More Review-related Raging

Recently another writer told me about the review site www.page99test.com. Idea: you upload page 99 of your book (published or unpublished) and readers rate it, leaving helpful/unhelpful comments if they feel so inclined.

I was addicted within seconds. Reading only one page of a book is so easy – time-wise – and the standard of writing is very good indeed. You don’t find out the title or author until you’ve completed your rating, or whether the book is published or unpublished. It’s fun – have a go.

OK, so what’s the rant about this time? Reviewers! What is wrong with these people? I’d been on this site for about 5 seconds and I ‘got it’ totally. It’s page 99, right? A random page, just plucked out of the middle-ish to give an overall flavour and a RANDOM excerpt of the author’s writing style. So you don’t review it as if it’s page 1, you don’t review it assuming it should tell you all you need to know about whichever character is present at the time, and you don’t review it as though the entire book is also like this one page!

Within minutes of reading other reviewers’ comments on the piece I had just read (really, really good, by the way), I was absolutely furious. Comments like ‘All talk, no action’. Hey, it’s one page! If you turn over the page in the real, actual book, there might be some action. Who knows? Buy the book…

And pompous stuff: ‘A thesaurus does not a writer make.’ So the author included some ‘big words’ in that one particular page. Why is that a bad thing? Don’t choose ‘literary novels’ as a favourite genre if you can’t cope with words longer than one syllable.

OK, taking a deep breath now. I only have one more rant before I leave you to visit Page 99 and make up your own minds: To quote my favourite songwriter, Morrissey: ‘America is not the world.’ Many of the more scathing criticisms I read were caused by simple British/American/Elsewhere differences. One reviewer went mental over the use of single quotation marks. Doesn’t she know that in some quarters this is actually the norm? Another railed against the use of the word ‘gaol’. Well, hello! If a site for writers invites international users, make allowances for different preferences and spellings, OK? (I read not one single British complaint about the spelling of ‘color’ or the use of ‘alternately’ to mean ‘alternatively’. )

Anyway, I am going to take my friend’s advice and put page 99 of Can’t Live Without up for review. And then I’m going to take a great big Chill Pill…

Morrissey at the premiere of the Alexander fil...

Morrissey at the premiere of the Alexander film in Dublin Ireland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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7 Comments

Filed under Books, Self-publishing, Writing

7 responses to “More Review-related Raging

  1. Sisyphus47

    This aspiring (smiles) writer does not believe in single page reviews! I am reading all the chapters, and maybe will feel entitled to “comment”, not before. Talk (i.e. write) soon :-)

  2. I know what you mean – I had one reviewer complaining about my punctuation – that made me furious especially when there was nothing wrong with it. But I have had some helpful comments – one reviewer liking the atmosphere I’d created – and offered editing suggestions. Good luck and ignore the idiots!

  3. Brilliant article! I was laughing out loud at your righteous anger!

  4. I’ve been there before, too! I have had a few Brits complain about my North Western American spelling and turns of phrase. Even had an East-coaster gripe about when he saw the phrase “letting off the gas” to describe easing off the gas pedal of a car. Sorry, arrogant Eastern Professor Editor, but people in my area really DO say that–and a lot! It was said in my driver’s ed class all the time. Regional dialect does not need to be edited unless it’s the wrong region. Same with punctuation.

    It’s hard to not go crazy over the idiots. But the ones who take the time to constructively maim and murder your writing are the absolute best, and make it worth your time.

    • I’ve heard the phrase “letting off the gas” and I live in England. But then I do read a lot of American novels :-) It’s so frustrating when someone makes a void-criticism – and the thing is, there’s no way to respond! Still, you’re right – there are some gems of feedback out there, and you just have to sift through the dirt to find them.

  5. Haha, nice piece, it reminds me of one of Lipsy’s diary entries. Do you feel better for writing all that down? It does help doesn’t it :)? Whatever website you’re on and comments you are reading, there is always a smart arse who thinks they can say what they like because they are under the delusion that they are always right. These people are morons. Like you said, it is one random page, the only possible thing you could comment on and would want commented on your own work is writing style. I think you’re a brilliant writer, so don’t be disheartened by any pompous comments.

  6. I was tempted to go and have a look at that site, but I’m not sure I could stand the stress lol ;)

    xx

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