Readers, Reviews and Rock-n-roll
If you want to be suddenly transformed into a 5th grader, about to be involved in a playground pick, if you want to question your ability several times a day, have your confidence shaken or boosted at every turn and just plain doubt your sanity on a regular basis, write a book. Why? Partially because of reader reviews, those carefully chosen words, the penned opinions of those who have read your work and, hopefully, deemed it worthy.
I must admit that never paid much attention to the whole phenomena when I was simply a reader of books. And like most folks, I rarely weighed in with my thoughts. But now that I am on the other side of the experience, I understand how important they are, how they have the ability to attract new readers while partnering with a writer as he or she builds a following.
Those recommendations are priceless and the best marketing tool imaginable. But I also have come to recognize how one negative judgment, one poor estimation of the value of those words can scare away the multitudes, leaving a writer dead in the water. We hope those never come.
Because it is so subjective, based on personal taste and perception, there is no way to control the outcome, other than a wing and a prayer (and well written books, of course). The reader is the boss, providing an unbiased evaluation, which makes sense in a consumer-driven area like book peddling.
Honestly, there is nothing more encouraging or uplifting or exciting than to find that someone has left positive feedback. It makes me want to jump up and down, open a bottle of champagne. I feel a sudden urge to run to the computer and type my little fingers to the bone. Yup, a couple of nice phrases cheer me on like a high school band on homecoming night. What can I say? I respond well to praise.
I often wonder what the greats, Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck (for example) might have done had they written during this age of technology, when a book can be sent to a reading device in an instant and for less than the price of a cup of coffee, anyone can become a literary critic? It is an interesting question, isn’t it? Might make for a great short story one day.
As for me, I will continue to write and hope that readers enjoy my stories. And to all of you who have taken the time to write a review, good or bad, please know that you have made a profound impact on the creative endeavors of that writer. And we appreciate your taking the time to weigh in. We truly do.
And now, please accept my apologies. This post had nothing to do with rock-n-roll, but it gave the title a certain ring to it. Maybe it even got your attention. And everybody likes rock-n-roll, right?
BTW… I just bought a new vacuum cleaner. Granted, it is the kind of purchase you hate to make because, well, it isn’t nearly as much fun as shopping for shoes. And I did read the reviews, poured over them, in fact, as users touted the benefits of this model and the drawbacks to that one. Public opinion does matter. And yes, my new vacuum cleaner works great