Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reviewing the Reviews

I'm gratified that so many people have taken time to review the Penelope books. It's plain a reader either really, really liked the books or really really didn't! And that's no surprise at all.

The main 'complaint' seems to be Penelope's sticking to her moral principles i.e. not hopping in bed with Sam. I don't apologize for that at all. The other beef is her use of the by-word 'blessed' (pronounced bless-ed NOT blest). One person even said she didn't appreciate it being used as a 'curse word', and I regret it was perceived as such. Almost everyone has a favorite 'by-word', and that happened to be Penelope's. Unfortunately, the f-word and the s-word are totally acceptable these days, but I'll guarantee they'll never find their way into my books.

I had a one-star review from someone who admitted she hadn't even read the book because of lack of time! Also, poor Penelope has been lambasted as a 'prude'. One reviewer never mentioned the book at all, only went on and on about how much she would pay for a book of a certain length! 

The good news is, the books have sold over 11,000 copies. While I'm sorry some people felt their money was wasted, I'm delighted the majority feel they've gotten good value for their buck(s).

The bottom line is, a variety of reviews are a good thing. Too many 5-stars, for example, almost make one wonder if they are from friends of the author. The bad with the good lets people see different views and make their decisions to buy or not buy based on those. And the line under that is, an author who puts herself 'out there' better have the hide of a rhinoceros!  Our books are our babies--but not everyone likes babies!

My approach to reviews is to only review if I can give at least a 3-star. The reasons are simple: (1) Some books are badly written, but at least the author made the effort, and I don't want to discourage her/him from trying again. (2) I might be offended by the subject matter (not reflected in the title)--e.g. graphic sex, obscenity, etc. However, many people are not offended by such, and I don't consider it my duty to 'preach' about it. (3) I might not actually understand the twists and turns of the story, but that doesn't mean someone else won't. So--if I can't be enthusiastic about a book, I try to be neutral--and if I can't do that in all honesty, I just let it go. My philosophy may be entirely wrong--but it's just the way it is.

I didn't expect to sell a large number of books and am still in a state of near-shock over the numbers. It's been a learning experience. Some people have mentioned typos, and I'm sure they are there despite all efforts to root them out. Those mentions are appreciated. I think everything is fixed in the print books, but who knows. I'll be working on the Kindle books one at a time in the near future.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide what else to 'put up'. Like the king who said, "My kingdom for a horse!", my wail is, "My kingdom for some TIME!"

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