Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amazon Reviews

It occurs to me, reading the Amazon reviews of books that I might buy - anything in the 4-5 star strata is automatically ignored. Those people have ignored the faults in the book.

The 3 star raters are apologising for not drinking the Koolaide and loving it.

But the 1-2 star reviewers. Those are the people who read critically.

The ones who hated you since Kindergarten - well they stand out and can be ignored. But this is the reviews you should be reading. They are the ones that note the faults, the flaws and the stupid editing you did.

I often click Yes this was helpful in the reviews - because it is from our critics that we learn. It's a kind of tough-love for a lot of writers.

The recent ROFL of the internet community over Big Al's review of The Greek Seaman is a classic example. The author should have read the review, and gone back and used it to critically edit her own work. Instead she got into a flame war that destroyed her credibility as a writer and invoked an enthusiastic popcorn-munching crowd of specators revelling in someone publically humiliating themselves, over and over again.

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