East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

How I stopped worrying and learned to love online reviews

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Online reviews are a strange thing.
And yet, they are part of the feedback that’s indispensable for authors – no matter if they are traditionally published or self-publishers, or hybrids.
So, yes, just in case, if you happen to read something of mine, please post a review.

Now there’s people that worry about reviews, and I’ve a friend and colleague that makes a point of not reading online reviews. Like, never.
I beg to differ. And while I’m convinced that replying to reviews is never a good idea, I still think keeping an eye on them can be useful.

So last night I was browsing on Goodreads, my book-related-social-network of choice1, when I found out a reader had given a three star rating (but no review) to Lair of the White Ape, the second published story in the Aculeo & Amunet series.

No big deal – after all, five minutes earlier I had found a one-star rating (but again, no review) for Bride of the Swamp God, the first published Aculeo & Amunet story.
We can’t please everybody, after all – and Bride still has nine other 4 or 5 star reviews, so it’s fine.

No, what actually surprised me, about that three stars for Lair, was that the same reviewer also gave three stars to William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Now take a long breath.
Davide Mana’s Lair of the White Ape.
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Same evaluation.
Three stars.

That was one of the most important experiences in my – admittedly brief – life as a writer.
Books get reviewed.
If you are lucky, yours will be reviewed.
You can be a faceless hack or William Shakespeare, and the readers will have their say.
And you can’t do anything about it.
So, why worry?2

  1. If you’re on Goodreads, why don’t you come by and say Hi
  2. Well, maybe because the same guy gave four stars to a handbook about “how to blow out her mind in bed”, but I guess we all have different priorities. And if Will Shakespeare’s not complaining, why should I? 

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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