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For Reviews and Reviewers > WTF? First 1-Star Review!

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve Cohen (bystevecohen) | 16 comments Isn't it weird to get a review from someone who hasn't read the book?

"Insulted by the language! Didn't read it!" http://amzn.to/Q7FXIp http://on.fb.me/Sgh0wc


message 2: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) It's a reader's right. I have had the equivalent. You ain't an author until you've got a one-star, that's what I've said since. Also, readers work in mysterious ways, is my slogan too, because we can't always figure out reader behaviour -- and we shouldn't expect to. They don't have to behave in ways transparent to us. I was happy with myself that I didn't get upset at my one-star. Next test is a savage review, but I face that with much more confidence.


message 3: by Clodia (new)

Clodia Metelli (clodiametelli) | 7 comments I suppose it is rather nice though to think that your only 1* so far is from someone who hasn't even read your book!

It would never occur to me to bother to review a book I couldn't be bothered to read, but perhaps some readers have meticulous habits where every book they pick up needs some recorded comment. One gets the impression that some online reviews function more as personal memoranda than an address to the world at large.


message 4: by Gordon (new)

Gordon Vivace | 14 comments Steve wrote: "Isn't it weird to get a review from someone who hasn't read the book?

"Insulted by the language! Didn't read it!" http://amzn.to/Q7FXIp http://on.fb.me/Sgh0wc"


Consider it part of human nature; though I'm sorry you had to experience it. In the restaurant business, we have people who write glowing reviews and then leave us one star across the board in all categories (food, service, ambiance) because they didn't like the napkins or couldn't pay with an expired coupon. I also had one leave us one star having never eaten there because we were full and he didn't have a reservation. Don't let it get you down!

That being said, most sites have published community standards that include having to actually try the product to review it. A nicely worded email to the site might get that review taken down.


message 5: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments I'm still working on the thick skin thing. Anytime I see I have a new review a pray, "Please not from a troll. Please not from a troll." I know I need to get tougher, but I hope it'll get to the point where I won't even read them. Sadly, I only have one book out, so knowing how the public is reacting is helping. Luckily, the current reviews have been positive. Good luck to everyone!


message 6: by Scott (last edited Jan 05, 2013 07:12AM) (new)

Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews) (scottmarlowe) I got a 1 star review from someone who definitely read the book because they gave away the ending! This was out on Amazon. Other readers berated the person for it but Amazon refused to remove the review even though their guidelines at the time stated "no spoilers". I even asked if they could simply edit the content to remove the spoiler. No dice.


message 7: by Sara (last edited Jan 05, 2013 10:52PM) (new)

Sara Burr (sarafurlongburr) | 13 comments Rebekah, like you I also get a knot in my stomach every time I see a new review. It's not that I don't want the reviews, it's my deep-seated insecurities rearing their ugly heads. So far, they've all been positive reviews, but I know that the dreaded 1* is an inevitability (whether deserved or not). I guess it's just a part of being an author. You can't please everyone.

Steve, I'm sorry to hear about the poor review. However, it should make you feel better that the reviewer didn't read your book. She obviously was expecting it to be about something that it wasn't. Clearly, she had no business writing a review.


message 8: by Erren (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 35 comments Whoa! That's nasty! Amazon won't even follow their own guidelines? Why can't people respect Endings and not spoil them for everyone?


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

One star reviews are terrible, but they are also part of being an author. Every book has someone who is going to hate it -- whether it's a classic, a best seller, or an Indie book. Nobody likes to get negative reviews, but I think it's best to shake it off and move on; focus on the readers who like your books, not those who don't.


message 10: by Kim (new)

Kim Donovan | 17 comments Hello Steve
I know it must hurt - i've been there. But having looked at your Amazon page and the glowing reviews of your book I really don't think you have anything to worry about. It wouldn't put me off buying it. Perhaps when someone writes you a new review on goodreads why not ask them if they would put it on Amazon too. Then this silly review will soon disappear from the main page.

Congratulations on the book. It looks great!
With best wishes
Kim
The Riotous Rocket Ship Robbery (St Viper's School for Super Villains, #1) by Kim Donovan


message 11: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments Sara wrote: "Rebekah, like you I also get a knot in my stomach every time I see a new review. It's not that I don't want the reviews, it's my deep-seated insecurities rearing their ugly heads. So far, they've ..."

