Monday, June 23, 2014

Reviews are personal

Touching again on the subject of unpaid reviews from unknown readers, I would like to point out just how personal taste is reflected in each review. I’m not going to mention the 23 – five star reviews I’ve gotten for DROP OUT, but mention quotes from the two worst reviews I’ve received. Why focus on the worst? Because they are perfect examples of opinion and preference.

The first quote is from a 2-star review; the full review can be read on The reader states; “I am not sure how I came to buy this book but when I started reading it I was almost bowled over. This man can REALLY write: his first section in which the protagonist is caught in the September 11 collapse of the twin towers was so gripping I could hardly breathe.” Sounds good right? Sure does to me. But then the remainder of the review goes on to trash the end of the book saying; “But that someone with such writing talent should write such garbage is beyond me.” Which is fine. Like I said, each reader is entitled to their own opinion.

The second review I’m mentioning is a 3-star posted just the other day. This reader had the exact opposite opinion; “Found this novella a bit top heavy with the details of 9/11 which kicks off the story.” But then goes on to say; “I liked the rest of the story and would have enjoyed it more if the beginning wasn't quite so drawn out.” So, who is right? Who’s opinion should I trust and believe? The beginning is great and the end blows? Or the end is great and the beginning blows? The answer is they are both right.

What I’ve learned about people and humanity in general is that everyone has their own personal tastes, choices, likes, and dislikes. What one reader loves another may hate and vice versa. What is most important in the grand scheme of the universe is that the book gets written and the story gets told. Don’t let any single reader’s aversion to your work affect your work. True, I have numerous 5-star reviews for my ten books on Amazon and Goodreads to inflate my ego, but sometimes I believe the worst reviews are the most helpful because they make me realize that no matter what I write some will love it and some will hate it. It’s all part of being a writer and expressing yourself through language. I don’t let it influence my work.