At the low-level at which I’m playing, I don’t think reviews make much difference. On Amazon, where customer reviews can be tagged “verified purchase,” they mean something in that each review represents a sale, and each sale means more sales. Given Amazon’s customer recommendation system, this means more people looking at the book, and if they click and make it to the book’s page they’ll see the reviews, resulting in more sales. However, if you only have five reviews, or your reviews are from people who didn’t purchase the book on Amazon than they might not help at all.
But one thing is for sure, a “good” review on Amazon or elsewhere makes me feel good. I’ve made very little from my writing (unless you count writing grants and proposals — in which case I’ve earned millions but not for me). What “feeds” me is connecting to readers, getting validation for what I’m doing. I get that if you don’t have an internal sense of validation, it doesn’t matter how many people “love” what you do. I don’t think I need the masses, though having enough readers to not have to worry about a day-job would be nice.
What feels really, really good is getting a review from a reader who “gets” you, or more than that “gets” whatever it is you intended to do and believes you reached or exceeded your own expectations.
So here’s a shout-out to Iain Manson. Now go! Buy his books! Review them (I would but at this point, people would talk.) Read his the fabulously pessimistic blog.
To read his review (posted today) of Schrodinger’s Telephone go here.
To read his review of Loisaida — A New York Story go here.
Get on it, people!
2 thoughts on “My Reader(s)”
Oh my God! I don’t come here nearly often enough. Just found this, and thanks for the plug. As it happens, your links to my name, books and blog don’t work, not for me at any rate, but even so… I’m always surprised to attract any attention at all.
You’re right, of course, that a good (and honest) review is heartening, but it don’t pay no bills. I dare say I’ve had enough validation for my work, chiefly from press reviews of my one conventionally-published book, and acceptance by many publications of my articles. But I think I’d still swap the approval for all the money I haven’t made.
You already know my favourite literary quotation, don’t you? “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” But that was Samuel Johnson, and he’s dead. So what good is all that money to you now, you old skeleton?
Links fixed. (I hope). First name spelling fixed. I’ll put your books up in the widget thing once I figure it out. (I’m new to the widget.) That probably won’t help. I don’t get a lot of visitors.
As for Johnson — exceptions prove the rule, but historically, there are a lot of non-blockheads who didn’t write for money, mostly women I think. And given the ratio these days of readers to writers, unless you’re writing romance or conventional thrillers, it’s pretty blockheaded to think you’re going to make any money from fiction. (I’m working on a blog on that, but it’s turning into a dissertation. Meantime if you do drop on, you should check out, Where’s My Free Stuff, which was one of my better recent ones.
Of course, very few people have noticed it. My blog is too eclectic and not “branded” enough. Most people who find it are here to find out about vetoryl in geriatric dogs with cushings disease.
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