Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Life & Amazon Reviews

As these entries on the Writing Life reflect, I read a wide range of print magazines and publications. Yesterday I was flipping through Rev. 7 which is a publication of the JAARS portion of Wycliffe Bible Translators. At their "newsworthy" section, I instantly spotted a photo of one of my long-term friends with these words, "David Ramsdale, former editor (1993-1998) for the JAARS magazine, Beyond, passed away April 19, 2008, after a short illness. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, and his two grown children."

While I understood the words in those sentences, they didn't make sense to me. What really happened to my friend and why was this notice the first time I've heard about it?

David Ramsdale was a trained pilot and over twenty-seven years ago, I had flown with him in the jungles of Peru in experiences so far back in my memory that they seemed like a lifetime ago. As David expressed interest in learning about writing, I had given him some encouragement and advice about getting started and encouraged his work as an editor. At Evangelical Press Association meetings, we sat around and laughed and enjoyed good conversation. Years ago I had even been entertained in his home in North Carolina.

Unsure what I would do or say, I picked up the phone and called Nancy to learn more details. He was ill for about three weeks and David suffered from endocarditis and multiple staph infections. She sent me an internal publication for pilots which included an article with this revealing paragraph about David, "Although he was an avid outdoorsman, David's passion was photography, which he incorporated into his work with Wycliffe. He was also a gifted writer and speaker. He loved to fly and sparked interest in aviation with the stories he shared about his years in the cockpit."

The experience reminded me about the brevity of life and how we need to celebrate today's opportunities and love the people who we touch.

As I talked a few minutes with Nancy, she mentioned that she had been looking at some books on Amazon and had read my review of Richard Mabry's book, The Tender Scar: Life After the Death of a Spouse. She was considering ordering this book and my review caught her attention.

If you look carefully at the permanent link, I wrote that review almost two years ago and it's one of a limited number of reviews for this book. I've written over 200 book reviews for a variety of books. It's one of the simple ways I can support good books. Customers are making buying decisions all the time related to these Amazon reviews because it's the largest online bookstore.

What can you do to add a few Amazon reviews to the pages of your books? You never know where it will have impact and influence.

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3 Comment:

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Kristi Holl Left a note...

Thanks for a touching--and thought-provoking--post. After reading how your review sparked an interest in a very helpful book, it gives me a better reason to write reviews. I feel like a dunce, but I honestly hadn't considered it from that angle.

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Richard Mabry Left a note...

Thanks for your thoughtfulness in sharing this story with me and then with your readers. Your review on Amazon, like so many of the things you do, is a testament to your caring nature. I appreciate the way you try to guide so many of us along the road of our own writing life.

At 3:22 AM, Blogger Mike Dellosso Left a note...

Terry, thanks for this post. I had a similar experience this weekend finding out about the death of Tony Snow who also suffered with colon cancer. It really hit home with me and reminded me once again that life is so short and so much is at stake. I must make every moment count and work hard while I can to fulfill the calling God has on my life. Thanks.


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