Wednesday, April 26, 2006

One of the more unusual Amazon reviews....

I was checking my email yesterday and decided to take a look at the Amazon listing for my next book, HERS TO DESIRE. I attach about .01% significance to Amazon rankings, because a "bestseller" there is about 1,000 copies, which isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things. I pay more attention to the comments posted.

Since HERS TO DESIRE won't be out until July, there aren't any comments yet. However, it's the last book of a series, so I decided to check out the other books. I discovered Amazon has a new feature, "What do customers buy after viewing items like this?" It shows you percentages -- in this case, of other titles and the percentage of people who bought them. I guess I'm supposed to think, "Oh, gee, 21% of people who looked at this book bought BOOK BY OTHER AUTHOR, so I should check it out." I'm no marketing whiz, so maybe this works.

Anyway, I decided to check out one of the books by another author listed on a page about one of my books. And I find one of the more bizarre comments ever concerning a book. I quote: "This story was laden with too much prose..."

What the --? It needed more iambic pentameter? A smattering of blank verse? A few rhyming couplets?

I think the commentor was trying to say it was a tough slog -- too much narrative, too slow a pace, perhaps too much "overwrought" (also known as "purple") prose, and maybe even just plain boring. But instead of saying that, he or she was attempting to appear more knowledgable, more of an "expert". The use of "laden" coupled with "prose" is what leads me to that conclusion.

But here's the thing: I don't care if my readers have a PhD in English Literature or never finished high school. I'm not going to give an "expert's" opinion any more weight than any other reader. They all have their likes and dislikes, and how they're expressed doesn't matter nearly as much to me as what those opinions actually are. In fact, and although the reader may have had a valid point, it's easy to dismiss the above comment completely because it sounds so ludicrous, which is surely not what the reader intended, or they wouldn't have bothered posting.

Now back to my book that was laden with too much prose. It was way over the word count.

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