Here’s Jackson figuring out how to walk on the treadmill. Such a smart kitty. This was last week and today he was jumping on and walking beside me as I typed this.
This cat invented monkey-see, monkey-do.
I’ve been thinking about reviews lately. Now that the release date for Platinum is drawing nigh, the number of reviews and Goodreads rankings is going up. I’ve really had to stop reading all of them, because I’ve found that I’m aware of all these readers’ eyes as I’m writing, and not in a good way. I write more slowly than I want to and find myself second-guessing whether someone will pick on this or that. Or if this thing will be a dealbreaker for that reader who hated this other thing. It’s kind of like trying to write in a coffee shop full of people talking loudly about your other books. Even the good chatter is distracting.
Occasionally I’ll read one, so I can retweet it or send it to my website people to post. But I only do that if I know the person gave it 4 or 5 stars.
I know. I’m the pansy my stepfather always exhorted me to not be.
The thing is, the 3-star and and lower reviews stick with you, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. The meanness that can be behind those sentiments (not always, sometimes it’s just a fair “not for me”) works like a poison. Here’s an example of how that works.
I get a lot of spam comments on this blog – like upwards of 30/day. It’s not too bad, because they all go to the spam filter, which is amazingly efficient. I just have to empty it every once in a while. Kind of like purging the septic tank. I used to read through, in case real comments went to spam, but that’s only happened once. (I’m looking at you La Tessa – what HAVE you been up to, girl??) Mostly it’s not worth it. Sometimes I look through a few, just for grins.
There’s one brand that’s really nasty. The intent is clearly to garner attention by standing out. Now that I want to find one, there weren’t any. But they go along the lines of “Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe if you were less sloppy, lazy and stupid, I would have come back to this blog.” What will be funny is that it will be on a post saying, oh, that I signed with my agent or something. I *know* that it has nothing to do with what I wrote, or with anything at all, and it WILL STILL BOTHER ME ANYWAY.
Never ceases to amaze me. So works the human psyche, I suppose.
At any rate, this is the other thing I’m trying to remember – a lower star rating doesn’t mean someone didn’t like the book.
No, really. Because I did this recently. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Actually I listened to it on Audible, for what it’s worth.) There were some things that bothered me here and there – I thought some of the plot was over-contrived, some of the prose struck me as trying too hard. And I really hated the ending. If you’ve read it, I’ll discuss privately, but I won’t spoiler it. When I went to rank it on Goodreads, I nearly gave it 3 stars, but the ending bothered me so much. (For the record, it was not because I wanted a Happy-Ever-After.) But then I thought about how the story had captured me and how truly original and interesting the premise is, so I reluctantly bumped it up to 4 stars.
I’ll tell you what: I’ve recommended that book to more people in the last several months than any book in recent years.
See? My star rating, 3 or 4 or whatever, seems to have nothing to do with my personal word of mouth. Because, even if I think you might not like how it ends, I think you’ll still love reading it.