I just keep telling myself that the reviews so far have been favorable and not everyone will absolutely love it. It's just how the world works.


message 12: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 22 comments I've gotten one as well, I just keep reminding myself that the postive reviews outweight the bad ones. Everyone has different tastes in books. If you get a one star review that doesn't mean you have a bad book it just means that it wasn't for them.

I blogged about this very thing not too long ago, The Positives about a Negative Review, you might find it interesting.


message 13: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) To tell you a secret, it's the three stars that sting me. Lukewarm? No no -- not that.


message 14: by Miles (new)

Miles Gentry (miles_gentry) | 76 comments Lauryn wrote: "I blogged about this very thing not too long ago, The Positives about a Negative Review, you might find it interesting."

Just read that blog post - good stuff, thanks for sharing. One sentence you wrote (in particular), is perhaps the best advice to give.

"The goal isn’t to write a book that everyone is going to like, the goal is to write a book that you like and then to find the right audience for it." - Lauryn April

Very well said!


message 15: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 22 comments Miles wrote: "Lauryn wrote: "I blogged about this very thing not too long ago, The Positives about a Negative Review, you might find it interesting."

Just read that blog post - good stuff, thanks for sharing. O..."


Thank you!


message 16: by Sara (new)

Sara Burr (sarafurlongburr) | 13 comments Rebekah wrote: "Sara wrote: "Rebekah, like you I also get a knot in my stomach every time I see a new review. It's not that I don't want the reviews, it's my deep-seated insecurities rearing their ugly heads. So ..."

I know. I keep telling myself that as well. Someone shelved my book under "sampled but not bought" today and I nearly died. LOL. I think I need to grab my suit of armor and suck it up like a big girl.


message 17: by Walter (new)

Walter Rhein | 1 comments I used to be bothered by negative reviews as well...until I realized that they almost always lead to more sales than positive reviews do. I've even gotten book deals as a result of negative reviews...go figure.


message 18: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments Walter wrote: "I used to be bothered by negative reviews as well...until I realized that they almost always lead to more sales than positive reviews do. I've even gotten book deals as a result of negative reviews..."

If most people are like me, negative reviews make me curious if the story really was all that bad. I can think of only one case (which will remain nameless, as it was an indie) that I thought the negative reviews were spot on and the higher ranked reviews were wrong (Oh, opinions and tastes. Gotta love them).


message 19: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) They very often complain about factors that are positives for me. And I have seen that said again and again by readers. I've seen other readers say, a poor review just gives them that perverse urge to find out, 'for myself'. In short, I have come to sincerely believe, no review is bad for you. --Even when a book is direly written by general consensus, it becomes a cult hit and sells. Not sure I want that sort of fame but...


message 20: by Miles (new)

Miles Gentry (miles_gentry) | 76 comments Walter wrote: "I used to be bothered by negative reviews as well...until I realized that they almost always lead to more sales than positive reviews do. I've even gotten book deals as a result of negative reviews..."

Wow, that is fantastic!


message 21: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Hassall | 4 comments I have to be honest - I haven't had a one star review yet. I'm actually quite excited for it (because I've had enough positive to make me confident) - and I will publish it on my Facebook for my friends to laugh at. I'm not sure why, I think it's because I know, as an author, I'll need to handle it.

Interesting post, I would prefer if people read my work first before reviewing it!


message 22: by Brian (new)

Brian Meeks (extremelyavg) | 5 comments Some one star reviews are warranted, though. I recently read read "A Farewell to Arms" by Hemingway, and it probably deserved a one star review, but I gave it three, because I'm pretty much an optimist. That being said, he is such a dreadful writer, that I feel I did other readers a disservice by lying with three stars.

I'd like to know the story behind how he got published. I bet that is a juicy tale of sex, intrigue, and possibly blackmail.


message 23: by Mike (new)

Mike (antonygloster) | 13 comments Brian wrote: "Some one star reviews are warranted, though. I recently read read "A Farewell to Arms" by Hemingway, and it probably deserved a one star review, but I gave it three, because I'm pretty much an opti..."

