The Left Handed Study and Good Intentions

An interesting thing happened after I published my first piece of fiction, The Left Handed Study, nothing. That’s right, nothing happened. Let me explain.


When I told my social media tribes that The Left Handed Study was available as an ebook on Amazon there was lots of excitement. People were congratulating me, “I’ll buy it,” chanted some, while others accepted my offer for a free copy. It was a great experience and a great memory. Then a few clouds appeared.


A few days later I got a request for an autographed copy, then a second. Huh? Now those were puzzling. I reread my messages and I was quite clear, The Left Handed Study is an ebook on Amazon, here’s how you get a free copy, and please post a review. It took me a few days to solve the puzzle. Here’s the deal, the gap between the original messages and the follow-up requests is the tell.


My tribe hadn’t really read the messages, at least not entirely. They had gotten caught up in the publishing celebration and sent me their heartfelt hosannas because that’s what good tribes do. At that point they thought their jobs were done. They largely missed the parts in the messages about it being an ebook, how to get a free copy and especially my request for a short review. It gets better.


Later in the week I was with several people and a sweetheart of a person says to me, “I can’t wait to read your book,” then the next day another person, also in a public setting, says, “I want a copy.” I felt my emotional gears lock into a familiar place and, with my Asperger Syndrome (limited empathy) fully engaged, I said in a chilly voice, “There’s a free copy in your inbox. It’s been there since Monday.” Oh well…


As of this writing, it’s been a full week since I launched The Left Handed Study and still no reviews. Keep in mind that it’s not a long read, if the book were in print format it would be 105 pages long. So why are there no reviews, glowing or otherwise? It’s one of two reasons.


The first is people are too damn busy for all this. Between work, kids, parents in many cases, and other real-life responsibilities, finding the time to read a book is hard. Take it a step further and ask for a review, and it’s a tough ask. The second reason might be they don’t like the book and don’t want to write a negative review and risk hurting my feelings. That’s appreciated but it’s a mistake.


I really need feedback to improve my writing and my feelings won’t be hurt. I’m battle-tested in the corporate world and withstood personal attacks on my intelligence, motivations and judgement in front of a room full of people. I just want to know what’s good and what’s bad so my second ebook, which is almost outlined, is better than my first. I’m guessing you want the same thing.


On April 1 through April 3 The Left Handed Study is available free on Amazon, here’s the link – The Left Handed Study. You can search for it too using the title, The Left Handed Study, or my last name, Hartkopf. Oh, and please leave a review.


  1. Sue Softy says:

    You are impatient with your tribes!
    I have been busy and not able to read the book yet.
    Exhale a little!

    • Steve Hartkopf says:

      Good point – patience. You know that’s not my strength but this is a volunteer army so you’re right. Thank you! xoxo

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