As the date for the release of my second story (EXPLORE WITH ME) approaches, I’ve been doing a ‘countdown’ with little thoughts/ideas. When I thought about something to share today, it came to me from a review for the first (WAIT FOR ME). I’ve always cautioned authors that reviews ARE NOT for them, they’re for readers; that even a not so good one can be a good thing. But, yes, I fell into the trap, I read some reviews on Amazon for my book. And for the most part they were good, but then there was a one star which made me pause. You see, the reader, was going on about their impressions of the book and all I could think was “huh? Was that the book I wrote?” But every book isn’t for every reader, so I shrugged it off and moved on. It made me think though. Maybe I hadn’t been clear in my descriptions? Maybe the facts I used weren’t clear?
One of the comments that this reader made was “it’s a military story, what’s with the Stetsons and spurs?” I asked around and I guess I just missed it with this one reader because I was assured that I was clear and described it well enough. You see, the military has A LOT of traditions that harken back to their history. One such branch is the Cavalry. When the Army started out the Cavalry was actually that – soldiers on horseback but as things became mechanized the Cavalry moved to armored vehicles (including helicopters).
Keeping in touch with their history, current members of the Army that serve in Cavalry units can participate in a Spur Ride to become a member of the Order of the Spur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Spur). When someone completes their Spur Ride, they are authorized to wear a Stetson and Spurs. The Stetson has unit insignia, rank, badges and a cord (the color of the cord may be either Yellow for the Cavalry OR the color associated with the soldier’s branch).
Here are a few pictures of my husband’s Stetson and Spurs. His cord is Red for Artillery; has the crossed swords for the Cavalry and then on the sides his badges at the time (Jumpmaster and Air Assault) and his two units of Association (shhh, ignore the dust, it’s been over 20 years since he earns his Stetson and Spurs and been…yeah, let’s not mention how long since he’s worn them).
So I guess reviews aren’t a bad thing for authors – you can learn something from every reader if you look closely enough without emotion (which I know is hard). And remember I said that there’s no ugly when it comes to reviews in the title – a bad (one star) review can generate as much interest as a good one if looked at properly.