher. As in many things this was probably started for something fun and has now turned into greedy panic, anxiety, gimmee for a lot of people.

I'd love to see a book award online that did have fair voting, published nominations- with the reader's name showing and actual awards as well.

Maybe we should start our own? NOPE, I've already got 5 zillion things to do this weekend!

Natalie Dae said...

It's the invasion into my inbox that bothers me, Kissa. For the duration of the poll I can stay away from Facebook and any other places where I'll see people trawling for votes--kinda let them get on with it. But when it comes into my inbox, into my private space? THAT ticks me off. And when I don't respond to say I've voted, and those people bombard me with more please...that really does my head in.

:o)

jean hart stewart said...

Completely correct. It's the real readers who count, not the manufactured votes. Jean

Natalie Dae said...

Hear hear, Jean!

:o)

Jen B. said...

Wow! I was just on a site tonight that had voting in a number of different catagories. The website post even said don't vote if you don't know the books. I ended up only voting in one catagory because I hadn't read any of the other books. I agree that if I were an author and won because I had stacked the deck then it would weigh on my conscience. I want a real win because people love what I do.

Natalie Dae said...

That's right, Jen. A real win is so much sweeter!

:o)