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I’ve just read a piece on the BBC website by a man called Adam Gopnik, on how an author should deal with a bad review. My review of Mr Gopnik’s article is short and sweet; it would have been twice as good if it had been half as long. He may take that or he may leave it; his choice, but I’d recommend the latter, since it wasn’t written with malice in mind.

How do I deal with them? Mostly, I do not react, unless I feel that the reviewer is being personally offensive, in which case he or she will get to know about it. Reviews on Amazon are the exception to that policy; that facility offers, in my view, an open door to wannabes, egomaniacs and idiots, and they are all best left to their own devices. It’s a pity that it isn’t more carefully moderated, since there are some valid points made there and valid views expressed, but they tend to be suffocated by the dross. In basing judgements and purchase choices on Amazon reviewer ratings, it’s worth noting that they give Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, four stars out of five in book form, and four and a half in Kindle.

To any would-be reviewers among you, and indeed to any professional reviewers, remember this; however qualified to comment on someone else’s work you may believe you are, you are simply an individual with a keyboard, expressing an individual opinion. Whatever you thought of a work, that is your view and yours alone. Every  person who reads a book, whoever the author might be, will form a unique mental picture of the events described.  Some will agree with you, some won’t; do you have the right to dissuade any of them from finding out for themselves?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Funeral Note – Excellent – Couldn’t put it down – Had my doubts about this one when I read the synopsis, thought that every chapter from a different perspective would be confusing and difficult to follow – not so – one of the best “Skinners” yet. And without spoiling it for anyone else – before I read it if I had known whose demise was to come at the end, I would have been very surprised, by the time I reached the end was very glad to see the back of the said person!!

    • June 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      So you believe you know? My editor didn’t until I told him.

      • June 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

        Following your comment I re-read the last couple of chapters and now I’m not so sure!! Could be one of two! I do hope I’m right which is testament to how an author influences the way we feel about a character, even to changing a previously held view, but if I’m not I’m looking forward to Mr Skinner getting himself back together so to speak, although I sincerely hope it doesn’t lead to a hero’s funeral pyre! Not yet anyway – must be a few more books in him!

  2. Kath
    July 27, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Eeeek Just finished Funeral Note! I loved it. I specifically came on here to tell you how p*ssed off I am at the fact I have to WAIT to find out. Bluff? Double bluff? Aaaaagh. You do know how to keep us on our toes! Thanks, but my mind is whirring!

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