The world has gone review crazy. Writings reviews is no longer the business of those who “know what they are talking about”, anyone with access to the internet can tell the world what they think of a product and whether you should buy it. Nowhere are reviews deemed more important than in the world of self publishing. If you’re like me and you follow a lot of authors on twitter, you are likely to come across a few of them who will not stop shouting at you about their book. ‘You must buy it, it’s great!’ which often it is not, ‘It has received five star reviews!’, most likely from their mother. I normally ignore these shouters for the simple reason that they annoy me and I don’t like buying things from people who annoy me.
But sometimes I give in, the one time I did buy the book of a shouter it was because I was actually quite interested in reading it, so I bought it. As this person rather amused me with his non-book related tweets, I made the grave error of letting him know I bought it. Then he started nagging me to review it. So I checked whether he wanted an honest review with useful feedback of whether he wanted something that would look good on Amazon. He wanted my honest opinion because he was confident that his book was great. I liked the sound of that because I am full of honest opinions and always happy to make others aware of them (it’s because of my Dutch genes I think, we have a true desire for honesty).
So I read the book, and even though the first few chapters were showing the beginnings of a really original story, this didn’t last long. Some of his characters were superfluous (isn’t that a great word!) at best, he book was full of grammatical errors, missing words, inconsistencies and the plot was very weak. Overall it was pretty shocking.
As I am an aspiring novelist myself I understand how difficult it is to write a good book, and because I was quite impressed with the beginning of the story, I decided to send him a message rather than publish my opinion on Amazon. I told him that I thought the story was original and I enjoyed reading it but that there were some issues with missing words and inconsistencies in the story and for him to get in touch if he wanted more details.
I never heard from him again. Silly man. I know I am no editor, but I have read more books than most and I am convinced that he could have really improved his book if he would have taken my feedback seriously. I guess he wasn’t interest in improving his product at all, he just wanted a five star review to help sell more of his badly written book. Silly, silly man.
I haven’t written any reviews since, but if anyone asks for an honest review again, that is what they’ll get.
So, here is your warning:
If you don’t want my opinion, then don’t ask for it!