Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What Reviews Are to Me

Do Some Damage's Steve Weddle, also a poet, teacher, and newspaperman, last week brought to light Amazon.com's new policy to curb sockpuppet reviewing. The policy has had the effect of not allowing fellow authors to review each other's books. It will have almost no effect on sockpuppeting. This week, Steve advocates full disclosure of reviewers' relationships to authors.

Perhaps because I'm an academic—went to college and grad school to hone my writing, taught freshman comp for six years—or perhaps because I naturally mistrust sweet talk—I've never given much credence to glowing/glaring brevity. Neither do I appreciate a reviewer's voice and vocabulary outshining what's being reviewed.

I am incapable of writing that a book, movie, TV show, etc. is good or bad without writing why I think so. That's the only kind of review that means something to me, so often not what I see at online megastores.

As someone who sells what he writes for money, I'd like to boast that my books get scads of five-star reviews, as many authors do. But to date, my books haven't gotten many reviews. I do know that the majority of people who left reviews actually read my books and wrote intelligently about them, some even at online megastores. I like to think the honesty, purpose, and substance in my writing lead to reviews of similar quality.

Like anyone who sells what he writes for money, I hope to be better known. I wouldn't mind being known for pseudonymous work, but am glad I broke into print with a poem under my real name (Yes, it is Gerald So).

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