I think I first became aware of Big Al's Books and Pals in March of 2011 when I was researching blogs to which I could peddle my first book. At that time, the story of the day was "The Greek Seaman"
Please, God, tell me I spelled that right...
Apparently, Big Al posted a review that the author of that book did not like. I admit, I read a free sample to to get a feel for who was right and who was wrong. Just let me say that Big Al was professional and constructive in his critique. Only my humble opinion, of course. The uproar went viral and, in all likelihood, everyone involved probably resents it being brought up again.
The meltdown was fun to watch, though. It was sort of like Charlie Sheen meets, well, Charlie Sheen. That may sound sadistic and I do not normally indulge in such things, but the author in question forced me to keep watching just like Charlie Sheen did with his Tiger Blood videos. I had no choice and it taught me what NOT to do when I got a bad review.
That fiasco, entertaining as it was, became my introduction to Big Al's site. Truthfully, it made me nervous about sending my book to him and his pals. But, I did send the .MOBI file and received a nice email (may have been a form letter) telling me that they were booked up forever and would get to my literary life's work when they could.
While I waited, I continued to read the site and the reviews posted there. All of the reviews, from Al himself or from one of his Pals, seemed measured. No bashing, no gushing, just a review of both story and presentation. At some point, I honestly forgot that I had sent them “The Reluctant.”
Today, my comrade Frank Smith sent me an email saying that my book had been reviewed on the Big Al site. There was also a note from Google Alerts (a dirty little secret most authors use) just after Frank's email stating the same thing. I may have broken out into a slight sweat. Would “The Reluctant” be given the “Greek Seaman” treatment? Would Big Al see my genius? (Fine, I even laughed at that last part myself...)
As it turned out, neither was the case. I remember telling myself, before more than a handful of people had read the book, that I would be glad to get three stars out of five from a site like that. “The Reluctant” garnered four stars probably due to Trica's hard work and that of my little team. Yes, Fishducky, that includes past and future beta readers! More importantly, to me, the review was thoughtful and actually provided a different take on the story.
Ratings are nice and I have been most fortunate with the ones received thus far. Thoughtful reviews are even better. I appreciate every one of those I get even if they are not completely positive. With a review, you know that the person actually read the book and you get their opinion on it. Often, you learn something or get to view the story in a different way. That is valuable coming from anyone.
Please note that I have not commented on the review itself. It's one of those rules for a writer. You shouldn't comment on negative reviews so that means you can't comment on the positive ones either. Such is life. I will just say that I was happy to my that my book made it onto the site and that there is no meltdown in my future.
Maybe by this time next year he will review “The Willing.” Dare I hope?
If you are an indie author, or a fan of indie authors, Big Al's Books and Pals should be on your regular reading list.