I hope all of those who observe Easter had a lovely holiday. I know I did.
Today, I'd like to discuss reviews. Authors can often live or die by reviews. We cheer and fist pump when those four or five star ratings come in--that's the love part--and jump back in bed pulling the sheet over our heads if they aren't so nice. It's the three star ones that are hard to judge--not great, but not in the "really sucks" category either. Somehow, just being considered average doesn't cut it. To paraphrase Abe Lincoln, "You can please some of the readers all the time, and all of the readers some of the time, but you can't please all the readers all the time."
I've noticed that reviews from legitimate (read professional) reviewers are harder to come by these days. With the explosion of indy authors, it's tough getting noticed anymore. Review sites are overwhelmed with authors wanting recognition for their endeavors. I don't blame them. So, we turn to Amazon and Goodreads to find solace.
Maybe I'm just stupid, but I never learned how to properly use Goodreads. I'm over there; however, I can't seem to find the reviews. My pages look curiously naked. And half the time I can't login because I forgot either my user name or password or both. So, I tend to avoid going there. That's the hate relationship. As you can see, I need serious help with this.
That leaves Amazon. Amazon has changed publishing forever. Yep, the Kindle turned both publishers' and readers' worlds upside down. It opened an avenue for writers to circumvent the usual publishing process, and have their book available to millions of readers. It was easy and anybody could do it. That was the problem, anybody did. And in those early years, every Tom, Dick, or Harry could leave a review whether they bought the book or not, which meant all relatives and friends could give the new novel a five star rating without having read it. This policy led to serious problems. Sad to say, there are some people out there who just love to make other people feel bad--so they trash the work and the author. Luckily, Amazon changed that. Now, in order to leave a review, the reader must have bought the book from Amazon.
I've been lucky. My reviews have been between three and five stars. As far as I know, I've never received a really lousy one. Which brings me to another thought. A bad review makes an author cringe, and the first thought is to defend what we have written--to explain the why to the reviewer. Not a good move.
A case in point that is now infamous. An indy author (whose name I can't recall) published a book (whose title I don't remember either) through Amazon. This was prior to the policy change, so she garnered ten or twelve five star reviews, many from people with the same last name as hers. For whatever reason, she decided to send it to a legitimate reviewer. It came back with two stars and a constructive critique regarding plot, grammar, spelling, and characters. The author was not pleased and shot back a scathing denunciation of the reviewer. This elicited responses, some abrasive, some not, from the review site's fans. The rhetoric escalated until the author finally told one (and more) people to "the 'f' word off." Unfortunately, one of the people she told this to turned out to be an editor. Oops. The reviewer cut off the comments, but by now so many authors and readers were outraged, they went straight to Amazon. Her rating dropped from five stars to one in less than twenty-four hours. It might not have been nice, but it's the kind of thing that could happen, which is--IMHO--why Amazon changed the policy.
The moral of this is--if you must respond to a bad review do it with dignity and grace. A simple, "So sorry you didn't care for my latest release. Perhaps my next book, Happily Ever After, will be more to your taste. Thank you for taking the time to read my story." Or words to that effect. Remember, the toes you step on today might be the rear end you have to kiss tomorrow.
I didn't blog in February, so I need to say that my latest book, "The Assassin" was released on February 22. It and all my books are available from www.thewildrosepress.com and from www.amazon.com. Below is a blurb and the cover.
When high-powered Memphis defense attorney, Ross Patterson, is murdered, his estranged wife, Priscilla, and his step-daughter, Hilary, are two of the prime suspects. Hilary teams up with sexy Private investigator, Colin Blackwood, to find the real killer. Their search brings them in contact with some of Ross's sleazier clients. The more they discover, the more they realize Ross was less than ethical in his practice. As the suspect list grows, so does the danger. Yet, through it all, Hilary and Colin find time for each other. Can they and their newfound love survive?
Hope you all have a wonderful day and I'll see you again next month. Oh, and by the way, if you buy and read a book, don't forget to leave a review.