Thursday, 14 March 2013

Accountability in Online Writing

I recently researched horror and supernatural blogs in preparation for re-releasing my first novel, The Ghost Man. I came across some very interesting comments on one of the indie review sites ( Here's an excerpt: 

In many ways star rankings are a waste. Look at the 1-Star reviews on Amazon for the free, public domain version of your favorite classic literature – something like “A Scarlet Letter” or “A Tale of Two Cities”.... A good review will give a reader an idea of whether they’ll like a book or not.  How well the reviewer liked the book is secondary. Many 1-Star reviews describe a book that sounds perfect to someone else. 
One-star reviews of the classics have been the subject of many blog posts, and one example you might want to look at, if you 're interested in a laugh, is a column in Lit Reactor at

Of course, the classics such as The Great Gatsby and Ulysses are still very much assured of their good standing in spite of these one-star reviews and rant-like comments. But there is a serious side to all of this: anyone with a keyboard and Internet access can now presume to be a critic, and quite often the most vocal critics--who usually profess to have the public's interest at heart--are also the most negative. I've seen this trend not only in book, film, and music reviews, but also in sites that give customer ratings for businesses or give ratings to physicians and university professors. If this freedom to comment came with some form of accountability, I would applaud it. Unfortunately, it does not. 

Many of these negative reviews would never have seen the light of day if the sender had engaged in some sober second thought. It's like the nasty e-mail you compose, describing all your outrage at someone or something that has offended you: except once you finish writing it and getting the venom out of your system, you click “delete” rather than “send”.

Here's to accountability in writing! 

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