Friday, July 20, 2007

Everyone says there no such thing as bad publicity....

That’s manure, folks. Really. If I read review which skewers a book or movie, I might question the taste or even the ethics of the reviewer, but negative is still negative, and I am conservative with my cash. Often, I don’t buy the book with the negative reviews. Okay, I bought a copy of Cally’s War, which got some horrible reviews on Amazon, but I have never managed to read the thing. If I am not inclined to buy a book or attend a movie that multiple reviewers panned, I am probably not alone.

Fortunately for me, I have had multiple good reviews for Trinity on Tylos. Fallen Angels Reviews named it a Recommended Read, and my all time favorite review is posted on Amazon. Often, my past blog entries mention better reviews, so here are links to blog entries about each of my favorite reviews:

• The RR for Trinity on Tylos from Fallen Angels Reviews is my highest rating.

• From the Romance Studio I got four out of five hearts, and this book is not a romance.

• In all, I have received eight reviews at various internet review sites, but this one from Debbie in Winter Park, FL, remains my favorite review of Trinity on Tylos. I like it because she notes the controversial elements, but judges the book as a whole, which is important.

Fellow writer Malcolm Campbell gave Trinity on Tylos a very favorable five-star review on Amazon, and I got decent reviews from Harriet Klausner of Alternative Worlds and Rob Preece, publisher of Books for a Buck. I quote short passages from each of those on my website.

However, a reviewer for a science fiction site, emailed me after having read about half of an ARC of Trinity on Tylos, saying that rather than write a really bad review, that I could pull it. The criticisms that reviewer mentioned included an assertion that androids can’t use contractions. Obviously, I was unaware of that rule, but if you ever intend to write about artificial intelligence, KC says no contractions; I said “no thanks” to the review, but I was most careful not to use a contraction in my missive.

RP, a reviewer associated with a site which primarily does erotic romance, states that “Azareel consistently forced his will upon Venice, even going so far as to use pain to get what he wanted. The author uses cultural differences to excuse his behavior. However, I was not convinced.” I’m not sure what convincing RP needs. Azareel is the villain, not the hero, so he should do nasty things, right? However, etiquette dictates that authors never argue with reviewers, and I didn’t. I did note that she gave "Cally's Sexy Surprise" and "Feral Hedonism" ratings two notches higher than she gave my sci-fi thriller, and she awarded "Wed and Wanton" five whatevers. If you ever see a My Space site offering free “exerpts” from her books, you’ve located RP. She does have a new novella out, but I haven't read it. Somehow, I think our tastes in fiction differ.

A review by AO, who spells even worse than RP, contains these passages: “Major Venice Delyenski, head of security, doesn't trust the Archeons... Venice discovers that her long lost ship mates have settled on Vention 11....He challenges Azareel and looses the battle.” In case you are wondering why I chose these passages, this reviewer misspelled the main character’s name, invented a new name for the planet where they settle, and seems to need a brush up in basic grammar. Worse, the review itself neither praises nor criticizes the book.

Reviewer SW writes better than some reviewers and professes to be an expert in military matters. He states, “One does not rise to the rank of Captain in military service, on-planet or not, by underestimating the value of security or ignoring the warnings of a top-flight security officer.” I’ve not argued this point either, but I sincerely hope this reviewer’s next assignment is a book about an officer named George Armstrong Custer.

The relationship between authors and reviewers is symbiotic, for they both stand to benefit from the process. Reviewers will have nothing to review if authors do not offer them the opportunity. Some authors have a list of favored reviewers, and they refuse to allow their publishers to submit to anyone else, which is wise indeed. I didn’t know which reviewers were good and which ones were not in 2005, so I let my publisher submit it to their list of review sites, and I submitted it any place which said they’d take science fiction. I wanted reviews for Trinity on Tylos, and I got more than I ever thought possible. As a parent, I often tell my children that getting what they want might not be what they need, and that has proven true for me as a writer. Eighteen months have passed since I got most of these reviews, so I have had plenty of time to rue my lack of knowledge regarding “who’s who” in the book review world.

Next time, I'll pull out the "good guys" list, because bad publicity hurts sales.

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2 Comments:

At Jul 20, 2007, 1:48:00 PM, Blogger Michele said...

I have to wonder what prompted me to pop in today of all days because I find your post timely.

I loved your comment about "General Custer" LOL!

As of last week, I ended up volunteering to be a guest reviewer for a romance book site.

I don't want to bore you with the details on how that came about. It was not on purpose, that's for sure.

Their philosophy is to post only Good Reviews. If the reviewers can come up with only snark, than it doesn't appear.
It goes through two different reviewers and if the verdict is still negative, it goes back to the site administrators. If THEY also come to the same conclusions, then the author gets contacted and told their story won't be reviewed.

It's gentle, not insulting but firm.

That means the books which appear on the site are ones that deserve to be. At least from the reviewer's opinion.

It seems like a good balance.
Based on your experiences, good review sites are hard to find.
I hope I'm apart of a good one.

Yesterday, I was asked to be an Associate Admin. helper and I really had to mull that one over - yes or no? Guess she liked my reviews and she's seen my blog history.

Today I said "yes", so things should get interesting. :-)

Maybe one of yours will come by our way someday. That would be cool!

Anyway, I"m glad you had good reviews!
Hope your summer is going well.

 
At Jul 20, 2007, 2:42:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

I wrote reviews for three different sites, and the rules varied a bit, but I always returned a book that I couldn't give a middling review. Not every book was to my taste, but in those cases, I gladly returned that book, just as your site dictates. That is to be expected, since there are so many different books and readers.

As an author, I would rather get a "no review" notice than a review which seems unfair.

As for this book, Trinity on Tylos got "mixed" reviews, wherein I have reviews at every level. That may well be due to my concern that without reviews, it wouldn't sell. Also, during the first few months of its release, the publisher hired a review coordinator, who tried to garner still more reviews, and I think putting pressure on a site to either review it or not may have contributed to the problem.

I consider myself a wiser person now, and I would rather have one or two good reviews than a handful of reviews written by people who were as careless as one of those I quoted.

 

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