In looking at numerous blogs, product reviews on Amazon and other places, etc., I find a woeful lack of negative reviews and an overabundance of fake positive reviews. In one recent case, a blogger mentioned they were hard-pressed to create a Top Ten list in a certain category because there weren’t that many entries in this particular category for 2018. End result, the blogger added some of his least favorites in the list to get a Top Ten.
I wouldn’t do that. If I can’t find Top Ten in whatever category, I will go with Top Eight, Top Seven, Top One, or Top Zero (which would be a very short list since it has no entries).
For writers and authors, it’s even worse as some are unwilling to give an honest review. As somebody who belongs to way too many author groups on Facebook, I used to be shocked at how many were unwilling to give an accurate review. I would see comments like “never give a review below X (usually 3, 4, or 5 stars) no matter how bad I thought the book was.” My response to people like this is: You are part of the problem, not part of the solution. You are lying to potential customers, and almost as important, you are lying to yourself. I give a book or product a rating based on what I feel it deserves. For authors, one typical response is if I give a low rating to John Smith’s book, his fans will lowball my books in revenge. So what as long as you are giving an honest review of John’s books, that’s what other readers need to hear. Not only are you doing yourself a disservice by giving an inaccurate review, you are damaging your credibility as well. Why should I trust your reviews if aren’t willing to give honest ones? Better that you stop giving dishonest reviews, remove any you have given, and start giving honest ones.
I am not a fan of the most popular writers out there for one simple reason: they needed to stop writing long ago. I know this will get me some feedback as everybody has their favorite writers. I used to love Raymond Feist and Anne McCaffrey‘s works (Midkemia and Pern), but they kept the series going long past its usefulness. There are only so many plots, tropes, characters, etc. you can put into a series. After that, you are simply re-using them again. In Feist’s case, he has several long-lived characters and he’s re-using these characters with the same plots, tropes, etc. Look, it’s Character X using Plot 3 for the 10th time.I get people want to keep reading about their favorite series.
If that’s not bad enough, the popular writers tend to generate diehard fanboys/girls who buy the latest book because they have to have it. A friend who was a diehard Turtledove fanboy apparently is a bit less over the latest work by Turtledove. He won’t say what killed his diehard fanboy-ness, but it had to be something major. He didn’t even offer to share the book with me. He had no problem sharing every other Turtledove book with me. I haven’t been a fan of Turtledove because his books are so full of typos, grammar errors, common minor mistakes, etc. that he should be ashamed to allow the books to go to press. Take some pride in your work Harry. So what if your publisher won’t spend the money to edit your work, use your own money. Shoot, a lot of the typos would be caught by a basic spellcheck program, something that he or his publisher have decided is not worth doing. Why? From a publisher standpoint, why waste money on editing when one of your favorite writers has so many diehard fanboys/girls they will buy the latest book in hardback no matter how many typos you allow to slip through? If I buy a book that’s full of typos from a major traditional publisher, you can guarantee I will let them know it’s not acceptable. Not only will I boycott the writer, I will boycott the publisher.
Diehard fanboys/girls should be ashamed of themselves. If they want to kill a series, they are the best instrument to guarantee it dies. A good example is Star Wars. After the last couple of movies, my friend who loved Star Wars only saw the movies a couple of times at the theater, compared to the 7 -15 times each that he saw the first 6 movies. With the last movie, he only saw it once after it had been out long enough that Disney didn’t earn the lion’s share of his ticket price. I am not a Star Wars fan as it’s decent science fantasy, but it’s never been worth the hype given to it by so many fanboys/girls. My friend even liked the 4th – 6th movies, better known as 1 – 3 or the prequels which makes him stand out as many fanboys/girls hated the prequels. Exactly how many times do we need to blow up a planet or star destroyer in the movies before it becomes a bad trope? In my book, a lot fewer times than Star Wars has done it. That’s not even counting the unrealistic aspects of the energy output a vessel or planet would need to generate that level of destruction. Only time will tell if Disney learns valuable lessons from the last couple of movies. So far, they at least realized that releasing too many Star Wars movies in one year was a bad move. That doesn’t cover some of the other lessons they should take away, but it’s a lackluster start.
What’s even sadder is the number of people who complained about certain things in Star Wars who have NEVER seen the movies. They picked up what a handful of people who hadn’t seen the movies were complaining about and ran with their complaints. In its infinite stupidity, Disney listened to them. Bad rule of thumb is to listen to people who haven’t seen your movies complain about them. I have seen every Star Wars movie although only a few at the theater. When I heard about these people complaining, it was obvious they hadn’t seen the movies or they wouldn’t be complaining about the issues they chose to complain about. It’s like some of the book reviews I see on Amazon. It’s obvious they only read the blurb of the book, and in some cases, the reviewer openly admits their review is based on the blurb as they haven’t read the book. What Disney should listen to is the non-fanboys/girls who complain about the changes made to Star Wars. Time will tell if Disney learned the right lessons from the backlash. Something tells me they may have learned some of the lessons, but misunderstood some of the other lessons.