Everybody’s got an Opinion, but Who has solutions?

I’ve been engaging in an interesting dialogue with all’y’all about the review system, partially driven by my desire as a reader to see the quality books rise to the top and the not so good ones sink to the bottom, never to be sold again. Then again, that’s not a kind sentiment. Some of the people who publish poor books may have put in just as much effort as the superstar who excretes gold every time they pick up a pen.

I don’t want to read their books, though. That’s not unkind. Maybe.

In the meantime, one solution is suggested by the erudite editor, M.J. Moores. She probably reads my posts with a red pen in her head. I imagine she’s saying, “No, Pontius, you shifted tenses. And you used the adverb ‘probably’ which contributes nothing to the sentence, because I *am* reading with a red pen in my head. So it’s a sure thing.” Or not. She also must get tired of being thought of as the stuffy editor type. And she doesn’t read as stuffy. Her posts are all kinda golden.

Ha. English teachers aren’t allowed to use red anymore, it might hurt a student’s feelings. And if he’s Korean and you write his name in red, it’s like death or something.

My point here wasn’t to belittle her editorshipness; after all, I need people like her to produce a half-way decent story. [Note my super awesome employment of the dreaded semi-colon to good effect.] No, it was to say that she has a solution to the review problem. We cannot fix Amazon, nor are they inclined to listen to us tell them their review system is broken. We can, however, help by giving good reviews. I don’t mean doling out 5 stars like they were candy  at a parade! No, I mean giving high quality reviews. Honest, high quality reviews. MJ has detailed the dirt here:

How to post a high quality review.

If you’re already doing that, great. If you’re not, please start. Don’t give out 5 stars unless the story really is 5 stars. Be parsimonious. Give 4s to people if you HAVE to grade ’em high, and 3s if the story is average. The authors will understand. It’s not even the stars that are as important as the text.  That’s where the rubber meets the road.

Here’s some of my product reviews, which I think meet the standards for both describing the product and lightly poking fun at it while I do:

The Black Ships. 

Dorothy Gale’s Coffin Cover. 

Dark Defiance.

Ink for my printer. (Extra points for the Shakespeare reference, eh?)

Disney Princess Toddler Rolling Backpack. I deducted a star because the handle is too short for me.