You REALLY think Hemingway won the Nobel Prize through sex, intrigue or blackmail?


message 24: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments So, I had yet to really see when an author freaked out over a bad review. Just saw one on a book (and author) that I'll keep nameless. I wanted to just sit back with a bucket of popcorn and watch everything unfold.

That being said, I hope I can be somewhat gracious with bad reviews. Like people have said, bad reviews are at least reviews. The more I think about it, the more I'd like to think I can grow as an author because of it. I'm not in college anymore. I need to educate myself to get better. If I did decide to speak to a reviewer, I hope it wouldn't be on an open forum. Email's great! Of course, I'm such a weenie most of the time, I'd probably not say anything than risk a verbal bloodbath. Fans and anti-fans are PASSIONATE. Yikes!


message 25: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) It's weird, but frankly people are weird. This week alone I've seen so much crazy that it scares me. Some people think if they think it, it's ok to say it. I don't know why they think any good can come out of it. I'm sorry this happened to you. Write it off as someone venting their frustrations on life in an inappropriate place and be glad for better reviews.


message 26: by Storm (new)

Storm Chase I am very interested in 1 star reviews, mostly because I enjoy looking at the motivation behind them.

One of the things that fascinates me on Goodreads is the number of people who only give 1 star reviews. It's like their Mean Thought For The Day.

One star reviews never put me off looking at a book. Where sneak peek previews are offered, I ignore all reviews and take a look before buying. Otherwise, I tend to go on recommendations from people whose taste I know matches mine.

Right, and by tomorrow I'll put up sneak peeks for my books on Goodreads! Got to get my day job work out of the way first!


message 27: by Storm (new)

Storm Chase Bryn wrote: "To tell you a secret, it's the three stars that sting me. Lukewarm? No no -- not that."

LOL! I like that!


message 28: by Storm (new)

Storm Chase Lauryn wrote: "I've gotten one as well, I just keep reminding myself that the postive reviews outweight the bad ones. Everyone has different tastes in books. If you get a one star review that doesn't mean you hav..."

I like this and will link to it on my facebook page and keep it for the people who write the my day job alter ego asking for writer help. Too many new writers are crucified by one star reviews. This will cheer them up.


message 29: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Peterson (tanyajpeterson) Ah, the public is fickle! And hurtful sometimes too. I think it's good to keep in mind the overall message of the reviews we receive. Do most people rate a book higher rather than lower? If so, then it's a nice indication that a book is strong and well-received in general. It can definitely be difficult to keep the big picture in mind, though, when a poor review is staring one in the face.

I have something crazy to share about ratings: my newest novel, Leave of Absence, isn't even available yet, but I've placed some info about it on my Goodreads author page. Someone has given it a three-star rating despite the fact that it hasn't been released! Sigh.


message 30: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer I agree with Tanya. It's the overall message of the review. When I read reviews about a book, I read the message the 5 star and 1 star reviews are saying. If the one star review says I didn't like the characters and couldn't get into it, then I know I can ignore the review. It isn't helpful. I think most people do the same. They're not going to make a judgment call off a 1 star review that lacks information, just like they wouldn't for a 5 star.

Good Luck! Overall, your book is receiving good and honest reviews.

Denise Baer
http://www.authordenisebaer.com/


message 31: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments I got one yesterday (okay, it was a 2-star review, but my first bad one!), and gotta love my friends, they were the ones that said that the person should take an English class for grammar. I thought it, but didn't say it. :-/
Oh well. Can't please everyone.


message 32: by Kathleen (last edited Feb 27, 2013 09:56AM) (new)

Kathleen McMahon (kathleen_mcmahon) | 9 comments Kathleen McMahon

I had an author friend get a one-star review because the person was mad about having to pay an excise tax on the book.

Sigh.

Comes with the territory. I always think it best not to reply or respond to such reviews but just work on getting more positive reviews so that one sticks out like an anomaly and then is properly ignored.


message 33: by Sara (last edited Feb 27, 2013 11:40AM) (new)

Sara Burr (sarafurlongburr) | 13 comments I just received my first bad one, a three star (no, it's not that bad, but it was still a kick in the teeth when you're used to four and five star reviews). The review actually made me feel like I was being talked down to by the reviewer, which was upsetting. My science-fiction novel was too much fiction with not enough science to back up the plot. To each their own, I guess. You're not going to please everyone, so you had just better prep yourself for the blows to come. At least, your book is being read and the readers are reviewing it. Although, it did make me feel better that he gave The Hunger Games 3 stars, too. LOL.

