I called my Dad yesterday, ostensibly to make certain he’d been able to sort out some technical issues with Kindle. Good news! We’ve apparently fixed that mess.
But we got to talking. While at a community center shin-dig we stayed on the line so long he went outside to sit in his jeep. We touched on a bunch of topics, but Dad one was the value of reviews. Specifically Amazon reviews. At the end of every Samuel Peralta anthology, he writes an appeal to readers to review what they’ve read. My Dad wanted to know which ones I found valuable and why.
My summary is that an anthology as a whole gets value from even silent reviews. Give a book a few stars, and you’ve added weight to Amazon’s scale for that title. Over the long term, this helps put the title in front of new eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more sales.
Individually, however, general or star-only reviews do very little for individual authors. “It was nice. I enjoyed the stories,” while adding stars, and consequently weight to the title don’t help authors improve their craft.
I talked out the details of what I find useful and why. And now I’m trying to capture some of that conversation post hoc so that I can think about it in greater detail.
Near the end of our phone conversation, we talked about some of my writing plans and projects. He reminded me of Jack London’s story, and Dad encouraged me to take a look at some of the newer reviews on Amazon.
Sometimes it feels like I’m writing in a vacuum, and I’m not complaining because that’s what everyone does. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But recognition, and I mean someone pointing out why they value what you’ve created, sure is nice.