Zombies everywhere!

One of the interesting aspects of reading self-published eBooks is the variety of choice. The paradox of choice means though that we blame ourselves for making a bad choice of many options. Perhaps this is why we transfer our anger onto the author if we do not like what we read. In most cases it seems to me that the authors really do try to say something that they feel that the world will enjoy. No matter what they write, it has taken effort and time and most likely careful thought. The problem for a reviewer is that angry negative reviews are more catching. The Simon Cowell approach to ‘saying it how it is’ works and endures because we still love the sight of other people in pain. This is the modern Colosseum, the theatre of life and passion played out for all to see and with a permanent record. It actually had not occurred to me at the start of this process that Amazon ranks its reviewers as well as auhors and books. It makes sense somehow: what gets measured gets managed. It turns out that I started around number seven million and after a month moved into the top fifty thousand. This is quite a rise in the rankings but what does it really mean? The top ranked reviewers have written thousands of reviews that have helped huge numbers of people in their purchasing choices. So I suppose it pays to be negative once again because if I help someone not to buy a product, they are helped and will never know if I was talking toot. On the other hand, if I help someone to buy a product they hate, their rage is properly redirected towards me. Frankly though, the top reviewers tend to look at a broad range of products and not just books and presumably spend much time balancing their act. For me, I am not interested in being negative. The ones that simply do not do it for me could just as easily be because I was not ‘in the right mood’ so why blame the author?
Is a review there to get ratings or is it an indirect message to the author about their hard work? It is a personal insult somehow. It is especially damaging to self-starting authors without much luck and success behind them. It is too easy to crush the new shoots of an inspired career under the clumsy tramplings of idiotic misplaced words.
However, a confident author can presumably take a confident, concrete review. In ‘No means no!’ Houston has diverted from the satirical, slapstick that had me laughing in ‘Welcome to London!’ Having read his cover on Amazon, it struck me that Houston has had good backing for his first works and thus offering is a fast follower. My guess will be that the author has rushed to find new material and moved too fast. So what would have been a fine blog post becomes a less convincing self-published ebook. So, do I actively reach out to the author with my opinion, or passively write a negative review? Ultimately I wrote the review for two reasons: it was easier and that is the way modern culture is. So now I feel guilt about public ally being rude about his efforts and Houston is no doubt planning revenge or has gone into hibernation. Let us hope neither is true. Happily, the other works I have read that have not caught me have escaped a quick negative review. As I heard once: let all the words you speak be sweet because one day you may be forced to eat them!
This morning I read about several unprovoked attacks out and about in their daily lives, pregnant women assaulted after being followed on the train and a young guy beaten up on a bus whilst the other passengers did nothing. That is not right. That is a breakdown of society, even if it is a relatively small number of incidents, the important thing to consider is that for the individual involved it is the only incident of note and a life changing one at that. Interestingly, the news reminds me of the first of K. Bartholomew’s three short stories in ‘Zombie Plague – Three Zombie Short Stories’. A seemingly mundane fête turns into a blood bath when the all too stressed grumpy old man converts from cake lover to flesh eater. It seems that while the Mayans may not have been right, there are a lot of different ways that society can break down. Paul Westwood continues the Zombie theme in ‘Nano Zombie’. Interestingly, the review I wrote on Amazon is considered the most helpful critical review. I had not thought it critical but you can judge: “This could definitely be the basis of one of next year’s SciFi film offerings. It has all of the elements that one would hope for in a splatter-hero flick. This is a mixture of well tried and tested armageddon scenarios as seen in “Twelve Monkeys”, the “Mad Max” franchise, amongst others, wrapped up with some new twists. Personally, I felt that the interpersonal relationships were developed too arbitrarily and the general acceptance of lawlessness moved faster than I felt, or at least hoped, was reasonable. “Nano Zombie” is a good read that kept me engaged.”
So in order not to push Houston or any of his fellow authors over the edge into a zombie converting rage, I need to keep an eye on the effort that these ladies and gentlemen make and realize that the written word can enrage even the meekest of souls!


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