I completely agree with the statement that you should never comment on a negative review (there are some who would even argue that you shouldn't comment on positive ones, either). It makes you as an author look unprofessional and can turn readers away.


message 34: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Martin (martinbeks) | 16 comments Sara wrote: "I just received my first bad one, a three star (no, it's not that bad, but it was still a kick in the teeth when you're used to four and five star reviews). The review actually made me feel like I ..."

My mom's best friend gave me one of those. I just rolled my eyes and went with it. She did the same thing to my mom's book, Prairie Storms, so I just figure there's no pleasing her.


message 35: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen McMahon (kathleen_mcmahon) | 9 comments Kathleen McMahon
It occurs to me that regular items on Amazon also sometimes get bad reviews for reasons that have more to do shipping or things unrelated to the actual product. Feedback and ratings are sometimes the buyer's chance to rate their buying experience (or just their opinion about the general value of a product like that) and is not always about the product itself. I guess that carries over to books as well.


message 36: by Lia (new)

Lia Black (liablack) | 4 comments I wish that people who rated things on Goodreads were required to give a review…sometimes a negative review can be helpful (provided it was written by someone actually offering a critique and not just venting because they hate your cover or something).

I agree with earlier posts—I am always more interested to hear what someone doesn’t like about a book. Often the one star reviews have less to do with the book and more to do with the reviewer just not liking the story, the author, or some other thing that has nothing to do with the author's competence.


message 37: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Sharpe (witlesslackey) | 19 comments I have a one star rating from an account with no photo, no personal information, and only 7 other books (that are all classics, obviously selected when starting the account) that all have five star ratings.

Hater's are going to hate. That's just a sad fact.


message 38: by Shannon (last edited Mar 04, 2013 10:04AM) (new)

Shannon Dermott (shannondermott) | 45 comments Not everyone is going to love any one book. It's just a fact. It sucks and it hurts to get those reviews, but such is life. Hopefully the review isn't mean spirited and you can learn from constructive criticism. I hear from so many authors, don't read reviews. They can break your spirit. I've never learned. I read each and everyone.


message 39: by Mike (new)

Mike (antonygloster) | 13 comments Shannon wrote: "Not everyone is going to love any one book..."

Absolutely right. You are far more likely to learn from a critical but honest review. Five star puffs are good for the ego but not that useful for a writer who wants to get better.
Of course there are a some lousy, spiteful reviews and these are relatively easy to spot even if not easy to ignore. Learn where you can, ignore where you can't. You get used to the pain and you learn to write better. I'm sure that's true for most.


message 40: by Jayne (new)

Jayne (ladyjaguar) | 53 comments Dianne wrote: "I just wish there was some way to get a spiteful review off of a site."

The thing is, you'll always get them, and they say more about the person writing them than about the book. I've written 1 star reviews but have stressed that it is my opinion, which people can take or leave. The exception was 50 Shades of Grey, in which case, its open season I'm afraid. The little guys like us, we need to show some support. But if I think the writing is lazy or the book is poorly put together, I'll say so. There's no point in stroking someone's ego just in the hope of getting a good review back, especially if the book is not fit for purpose (in my humble opinion.)

And I fully accept that I will get bad reviews as well. We all do. We have to suck it up, learn from them, and move on. The review that started this discussion was just dumb, and to lose any sleep over it is just a waste of time and energy. It's the indifferent ones that hurt the most, although, if they felt that indifferent, would they have bothered leaving a review in the first place? Something to think about.


message 41: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 133 comments Jayne, I appreciate your mention of the whole, "I'll do yours if you'll do mine" culture that's grown up over the past few years. It's been the bane of Indie Authors everywhere, and has given online reviews such a bad name we've all got to struggle to get out from underneath it. Having a few negative reviews among the raves is a good sign, even better are the thoughtful ones that specifically point out our shortcomings so we can work to correct those issues. I'm more grateful for those, actually.


message 42: by September (new)

September Lynn (SeptemberLynnGray) | 22 comments Steve wrote: "Isn't it weird to get a review from someone who hasn't read the book?

