Thursday, June 23, 2005

One-Star Amazon Reviewers Beware: I Know Where You Live

Okay, I have a secret to share with you Amazon reviewers. Guess what? If you think authors don't pay attention to what you say, then you're giving us more credit (and confidence) than we deserve.

Authors, as a whole, are as desperate for positive feedback as your typical aging actress. We're fragile. I mean it. We talk a tough game, but really we just sit at our computers for hours every day hoping someone will IM us so that we don't completely lose the last of our weakened social skills.

EVERY author I know obsesses about Amazon reviews. Oh, we pretend we don't read them, even though we check Amazon ten times a day for our ever-changing sales rankings. We pretend we never saw that two star-review where some not-so-kind reader called us a moron who can't spell, but trust me, we spent the day crying in bed and wailing to our friends/spouses/dogs/cats about how HotLips29 in Fresno has seen through our charade and called us for what we are: talentless hacks.

One of my author friends, who shall remain nameless, once told me she prefers to down a couple of tequila shots before looking at Amazon, just to shore up her courage. Okay, okay - by "author friend," I really mean me.

Seriously, now. This is my public service announcement. If you are about to write a bad review, even if the author deserves it (like say, the antichrist writes his memoir), remember that you are ABOUT TO CRUSH SOMEONE'S WILL TO LIVE. Let that soak in for a few minutes. Revel in the high of your power to send someone spiraling into a serious clinical depression. And then, I beg you, show some mercy and step away from the keyboard.

On the other hand, if you're going to say something positive, please do so, under your name and others, repeatedly and often - I'll pay you later.

Okay, enough ranting for the day. As you can tell, I think I've had one too many iced lattes.

And by the by, if any of my fellow Texans are going to be near the Plano area Saturday, swing by and see me at 3 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble. I'll be there doing my best imitation of an authoratative author.(Because, what public service announcement/rant would be complete without some shameless self-promotion? I told you I'm fragile. I just want to be loved - someone give me a hug and tell me I've lost some weight.)


sara said...

Every time I write a review on amazon, I think of the author, so I have an idea how your must feel. I left rave reviews for all 3 of your books, though! My favorite by far was Pink Slip Party and I don't know why that didn't sell as well as your first. Sometimes I think people have no taste.

But as for reviewers - it's easy to bash another's work. Did you ever see the movie "Finding Forrester" where the kid asks the writer why he isn't publishing his work anymore and he says something like "All the critics who could never produce something like this in their life, and yet they manage to bash your work in minutes." That's sort of how it works, I guess.

I'm looking forward to your next book coming out. And here's to hoping it'll sell even more and be even better!

Anonymous said...

Here's my take on Amazon reviews. Most of the reviewers are not writers themselves, and, just b/c you read a lot, doesn't mean that you can actually critique a book.

Trust me, I have had poems rejected, and you really just have to keep at it. Writing is quite subjective, and so many people will never like what you write.

Ted Hughes once told Anne Sexton to only read the bad reviews b/c it would make her work that much harder. And, in the end, if you really do read a legitimate review, Hughes would probably tell you to take the criticism and apply it to your next work.

By the way, Dixieland Sushit was great, but I will like Jane more. It's really the pop culture and sarcasm that makes your books. . . .Just one opinion:)


Sarah said...

Blast- I meant to put my name in that 2nd comment. Oh well, it was written by me.

Sarah said...

I also forgot one more thing. Every review is relative b/c say someone is comparing your book to The Catcher in the Rye. . . . or the next person compares it to another one of your books. . . . the the next person compares your book to Ulysses. You could get some pedantic prick who compares Pink Slip Party to James Joyce, or you could get someone who understand that no one writing chick lit. is trying to be James Joyce. Can a writer ever really win?

Cara Lockwood said...

Hi Sara,

All very valid points! And by the way - thank you, thank you, thank you for leaving positive reviews. You're the best!


MaryJane said...

Cara, well, let me just say, I have just finished reading Dixieland Sushi & I laughed my butt off!!! It was the funniest book I've EVER read! So, if you really need "positive feedback," well, I think you're a very talented, humorous, literary genius!!!

Please keep up the great work 'cuz I can't wait to laugh through another one of your romantic comedies!


Adeline said...


You have lost weight! hehehehe!!!! EAT well! and LOve ur books!!! wonder when will u be in singapore? hmmm.... I want ur signature!!!!!!