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From the archive…

I came across a link to a book on Amazon… suggesting readers check out the reviews.  The title, I admit, was not especially appealing… Microwave for One by Sonia Allison published in 1987. The reviews, however, are. In fact, they are superb. I sat there chuckling over my coffee. From the one-liners to the essays… there are even poems… hilarious. There are some very strange folk out there …

Now, I have not read the book. Nor have I any intention of ever doing so. The microwave sits virtually unused since the boys left home. But then, unless I have company, so does the cooker. However I do not wish to imply that this is not an excellent book for anyone wishing to maximise the benefits of their microwave for solitary cuisine. Ms Allison must know her stuff, having the best part of 60 books out there, many, it appears, dealing with microwave recipes. Personally, having previously experienced the horrors of the exploding microwaved egg and having recently rediscovered the joys of hot, buttered crumpets, I find I can live perfectly well out of the toaster.

Be that as it may, this lady has something all writers are desperate for. Not only does she have reviews, but people are engaging with the reviews… finding them ‘helpful’… commenting on them… One review has been rated ‘most helpful’ by over 3000 people….

Now, okay, these may not exactly be kosher reviews…may not even be reviews at all… I certainly hope not as if they are poor Ms Allison must be turning in her microwave roasting dish… She has already had the dubious honour of being voted saddest/worst book ever in a variety of arenas. Reassuring for writers as I feel we would have to go some way to surpass that achievement…

But she is still beating us indie authors hands down.

It isn’t just the independent books that struggle. New writers tend to think that marketing will be done by their publishers. Not so, most of it you have to do yourself whether you are with a mainstream publisher or are independent. And most writers realise fairly quickly that it isn’t easy. And often involves free copies or free downloads… which is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand those who might have bought the book now don’t have to… but if you are very lucky you might get a few decent reviews or recommendations. Or not. However, it is undeniably exciting to see your work getting out into the world and perhaps being read. As Ms Allison’s case illustrates, you don’t have to buy books on Amazon in order to review them there. I doubt many of her reviewers have even seen more than the cover.


Most writers simply want what they have written to be read, hopefully enjoyed and maybe recommended. We know the financial rewards are minimal… and although we can (and do!) dream, most of us don’t really care, keeping prices as low as physically possible, especially when you know your books are not mass market potboilers. You have no idea how we struggled with the cost of colour printing in The Initiate and its sequels… but, being old fashioned enough to love the feel of a book ourselves, the knowledge that a true bookworm can buy the printed book was important, even though the Kindle version is much more affordable… and you don’t even have to own a Kindle, but can read books… in colour too… on a plethora of devices with a free reading app.

There is a horror story that haunts the indie writer… that Amazon won’t promote a book till it has over 40 or so reviews. That may…or may not… be true. To get to that figure when many books have no reviews at all seems like a faraway dream. But at least they are ‘out there’… and one day, perhaps…

So worst book ever? Not so… Sonia Allison’s Microwave for One has achieved something many books will not… it has a Name, and a presence… notoriety… and 161 reviews.

Kudos, Ms Allison. I’d be happy with that!

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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16 Responses to Kudos

  1. Great post and so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Good to know it can happen!


  3. Mary Smith says:

    Oh, I’ve had such a giggle reading those reviews. Well done, Sonia.
    I don’t pay any attention to all the stuff written about how to get Amazon to promote your book. If I have a book on promotion I click on it – often – to see how it’s doing and then Amazon sends me an email suggesting I might like to buy it!


  4. This is a great review from you, Sue! I sometimes contemplate self-publishing…and passing out copies of my brilliance to strangers on the street 🙂


  5. dgkaye says:

    What a bizarre story, lol. I noticed the book was written in 1987. Perhaps it took decades to amass all those reviews so there’s hope for us all Sue. LOLLLLLLL 🙂 xx


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