One of the first things I do when I finish a book, unless I know about the author already, is ecosia (google) her or him. I want to know who it is that wrote this, and the internet’s right there! So it came as a surprise to see my first (two-star) review for Nightmares with the Bible on Amazon, where the reviewer did no follow-up. The reviewer is quite upset that I don’t take the Bible literally, but at least s/he bothered to leave a review. A more positive rating might bring me up to three stars, but I’ve failed classes before. I’m a big boy, I can handle it. In any case, if you ecosia me you’ll quickly come upon this humble website that’ll tell you what you need to know. No, I am no longer a Fundamentalist. And the book was about demons in movies. (I was actually searching for reviews of the series.)
I scrolled down. The named reviews solicited for the book I knew, so I was surprised, and delighted, that further down the page I had a Choice review. Even a disgruntled evangelical couldn’t bring me down after that! In case you’re not a librarian, or an academic publisher, Choice is THE periodical librarians use for deciding on which books to buy. It is very difficult to get a review in it—I work at a prestige publisher and seldom see our books in there. If you’re a trade author that’s not so important, but if the only sales, or majority of sales, are for libraries, to get a “recommended” status is a big deal. That’s worth celebrating.
If you’re wondering, authors do not get notified of reviews. Some editors will let them know (my editor at McFarland hasn’t been in touch for years). The journals are too busy doing what journals do to send every author a copy of their review. So I swung by Amazon’s Holy Horror page. I’ve got four ratings there now, mostly on the lower end of the scale. If you’ve read it and liked it (not something I assume, of course) a nice review would go a long way. Disgruntled evangelicals (aren’t they all, these days?) may make the books look bad, but colleagues who’ve read them seem to think differently. I hold to the publishing adage that there’s no such thing as a bad review, but good reviews feel so pleasant. I’ve only written one negative book review in my life, and that was because I felt any other would be utterly dishonest in that particular case. It’s a choice I make because of the Bible: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”