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Publishing and Promoting > What's the unfairest review you've seen on someone ELSE'S book?

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message 1: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Pearson | 25 comments I saw a review once where the reader loved the book and would have given five stars, but said that delivery took so long she felt she had to give it one star.

message 2: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments The best one I saw was on a non fiction history book which was obviously NOT a novel, was perfectly clear about the non fiction genre and someone left a one star review saying they thought it was a novel and it was only worth one star.

Oh and someone who left a review with one star which said "Trollz" on a book with trolls in it. Ok so the review was worthless but it still bought the rating of the book down which seemed a bit mean.

message 3: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) There's a book with a description saying the story involves unmarried sex, seduction, prostitution, jealousy, temptation, lust, and forbidden pleasures. Then a reviewer gives it 1 star because "it was supposed to be a christian novel."

That one leaves me kind of speechless.

message 4: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments Hahaha wow. I do think sometimes it is up to the reader to do a bit of research.

What is the name of that book, sound like fun.

message 5: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Devon's Last Chance.


Sorry. Couldn't think of a ridiculous review someone else had gotten.

message 6: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) I read a bunch of the reviews for JK Rowling's newest, A Casual Vacancy. A bunch of people gave it a single star, many of them admitting they didn't read it, because it wasn't what they expected (even though the description is right there for all to read). It's not my cup of tea, either, but I certainly wouldn't give it a single star just because it wasn't Harry Potter.

message 7: by Nick (new)

Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments The worse reviews are the ones where the writers respond to a negative review, and then the flame wars start.

message 8: by Adriaan (new)

Adriaan Brae (adriaan_brae) | 7 comments I saw a 2-star on a book because, according to the review, the book's core premise (an alternate earth with no humans), was too close to that of a book by a more famous author (because no one's ever written about that before ;) ) Though the reviewer had neglected to determine that that the other book was actually first published well after this one.

I don't mind seeing an informative 1 or 2 star review. It's often what entices me to purchase a book. Particularly if the reviewer is annoyed by something that appeals to me, like 'excessive technical detail', or 'lack of christian morals'.

message 9: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments :)

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael McManus (michaelmcmanus) | 32 comments I have had a review like this, but I have seen it on other books. The reviewer picks up the book on a giveaway and scans it. She probably spends no more than half an hour on a book that took a year to write. She admits it is not the genre she normally reads (which is probably coloring books) and claims the book is junk, writing three paragraphs of irrelevant drivel, just to make sure that her review is noticed. That one star review will be sitting between four and five star reviews from people who enjoyed the experience of reading it, but she feels compelled to trash the book, even though she didn't actually read it.

message 11: by Nick (new)

Nick (nickanthony51) | 400 comments Mike,

The reader does not care if it took one day or one year for the writer to produce their book. Please explain why that statement is even relevant to the reader or reviewer? Does a year make it a better book than the writer who spent 3 months working on one, but less than the writer who spent two years crafting their book?

My mind is boggled...

message 12: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (alb2012) | 188 comments Some product descriptions can be vague, to be fair. It does certainly happen that people can try a new genre and not like it. Sometimes people don't like a book. You don;t have to finish a book in order to review it.

message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda Hunter | 1 comments When I buy a book I always look at the bad reviews first . . . I know that's kinda perverse but most of them are not well thought out and some of them are not about the book at all. Once in a while there is a well written, thoughtful negative review that helps you make a decision on the book. Instead of buying it right off I will then check it out of the library first. I have found that even those good bad reviews can be misleading. Good reviews where the reviewer praises the book are misleading sometimes too. . the first few of them seem to be the author's mother, sister and best friend. As authors, sometimes I think we give reviews too much importance. I have a few bad ones, but it doesn't seem to make a difference in my sales, and sometimes it think it helps. That mistake that some readers seem to make about expecting fiction characteristics of suspense, mystery and romance from a non-fiction seems to be more common than I thought. When I see that, I try to comment for the author since the author dare not respond. As a matter of fact, I think all authors should police other author's reviews for those kinds of things and put in a word. What do you think?

message 14: by Jill (last edited Jun 10, 2013 02:16PM) (new)

Jill Sanders (jillmsanders) | 88 comments I got one for my 2nd book... Download problems shouldn't count as reviews...

This was a 1 star on my KDP select free day, that had my downloads come to a halt.

