Two things happened this morning that gave me pause.
Yesterday I finished a book on my Kindle. I’m not going to mention the name of the book, but I kept thinking I should write a review on amazon. So I went to the page and saw the book already had seventy-six reviews – all of them four- and five-star. I planned to give it a three-star review but really wanted to make it a two-star. I thought the writing was immature and the plot over the top and contrived for its genre, which I suppose is “chick lit.”
I couldn’t write the review. I didn’t like it because it’s not my style or genre of choice. I liked the concept of it and loved the title and kept hoping it would redeem itself in some way by the end. But it didn’t. I left the review page without writing anything. It just didn’t seem fair to pour my opinion on another writer.
Then I went to my Goodreads page for my book Live from the Road. I’m not really sure how Goodreads works, but I’m learning. I discovered there were two reviews there. One was already posted on amazon over the weekend. It was a four-star review by someone from Texas. I liked the review because it was specific to the book, and I knew the reader “got it.” But it received a four-star for a very specific reason, too, and the reviewer specified the reason. I appreciate that. But the other review on Goodreads was a two-star review with little information on why the reader didn’t like it. Two stars hurts no matter how hard I try to blow it off. It’s the first negative thing I’ve heard about the book, and I’d really like to know more than it didn’t do anything for this reader. Is it because it’s just not her style or genre? Or is it really that bad?
I’m not whining. I just don’t know what to think. Some reviewers say they won’t post a review unless they can give it a four- or five-star recommendation. But then shouldn’t poorly written books be given honest reviews, too?
I’d like to start a discussion here about reviews and what they mean. In this world of the Internet, folks can post anonymously for a whole cornucopia of reasons. Those of us putting our work out there depend on the reviews, the “likes,” the comments for our success or failure. The public depends on the reviews to make purchasing decisions. It hurts us all if the reviews less than honest – good and bad. I ask that if anyone reviews my books that you give me an honest review with specifics whether it’s a five-star or two-star review.
What do you think? How important are the reviews to you as a writer and/or consumer?
See – I’m really not whining.