American Idol Voting and Book Reviews

I’ve been an avid viewer of American Idol since season one (though I don’t vote anymore because whoever I call for gets voted off … my daughters still blame me for Chris Daughtry going home). Watching the result show last night and reading some backlash on message boards brought to my mind the writing community and how we face the same issues when it comes to voting or as we call them reviews. One group prefers one style over another and is amazed when their preference doesn’t ‘win’. There has to be rigging involved or the rest of the voting public has bad taste because no one could actually think that the others are better.

For some reason when it comes to the entertainment/creative field, some people don’t believe that anyone could actually enjoy/like a singer that they don’t. I see the same attitude when it comes to books. I read a few boards geared toward writers and readers and there is always a debate about why certain books take off and others don’t. Lower starred reviews are seen as a conspiracy/rigging against authors. Some find it hard to believe that a reader could honestly not like a particular work. It has to be jealously or some other malice involved.

But even more confusing … and troubling … to me is when books that are bestsellers are sneered at as not being well written. For some reason some writers feel that some best sellers are unworthy of that kind success based on their view of the book and believe that readers who bought and enjoyed those books just don’t know good writing. The question I see asked a lot on message boards is how can anyone call that good writing?

To me the answer is simple … every reader has a different opinion of what is the most important element of a book. Some like a more plot centered book. Others want characters that make them feel as if they know them in real life. Some want to be entertained and to laugh. Others want a book that will make them think and reevaluate their stances on issues.

Some people love country music. Others love metal. Some like to watch a singer perform. Others just like a singer to sing. Some readers love fantasy. Others science fiction. Some readers want some romance in their mystery or suspense. Others would prefer that the entire focus of the book remains with the crime.

Voting for the next American Idol or reviewing a book isn’t a choice/conspiracy against an artist. It’s an opinion of what an individual personally enjoys … what speaks to them. There is no correct preference. And there’s no preference that is wrong.

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