A few days ago. I made the mistake of scrolling too far down on one of my books listed on Amazon and noticed two new reviews. Both of them were 1 star, so of course I was curious as to what these people had to say. One mentioned how they liked the story and that characters, blah blah blah. The other made some short statement about spelling and grammar. This had me pissed off for several hours until I went back trying to figure out why I still had a 4-star rating with these kinds of complaints. It turns out that these two people account for 4% of the reviews on this particular book.
I guess the question is why do I care? Who are these people to say such things and why does it matter to me? One of them I have yet to figure out how they even came across my book. Was the algorithm choking on a virus? I looked at other reviews the person had done and none of the martial was anything like my book. As for the other person who said they liked the characters and story, none of the things they reviews were anywhere near similar to things they preferred. I don’t know their story. I don’t know how they came across it.
The reviews pissed me off. People see that shit and while I wish I could wash it away it is there to stay. If that is how they felt I can’t deny it. They don’t know me and I don’t know them but it does help me understand why Hemingway would show up at the newspaper office with two pairs of boxing gloves and would hound the reviewer outside until he was able to knock him out for the poor review that was published. What a fucking legend!
The first response that comes to my mind is “where is your damn book?” These are the same people that while they criticize my work have not written anything of their own. Did they pay for the material they read? Yes. Besides sitting there and reading it what work did they put in? They paid $2.99 for a book. The last time I bought a new book it was $30 and it was the last book that Anthony Bourdain had worked on before he died. I’m not one to pay large sums of money for a book and since I’m not exactly a professional writer by any means charging more than $2.99 is out of my league. That fact they rad the whole damn things says a lot considering the number of books a put aside unable to finish it for various reasons. And here is where I come to my point.
Who am I writing for? Ultimately it is for myself. I write the books that I would want to read. Action? Check. Fast paced? Check. Situations that make you think? You can check that one off as well. A book written for someone like me isn’t going to appeal to everyone. Much like the books I sat down and forgot about not everyone who reads my stuff is going to appreciate it. There is also the other factor that has been suggested to me several times. “Write at a 3rd grade level to appeal to a larger audience.”
Why do I have to dumb down my writing? What the hell is happening in out public schools that this is the level that is expected for a mass audience? Shouldn’t this be a wake-up call for most of society and why aren’t people challenging themselves to something that works their mind? Imagine trying to publish Infinite Jest today. It would never happen. Our society it lazy and wants a whole lot of things for nothing. I charge $2.99 for digital copies of my books to make myself available to a mass audience. If I make money cool. If I could make a living at it, even better. The number of readers in today’s society is small. I think it might be the smallest percentage that it ever has been. Hundreds of books are published every month and those books fight for a really small number of customers who might buy their product. Then there is me. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. If not, I hope that you find something of mine that you might enjoy. If not, thanks for the short review. I’m glad you put as much work and thought into it as I did writing the entire book. Take care.