Monday, September 7, 2009

On Reviews

I came away from SpoCon determined not to read reviews of my stuff, since the horror stories were so . . . horrific. But, alas, getting reviewed is part of the marketing process, necessary to getting the word out about your work, so I have been on the lookout. "Who Mourns for the Hangman?" came out on September 1 from Damnation Books, and I sent the story to a couple of review sites, The Horror Press and Rites of Romance (which seems to review anything it likes), both of which came back positive. Then I Googled Science Fiction Trails #4 to see if it had been reviewed, and got a pleasant surprise with "Message in the Dust", which Tangent Online really liked. So far so good with regard to reviews of my work, but it is early days.

It's lovely when reviewers agree with you that your stuff is just grand. But I've been keeping up with my fellow Damnation Books authors' reviews and some of them are all over the map. How useful are reviews of any sort, really, for books, movies, or anything else, when it is so much a matter of taste on the part of the reviewer? How much influence do reviews have on the buying public? Some of the worst-reviewed movies are blockbusters. Some of the best-reviewed books are so awful only the reviewers seem to read them. How useful is the whole system?

I don't actually know, but until someone can tell me, I suppose I will keep playing the game, hoping that positive reviews generate sales and any negative ones don't hurt.