|Konnichiwa, WDC reviewers! This month's subject is putting your reviewing skills to work off of this site (*gasp!*), specifically, on Amazon.com.
Amazon.com, for those of you who got hit on the head with a large hammer at some point in
time, is a website where one can purchase books, movies,video games, and music. Before
purchasing, you can read extensive consumer feedback from your average Jane or Joe. This
can help you make an informed decision that may save you some frustration in the future.
By the same token, you can leave your own feedback. On Amazon it is free to become a
reviewer and to create your own page, where you can add Amazon friends, post a profile
pic, wish list (like anyone cares T-T!! ), and more. From the moment you post your first
feeble attempt at product feedback, you are assigned a rank number, which is public. Like
the Army, or maybe Big Brother, you can rise in the ranks, battling it out with other reviewers to become the darling of readers everywhere. When I dared to write a review way back in 2002, I was number three hundred thousand and something. As of this date, September 16, 2008, I am number 1,757, with 501 reviews.
So what are the benefits of reviewing products for free?
1. Your writing skills will improve. You want people to read your reviews, so you learn to express your thoughts coherently. Sometimes, writers struggle to put thoughts into words: they know what they want to say, but don't know how to say it! The more reviews you write, the easier and more eloquently the words will flow from your brain to your fingertips.
2. As people read your reviews and vote whether or not they are "helpful," you will gain confidence as a writer. Even if someone votes negatively, people are reading your work, your point of view!
3. You can debate points of view (in other words, argue and fight) regarding merits and minuses of documentaries, Japanese anime, children's shows, videos for cats, whatever. By firing comments back and forth on reviews (Amazon has no e-mail or private messaging
system), you engage your mind and hone your faculties, as well as your passion for
4. Last, you can see results every day. Some WDC items gather cobwebs in your port,
seemingly invisible to reviewers. But I guarantee, if you deem a movie bad that some think
is great, sparks will fly. I honestly reviewed the Oscar-winning film No Country For Old Men as the "Worst Movie Ever," giving it ONE star. Only seventeen out of thirty-nine voted my review helpful, but my writing certainly got a reaction out of many people!! It feels good to state your opinion, back it up, and know that you would not ever change it. If you secretly love The Hot Chick, tell the world! By God, stand for something! Besides, you may be surprised how many other Rob Schneider fans are out there.
Here is the link to my profile on Amazon:
Please stop by and drop me a comment or two on my reviews. They go all the way back to
2004, so you can see how my reviewing style changed. I will touch on this topic again next
time, as there is more to explore.
Why don't you all send in some stuff, so I can feature your best work?
An Aussie version of Beauty and the Beast. Funny!!!
This horror piece starts off gory, but keep going: it is unique.
Beautiful poem by one of WDC's best-known:
ASK & ANSWER
((Last months's question was: Have you had encounters with nasty bugs? If so,
what occurred? Here is some of your feedback:
As the youths of today would say, you win several internets for this uber awesome - short but sweet newsletter. Now, I shall go spin my web and munch on you tiny gnats! Rrrr!....wait, do spiders roar? Hmm. Great job!
Not sure about spiders, but I know women roar.
Hi Lotusneko! Great newsletter! I am new to this group, having been recently invited to check out its mission and newsletters by good friend Anne Light I enjoyed the ‘nasty bug’ analogies so much here that I went back to read your first installment concerning ‘helpful review bugs’.
To answer the questions asked at the conclusion of both of these newsletters, I’d have to say first that I am a bee. My favorite review challenge is finding the positive aspects to point out of a weak story, then to talk “writer-to-writer” about the elements of storytelling that need strengthening (i.e.: characterization, plot development, POV ‘awareness’, verb tense choices, etc.). I like this type of review more than reviewing 4.5- 5.0 star quality work that is nearly publish-ready.Although I am inspired by strong, polished writers on this site, and read their work too, doing in-depth reviews for stories that may actually improve with feedback reinforce what I focus on in my own writing and become, I hope, advantageous for both the reviewed and myself.
The only nasty bugs I have encountered at WDC are the no-see-‘ums who make a public
review of their simple thought: Great job! Awesome writing! – then tack a 4.0 rating on and hit ‘submit’. The worst encounter regarding the nasty bug topic I had was when I was perceived as a wasp by a new member who didn’t appreciate some comments I made concerning the opening scene of his short story. I sincerely felt my thoughts were encouragingly stated, but honest and justified. He only felt the sting. He sent me a barrage of angry rant emails that insulted my review, and accused me of attacking his story just because, he assumed, I didn’t like the subject matter. I backed down immediately, apologizing profusely, and reiterated that the review only reflected my personal opinion and that he should disregard anything he didn’t agree with. A fresh barrage of emails filled my inbox about what constitutes ‘opinion’….. yikes! I almost resorted to blocking him permanently! In the end, I think it was a good experience for me, because it made me hyper-sensitive to the feelings of the writer I am reviewing and breathed extra kindness and encouragement into my review practice – which always goes a long way, right?
Again, thanks for the great newletter!
You see what I mean about the wasps. You encountered a rabid one. Hmm, I was
not aware wasps got rabies. You learn something new every day. Welcome Nicki, and thank you for answering both bug NL questions. And a big TY to Anne Light for inviting her. Readers, invite others to subscribe to the Reviewing NL. Can't keep a good thing
bottled up, ne?
Nicki, extra kindness and encouragement does indeed go a long way, and since you now
incorporate that with your excellent reviewing practices, you are a bee-ladybug hybrid.
Kawaii! (Japanese for cute). Incidentally, if you want to avoid five-star, publish-ready work, be sure to avoid my port. JOKING FOR ANY OF YOU WHO DIDN"T GET IT! Would love you to give me some reviews.
From Brooklyn Road - Less Traveled :
Your newsletters are always so fresh and inventive. I absolutely loved this issue. Thank you for challenging us to think in such a creative way.
Hope you are having a wonderful week ~ Brooke
Now I am having a wonderful week. Letters like yours make me keep going.
TIP OF THE MONTH See Rambo. I think I'm in love with Sylvester Stallone! Oh yes, I gave Rambo a five-star review on Amazon.
REVIEWING NL FEEDBACK FORUM
What doesn't kill you, makes you stranger. - Joker, in The Dark Knight