A View of Reviews

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I recently read, on a couple different sources, that there is a “campaign”, by people who are upset that the new/final Robert Jordan book is not going to be immediately released as an e-book, to give the story a bunch of “one-star” reviews on Amazon. They are, apparently, hoping the “campaign” will either sewer the sales of the book, or bully the publisher into releasing the book digitally.

To this I must say: “Get your collective heads out of your asses.”

In my mind reviews serve a distinct and important function. They exist so that people can get an idea of how other readers feel about a book, so they can decide whether or not they want to spend their hard earned money on a story. They do not exist so that a group of people can complain that the book is not available in the format they prefer.

For the writer, reviews grow ever more important the closer you are to the beginning of your writing career. For someone like me, who is getting their work into the market for the first time, a positive review is a validation that someone likes our work and we’re doing something right. A negative review, as long as it isn’t filled with pure hate and venom, might give us an idea of something we’re falling short on, or missing in our writing (of course, we also might choose to completely disregard the negative review and focus on the positive, which I don’t think is a bad thing either).

When I get a review (and I’ve got all of 7 on Amazon.com), I like to see what the reader thought, and how, if at all, my story affected them. It is extremely gratifying when someone enjoys my story, and lets me know about it. It makes my day. It motivates me to keep writing. Even if someone contacts me, either through a review or via the email on my website, and tells me my book is shit, at least I know someone besides my Dad has read it.

I really do think that reviews can be a valuable thing, if used in the right spirit. But to throw out negative reviews, without ever having read the book, is just ignorant, and a little silly.

It is unlikely that most of us will come face to face with the author of a book we particularly liked, but it can be a meaningful medium of communication to post a review of a book where the author is likely to see it. It can be a big deal, especially to some unknown tool like me.

So, if you like a book that took someone three years to write and find a publisher for, then it would be awfully cool if you took 5 minutes of your time to share some of your thoughts. It will serve the writer, and other readers as well.

Thanks for reading.