Continuing on the topic of reviews...a discussion on one of my loops prompted todays blog.
I'm not addressing 'a' review in particular, but why review sites are allowing their reviewers to post some summaries that provide no helpful content. Luckily, I've remain unscathed, but I know a few friends who bear the wounds. It's needless pain.
One of the most nail-biting experiences for an author is submitting work to be reviewed. Imagine someone has worked for months, perhaps years to finish a manuscript, find the right publisher, wait for a release date, and now, has to send the manuscript out and hope someone open-minded and kind selects it to read. The waiting starts anew to see what's said in the review. It's another anguishing time for us.
Believe it not, reviews are critical to authors as well as readers. We try to learn and grow from opinions. Although author's try to develop a thick-skin, painful comments from reviewers without any constructive guidance really hurt. Picture yourself pushing your baby along in a stroller. A total stranger walks up to the carriage, chuck's the child's chin and says, "that's the ugliest child I believe I've ever seen." Knife to the heart! Why would you possibly say something so hurtful when it serves no purpose? One can only surmise you're just a sad and lonely person wanting other's to join you. Reviews reflect the reviewer much the same way.
Opinions are subjective. (Let me clean this phrase up a bit...)They're like noses...we all have one, BUT it's possible to mention, in a constructive manner, that the book wasn't your cup of tea, or perhaps had editorial flaws that distracted you, but to totally bash the book and find no redeeming qualities only serves to destroy the creditability of the author, publisher, editors and anyone else associated with the book. There must have been something worthy about it, trust me. In today's publishing world, with small press closing all around us, there are plenty of submissions to choose from and no one is going to bank on a loser.
So why are nasty reviews posted. I can only guess. It's a free service, workloads are increasing, and the kinder, gentler generation is withdrawing. Is that it?
Times are tough and people are stressed. Nastiness comes out in the most unlikely places. Is that a reason? I'm stressed, but I certainly wouldn't bash a fellow author. I'm not talking mediocre reviews...we all get those. I'm talking about 'book burning, character annihilation, word slashing, cruelty.' If I don't like a book, I don't review it. Simple as that.
Luckily the credible review sites have guidelines and won't allow 'bashing' reviews. It's a good thing, because one person's nasty and negative opinion can determine what others think of a book. One bad review or rating can sully the waters for sales, even though it's only ONE person's opinion. Unfortunately, people tend to be like sheep, following the leader. Sad but true. How many wait for the NY best selling lists to decide what they want to read? I used to, but I don't anymore. I found so many there that made me wonder what criteria was used to rank them over others.
Since I became an author, I make my own decisions. Some people like Pepsi, some people like Coke. A vegetarian won't eat meat, and a Lactose-intolerant person steers clear of dairy products. I'm certainly not going to let their experiences define mine. I hope you won't either. I'm saying this, not because I'm e-published, but there is a wealth of talent in this field that deserves notice. I've got a whole new list of favorite authors and I rarely buy books listed on the top selling list in New York. Heck, most of those people got there on the talents of a real author (Ghostwriting). Yes, I'm taking a poke at Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton. Imagine the money their ghostwriters made. I'm jealous. *smile*