Amazon reviews can be a mixed blessing. Most are written by genuine readers but sometimes authors doubt the honesty of some reviews. I find a small proportion of my reviews puzzling. Why would someone who despises my books want to write a 400-word essay venting their spleen about them, scattering insults and telling me to find a different line of work? It seems a very strange thing to do. And they never email me directly with such comments.
The latest to catch my interest are a couple of reviews that appeared on the very same day, from, apparently, two different readers but saying almost the same thing. That they’d thoroughly enjoyed all my previous novels, but that the latest is, comparatively speaking, very poor.
“Up your game,” ordered one.
“Found it a bit flat,” commented the other.
They could be genuine opinions, of course. But I’m always aware that a small proportion of the reading public don’t like the fact that I present gay, trans, disabled and BAME people in a sympathetic light. Possibly they feel frustrated that my novels sell well. Maybe they’ve twigged that their usual vitriolic reviews are ignored by the majority of readers, possibly even laughed at. So have they changed tack and decided to take a new approach? Genuine reviews tend to be short, particularly the more negative ones. But these people can’t resist writing a mini-saga rather than a short, sharp comment. It usually includes an instruction of what I should be doing, though no-one has yet told me to jump off a cliff.
Most creative writers don’t write to order. I write about what interests me, albeit in a crime/mystery setting. It works or it doesn’t, according to your point of view. The problem is that some of these critics can’t see that there are points of view other than their own. They are right and everyone else is wrong.