More on Reviews: I Didn’t Like Your Book This Much, She Said.
What did you call me? Ohh, More — on.
Most book rating sites will include a rubric-or classification scale-to tell the reader how to rate a book. These rubrics can vary from site to site:
Does this kind of remind you of something? Bingo! School!
Most students will fall in the 2 category. That’s just the way life works. There are some that excel at everything (20%?), some that constantly struggle (20%?), and the rest (c’mon, do that math) will hang out in the middle. Google “bell curve” if you want a visual.
With so many authors out there, this has to hold true as well, doesn’t it? We can’t all be writing bestsellers-it doesn’t hurt to try, and some authors will just not make it for one reason or the other.
Do I like every book that I read? Of course not. No one does. Does that mean those books are terrible? Written badly? Confusing? Just plain boring? Sometimes, but often it is just a difference in opinions. There are best-selling books out there that don’t resonate with me.
I don’t expect everyone to like what I write. If you don’t like poetry or science fiction, you probably are not going to give my book a chance, or if you do it may warrant a 1 or 2-star rating in your mind. Some reviewers won’t publish a review lower than a 3 star, which I think is fair for both the author and the reader. If someone does not like my books, I do however, like to know why. Feedback always improves a skill. Which reminds me of a true story…
*If you are offended by mild profanity, don’t proceed. I’ll say bye to you now.*
In my first year back at university, after many years of being in the “real world”, I was sitting in the Intro to Really Hard University Math 101. I don’t think that it was called that, but if you consider all the algebra and calculus high school seniors have to do to graduate, then the next step is the aforementioned course.
Now, I like math. I suck at it, but numbers are fascinating. But that’s beside the point, and I digress. Here is the dialogue that took place on the last day of class:
Teacher: “I am handing out the instructor evaluations. I would appreciate if you filled them out and hand them back before you leave.”
Student: “Do we have to?”
Teacher: “No, but it is important for me to know what I am doing well and what I can be doing better in order for me to improve as an instructor. If you think I’m a douchebag, I’d like to know.”
[spattering of laughter]
After a few minutes of students writing, the instructor said: “I’ll write my name on the board so that you know how to spell it.”
As he turned around, I knew what I needed to say:
Me: “How do you spell douchebag?”
I have never made that many people laugh-including the instructor-before or after. In hindsight, I should have done a mic drop and walked out.
BTW, I got an A in that course. He wasn’t so douchy after all.
Leon Stevens is a blogger and an author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com