The Last Era of the Ethical Writer

I want readers to review my work through an honest lens. According to others, that’s not the path to success. Five-star reviews only, or the book distributor algorithm will relegate you to obscurity row. Well, that’s unfortunate.

When did we segue into this idea that our readers must give us a five-star review or else? Anything less is a death knell and a means to go on an essay-length Facebook rant calling the violator everything but a child of God. Are we so egotistical as writers that we cannot handle any criticism – no matter how well-intentioned or mild – or is it truly about staying at the top by any means necessary?

I’m a reader as well as a writer and to me, the latter, cannot be without the other. If I read a book and leave a review it will be honest and respectful to the craft (at least I try to be. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes, I’m triggered by an author’s inherent bias that shines through their work. I’ll admit to that shortcoming).  But by the end, honesty trumps all else. Which should give you a hint that I take writing very serious.

But living in a Capitalist society that wraps itself in a mirage of rugged individualism, what matters is the perception, the win. The belief that you have lots of friends and lots of people that say yes to your writing. The truth doesn’t matter. The authenticity of those affirmations doesn’t matter. Ethics be damned.