Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Reviews can be Gratifying

Tonight I happened to look at the Amazon reviews of A Writer’s Craft and saw that there are now three: all from people I don’t know who have used the book in a class, and all three gave it five stars. So that made my night!

I promise, I don’t obsessively check my reviews, but I should be grading, so some procrasitnation is required. The earliest review is from March, 2019. I don’t remember the last time I looked to see if there were any reviews at all, but it was probably at least 4 months ago, maybe longer, and at that point, there were none.

Full disclosure, though: I also checked Goodreads, where there’s one two-star review. That person didn’t say why. I’m sorry the book wasn’t what they were looking for,

The reviewers on Amazon did write about the book, which was also great to see. I know that reviewers can be fickle and there will be negative ones mixed in with the positive, but it’s great to see that my book has reached real people and that a few took the time to say something about it. That means a lot, and I’m very grateful.

Short Rant about Amazon.com

Dear (expletive) Amazon: Sometimes I’m just searching for information. I don’t want to buy your $#%^!

Have you ever noticed that the search terms you use in a web search reappear in marketing emails from Amazon.com? How they think this is a good strategy is beyond me. If I wanted to buy a product, I would search for that product on a shopping site (and probably not Amazon, esp. after their emails). If I need information, I don’t want to be bombarded with ads about related products. And when I’ve just bought a product from Amazon or somewhere else, odds are that I don’t want another one, nor will I appreciate the company that keeps trying to sell me more.

Enough said! (I did promise a short rant…)

Why are All Poets Dead or Famous (or Both)??

Okay, so I hope to be living proof (along with many of my friends and students) that the title of this post isn’t true. However, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking it was true if your only source of information was an online bookstore. Just one example this morning, I went to Barnes and Noble, searching for information on a recent poetry collection, which I was able to find when I had the title or (I assume) the author’s name. But while there, I happened to click a link on the page to “This Season’s Best Poetry Books.” Sounds promising, right? It ought to bring up the latest, greatest of the poetry publications of Fall 2013, right? Not so fast…

Clicking that link led to a page with Homer (not even a new translation), Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, Denise Levertov, and a collection of classic Haiku from the British Museum archives. Living poets included Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, and Nicki Giovanni. Nothing wrong with them, but they’re hardly the newest poets on the block. And Rita Dove’s Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry won’t give you a sense of the season’s best. The closest title to match the link title was Denise Duhamel’s Best American Poetry 2013.

I tried clicking on American Poetry to see if that gave me anything better. No luck. Hardly a living soul represented other than those on the list above. And I know from searching Amazon that the situation isn’t any better. Many brick and mortar stores aren’t much better at stocking recent poetry. Yet there are hundreds of new poetry collections introduced every season. So how can you find out about good recent titles?

If you live near a good independent, you might find it on the shelves or you might catch the poet when they are in town for a reading. I wish I had an answer — living in the hinterlands it can be hard to find out about culture of any kind. Subscribing to one or more good poetry magazines can help. Poets and Writers often has ads for new collections (and the prizes that sponsored their publication). If poets and poetry publishers want a bigger reading public, though, we need to do more to make those collections visible.