And more often than not, it also puts a smile on an author’s face. Well, most of the time. It can depend on what’s written of course. And how many precious stars have been judged worth.
An old friend of mine who is doing very well for herself in the YA fiction world was understandably aggrieved to have been given a low star judgement. Never a welcome visitor, but made all the worse that this was before the book had even been released! That was harsh, no doubt about it. But the reality is that when you put you work out there, you are at the mercy of the judgements of others, most of them public. These days being a troll is no longer something people achieve by playing Dungeons and Dragons. I remember putting a couple of ideas together a few years ago for the #PitchCB agent try organised by Curtis Brown. While reading fellow author’s attempts, I noted that there were people who lurked in the shadows of Twitter with the express purpose of putting the ideas of aspiring writers down, like it was a new sport. Tough audience as Homer said.
Still, I encourage you; please do review. If only to add a small sentence and an honest star rating, it really matters. Why? Not just because it makes the heart of a fresher author skip a little to see that another person has not just read but taken the time to comment on their work. Though of course, that matters to us. No, I think it is more important than that. It says something vital about the art of storytelling and the place of the reader in that little act of magic. Stories, as the old saying goes, begin with the writer and end with the reader. Seamus Heaney once said that a poem ceased to belong to him after he’d published it and sent it out into the world. It became a shared thing, it multiplied in the minds of many and like poetry, a novel takes on a published life of its own. I have a mate who keeps sending me photos of people he believes look exactly like my two main characters Sheen and Aoife McCusker. More power to him, but they are his characters now, as he has imagined them, and I love that fact that they are alive for him.
I don’t think I’m very big in Japan, but I’m doing alright in Australia. Had a bumper week in my own modest terms while the e-book was on discount and promoted through BookBub. And… I have two reviews! One is a five star, the other is a two. So, numerically, it all balances out. Have to say though; the lady who hit me with that two star slap has a special place in my heart. Margaret ‘Couldn’t finish it’ (which puts her in fair old company; my own Mum has politely demurred. The grit, noir and blood on the blade are not for everyone).
Still. Margaret, I want to thank you, because even though you put the book down, you took the time to review, you felt that you had to have your say. And that means it touched you, maybe in a way that neither of us a likely to fully grasp. Or, maybe, it just wasn’t your fancy. But one thing I do know, it’s your fancy now. And while I love to entertain, take joy when a reader enjoys, the idea that my story is out there, reimagined and reproduced is the greatest thrill of them all.
So to Margaret, and to all those who have taken the time, this one is for you.
Want to join the party? ‘Mon in, if you’ve read it, review it! After all dear reader, you too are the author now.