Thanksgiving has come and gone. Turkey leftovers are d’rigour for the next couple of days—turkey casserole, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup. Black Friday—that peculiar custom which is distinctly American—has been moved into Thanksgiving Day as retailers attempt to lure more and more shoppers into the stores and malls. In a lot of stores, the Christmas decorations were out and on display by Halloween. Sigh…
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I found myself asking why in the world I do this every year—prepare a feast that will leave everyone moving away from the table like bloated ticks—for lack of a better description? Why do I put myself under this kind of pressure and stress? Why do I clean the house within an inch of its proverbial life? Why do I stay up until all hours of the night on Wednesday, baking up the treats that everyone in my family seems to expect for Thanksgiving—pumpkin, apple, cherry, and pecan pies, sweet breads, and even cookies? Even though I have severe insomnia, the stress makes it worse.
To try to justify this kind of masochistic behavior, I started listing the things I was thankful for. The usual suspects were on that list: a DH who loves me, grandkids I would walk through fire for, kids I love beyond reason (even though there are times I would like the strangle one or the other of them and sometimes both at the same time), a roof over my head, family that keeps my life interesting, my doggies who keep me grounded, friends that I can share laughter and tears with, a published book and reviews of that book that make me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Those reviews are the point of this blog, even if it took this long to get there. As someone who has written reviews—both for popular literature and for a literary magazine—I have an idea of the time that goes into writing a review, even if it’s only a sentence or two. Someone took the time to commit to reading and then time out of a busy day to write those reviews for The Devil’s Own Desperado.
I know how thankless it can be to take the time to write a review. The literary reviews I’ve done seemed to only be met with comments of “What in the &*^% were you thinking when you wrote this?” Ummm, okay, then. Just because I didn’t write a glowing review of those works, claiming said work was the next incarnation of ____________________________ (fill in your choice of your idea of a literary classic), apparently I didn’t think when I wrote those reviews. When I wrote a review of a work of popular literature, the silence was deafening. (At least I wasn’t pilloried and then run out of town on a rail, after being tarred and feathered.) However, one review that I did of a work of popular literature is now being used on a regular basis in a class on popular literature and the mass media at the university where I teach. Seems I made such a compelling argument against the piece of drivel being taught as a “romance novel” that the instructor for that class uses it as a counter argument and then allows the students to make up their own minds as to whether or not that work is a romance. I’ve heard from several students who have taken the class that were thankful that someone laid it out as to why that novel was NOT a romance. (Yes, my work there is complete. I have rebelled against the establishment and gotten others to also rebel.)
All those reviews though for The Devil’s Desperado on Amazon got me to thinking about those people who wrote those reviews, even the one that had me scratching my head, and asking the same question that was asked of me when I wrote literary reviews. How often have these people written reviews for books they’ve purchased and read? Quite a few of them have. And, how many of them actually got any feedback from the author? So, I decided that I was going to acknowledge those people who took time out of their day to leave a review for me. Even if all I did was say “Thank you,” I was determined to leave feedback. Even if I had to duct tape my fingers together so I didn’t type something along the lines of “What the *&^% were you thinking when you wrote this review?”, I was going to acknowledge those reviews and thank each one for taking the time to write a review.
If you’re an author and have a review of your book, how often have you thanked the people who reviewed it? Think about it. Reviews and word of mouth drive a lot of sales now. Friends sharing responses to books they’ve read…sharing posts on Facebook about a book they really liked…ranking those books on Goodreads…Most of the time, a review isn’t acknowledge other than the author announcing “I got a good review from XYZ.”
Try the personal touch. Thank the people who reviewed your book, even if you aren’t happy with the review. Someone took the time to read your book and then review it. Tell those people you appreciate it. Such a gesture may not sell more books, but think of the good karma you’ll be sending into the universe. Karma—good or bad—always comes around.