Getting Book Reviews and Odious Comparisons

elephant butte 5 cropA rare sight of Elephant Butte with snow, from the Christmas storm in New Mexico. We caught this on the drive home from Tucson, and now that I’ve turned in THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, I’m digging photos out of my camera and sharing. Yay!

The last few days, I’ve been in a range of conversations with writers at various stages of their careers.

One friend is not yet published. She had been discouraged by a string of rejections and has resolved to take her series out via self-publishing this year. (It’s a contemporary romance series that I think is excellent and will be excited to tell you all about when she’s ready.) We’ll also strategize another series for her to query with traditional publishing. For her, everything is about cracking that first barrier – getting her first book out there. 

On one of my author loops, several extensively published authors bemoaned not being able to get book reviews. One commented that her latest self-published release got zero reviews. On another loop, more published authors complained of the same, asking for tips on getting more reviews.

Meanwhile another author friend yesterday celebrated the one-year anniversary of the publication of her book – and that it just hit 1,000 reviews on Amazon.

Me? I fall somewhere in the middle of all of this. I get a substantial number of reviews, from wonderful, enthusiastic readers – but I got nothing like 1,000.

So, what did we learn today, boys and girls?

There’s a saying that hearkens back to the fourteenth century, credited to John Fortesque, that’s been repeated by many, such as Lydgate, Shakespeare and Swift.

Comparisons are odious.

And no, that has nothing to do with odor. The word “odious” comes from the Latin odium for hatred. Something that is odious is hateful, disgusting or offensive.

In other words… DON’T DO IT.

Don’t make comparisons, people. And I’m speaking to myself, too, because when my darling friend announced hitting 1,000 Amazon reviews, the first thing I did was go look at my comparable book. How many? 54 Amazon reviews.

But hey, it’s better than zero reviews.

And it’s better than not having a book published yet.

Actually… it is what it is, right? Comparisons are odious because they’re meaningless. I reminded myself of that, shrugged it off, and closed the Amazon page.

We all do what we can do.