When people tell me that they enjoyed my book On the Backs of Dragons, I will usually ask them to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (once I get over the giddy feeling that such comments give me, which can take anywhere from minutes to hours). These sites appear to be the best way to reach new readers, so I figure it's worth a shot. Unfortunately, this seldom happens, although I understand--who has time to leave a review? I rarely leave reviews myself for things that I enjoy (and by rarely, I mean almost never), so why would I expect differently from others? The truth is, I don't expect anything. But one can always hope.
However, a few people have been kind enough to grant my request. I am always gratified and humbled when they do so. At this time, I have four reviews on Amazon, one of which came from a request, two of which came from people I don't know, and one of which came from my mom.
Wait--did my mom really leave me a review on Amazon? My mom reviewed my book? The mom who will call me because things aren't working on her computer? We've all had those conversations:
Mom: "Yeah, my computer won't turn on, and I don't know why!"
Me: "Did you press the power button?" (Note: This is a legitimate question and will often solve the problem, but we'll pretend it didn't this time.)
Mom: "Yes, that was the first thing I tried!"
Me: "Is it plugged in?"
Mom: "Oh, that's right, I unplugged it because the TV said there was a chance of lightning."
Now, there are a few ways to take this. Number one is that sadly, a good review from my mom does me no good. It only makes it look like I desperately crave for people to leave me good reviews on Amazon. Now, this is 100% true, but I do not want it to LOOK like that. Right?
Number two, it is true that people do not know this is my mom. However, she left the review under her real name. It is true that it could be my mom, or my cousin, or my brother, or whatever--but with a name like Morong, the credibility of such a review is going to be low. We're not talking about the Smiths here.
Number three, I need to be grateful that it is a GOOD review. What if my mom had panned my book? I can't even comprehend the implications of that.
So the question is, what do I do with this? Do I ask her to delete it? Do I ask her to create an alias such as "ThisisnotJeremy'smom" or "Iamnotrelatedtotheauthor" so that it looks like the review came from an independent source? (I can only imagine how long it would take me to walk her through that process!) Or do I take it as how it was intended: my mom was proud of her son for actually seeing a goal through and publishing a book. She wanted a way to express that. Leaving a review on Amazon was her way of doing it.
I think we'll go with that one.
In short, the review can stay, and if it prevents me from selling any copies, so be it!