Nilesh Kashyap's Reviews > Journey to Virginland: Epistle 1

Journey to Virginland by Armen Melikian
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May 15, 12

bookshelves: wishlist, to-read

This is not a review and if you are author of this book, it’s a humble request that please DO NOT read this.
For everyone else and especially if you are author:
READ THIS. IT’S FUCKING IMPORTANT.

So I have entered and lost the giveaway of this book for the second time. But now I see that this book is up for giveaway for the third time. So before entering the giveaway (for the third time), I decided to have a look at the rating and reviews of this book.


So I start with the giveaway details and it says something like this:
“ Enter ONLY IF you love 1. reading a book with highly advanced vocabulary, 2. thinking all along, 3. doing a very serious reading (it’s NOT a light read), 4. grappling with philosophical concepts and your philosophy of life and morality, 5. reading ferocious religious satire that will disrespect and destroy your religious identity, and 6. would love avant-garde that turns upside down the conventions of the novel.

This is NOT a traditional novel with a smooth or chronological narrative. You will need to read the book twice. YOU WILL BE EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IF LOOKING FOR A MASS-MARKET, USER-FRIENDLY, SMOOTH READING. If that's the case, DO NOT ENTER, do not even bother. Some college education would be a plus.”

I may add that this giveaway is listed by the author himself, so that boasting or praise or warning (whatever it is) about this book comes from author himself.


Then I opened the book page and see that it has won few awards. I proceed to the reviews, and I see that first 4-5 reviews has one like each and the person to like each review is no one but the author himself.
So, my first impulse is to open the author profile page.

Now, get ready and brace yourself for the roller-coaster ride of what I’m about to say ahead.

The author’s name is Armen Melikian (go ahead and click it, see it for yourself what I’m about to say) and he has given two ratings. Two ratings to two different edition of his own book and obviously the rating is 5 stars for both. There is one review he has written of his own book which comprises of praises by critics, that’s a good thing.
As I am scrolling down, I see someone looking exactly like the author among his fans. Next second my doubt is cleared as the update beside it says:

“Armen Melikian became a fan of goodreads author Armen Melikian”

Just below that next update is “Armen Melikian voted on the list Best Books of the 21st century”. But sadly enough he has voted here for To Kill a Mockingbird, but no, a big fucking NO, here also he has voted for his own book.
Last one: Armen Melikian’s favourite author – Armen Melikian.
Yeah, done!
I just don’t understand what are we readers going to do if everything is done by the author himself?

I don’t exactly remember how many (goodreads) author I have as friends but I am writing about few of those who I recall.

>> Manny Rayner has written a book that consists of collection of best reviews he has written on goodreads. He has rated his book 5 stars and has written an excellent review that consists of praises (and abuses) from various reviewers and the latter part is how to get published if you’re deciding the same thing or how he got it published right.
But he has also rated the ebook edition of same book with 3 stars calling it “cheap and tacky PDF edition”. What I definitely see is humour in that.


>> Kat Lowe on the contrary to both she has not rated her book but has written a great review which starts as:

“If you are looking for the Midwest Book Review of Dream Cat, I have demoted it to the end of this post. (No disrespect intended, just hated that it appeared that I was giving my own book 5 stars.)

Since this is goodreads, where I exist primarily as a reader, and only secondarily as an author, I would like to post some of my thoughts and intentions in writing this book.”

>> Caris O’Malley has written a book called The Egg Said Nothing. What I know about Caris, Dan (a goodreads friend) writes in his review of Caris’s book “Caris O’Malley happens to be fairly prominent reviewer on goodreads and doesn’t even have an author profile. Pretty sneaky.”
In an interview with Dan, what Caris says about not entering goodreads author program is:

“ I try to keep my established identity on GR to the greatest extent possible. You may have noticed that I’m not a “GoodReads Author.” This is intentional. I want to hold on to all the aspects of GR that I love. If people want to talk to me about my book, that’s great. But I want to be their friend, too. I refuse to let GR just turn into another promotional tool. It’s too important to me.”