"Insulted by the language! Didn't read it!" http://amzn.to/Q7FXIp http://on.fb.me/Sgh0wc"

If it makes you feel any better, at least you get reviews. I have trouble finding people that will take a GIFTED copy of my kindle book in exchange for a review. Also, it's actually a positive thing. People in this discussion are clicking on your link out of curiosity and seeing the good reviews along with the bad. I mean, that's what I just did. What I'm trying to say is, any review is a good review in the long run.


message 43: by Angela (last edited Jan 01, 2014 10:37PM) (new)

Angela Oliver (lemurkat) | 3 comments I got my first 1* review on the 6th December for Aroha's Grand Adventure. Oddly enough, it appears that she (?) joined GoodReads specifically to rate one of my 3 books with 1*, but did not leave me a review. If you felt such a strong dislike of a book, so strong that you would join a review site specifically to rate it, wouldn't you also feel you should express more with a review? She has not R&R'd anything more since then, nor rated any of my other books. It's a bit of a mystery!

Like was mentioned before - it makes you wonder if you have a secret hater or perhaps, in my case, have offended another author by giving them a low (but honest) review of their own book and this is their way of getting their "revenge".

Curious to hear if anyone else has experienced similar.


message 44: by Angela (new)

Angela Oliver (lemurkat) | 3 comments September wrote: "If it makes you feel any better, at least you get reviews. I have trouble finding people that will take a GIFTED copy of my kindle book in exchange for a review."

I like to read and review other folk's books. If you wish for me to read yours, drop me a line. We can exchange titles if any of my three interest you. Is yours on GoodReads yet? I notice you do not have an author profile at present.


message 45: by Judy (new)

Judy Goodwin | 12 comments Well I guess I'm officially a writer now. ;-) A year after its publication, my first book finally got its first 1 star rating on Goodreads. (Still just four and five stars on Amazon, so far.) No review, just a rating.

And like you, Dennis, it's a brand new member with mostly classic books and books that are not anywhere NEAR the same genre as mine. So it makes you wonder if you said something somewhere that pissed somebody off, or what? I guess I should be flattered she even looked at the book which is clearly not the type that she reads. I mean a 1 star when I'm being compared to The Crucible and Stephen King isn't all that bad.

Ah well.


message 46: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 133 comments These are threatening waters... full of lurking mines. A writer can't help but piss off some people from time to time. You've earned your stripes, Judy! Wear 'em with pride. Here's something that may bring a smile: a catalog of trolls to look out for...


message 47: by K. (new)

K. Hippolite (ktotheny) | 1 comments I got mine 2 weeks before the book's even out and the giveaway hasn't ended yet, so I know they didn't get a copy that way.

At least now the only direction my average can go is up.

\o/


message 48: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 24 comments Walter wrote: "I used to be bothered by negative reviews as well...until I realized that they almost always lead to more sales than positive reviews do. I've even gotten book deals as a result of negative reviews..."

The world is a truly amazing place.


message 49: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 24 comments Mike wrote: "Shannon wrote: "Not everyone is going to love any one book..."

Absolutely right. You are far more likely to learn from a critical but honest review. Five star puffs are good for the ego but not th..."


Yikes! I go to a critique service and to writer friends for help with my books before I publish. The critique services are very explicit about what is wrong and what could use improvement. They also say what is good too. Publishing is too scary to do anything but put one's best foot forward, so I get help before I publish.


message 50: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Joyce | 24 comments Brian wrote: "Some one star reviews are warranted, though. I recently read read "A Farewell to Arms" by Hemingway, and it probably deserved a one star review, but I gave it three, because I'm pretty much an opti..."

Oh this if funny! I don't like Hemmingway either, but many love his work. He is a good writer, but I think he is considered brilliant by people who like his world view. People tend to laud what is good about what they like, forgiving what is not good. Similarly people trash what is poor in what they don't like, ignoring what is good. When I was a preschooler my father took my brother and me to the Boston Museum to see a Rembrandt exhibition. I asked my father, in full 4 year arrogance, what made Rembrandt so great. He managed to answer in a way that was helpful to a four year old. But as an adult I realize this is the quitessential question of all art and literature and should be the subject of a review--What makes it so great?


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