Yup. When I first saw the not so sparkly 2-star review for my book, WordPress For Beginners, my knee jerk response was to comment on the post itself. But I resisted, because you know, that’s just so “needy”.
Instead, here I am writing a whole long blog post about it, almost a month later. And no that’s not needy…right? RIGHT?
Before I go on, let me just say that writing a book can be a terrifying experience. You’re putting something so personal out into the world with no control over how it will be received. Errr..how can a book on web design be “something so personal”, you ask?
Well, I don’t care if the topic is Potatoes of Idaho, if it’s a book, it’s personal. Period.
Also, writing a book on WordPress is not easy as the software is constantly evolving. Every few months there’s a new update and it gets really hard to keep all the content forever fresh. Also, editing a published book takes time, no matter how small the change. So unless it’s absolutely necessary, I wait for 3-4 edits to pile up before I take the book down for making changes.
Anyway back to the review – when I first noticed it, I was on vacation. Which isn’t to say I didn’t care about it- I took a few breaths, acknowledged the hurt, realized that every reader is entitled to his/her opinion and then distracted myself with many a vacation goodies.
I really thought I had made my peace with it, but turns out I was in denial. And this realization dawned upon me just yesterday.
Yesterday was one of those days when, you know, for no reason at all you find yourself mired in anxiety, fear, insecurity and other equally delectable emotions. And then to top it all, out of the blue, I thought about the review.
And this time it STUNG.
And this time there were no distractions to protect me.
So this time I decided to vent. Just a tad.
Now let me be clear, I really do think that each reader (and consumer in general) is entitled to his/her opinion and my objective is not to impugn their review or get defensive. Instead, the underlying aim of this blog post is two-fold: (1) Give my insecurities a voice and (2) Present my side of the “story”.
But first off, some gratitude for the review: it did get me to stop procrastinating and make a few changes to the book. Changes that weren’t that big a deal, but long overdue. So thank you reviewer, for the well deserved kick in the butt!
Okay on to the “review of the review”, if you will.
#1 The reviewer: ” If you want to draw viewers to your site do not purchase this book, it is a waste of your money.”
Me: Okay, this one really killed me. And since I am dead, there’s not much I can say.
(Wakes up from the dead..)
#2 The reviewer: “…scattered in direction & the SEO advice is already outdated”
Me: I put in a lot of thought to plan out the book and I tried my best to present the material in a way that would make it easy for the readers to set up a website and also leave room for flexibility to make changes in the future. That’s why I divided the content into 3 steps: The Essentials, The Optimization, The Design. Also, the book uses a companion website, so it’s not all theory.
I am quite sure, if I had to do it all over again, I would stick to the 3-step format.
As for the SEO advice, the book covers the basics of SEO and gives common sense tips and advice, instead of the latest “hacks” to manipulate the search results. The only part that I thought was outdated was the bit on the Google keyword tool and that’s been fixed.
#3 “There are better resources & youtube videos.”
Me: Now that really is a subjective call and might be true, so can’t say much there.
#4 If the Author would have done more research and thought out a plan for the book & site it might have been better.
Me: Let me just say here that plenty of research and planning went into it. That’s something I can say with sincere conviction and honesty. #2 above has more details.
That’s that I guess. Not sure if I am feeling better, but it had to be done.
Until next time…ciao.