What we have before us, are Armen and Caris, who are extreme of the opposite sides, while both Manny and Kat lies somewhere in between.
I know that authors enter the goodreads author program with first and foremost reason to promote and spread words about their upcoming or published book and thus they want to make their book visible to the world involved in reading. But there is a point, where one has to stop and let the readers decide what they are worth. If one tries to cross that line, it means one thing for me, that you are going to lose your integrity and end up mocking the relationship that an author builds with reader.
I am writing this whole thing, because I want to know how this thing can be rationalized/justified. I am fairly sure that what Armen has done cannot be justified. But still, I would love to hear from everyone and you are most welcomed if you’re an author.


If you’re author of this book, it means you continued reading this despite my warning. Now, all I want to say is, I was just trying to make a point that has been on my mind for a while and you need to think over this too. I really wish you best of luck for this newly published book and all the best for your future.

A FEW WORDS OF PRAISE FOR THIS REVIEW AND ITS REVIEWER
As you have seen this is an amazing review written by everyone’s favourite reviwer, Nilesh. Nilesh has worked very hard in writing this review, collecting material from various sources. Though Nilesh has not used advanced vocabulary like Armen, but still this is a thought-provoking and must have made you think all along while reading.
People are crazy about him and his reviews which are excellent as usual and this is evident from all the stats on goodreads like best reviewer, top reviewer, most followed and top reader, which are all ruled by him, well, the person I’m talking is not Nilesh but rather Stephen... but Nilesh is pretty good too (inspired by Mike Reynolds).


P.S. I’m going to read Caris’s book at the end of this month.
P.P.S. The five sparkling and glowing stars you see at the top of this review is not for this book but for this amazing and brilliant piece of writing.






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Comments (showing 107-156)





message 156: by Dan (new)

Dan 1.0 I'll vote for any review that mentions me


message 155: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Now onwards first thing I'll do is to mention you in my every reviews.
But for this what I need more is comment.


message 154: by Dan (new)

Dan 1.0 You make good points about authors abusing Goodreads. I tend to ignore Goodreads authors unless they participate in other aspects of the site and don't just use it as a promotional tool.


message 153: by Alan (new)

Alan I'm a goodreads author and don't like to promote my books too much on this site, because first and foremost I'm on this site as a reader. However I had to rate a book I edited (Going the Distance) because it only had one one star review, and I felt for the other authors in the book. Similarly I rated a book I was in (Best British Short Stories 2011) because I enjoyed all the other stories.
Hopefully you'll let me off charges of self-promotion and Goodreads abuse!


message 152: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Promotional tool is one aspect and most important for authors, but how can they give rating to their own book, its simple that they will remain biased.


message 151: by Marvin (last edited May 14, 2012 06:24AM) (new)

Marvin Goodreads authors are both a blessing and a curse. I agree with Dan. Friending me only because you want to hawk your book is bit of an insult. Yet I've found some authors to be sincerely interested in what Goodreads and their friends have to offer.

BTW, the best author review about his own book is this one.


message 150: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap I posted message 5 before your message came Alan, so that is not for you. And I get the point that they were collaborative work and you rated for other's work. And I am not accusing anybody but some authors reach the height in promoting that become laughable.


message 149: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Marvin wrote: "BTW, the best author review about his own book is this one."

What the hell! Is he joking and trying to sound funny? Or Is he telling truth and it came out as ludicrous.


message 148: by Marvin (last edited May 14, 2012 07:02AM) (new)

Marvin It's a joke. In the comments, he states it is "100% lies." I believe he is making fun of authors who review their own books. Personally, I think it is very funny.


message 147: by Alan (new)

Alan it's hilarious


message 146: by Marvin (new)

Marvin Also, it doesn't take much to get an author page. Years ago I was credited for my contribution to an obscure thesaurus. During a browsing session, I came across this. I don't intend to use it and become a "Goodreads author". At least not until I write something more substantial than listings words from M to R.


message 145: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Yeah! I Should have understood that when people with arthritis and without hand entered the story. And tweed with duct tape. Lol!


message 144: by René (new)

René Just last week an author posted his own book to a forum the Paris book club uses to track club-worthy books. It felt like it must feel when someone breaks into your home and sticks post-its on your fridge reminding you to invite them to dinner.


message 143: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten When I get a friend request from an author who A)Are not currently reading a book(s) B)Have added no books to their identity except their own. C) Are not participating in goodreads except to promote their own books. I ignore their request.

