Without realising it, and without really trying to, last month I sold my 1,000th copy of my horror novella The Slender Man.
That means that I’ve sold more copies than Line Of Fire, the autobiography of Brian Paddick, formerly the UK’s most senior openly gay police officer.
I understand that selling 1,000 copies isn’t that big a deal really – I’m far from being the next Dan Brown – but nonetheless it feels quite gratifying. For one thing I haven’t really been promoting the book, so the implication is that people are finding it without my help and they are picking it up based on the reviews.
Talking about reviews, I haven’t looked at any for The Slender Man since about December. I know that a lot of people like actors and directors and comedians and musicians and spree murderers often say that they don’t read reviews, and I always thought that they were simply being disingenuous (or, to put it bluntly, lying), but now I suspect that at least some of them were telling the truth.
The reason I’ve stopped reading reviews is that I’ve realised that a lot of the time they don’t really make a lot of sense. I’ll give you some examples: one person gave my book a five star review based on the five-page excerpt that you can read for free on Amazon, and one person marked my book down because he claimed I’d written something in the present tense by mistake and missed it during the editing process, but was apparently oblivious to the fact that the entire book is written in the present tense.
See? The majority of people don’t review books with the care and attention that most many some authors take to write them (and why would they?). So that, coupled with the fact that all reviews are utterly subjective (as I have discussed previously), means that my sanity and confidence are far better served by not taking them to heart.
NB Obviously if you review my book and say that you like it then that’s a different matter entirely and you are objectively correct.