Sunday, 17 November 2013

A little more about reviews - with indie authors in mind.

I noticed on one of the Amazon forums they were discussing reviews, in particular about self published books, and the errors they contain. I recalled reviewing a couple of self published books and why I gave them five stars, despite them having grammatical errors.

I recall reviewing a s/p book once. I came across the young woman on F/book -some of her friends were on my F/book page. I read her page for a while, and developed a tremendous admiration for her courage. She had breast cancer.
I read her book, it was a harrowing account of what she had endured when she joined the army at eighteen. She'd joined because she wanted to serve her country, as her father and grandfather had. No girl should endure what she went through at the hands of eight men.
  The person she eventually married abused her terribly. Despite suffering all she did she still went on to help others as much as she could. After her divorce her abusive husband kept the rights to her book. The book had errors in it. I wasn't bothered by them at all.
Eventually she was given the all clear from her breast cancer. I read her second book. It was an inspiration, again it contain errors, I wasn't bothered because I admired her tremendous courage that through everything she had suffered she still managed to encourage and inspire others through her writing.
I became her friend via F/book and exchanged many private messages. Never once did she ever complain about what had happened to her in the army or her illness. Even when the cancer returned, she still helped others as much as she possibly could. She died a few months ago, she was just 36. I and many others will always miss her. Her books were not pity me books.
Her books were not perfect, but I don’t look for perfection, when reading, . I did not expect to read what I did when I read about her life in the army, but her courage and determination to get justice was inspirational. As was her second book and her fight with cancer.  She did not deserve all she suffered in her young life. She spread sunshine and happiness throughout her life, not bitterness, no reproaches, or pity me. She was different. I was fortunate to know her. 
If I could have given her a gold medal and fifty stars I would have.
Of course the above does not mean that I think books trad or s/p are acceptable if they are littered with errors. It the text engages me then I will read it.
Indie authors have come in for a lot of stick over the last few years. Some deservedly so, others not. It's the way of the world and we just have to accept that we can't please all of the people all of the time.
I recently read a well known TV personality's autobiography. I was quite disappointed with it. To me it did not do him justice, his character did not shine through at all. I think much of it was ghost written. Unlike these two books, both self-published but well worth a read.
Hazelnuts & Moorhens No, I do not know this author. I only wish I did. He comes across as a very nice man.
The Age of Innocence  No, I didn't know this lady either, until after I had read her book. I'm proud to say she is my friend now.
I never normally make the point that a book I read or occasionally review is traditionally or self-published. I'm not interested, life's too short to keep harking on about such unimportant matters. I've mentioned it here to make a point.

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