Title was - Is this a joke???
Just downloaded this book. Found that each paragraph was missing 1 to 2 beginning sentences. Had to delete from my kindle. Was this a joke or what? Totally impossible to read.

When I messaged her trying to help with her download problems she never returned or answered. Other people I don't know have left her messages saying how unfair this review is...

Oh well... Amazon won't remove it either. Funny... I have other good reviews that get removed by them, but they don't remove one that has nothing to do with my book and everything to do with either their download or her device.

message 15: by Jon (new)

Jon Etheredge (jonetheredge) | 495 comments Mike wrote: "She admits it is not the genre she normally reads (which is probably coloring books) and claims the book is junk,..."

Is there money in coloring books? How about erotic coloring books?

message 16: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Linda wrote: "I think all authors should police other author's reviews for those kinds of things and put in a word. What do you think? "

That's a good idea. I told someone about the complaint I got for my book not being Christian when it was "supposed to be" according to the reader, and she said, "I'm gonna ask him where the hell he got that idea because I didn't see that in the description."

I think it's a great idea to make a counter comment that you know the author would like to make but shouldn't.

message 17: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) I wouldn't contact anyone. My thought was to make a comment on a ridiculously stupid review - if you've read the book and have a valid counter-point to make it.

It's something the author can't say themselves and it helps those who read reviews and comments to get a balanced perspective.

I think the dumbest reviews actually don't do any harm. As much as I wanted to comment back to my worst reviewer, I realized that everyone with a brain will see it for what it is.

message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael McManus (michaelmcmanus) | 32 comments I don't think commenting back on a bad review helps anything, whether it is done by the author, a friend or a fellow writer. The comment will most likely fall on deaf ears.

message 19: by Travis (new)

Travis Hill (angrygames) | 39 comments The very first review I received on my first published book (a science fiction novella about alien invasion) got a 2-star review that claimed my book was 'gay propaganda to further a gay agenda'. Which struck me as odd since the ten people that read it before I hit the publish button never mentioned that.

The novella does have some LGBT characters, but it isn't erotica or romance, there's no sex or kissing or anything of the sort.

I kind of raged a while, but instead of letting it get me down, I changed one of the genres to Gay & Lesbian (it is sitting at #20 in the Free - G&L section at Amazon so... I guess this is that whole 'turn lemons into lemonade' thing?)

As for replying to a 'bad' review...if the review points out something legitimate like I've missed a word or some punctuation, something I can fix, I will reply and apologize for letting an error(s) slip through, and thank them for pointing it out.

If someone just doesn't like the book, or says it is something it isn't...I agree, it isn't worth the effort to even reply.

message 20: by Cherie (new)

Cherie Magnus (tangocherie) | 37 comments I'm sorry, but this is regarding a review of my own book, a memoir. It made me laugh to read, "What a silly book. Who wants to hear about someones sex life. How boring........Was she bragging, I just didn't get the point of all her conquests. I would not recommend it to my friends. I thought I would learn more about the world of Tango, however, I didnt."

The annotation made it clear that it wasn't a "tango book," but a survivor's tale. Obviously this person, "Kristin Powell," got it on a free download day and never bothered to read beforehand what it was about.
However I think the 1-star review probably helped me!

message 21: by rivka (new)

rivka | 561 comments Goodreads Librarians are not employees of Goodreads, but rather volunteers. They have the ability to correct book records, adding missing covers, grouping books into series, and so on.

Their reviews and shelvings are given no higher weight than those of any other Goodreads member.

message 22: by Jon (new)

Jon Etheredge (jonetheredge) | 495 comments Kevin - if your book is free, then the offending shelver is dispensing good advice. Unfortunately, you can't publicly thank her for this service unless she is also an author. There are a few librarians who are also Goodreads authors, but only a few, and I've never known one to shelve someone else's books backhandedly.

Rivka says that librarian reviews and shelvings have the same weight as anyone else. Not so. A librarian is a volunteer who works their ass off to make Goodreads work. Because they do this for us, we ordinary mortals tend to elevate librarians to a slightly taller pedestal. When a few of them publicly markup a book as unworthy, their association with Goodreads amplifies the meaning of the slight, making the excuse of "I'm only a librarian" sounds disingenuous.

