Making Sense of Book Reviews

Every author gets bad reviews. In and of itself that’s not necessarily a problem. After all, we can’t all like the same things. And a thorough review (whether it’s good or bad) gives the author the option to improve. However, the review I just received from Andrea Olson on Amazon wasn’t very helpful. While I’m going to refrain from commenting on Amazon, I do feel the need to write how I feel about it somewhere. So here it goes:

The Review

Here is what she wrote about my book:

“Full of opinions and misinformation, this book is definitely not recommended. It is a print-on-demand book which means self-published. There is no practical information on unassisted birth in here. And the misinformation is probably the most harmful thing about it. Please do not buy this book if you are looking for a manual on self-directed birth. I can’t speak highly of the other books on this exact topic, but Grantly Dick-Read’s book Childbirth Without Fear and Special Delivery (author?) and Emergency Childbirth by Dr. White are all much more correct and informative on this topic.”

What’s Wrong with Self-Published?

Self-publishing a book is pretty easy, I grant you that. And the freedom of free speech allows anyone to write about anything they want (including reviews about other people’s books). In view of the recent debacle with publisher pricing (where even Amazon got involved), self-publishing is not a bad idea, I think.

No Practical Information

I wonder if she read the book at all. I have tried to make this book practical. It definitely has more how-to information than other books on the topic. “Emergency Childbirth” definitely has some good pointers, and it was one of the references I used for my book. And for the people who don’t have time or desire to read it all I even produced checklists. There is also a condensed version for father’s in the back.

Misinformation in the Book

In her review, Andrea Olson writes that I posted misinformation in my book. However, she doesn’t give an example of misinformation. There’s a possibility of errors in my book (I freely admit it), but they certainly don’t stem from willfully giving the wrong information. In fact, I am already working on a revision to include a more detailed discussion on meconium in the amniotic fluid. In the current version of my book I advise readers to go to the hospital, but that might not be the best course of action after all (more on that in a different post).

Duplicate Review

The most ridiculous part about this review is that she posted the exact same review on Sarah Haydock’s book. The only thing she changed slightly was the title of her review. Did she really read either of our books? And since she wrote and self-published a book herself about Elimination Communication, shouldn’t that make her feel a little bit more positive towards unassisted childbirth?

Okay, now I’m done venting. Thanks for reading. :-) If you can give me useful feedback (good or bad) for my book, I’d love to hear about it.

UPDATE: This review has since been taken off of Amazon.