Category Archives: Amazon reviews

J. K. Rowling, Lynn Shepherd, and the misuse of the Amazon review system

I just came across this little brouhaha (as usual I’m late to the party). I don’t really care to address Ms. Shepherd’s opinion– I think she’s wrong, but she’s entitled to an opinion, and more than enough people have already responded to her article to make anything I can say superfluous– but I want to say a brief word about the fact that some thoughtless people have been leaving one-star reviews on Amazon for Ms. Shepherd’s books in retaliation for her article.

This is wrong, people.

Petty, vindictive spite is not what the Amazon review system is for. Anybody who uses it in that manner is wrong. Doing so devalues reviews for everyone. Ms. Shepherd clearly has a right to ask Amazon to remove such reviews. And, while I can’t speak for Ms. Rowling, it seems antithetical to the whole spirit of Harry Potter in the first place.

Rethink your attitude, folks.

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A small detour….

I am north of 64,000 words on Princess of Fire. In the last week I’ve missed a couple of days of writing due to real-life demands, and so I’m a little off my previous pace. I’m not particularly worried about it, but over the next day or so I will probably lag even further behind. I’ve decided I need to take time to re-edit a novelette I had previously published on Kindle. Some weeks ago I got a review of the story in which the reviewer had major problems with the editing. I don’t recommend this as a course of action to be taken every time you get a little negative feedback, but in this instance I decided to un-publish the story until I had the opportunity to revisit the editing. I think I’m now at that point.

I don’t believe there was anything majorly wrong with the piece as it was, but I want to be open to improving my writing at every opportunity. It could turn out that the reviewer just has a burr under their saddle…or there could be some undetected (by me, anyway) problem that cries out for correction. Me being me, you have to leave the door open to the possibility that I screwed up somewhere, perhaps spectacularly. From what I’ve seen so far, however, it’s more likely that the reviewer was reacting to lingering passive language and over-long sentences (unfortunately, they were not terribly specific in their review). My hopeful thought in all this is that, perhaps, my ability to see these problems is an indication that I have improved, at least a little, as an editor.

I will not, however, be attempting to create a perfect edit with this story. I am firmly convinced that such a thing does not exist. At some point, a writer has to let go of the work and just get it out there. To do otherwise achieves only paralysis.

Once I am through with the edit, it will be back to Princess of Fire with guns blazing. And a few other things, as well….