The practice of slanderous shelving has always been, and will always be, a problem with only one defense...grow some thicker skin (mine looks like rhino hide, but then I spend a lot of time in the sun).

message 23: by Jason (new)

Jason Reeser | 41 comments Edward wrote: "There's a book with a description saying the story involves unmarried sex, seduction, prostitution, jealousy, temptation, lust, and forbidden pleasures. Then a reviewer gives it 1 star because "it ..."
Was this a review of the Bible? It has all of those things, which can be a shock to people who have not read it.

message 24: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) LOL

message 25: by Jason (new)

Jason Reeser | 41 comments I think the following review is wonderfully instructive. And bear in mind this review is from someone who is listed as a school teacher. What I take away from this is that you cannot control who is reading your books. Everyone has their own perspective. It is mind-boggling how different we all are. I no longer mind bad reviews. If someone can say the following about "The Hobbit", then why worry, ever, about reviews. And by the way, there are currently over 27,000 one star reviews of "The Hobbit".
XXXXXX's review Feb
1 of 5 stars
Read in February, 20--

If you've heard the "Hallelujah Tolkien" chorus lately and have been encouraged to read the book that inspired the newly-released movie...DON'T DO IT - your friends are LYING when they say this is worth reading.

The only reason I read it was because I needed a fantasy book for a young adult literature class, and my fantasy-reading friends sang the praises of this book, especially because the movie just came out. I had started reading it a few years ago and put it down, but after hearing all the hype, I picked it up again and decided to give it a second chance.

That chance, my friends, was its last chance.

I love to read - I will forego just about anything to lose myself in a good book. But this book had me looking for other things to do INSTEAD of reading. I don't care about the abuse I have received (and no doubt will keep receiving - to the six other people out there who hated it, you are not alone) when I say that this was one of the most monotonous, long-winded, unnecessarily-descriptive books I've ever read. I understand that the "Lord of the Rings" series is better, but this has killed my willingness to read anything else by Tolkien.

And now I'm going to find some decent literature.

message 26: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) We all have different tastes and one person's treasure is often another's trash. I think the concern with bad reviews is for those who don't have Tolkien's track record. I'd love to have 27,000 bad reviews. lol

If you're new and have just a few reviews, or none at all, the fear is that an unfairly bad review will sink you before you get started.

But ultimately, I think good writing of good stories will win out in the end. Reviews are just a stressful part of it when starting out.

message 27: by D.M. (new)

D.M. (DMYates) One of my friends got a one star because the purchaser had trouble loading the book on her Kindle. She wrote that she loved the story, but felt the author should only get a one star for all the trouble she went through. Luckily another rater disagreed, and she upped her stars to three stars.

message 28: by Edward (last edited Jun 13, 2013 10:38AM) (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Yeah. Blame the author for your technical issues. People are amazing sometimes. (Too often.)

message 29: by D.M. (new)

D.M. (DMYates) Edward, I know, like we have any control over that.

message 30: by John (new)

John Hancock (johngregoryhancock) | 123 comments I read an amazon review of The Hawk and His Boy
1 star: "I made it through 22% of the book and was totally bored. I didn't care about the characters. Nothing in the story interested me. There was no great magic system, nothing. In other words, nothing was novel or fun, so I quit reading."

The reason this is funny is that the very first scene in the book is a boy defeating magic wards to break into a building where he is scratched by a magic knife held in a magic box and should have died but is resurrected by magicians.

Obviously, this person did not read the book, even to the 22% mark. btw, I loved this book, I think people should have opinions, but this is an obvious lie for whatever reason.

message 31: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) Well, to be fair, that reviewer said there was 'no great magic SYSTEM', not 'no magic', so perhaps they were looking for something completely different from what they'd previously read. But I personally wouldn't rate a book at all if I'd read less than a quarter of it.

message 32: by John (new)

John Hancock (johngregoryhancock) | 123 comments K.A. wrote: "Well, to be fair, that reviewer said there was 'no great magic SYSTEM', not 'no magic', so perhaps they were looking for something completely different from what they'd previously read. But I perso..."

valid point, I guess. Still, if they'd read the 22% they said they had, they'd have tripped over the magic system embedded or displayed in ceiling mosaic which uses words from an old language to conjure the power of avatars of the elements of fire, water, wind, and earth and their opposition to darkness, with the avatars of those powers walking the world and resurrecting themselves by assuming new identities every hundred years and communicating with animals and creating to keeping the fabric of reality intact, I could go on here.

I consider that a "system".

LOL (to the reviewer, not you, K.A.)

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