A Fourth Anniversary (Come And Gone)

In writing about other topics over the last few days, I had not mentioned this. I suppose better (two days) late than never. 🙂 November 28 was the fourth anniversary of Passports being published in paperback…

[Screen capture of Amazon.co.uk.]

Before 2013, I had been solely a reader. And I found a lot to critique sometimes over the years. Often I thought, “I can write BETTER than this!” (Sound, uh, familiar?)

I finally decided that I would put my neck on the public publishing line and try to prove it (to myself at least). Having written it, I had been thinking, “That’s enough. I did it…” However, quickly I also realized I wanted to write more and I had only really just begun.

I think “my voice” four novels later is now pretty clear. The novels reflect my personality and my worldview. I am proud of them and I have sold more than I had thought I would.

Which brings me here: I noticed this on Instagram yesterday. I won’t identify the author who shared it – whom I do like. But when I saw it, I sighed…

[From Instagram.]

I see that sort of thing from many writers on social media, and it makes me exceedingly uncomfortable. I have never published a book review on Amazon, or anywhere else. Before I took up writing, the main reason I didn’t was I just never wanted to do so. I’d bought the book, and probably enjoyed it, and that was that. (While still thinking I could possibly do better.) And I have never disliked a book so much that I wanted to take revenge on the author by writing disparagingly on Amazon.

If someone wants to write a review, he or she will. Even “I liked it” is, I think, so brief and vague that it could perhaps even be a TURN OFF to potential readers. I know as a prospective reader I am not keen to see line after line of “three word” positive reviews. As I’ve said before, I find “Five Star” reviews are suspect (in my mind) to begin with because nearly NO book published is actually “Five Stars” (in my opinion), and a “Five” review that doesn’t even discuss why the book is THAT GOOD is probably worst of all. It looks like game-playing – which, as that Instagram post indicates, in a way, it is.

I don’t even lightheartedly try to cajole anyone into writing a review. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased when I see a good review; but also knowing how shy, busy (readers do have lives), or just uninterested (much like me) most readers are to write even “I liked it,” I’m actually MORE pleased I don’t receive NEGATIVE reviews. Better that purchasers are not so ANNOYED or LET DOWN by a book that they feel a desire to scribble nastiness on Amazon. In a way, that is a positive!

Above all, I’m happiest that readers have thought enough to BUY the book(s) in the first place. That is their endorsement. I believe every author should remember that and give the “leave a review” memes a rest.

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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