If you are a writer why aren't you reading books?

If an author wants us (goodreads readers) to read their book the best thing they can do is participate in the goodreads community. As we interact with them the chances of us reading their book go up by leaps and bounds.

Great review Nilesh. This has been on my mind for a while now too.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Your point is a good one, and an important one. Rate your own book! Review your own book! But remember that, if you don't want to get a rep as just another huckster, you'd better invest some time and effort into the site before its members will happily support you.


message 141: by Marvin (new)

Marvin Oh how funny. I have a fan!

My best friend of course!


message 140: by Nilesh (last edited May 14, 2012 07:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Marvin wrote: "Oh how funny. I have a fan!

My best friend of course!"


Yeah, I was just about to tell you that you just became famous.


message 139: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Jeffrey wrote: "When I get a friend request from an author who A)Are not currently reading a book(s) B)Have added no books to their identity except their own. C) Are not participating in goodreads except to promot..."

Thanks Jeffrey!
Its certain enough that if someone wrote a book then he must have read some too. But having time only to rate their own book, makes clear their aim of just promoting and nothing else.
I also have received request from author who do nothing, not even talk about their book but just keep making friends. Thousand and thousand of friends, other than adding friends, no activity.


message 138: by René (new)

René I propose we host a self-deprecating review contest for writers. The most scathing self-flagellation wins.

Then, we all become fans of one another to make the hurt better.


message 137: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Nilesh wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "When I get a friend request from an author who A)Are not currently reading a book(s) B)Have added no books to their identity except their own. C) Are not participating in goodreads ..."

Yeah ever so often I do a sweep and delete those people off my friends list. I also don't like the people that treat goodreads like facebook by making insipid comments about their lives yet never rate a book or add a book. Go back to facebook please.


message 136: by René (new)

René Jeffrey wrote: "Yeah ever so often I do a sweep and delete those people off my friends list. I also don't like the people that treat goodreads like facebook by making insipid comments about their lives yet never rate a book or add a book. Go back to facebook please. "

I keep getting unfriended on Facebook by people who are sick and tired of reading my stupid book reviews and would like to see pictures of my cat.


message 135: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten René wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "Yeah ever so often I do a sweep and delete those people off my friends list. I also don't like the people that treat goodreads like facebook by making insipid comments about their l..."

Haha I've had people comment that the only activity they see on my facebook is book reviews. I probably need to quit sending my reviews to facebook before I run out of friends.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I think my Facebook friends all set me to "ignore" long ago.


message 133: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller I find the facebook/ GR liason pretty silly. I never activated mine. If my facebook friends (I never visit fb anyway) wanted to read book reviews, they'd come to GR, right?

Anyway, I'm curious about this book now. ..but I don't want to buy something from someone this arrogant until I have proof that his bite matches his bark.


message 132: by Manny (new)

Manny Manny Rayner has written a book that consists of collection of best reviews he has written on goodreads. He has rated his book 5 stars and has written an excellent review that consists of praises (and abuses) from various reviewers

Hey, thank you! I decided to concentrate on the abuse, because it was generally funnier and I didn't want to embarrass anyone by quoting something nice they might have said in a moment of weakness. I'm sorry if my quality control slipped - I'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

If anyone else wants to write an abusive review of my book, please message me and I'll send you a free copy of the cheap, tacky PDF. If you aren't abusive enough on your own, I reserve the right to quote you out of context.


message 131: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Kat wrote: "*snark* Nice treatment of a prickly topic, Nilesh.

P.S. This review is a beautiful example of what makes goodreads so great: readers freely discussing books...and anything that affects our enjoyme..."


Thanks Kat! I was really worried with thoughts about, what would be response from you and Manny. 'am really happy that both of you took it positively and appreciated the point I am trying to make.

And yes, its prickly topic so I was trudging with this idea thinking how to write about it without hurting (author) friends and sending out clear message.


message 130: by Nilesh (last edited May 14, 2012 09:16AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Traveller wrote: "I find the facebook/ GR liason pretty silly. I never activated mine. If my facebook friends (I never visit fb anyway) wanted to read book reviews, they'd come to GR, right?

Anyway, I'm curious abo..."


The thing I remember about facebook are broken and fractured english sentences. And while reading it seemed like everyone was typing from a broken keyboard with missing keys, and I wondered that am I the only person with his all keys intact to keyboard. *shudders* will never go back to that place


message 129: by Marvin (new)

Marvin Manny wrote: If anyone else wants to write an abusive review of my book, please message me and I'll send you a free copy of the cheap, tacky PDF. If you aren't abusive enough on your own, I reserve the right to quote you out of context.

He's not kidding. I can vouch for this!


message 128: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Announcement: Get Manny's burger book for free and still feel free to abuse him if he has never liked or commented on your review.


message 127: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller Would you e-mail me one before I wrote the abusive review, Manny? Or do I have to write an abusive review first to acquire the honor?


message 126: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Manny wrote: "Hey, thank you! I decided to concentrate on the abuse, because it was generally funnier and I didn't want to embarrass anyone by quoting something nice they might have said in a moment of weakness."

I was struggling with the thought: are they abuse or praise, they could have been love words from friends too. But calling you 'Hairball' didn't look like praise or any form of love.


message 125: by Manny (last edited May 14, 2012 10:03AM) (new)

Manny Nilesh wrote: "calling you 'Hairball' didn't look like praise or any form of love."

Marvin claims he was talking about his cat, but I know better.


message 124: by Marvin (last edited May 14, 2012 10:55AM) (new)

Marvin Hey Nilesh! Pay attention to the "Quote you out of context" part;)

My review of Manny's book


message 123: by Jane (new)

Jane Nice discussion (although it's starting to deteriorate :) ). I'm going to self-publish soon and the question of whether to become a Goodreads author is tormenting me. I'm leaning towards not, because like Caris I'm on here as a reader and if I decide to give a low rating to a book I want to do it as "Jane the reader telling you what she thinks" not "Jane the author knocking someone else's book to make herself look/feel better". Does that make sense? Similarly, I don't want to feel I have to suck up to other writers just to "support the team". Heck, by the friend requests I get, 95% of Goodreadians are writers! (And unlike some, I respond positively to their requests because sometimes, just sometimes, I find a little gem amidst the dross.)

But then is being an author on GR and NOT being a GR author "sneaky"? I don't want to be sneaky. I'd like to be able to put a photo and bio on my GR author page, just so readers can see a face. I'd like to be able to do Q&As on my books.

I almost feel there should be two sites: one for readers only (and that vets account creation because there are way too many readers called Publishing Company) and a Goodreads Author site where people publicize their books. It's maddening that if I choose to be a GR author I have to merge my profiles and won't be able to go back to being just a reader.

AAAGH! I'm spoiling my experience as a reader by becoming an author! Darn those voices in my head.


message 122: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Jane wrote: "Nice discussion (although it's starting to deteriorate :) ). I'm going to self-publish soon and the question of whether to become a Goodreads author is tormenting me. I'm leaning towards not, becau..."

I struggled with these exact same feelings, Jane, and partly because my stories are in anthologies and I don't have a book all my own, so I struggled if that made me a 'real' writer or not. But my GR friends, who have known me for a long time via other book-related internet sites, encouraged me to become a GR author. My compromise to myself was not to solicit GR friends, but let them come to me naturally. That's worked out well. I broke my rule just recently bc I really wanted the person for my friend due to discussions we were having on mutual friends' reviews and wanting to make sure I didn't miss any of her own reviews. When she accepted my friendship, she exclaimed that she hadn't even known I was a writer beforehand. So while your profiles are merged, it is possible to participate as a Reader (which I am and always will be first and foremost) in some cases without anyone knowing you are an Author as well -- and I love that.


message 121: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls I'm always disappointed when I see reviewers I like with GR author profiles, unless a significant heft of texts hath flown from their quills over the years. The five-stars thing is shameless self-indulgence and I wince whenever an author does that. If they give it four stars I have bags more respect for them. This Melikian sounds like an arse . . . shame you gave his book five stars, somewhat undercutting your point. :/


message 120: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten Jane wrote: "Nice discussion (although it's starting to deteriorate :) ). I'm going to self-publish soon and the question of whether to become a Goodreads author is tormenting me. I'm leaning towards not, becau..."

The great thing about you Jane is that you participate on goodreads. You read books. You read reviews. You comment on reviews. Participation is what this site is about. I assume that won't change once you become a published writer. My issue with some of these writers is they just parachute in and put out a bunch of friend requests with the sole purpose of hawking their book.


message 119: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan I fully agree with you here. When I started using goodreads, author Michael J. Sullivan sent me a message when I added his book but unlike many of the others he wasn't just about self promotion. What I've seen is his appreciation and desire to promote other authors also. Not to mention he gave me some tips on other good authors to read.


message 118: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Jane wrote: "Nice discussion (although it's starting to deteriorate :) ). I'm going to self-publish soon and the question of whether to become a Goodreads author is tormenting me. I'm leaning towards not, becau..."

Hey Jane, why would it torment you if you want to become goodreads author. There is very little difference in readers and authors. Its just that you have written a book and you want people to know about it. But the authors with screwed mentality make the difference. One has to just retain honesty in rating and reviewing, and one can't be very honest when rating their own book.
Author reviewing other author's book may have effect like "Jane the author knocking someone else's book to make herself look/feel better", certainly Stephen King bashed Twilight, that wasn't King trying to himself, but just telling what he felt.
What I'm trying to say is there no need for another site for authors but this is perfect place, if they can do it all without stooping low.


message 117: by Nilesh (last edited May 14, 2012 06:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap MJ wrote: "The five-stars thing is shameless self-indulgence and I wince whenever an author does that. If they give it four stars I have bags more respect for them. This Melikian sounds like an arse . . . shame you gave his book five stars, somewhat undercutting your point. :/"

Authors giving four or three stars to their own book can be pretty tricky thing, it means you see some flaw in your book and that will definitely make you think if author himself doesn't like the book then maybe I should avoid it. A nice review that comprises of reason and story behind writing that particular book can be appreciated but rating with any number of stars can make reader repulsive to that author.
And about my 5 stars, I was just making fun of own-book rating authors by rating my own review with those stars and praising myself.


message 116: by Armen (new) - added it

Armen Melikian Imagination has no bounds...
Pontification with no regard to substance...

There shall always be readers full of self-importance who without reading a line from a given author shall imagine themselves qualified to tarnish his literature.

It's a cheap shot...


message 115: by Armen (new) - added it

Armen Melikian "IMAGINATION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KNOWLEDGE"--Albert Einstein


message 114: by Manny (new)

Manny Oh, I've given five stars to all my own books (except the cheap and tacky PDF), but that's just a subjective judgement! I mean, I've read all of them at least half a dozen times while composing, editing and correcting. How could I have read a book half a dozen times if I didn't think it was amazing? But my rating isn't mean to imply that anyone else will necessarily feel the same way.


message 113: by Jayaprakash (new)

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy I think people just take things too seriously. A couple of books I've contributed to are listed on Goodreads and I've gotten listed as an author. It's just a statement of fact, which as a wise person once said, cannot be insolent. Am I going to rate these books? Possibly, they're both multiple-author anthologies. Am I going create sock puppets and add people on goodreads to shill my books? No. Life is too fucking short to spend it selling yourself when there are lots more interesting people all around.


message 112: by Manny (new)

Manny Jayaprakash, you mean you've never been tempted to use a sock-puppet to write a really unpleasant one-star review of your own book in Hungarian? Not that I wish to imply I've ever done that, of course not, Ms Sakkfeminizmus is her own woman.


message 111: by Jane (new)

Jane Thanks for the support lovely Goodreadians! I still don't know which way I'm going to jump, but the main thing is not to be obnoxious. And in fact, with all the author friend requests I've accepted (LOTS!) I have only had to block one person, and have had really good conversations with several authors.

It's extremely important that the Goodreads community keep politely informing authors how they should behave to keep the respect of readers, particularly in not reacting badly to adverse reviews. Some of my favorite reviews are the snarky ones, and I uphold any reader's right to say exactly what they think of a book without fear of any kind of repercussion. If our book sucks, it's our job to write a better book and not the readers' job to make us feel better!


message 110: by Marvin (last edited May 14, 2012 10:37PM) (new)

Marvin Jane. I do hope you become a Goodreads author. Those authors who are also avid readers and participants in Goodreads are part of what makes this an unique site.

Just a little on my experiences with authors on Goodreads. If an author has one of two books, no history of participation except to hawk their books or no reviews and simply says, "Hey. Read my book." I ignore them. However I've had authors write me a nice email and ask me if I want an ebook so I can read their book and review it if I wish. These are the ones that take the time to see if I like books of their types and realize Goodreads is a give-and-take experience. Many of these authors are now on my friends list. I've yet to have a bad experience with any of them even the ones I gave not so stellar reviews to. Also,some of my best internet discussion (like this one) takes place on Goodreads.

I must admit I cannot resist writing a snarky review sometimes but I usually save those for established or over-hyped authors. I do think it is good for a reviewer to offer constructive criticism especially to new authors who are honing their craft.

So I tend to agree with you. Let's politely educate authors on the best way to participate and ignore those who don't get the message


message 109: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Wow! Armen, you surprised me, I was expecting very good comment from you and you gave me this.
First of all, did you read my review with your laptop turned upside down? Where did in the whole review have I said anything about your book? So from where did the statement came that I am tarnishing you literature?
I was talking about that how you are using this site and your attitude. I don’t know what goes in your mind about yourself but your profile looks something like this:
X: Which is your favourite book?
Armen (A): The one I wrote.
X: Who is your favourite author?
A: Armen, that’s me.
X: wow! Which is second best book?
A: The ebook edition of my book.
X: They must be good...
A: Certainly, I have rated both of them with 5 stars while I didn’t consider any other book worthy to be rated with any number of stars, to be true, I have not any other book than mine.
X: Looks like readers are in for a treat
A: No doubt, it’s best book of the 21st century

I hope you get it right this time Armen.
Armen wrote: “Imagination has no bounds...
Pontification with no regard to substance...”
Yeah, yeah! I get it you have strong vocabulary. And what’s that you are posting about imagination, are you trolling!


message 108: by Nilesh (last edited May 14, 2012 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Armen wrote: "Imagination has no bounds...
Pontification with no regard to substance...

There shall always be readers full of self-importance who without reading a line from a given author shall imagine themsel..."


Is this pontification? Nope, this is discussion.
Am I full of self importance? Maybe, I can’t do self evaluation but looks like you can do and you did pretty good one.
Do I think of Myself as qualified enough? Hell no, if I did think of myself as such then we wouldn’t be having this discussion rather I would have been passing judgement.
Is this cheap shot? Maybe, but not cheaper than what you did.


message 107: by Nilesh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nilesh Kashyap Manny wrote: "Oh, I've given five stars to all my own books (except the cheap and tacky PDF), but that's just a subjective judgement! I mean, I've read all of them at least half a dozen times while composing, ed..."

Yes Manny, there is very little option for the author to rate their own book, either 5 stars or no rating. One must have read their own book many times but I think if I were reading my own writing than I would be actually admiring my creation rather than reading it critically. That is where editors come into the play, they know what’s right, wrong and what’s perfect. And, how good is it? That should be left to the readers.


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