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Friday, 13 April 2012

Why Authors Should like Poor Reviews

Will Macmillan-Jones

Louise asked me to write a piece, from the perspective of a new writer, on the subject of book reviews.  From a readers’ point of view, a book review is an interesting and useful tool in helping you decide to buy a book - or not.  From a writer’s viewpoint (especially a new writer) they are close to being a major breach of the Geneva Convention on Warfare.  Or citeable as a cruel and unusual punishment.  And that’s the good ones!

Publishing is undergoing a bit of a sea-change with the growing involvement of the internet.  Now, I write what I assure people is comic fantasy.  If you fancied such a book, you could turn on your computer, search Google, and see what came up. Alternatively, you might seek out the book review websites and blogs like this one, and see what they had to say.  Either way, you would soon be looking at a truckload of books and mostly both the titles and the authors would be complete unknowns.

I’ll admit it.  I’m unknown.  Bet you’ve never heard of me before, and (trust me on this) you aren’t the only one.  But I’d like to be known, and not only to the police! Aside from a major lottery win, it’s unlikely unless my stuff starts selling.  And that means getting reviews. 

How does a writer do that?  Well, I’ll bet that Louise for one practically has to hide from her postman as he delivers the begging letters and offers of free books in exchange for a review.  Her email inbox probably overflows in the same way.  I expect she wears the delete key out every six months.  And every one of those letters/emails is from an unknown hoping that someone will look at their book and say something nice about it.  Or something horrid about it.  Anything about it, really. 

Waiting for the outcome is a bit like sitting in a cinema during a horror movie, waiting for that moment.  Remember when you saw Alien for the first time? Like that!

Do you know what the odd thing is? 

An author needs the occasional poor review as well as all the good ones. Our egos are crying out for praise, but customers like balance – and that means getting the occasional poor review too.

So, the next time that you read a book review and shake your head over the shortcomings the reviewer has found and exposed, remember that somewhere there might just be an author punching the air in delight, screaming: “Yes! She didn’t like it!” 

Don't ask!
Will Macmillan Jones lives in Wales, a lovely green verdant land with a rich cultural heritage.  He does his best to support this heritage by yelling loud encouragement at the TV when Wales are playing International Rugby and drinking local beers, although (of course) never to excess.

Having been an accountant for much of his working life, he now writes in a desperate attempt to avoid terminal atrophy of his brain.  A fifty-something lover of blues, rock and jazz he has now achieved a lifetime ambition by extending his bookcases to fill an entire wall of his home office.

The Mystic Accountants

Just when they thought that life had returned to normal after defeating the Dark Lord in the lake District, Chris and Linda get a letter – followed by a knock on the door.  Their friends are back, and they are in trouble – again.

In the mist haunted dwarf mansion, the Banned Underground have played another gig.  But this time the feedback has blown apart the Throne of The Mountain King, and The Banned must replace it, on pain or, well, pain.  But the junior dark Lord wants his revenge, if his Satnav doesn’t prevent him from following the band.  Grizelda, off-white witch and occasional aunt to the teenagers, is rather busy with some mad monks who want to conquer the world, starting with Wales.  Will Dai the Drinking Dragon help?  Will the Tuatha stay out of the pub long enough to render assistance?  If not, Jailhouse Rock looms for the Banned Underground…

Purchase links:
Safkhet Publishing
These are the Kindle links, paperbacks available too!

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