A WRITE TO ONE’S OPINION?
Sometimes, in order to get a sense of some new book that I’m interested in, in addition to checking professional reviewers, I’ll check out amazon.com’s Customer Reviews and, rarely, the members’ comments on goodreads.com. That is an unfortunate habit on my part and I’ve gotta stop doin’ it. Just like on Wikipedia, anyone (no matter how intelligent and literate–or not) can write what they want and others–such as myself–can maybe believe there’s some truth in the review.
Even such revered sources for reviews as The New York Times are not entirely trustworthy–Somebody at the Times made the egregious error of letting Shepherd review Mort Sahl’s memoir.
I’ve read articles commenting on the fact that the Internet’s attribute that allows anyone/everyone to write what they think/believe gives people the feeling that they know what they are talking about and feeling, and, significantly, want to let the world know it, too. It’s an uncontrolled ego-booster. (Gee, sort of what a blog does and is.)
I sometimes make the even bigger mistake (egotist that I am) of reading some of the more recent Customer Reviews of my own books. From what I understand, many authors do. Most of the reviews of my books are very positive, but when I encounter a negative one and find myself explaining to myself that “the reviewer has gotten it all wrong and if only they’d realized that…,” there is where I understand once again that ya can’t win ’em all. (“That’s what makes horse racing.” What does that mean?)
I recently submitted my JEAN SHEPHERD KID STORIES book manuscript to a small book publisher. I just hoped he didn’t check out a few of the less than four-star Customer Reviews of my published Shep books and maybe even believe them and think that they represented what the general public might think. If only he’d read all 47 of the Customer Reviews he could get a better overall picture! I commented in my query letter to him that he might appreciate the extensive and highly enthusiastic EYF! Associated Press review that went nation-wide, written by John Skoyles, a professor at a Boston college (an unknown-to-me gentleman-and-a-scholar!) As one might imagine, I recommend it to one and all:
And that’s the truth!–Or is it an opinion?