Dear readers can you whisper encouragement to authors and artists please. While about to review a wonderful book I had just finished with a happy sigh, I read the review posted below mine. It was very brutal, spiteful and full of outraged venom. Okay, so you didn’t like it. Just say it was not your genre or to your taste. Enough said. No need to be so horrible. The author is long deceased, so she is unlikely to act on your suggestions.
Authors need encouragement not attack
Reviews are the bread and butter for authors. I make a habit of reviewing every book I read whether I was impressed or not. But I post a comment politely and make it more about my preferences not their bad writing.
This feedback from readers allows other readers to decide if the book is for them before they buy it. Few readers actually bother to write a review. It’s less than 10%. So, we need all we can get and preferably positive ones. After all, we make no money from books. Too many middlemen take that. It’s a mug’s game.
Too difficult to be nice?
But if you feel you can’t possibly say anything good then just pop a one or two star. This is kinder than a brutal slaying. Consider how you would feel if someone roasted your book baby alive. Books take about a year to write and almost twice as long to get published.
Unless you are an Amazon uploader in which case it’s instant. I tried this for my latest. Just to experience the spontaneous buzz. But prefer the wait and the box of books that come all the way from London.
Someone left a two star one for me last week. Fortunately, my first ever. This one was long and ranting as well. The reader did not like my ‘overuse’ of commas, and she found a typo that I was aware of but powerless to fix post publication. So let me know if you too feel I am guilty of comma overuse.
Too many commas?
I am now a little conscious of it lest it is true. It is possibly Prowriting aid‘s fault as they keep flagging my lack of comma, so I let them override my text and add one. They just did it. I’ve given you the link to a comparison of the most common writing grammar fixes. Are there too many commas for your liking too?
Encouragement is not just needed for authors but for everybody. Praise is lovely. We bask in it, like the morning sun. Try to find the good in people not the bad. We are all guilty at times of losing our temper. We lash out and say hurtful things we later often regret. Been there done that. Guilty as charged.
Kindness matters even to authors
So it is easier to hold or bite your tongue and let the emotions calm. Not easy but counting to ten helps. Or walk away, make a coffee. Whatever to deflect the moment and compose a kinder or more instructive rebuke. Or try saying sorry. That helps too.
Saying, ‘your remark made me feel horrible. I feel crushed.’ is received better than, ‘You are…’ followed by a list of expletives. Try not to launch an attack back at a real or perceived attack. It only escalates matters. Marriages, friendships, family ties are easily broken this way. I speak from experience in an attempt to help not as a judge or expert.
The one thing the whole world needs is more kindness, more saying sorry, more good listening to other’s concerns. oh, no, more commas! It would be lovely if everyone respected each other’s opinions, rights and values. I know, a pipe dream. But it’s good to dream, good to be positive. Oops, more commas. Sorry.
But, seriously, let’s use our voices for good not to tear down others. One day someone might tear you down and then you will know how it feels. Have a nice day and please leave kind or helpful reviews.
Joni Scott is an Australian author with three published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel and Colour Comes to Tangles. Joni also co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.