Reviews and Feedback

I’ve been getting some lovely feedback this past week. It can be hard to balance good reviews against negative ones. It is common to dwell more on the bad comments, but it’s not helpful. It’s also far too easy to read too much into throw-away remarks.

One of my first big features was about the Pendle Witches Vintage Velo, for Cycling Active, which I wrote last spring. I’d never covered an event before. Hell, I’d never taken part in a cycling event before either – so I was terrified. Luckily the photography responsibilities were turned over to Rick Robson of cyclesport.com, so “all” I had to do was ride the course and interview people.

I rode the shorter course, and spent a few hours in the pub afterwards, asking the same inane questions of all the cyclists: “why vintage”, “why this”, “did you like it?” and so on. I submitted the feature and the magazine continued to give me work. All good?

In the run up to this year’s event, I googled to find the website. I didn’t just find the website – I found a forum where some cyclists were discussing last year’s event. I was mentioned. Nothing negative, not at all – but there was a comment to the tune of “she didn’t mention Waddington Fell, as if the course was easy after Nick O’Pendle” and so on. I got annoyed and I wanted to log in and justify that. Thing is, I hadn’t done the long course, and I was hardly going to write about something I had not done. I stopped myself from logging in and entering a year-old debate. Who really cared? It was a fleeting moment in someone else’s conversation. It only lives on in my mind.

Luckily, I have had a lot of “woo-hoo!” moments lately. Perhaps we need three positive comments to outweigh a slightly negative one. I’ve done another big feature for CA, about Team Glow and their challenge to get women up Really Big Hills. Over the past week, at least four women have joined the Team Glow facebook page, mentioning that they say it in CA, and each time I read that, I grin like an idiot.

My erotica ebooks don’t attract reviews, either good or bad. That’s understandable; who wants everyone on Amazon seeing that you enjoy the kinkier side of things? Except on Barnes and Noble, where reviews can be left anonymously. The latest? “YOLO.” That’s it. I had to look it up – “You Only Live Once.” I think that’s a good review. Perhaps they were typing one-handed. I like to think so.

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