I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with Amazon recommendations as of late. As a rule whether I purchase a book or receive it as a review copy from a publisher I always check the reviews from other readers.
It serves the purpose of giving me an idea of the direction of the book and also, if there is any, some of its problems. I have noticed lately though that people have been using the recommendation system incorrectly. Before I continue I just want to say this is my opinion. If I ruffle any feathers I sincerely apologize, but it has happened fairly often recently.
The ability to post reviews on books on the Amazon website has been around for a long time. It is the best way for any product to get noticed and receive exposure. Many reviewers have also considered it helpful to getting noticed as well.
The review system as it relates to books is meant to tell you whether the book is worth reading. Is the story clear and concise? Do the characters have depth that adds to the story as a whole? Did it have a good pace that kept you interested throughout? These are the mechanics of a good story that I come to look for when reading reviews
What I have noticed lately though is reviewers that disagree with the direction the story takes vote poorly. Case in point is two books I recently read: Bridget Jones: Mad About a Boy and Allegiant. Both were excellent books in my opinion that have suffered due to disgruntled fans.
With Bridget Jones readers felt that she should have been more mature now that she is in her early fifties. I believe this would have not been true to the character. Bridget is known for being a mess; it makes her likeable and more real. Allegiant towards the end (sorry no spoilers) takes some unexpected turns which made readers very angry.
Both of these issues do not make the stories any less well written or enjoyable to read. They are both good books whether we all agree on the direction or not. All I ask fellow reviewers, whether bloggers such as myself or casual readers is be mindful of what your write. Was it really a bad book? Or did you just not agree with the direction?
Tarah Schaeffer is a regular contributor to Dandilyon Fluff. She is a professional reader and reviewer and posts on her own blog, Country Book Bumpkin, as well as here. Tarah is an advocate of reading literacy since she was very young as a star on the internationally known children’s show, Sesame Street.
Tonight we have a special guest on Journal Jabber – a star of one of the greatest, most influential television series of all time – Sesame Street. The show has done more for literacy than many libraries put together.
Tarah Schaeffer, buddy of Big Bird and Grover, now continues to promote literacy as a book reviewer on her blog, Country Book Bumpkin. Come have a listen as she shares her favorite books and more.
As always, the show has been brought to you from our sponsor, the letter “I”, as in The Eyes for Editing.
Let’s be honest. I am a terrible book reviewer. I don’t have much time to read anymore and no matter how much I don’t like a book I will never tell the author.
To me each book represents someone’s dreams and a whole lot of effort to get it going… I find it impossible to criticize that.
That’s why I like to do spotlights and interviews rather than reviews. If you wait on me to read your book I’ll lie awake at night feeling guilty and you will be annoyed with me.
I do, however, have a celebrity reviewer that adores reading your book and critiquing it. Her name is Tarah Schaeffer, famous for her 7 years spent on Sesame Street. These days she enjoys ravenously devouring literature of all sorts and posting the reviews on her blog, Country Book Bumpkin. What she lacks in size she makes up for with heart and enthusiasm. Please email Tarah for book reviews at tlynnesch(at)gmail.com
I’ll be posting a list of her reviews every week so news of your book will be exposed to all the various places that Dandilyon Fluff gets syndicated to as well as Tarah’s own readers. As I said in No Money Marketing; “It’s not who you know but who you tell.”
Let Tarah share your book with the world… she’s my favorite Pocket Reader!
Just about a year ago I was at an MWGA meeting and I met a quiet but friendly book reviewer. End of Mae had just been published and I was out networking and hawking my wares. The reviewer, named Tarah, took pity and agreed to do a book review for me.
We maintained a friendship after the review but started really getting to know each other when my daughter gave me an iPad. Suddenly Tarah was my virtual friend, riding around in my backpack and we had conversation off and on all day wherever there was internet.
I didn’t know that much about her, but I thought she was funny and she had a different outlook on life that I appreciated. What I didn’t know was that Tarah had secrets… amazing secrets that I only just found out about today. Exhibit A… the Skype transcript:
[11:58:01 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: Authors charge for that? my signatures will always be free as long as I can afford ink pens! Hahahahaha
[11:58:10 AM] Tarah S: im the same way when i was on sesame street i signed some autographs and i was like omg they want my autograph HOW COOL
[11:58:19 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: Anyways, I’ll stop complainting about cash
[11:58:33 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: You were on sesame street?
[11:58:41 AM] Tarah S: i still get asked to and part of me is like why im not famous, and then im like aww ya that
[11:58:47 AM] Tarah S: yea i thought i told you
[11:58:49 AM] Tarah S: when i was a kid
[11:58:56 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: Omg…. No you didnt
[11:59:04 AM] Tarah S: oops
[11:59:05 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: That is awesome!
[11:59:10 AM] Tarah S: thanks
[11:59:15 AM] Tarah S: did it for 7 years
[11:59:21 AM] Angela Yuriko Smith: I know a star 😀
This is the same Tarah on Sesame Street that did the adorable wheelchair ballet, the same Tarah who charmed us all with her common sense to use a telephone when Big Bird couldn’t figure out how to reach her parents. This is Tarah who has acted alongside some of the biggest names on televison including Elmo, Cookie Monster and even Oscar the Grouch. This is that Tarah Schaeffer, the moppet amongst the muppets.
I am not blown away that my friend did all these things. To know her is to love her and I can completely see why she would have been picked for one of the most successful childrens’ shows ever made. What amazed me is how such an astonishing fact could have gone unmentioned for so long. That also sums up Tarah… the star that shines brightest is unaware of how brightly it glows.
Please go by her blog, Country Book Bumpkin and leave her a comment. She added a page called The Sesame Me where she shares clips and a little bit of her story. She is always open to authors looking for a review or some inexpensive ad space on her blog. A friendlier reviewer you will not find.
Here’s a clip of Tarah singing her own version of Wheels Go Round: