Don’t blame Amazon or Goodreads for authors writing rave reviews of their own work. Writers have been self-promoting since the 1700s, when it was called “puffery.” As Nicholas Mason writes for Symposium Magazine, “Nearly every British writer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries either participated in or benefitted from ginned-up book reviews.” The list of puffed up authors includes Mary Wollstonecraft, Walter Scott, and Mary Shelley.
Recommended Reading: Return to Oakpine author Ron Carlson’s short story, “How Things Have Actually Changed Since We Did Secede from the United States.”
Longtime writers know how hard it can be to tell when a piece is finished. Tolstoy famously tried to revise War and Peace right up to the book’s publication. At the Ploughshares blog, Amy Jo Burns offers tips for evaluating a piece before deciding to give it to someone else.
If you’re looking for some great poetry, check out these classic poems that will change your life, from Robert Frost’s “This Man Stops By Woods On a Snowy Eve… You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!” to Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool… and You Can Be Too After These 5 Easy Tricks.” Pair with this Millions piece on poetry for people who hate poetry.