Releasing a book into the world in the days of online customer reviews and blogs is akin to walking out of the house naked; you are suddenly exposed to the elements in a deeply personal way and no matter how thick your skin, it offers little protection from harsh weather or a cold-hearted review. Take Anne Rice, for example, and her famous retaliation against a negative review of her book Pandora. Despite resounding success (she has sold over 100 million copies of her books) she was so upset by this ruthless review that she gave this reviewer a virtual skinning alive in the public arena. (Get a fuller account of this story on the blog themarysue.com.)
By and large, however, the live skinning is usually a one-way street; by the mere act of reading a book, readers are given the authority to share their opinion on every aspect of a book–no further experience needed. Customer reviews are extremely important and shouldn’t be written carelessly, as other readers often rely on these straight forward reviews written by peer readers to guide them in purchasing decisions.
I am in the dawn of my novel-writing, and as the author of only one self-published title, I have thus far only been subjected to favorable reviews. I know my time will come for that other type of review, and I hope I will heed the overwhelming advice of the collective wisdom and hold my tongue when it happens. But where I can’t hold my tongue is when people write wonderful reviews. Call me an optimist, but positive energy begets positive energy and quite often sparks ideas.
In my debut novel Green, Jake Tillerman, the hot, yet sometimes overbearing environmentalist, introduces The Seven Change Challenge, an online campaign against The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, encourages people to make seven changes in their daily lives to limit their impact on the environment: buy local, organic produce, seven-minute showers or less . . .(What are the rest of the seven changes? You can discover them in my book GREEN, available on Amazon. Just click on the pretty picture to the right of this blog post to go to the page where you can look inside, read other customer reviews and purchase an e-book or paperback).
A handful of readers have written me to ask if the Seven Change Challenge exists online. Although there are many programs online about analyzing your carbon footprint, and numerous guidelines elucidating methods to reduce your impact on the environment, I have yet to find a challenge presented in this manner. Although the seven changes are real and can make a real difference, the concept of a virtual challenge was an act of fiction. But perhaps it’s time to bring it into reality! And speaking of inspirational, the following is my latest reader review on Amazon.
I am not prone to reading romance nor have I ever been accused of having a social conscience, but at the behest of a friend I downloaded and read Green. So many times we are reminded of how opposites attract. I fervently believe that our significant others make us more of a complete and balanced character and as time goes on our extremes are tempered.
I found both the plot and the relationship that unfolds between the characters very enjoyable. I found myself not only rooting for the success of the budding romance but for the resounding success of the Seven Change Challenge!
The story contemplates the Green adjective on so many levels and indeed makes one question their personal responsibility and impact in this world. I would welcome a “real” Seven Change Challenge web experience and encourage the author as well as the publishers to pursue such a tie-in.
~Customer review by Tom De Mercurio, Sacramento, California
The following review has inspired me to find a way to make the Seven Change Challenge a real deal. It might take some time, considering all of the back of house database management that would need to be developed to make it possible, but the seed has been planted by a reader! Thank you Tom de Mercurio!
How many of you, as readers, would be interested in taking the Seven Change Challenge; to be able to log in your accomplishments and see how your daily actions cumulatively make a difference? Please let me know in the comments section. If I receive 50 unique comments, I will randomly select one responder to receive a free kindle version of Green.