Monday, 5 December 2016

Reviewers are a mixed bag.

Book Reviewers can be a confungled mix. By that, I mean you end up asking yourself, “What the hell is going on?”
     You finish your latest book, after endless revisions to make it nigh-on word perfect, well-rounded and highly appealing, and release it in various formats. The objective is to achieve ‘marketing success,’ and you are determined to learn from your mistakes and omissions.
     Recently, I enrolled on a marketing course, which began with stressing the importance of having an email list of contacts. I soon realized I was doing everything that was stressed as being important. However, my results were less than sparkling. One reviewer on my list merely commented, “He makes me laugh.” Another read the only first few chapters, like a literary agent would, and criticized another reviewer for praiseworthy comments he had made. Clearly, some sort of vendetta was going on and I was in the middle of it. In fact, the critical reviewer was in the habit of changing her name, as I subsequently found out when I made direct contact with her, and had used the same words in her review of my book as had been levelled at one of her books, so I believe she has issues in her personal life.
     A third noteworthy reviewer made a point of criticizing my lack of definition of the characters featured in one book, where I had gone to great lengths to describe them physically and concentrated on their quirky interactions that led them to deeper relationships. I would have loved to contact this reviewer and challenge him to explain what he meant, but to no avail. Like the majority of reviewers on Amazon, he remains anonymous.
     Another criticized me for detracting from the storyline by including what he described as ‘vignettes’.  These were in fact chapters devoted to describing how the recipients of certain charitable activities felt about being provided with free, eco-housing. A closer study revealed he is a retired pathologist, and was the last person I would choose to review my humor-based books.
     Then, I discovered that the founder of the book review company I use to farm out reviews of my books was reading them and filching my storylines – or so I have good reason to believe. I now have a distrust of giveaways for a similar reason: too many people are out there ready to swoop and poach your ideas, selectively.
     I wait with interest to see what the writers of the TV series, Doctor Who, get up to in the future.
     If I had my way, no reviewer would be allowed to post entries on Amazon or other outlets anonymously, and be banned if they refused to reply to authors, using their posted email addresses. Too many authors are afraid of a making a robust response and regard silence as a badge of honor, whereas I think unwarranted detractors should be challenged. It worked for me on Trip Advisor, where I was a top reviewer for a long time without abusing the privilege.

Amazon reviewers get away with blue murder.