Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Go raibh maith agaibh

I spent a lot of last weekend and early this week hanging out with novelists at the Adelaide Writers Festival and one of the surprising things I learned was just how many of these writers read the Amazon, Good Reads and Audible reviews of their books. Almost everyone does it and everyone seems to have a different attitude about it. Most novelists feel oddly guilty about reading these reviews as if it was something they shouldn't be doing, as if the opinions of newspaper critics and bloggers mattered but those of the general public didn't. Some authors feel that if you believe the good reviews then you have to believe the bad ones too. Others seem to minutely deconstruct the reviews to pick out errors fact that might be useful in another edition of the book. Others read the reviews apparently jibing between the winds of anger and contempt. My attitude very much depends upon the review itself. A one star hated filled rant does absolutely nothing for me, I think this kind of review reflects much more the state of mind of the reviewer than anything to do with me or my book and if I hadn't been in the firing line of this lunatic then someone else would have come along to receive his or her righteous wrath. 
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I admit that I do like getting 4 star and 5 star reviews because writing novels for a living is an ego crushing business and when all the attention, money and glory seem to go to people who are - at least in your mind - outrageous hacks, then it's nice to know that there are a few isolated souls out there in the void who, by chance, found one of your books in a remainder bin or a rummage sale, read it, and, wow, liked it too. I'll admit that I also kinda like the thoughtful but negative three star reviews too. Sometimes these people who didn't like your stuff at all will give you a well reasoned explanation for their distaste and quite often the internal logic of their dislike gives you pause for thought. 
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My least favourite review of all is the person who gives you a 1 star review because of some problem with amazon. Their book arrives 4 weeks late so to punish amazon they give ME a 1 star review which will remain there under my book forever. I'm sorry, but people who do this sort of thing are bloody eejits of the worst kind. 
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Anyway to conclude this little post I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the trouble to review me in the past on amazon, amazon uk, amazon.de, audible, audible uk, good reads or library thing. As of last week The Cold Cold Ground has now surpassed Dead I Well May Be as my most reviewed book on Amazon.com; it was already my most reviewed book on Amazon.co.uk and it's starting to inch up the list on Audible and Good Reads too. Many many thanks for that and of course for everyone who's been reading I Hear The Sirens In The Street and reviewing it too: in the last few weeks the number of reviews I've gotten for Sirens has virtually doubled. 
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You take the good with the bad. Yes I occasionally get trolled by angry lunatics (or as Stu Neville discovered 1 particular angry lunatic with a lot of aliases) on amazon but in general I really do appreciate it when people take the time out of their day to go on the web and review a book one of my books. Go raibh maith agaibh as virtually no one at all says in my part of the world.