Howey Fans Do; Please Review!

Greetings, Hugh Howey fans. Let me introduce myself: I am Lisa the Erstwhile Editor and possibly Hugh’s #1 fan. (I have no intention of chopping off one of his feet…but that could change.) For some strange reason, he has allowed me permission to post on his Web site, and so I shall.

For the record, let me state that Hugh Howey (HH) is the bomb and the HH’s works are freakin’ genius. Me, I’m an editor (sometimes erstwhile), a voracious reader (my boss once referred to me in public as a “rabid sci fi fan”), and a decent wordsmith, but under no circumstances (even serious drugs) could I be the type of world-builder that HH is. Hat tip to you, Hugh–I can string some words together, but you keep making me yell out and pump my fists in the air with stories that go where I wouldn’t have expected. The full-scale murder of half-grown colonists aborted midway? Seriously?

Being HH’s possibly #1 fan, I spend a lot of time monitoring his works and the reviews of those works on Amazon. (I even have an Excel spreadsheet. Thus far, I have confined my stalker-ish tendencies to this one activity.) This necessarily means that I also monitor other works that, for example, push WOOL to #3 (or 4, or 5). I see reviews for non-HH works, and I click the links to see reviewer histories. Usually, these histories are composed of reviews of 1 to 3 other Amazon items (sometimes not even written works).

Multiple HH reviewers have admitted that it was [insert HH work of choice] that prompted them to write their first Amazon reviews. I admit to doing a bit of vicarious preening when I read these reviews, and I’ve restrained the urge to personally thank every such reviewer (hell, EVERY reviewer) since I’m well aware that doing so adds Silo chits to my “potential psycho” account.

So, as a fan and “rabid” supporter of HH and a voracious reader in general, I would like to invite you to let me–and other readers–know what what books you’ve loved and which you’ve hated by adding to your list of Amazon reviews. Everyone has a list of favorites–Ender’s Game? The Stand? The Name of the Rose? White Noise? Frankenstein? One Hundred Years of Solitude? Whatever they are, have you reviewed them? What about the stuff you could barely get through, that had you cursing not-in-a-good-way aloud, that sent you to bed for a week after the eye-rolling and exasperated gasps caused blood vessels in your brain to burst? Was it something clichéd and formulaic, a work lacking character development and/or resolution, sparkling vampires? Have you written about what was so awful about those works?

I, personally, am tired of feeling hoodwinked and bamboozled by Amazon reviews. I am horrified to come across execrably  edited works that read like junior high compositions but garner multitudes of strangely worded and wretchedly written five-star reviews.

It’s not merely that I want Hugh’s works to get the ratings and reviews they deserve (although that is part of it)–I also want good works by any author to get the ratings and reviews they deserve as well.

For my part, I am trying to make my way through Kindle sci fi bestsellers (as well as some nonfiction and YA fiction) as funds and time permit and to follow up every read with an honest review. I invite you to join me.

We have to have something to do while we wait for the next HH release, am I right?




4 responses to “Howey Fans Do; Please Review!”

  1. I’m guilty of this. I should review more of the books I read. One of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had as a writer/reviewer was to get a letter in the mail thanking me on behalf of Dave Cullen for helping make COLUMBINE a huge success (it won a crapload of awards and deserved every single one).

    I had no idea what the letter was talking about. But it mentioned my review, so I went to Amazon, and look what I found:

    331 reviews, and mine was the #1 most helpful. With over 370 votes! And a bunch of people in the comments telling me I’m a dumbass!

    It was incredibly reinforcing. And then I got an email from Douglas Preston after reviewing his excellent THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE in which he suggested I should be writing for the New York Book Review.

    I loved that feedback on my feedback. And it showed me how dear reviews are to writers (before I became one myself and learned just how great it feels).

    So while Lisa’s post was made without my knowledge or at my behest, I agree 100% with it. Now that you’ve learned the review system by praising WOOL, praise the other things you enjoy. Spread the love. It means so much to those of us who slave away over our words to read what you think of them in your own.

  2. You are the first author I have ever reviewed (and I read a TON of books, too!), but I will go back and review a few more. But only because you two asked so nicely!

  3. Jill, I am trying very hard to practice what I preach. First off, I think it’s wrong to not “talk to” the authors whose works move us, impress us, shock us, especially now. Once upon a time, anyone named “author” could at least brag about being signed by a publisher, but knowing about what Hugh went through from the time he wrote his first words until now, I’d say those times are gone. And even so, some works that come out under big publishing names just aren’t “all that” (and I wish I could tell you the last time that I read a book published by a huge name yet found no typos/grammatical/other errors).

    Secondly, if I’m going to read a work, then I feel obligated to give the author my criticisms as well. As it stands, Hugh gets my criticisms on the front end, before his works are published. When it comes to so-called “indie” authors, they’re getting my professional opinion for free when I offer criticism, and I would expect that serious authors consider those criticisms as they contemplate their next works. (To be honest, with the exception of Hugh and the academic writers with whom I work in my full-time job, I’ve not gotten any thanks. But I’m still hopeful!)

  4. And by the way, I was around when Hugh was the main book reviewer at the now-defunct and I-still-don’t-know-why-defunct Glad it “defuncted,” though, because now we’re enjoying his fiction.

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