Anyone who's published a book knows how hard it is and how vitally important reader reviews are - especially for indies! It can be frustrating when someone kindly takes the time to contact you and mention how much they enjoyed reading your book, but doesn't actually get round to posting a review about it. It's also quite disconcerting sometimes how widely different people's tastes and expectations are concerning the stuff they read. I know that not everyone who chooses to read Niedermayer & Hart will absolutely love it without any reservations. I am a grown-up and I can accept this (sometimes)! Some of the people who have posted reviews on behalf of Niedermayer & Hart are known personally to me, but the majority are not; whatever they wrote about the book (known or not!) was done at their own discretion, except in two cases where I contacted the reviewer and asked them to alter a certain line which would have 'spoiled' the plot. My wife, son, friend and editor Peter Bolwell have not posted any reviews on behalf of the book either as themselves or under pseudonyms. Because of their close involvement in the project I'd consider it quite wrong if they did so.
Nobody is after bad reviews of course and we all want to sell our books. Book buyers don't always buy when they're supposed to and when they do read the flippin' book they don't always see it the way they're meant to! Seems like the only ideal solution would be a world in which I am both the author and the book's perfect reader! A kind of narcissistic love-fest!
Book-reading strikes me as one of the most subjective of all pleasures. And, as I've said, I have to accept that people have widely different expectations when it comes to the stuff they read. I don't personally understand how anyone could give Catch 22 or To Kill a Mockingbird anything less than five stars, or how anyone could fail to love Dickens! Yes, I know, shocking but true!
After all, nobody held a gun to my head and insisted that I write a book. Nobody said it would be easy! And what's more I'm doing something I totally love!