There has recently been a great deal of discussion amongst the publishing community about the subject of reader reviews and in particular some of the unsavoury practices being employed to exploit them to promote books . These range from the appalling practices of paying for them through to unscrupulous authors who use fake names to slag off their opposition.
Now when it comes to selling books, especially self-published books, reader reviews are vital. They are after all, the nearest thing the electronic world has to word of mouth which is and always well be, the best selling tool of all. That’s why we authors cajole, bully even beg readers to write them.
Generally speaking however, reader reviews aren’t written for us they are written for other readers and no author worth their salt would consider them in any other way. We read them of course, all of them, and any mid-lister who says they don’t is a liar. But any author who responds to a reader review, especially a negative one, is not only a fool but is marking themselves out as the amateur they obviously are. They are also opening themselves up for a whole world of pain from the review Mafia who trawl the web looking for authors who behave badly and when they find one, latch on to them like a dog with a bone.
As writers however, reader reviews do have more uses than promoting books and polishing our ego’s (or not as the case might be). In fact they are invaluable. For not only do they provide us with excellent feedback on what we’re doing but they can be fabulous pointers toward what we should be doing. As an example, as a direct result of reviews left for my books I know that there are eager readers desperate for sequels to both Top Dog and Billy’s Log and so next year, I’ll be writing both.
But there is another benefit to the reader review and it is one which is rarely spoken of. Primarily I suspect, because they come along all too rarely. I speak of those reviews which actually take our work and add to it. I received one such review today and it’s the sole reason why I’m sitting here writing this blog when I should actually be putting the finishing touches to my next book! Because reviews like this are what it’s all about. Or at least they are to me.
It relates to my most recent book The Art of Fart (a book which is as different from my normal output as it is possible to get) and was posted on Amazon UK this morning. Not only does it perfectly sum up what the book is about and why I simply had to write it, but it made me roar with laughter.
Read it and weep.
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at the dark bottom arts, 28 Sep 2012
By Mr. B. A. French “bazzafrench” (Witham, Essex, UK) – See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Art of Fart: The Joy of Flatulence! (Kindle Edition)
The short and amusing books, as the name suggests, explores the dark art of farting.
I think everyone has a fart which they are particularly proud of (or ashamed, depending on your school of thought). I remember mine vividly. Goodness knows what I had been eating the night before, because if I knew I would eat it again tonight. I was stood in the small and confined kitchen at work happily brewing a cup of tea, when suddenly I felt something escape through my sphincter and drop down my trouser leg. It was none of my business and just kind of happened.
The smell was unbelievable. You know it is a bad one when your own brand makes you eyes water. The kettle couldn’t boil fast enough as I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Just as I thought things couldn’t get worse, my boss walked in. My boss then was a crabby 60 something stuck-up bitch. Ironically, she always wore an expression on her face as if she had a fart permanently under her nose.
Nearly gagging, she asked was the smell was. I was about to come clean and say I had a bad stomach (a boring, but safe excuse) when she opened the fridge door and started sniffing like the old dog she was. Thankfully, she thought something had gone off in the fridge and completely cleaned it out – and I mean everything. She chucked everybody’s lunch away and sent a snotty email saying she’d take the fridge away if people didn’t maintain it. Several people went hungry that day and I had nearly condemned an innocent kitchen appliance to the scrapheap all because of my noxious arse.
It still brings a smile to my face even today. My brother once farted so bad it made a mate of mine sick. I was proud to have out trumped him so to speak.
If you think that I am a vile and distrusting human being, then I’ll be honest with you, this book is not for you. However, if you would like to shake my hand as a genius, then I suggest you download it now.
Happy farting people.
PS: If you visit my Facebook page, the legend that is Barry French has posted an additional and equally hilarious farting anecdote.
Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my novel The Crew and as a consequence, have kept it at the top of the Amazon UK free sports book download charts for over a year now. That’s some record although it seems to have gone largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone outside of my readership. Anyway, you’re all legends.
As I say, the third book in this series is on the way!