Wednesday, March 16, 2005

responding to the critics

in the age of blogging, it's painfully obvious that anyone can publish anything they want online - like this rant for example :)

for the most part, the online reviews of my work have been flattering and I appreciate the fact that people take the time to write reviews and e-mail me their comments.

however, I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there - like myself - who are frustrated by anonymous cybermud slinging. I have only seen minor cases when it comes to my own work, but I've seen pretty awful things written about other books. for my part, I would like to see an Author's Response feature added to the online book review mechanisms. my rationale for this suggestion is twofold:

1. having conflicting critics can be confusing, but such discrepancies could be clarified if the author had a chance to respond.

2. the satisfaction of being able to address a poorly written review would be gratifying. reviewers don't always use logic in their posts, and sometimes they aren't even on topic. for example, when my first book came out, someone posted a 'review' that was a critique of the software package covered by the book - there was almost nothing in the review about the book and the reviewer even said as much. as for the Halo 2 battle guide, one guy posted an ad hominem review that lacked any substance at all. his complaint about the book was that I'm not a world-class Halo 2 player. that's no secret. in fact, it's pretty easy to find out; I've mentioned it in the book and on this blog. the book was as much a learning experience for me as I hope it has been for readers. my perspective as a learner enriched the content.

in general, I think it's fair to say that anonymous reviews on Amazon are being read more and more often. given that their importance could approach the importance of the professional reviews, I'd like to see some sort of mechanism that presents both sides of the coin.

update: now has a 'PLOG' option that allows authors to post messages on the pages for their books.

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