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General Discussion > A GR "reviewer" dousing with 1 star....

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message 1: by Talia (last edited Sep 12, 2019 05:14PM) (new)

Talia Carner (authortalia) | 56 comments When someone rated my new book with 1 star but no review--where all others gave it 4-5 stars--I was curious as to what kind of books she liked. I clicked on her name to discover that she douses many books with 1 star. It's as if she reads the description, decides it's not for her/ doesn't interest her, and instead of just moving on, throws 1 star. This young woman lists 1,600 books, which means that she harms authors and books with little consideration.

Isn't there a GR standard that requires ratings to be based upon reading the book--or at least some portion of it--for an educated rating?


message 2: by Geoff (last edited Sep 12, 2019 06:15PM) (new)

Geoff Woodland | 27 comments I've had the same experience, so I looked up the books that the 'reviewer' is supposed to have 'reviewed', and found that I was on the same lever as Mark Twain, and several other well respected authors.
I felt a lot better afterwards, so I thanked the 'reviewer' for consider that I was on a similar level as H.G Wells & Mark Twain to name just two that I can remember :- o)


message 3: by Julian (last edited Sep 13, 2019 04:07AM) (new)

Julian Hilton | 18 comments I once had a reviewer that gave me exactly the same worded review as for another book. Now if that had been a short review I could have understood, but it was two or three sentences - so it was unclear which book the review had been about.

Was mine the original review? Was this a review for my book or the other one?

A poor review in the middle of 5 star reviews can stop sales dead. Could have been a coincidence, but it is conceivable that some may want to tarnish 5-star review records. Hard to say, maybe some people are just not as enthusiastic about things as others.

Then I thought I was just worrying about the performance of my book! In the end... nothing is stopping people leaving 5-star reviews for my book either. Eventually these odd reviews will get swallowed by better ones if the book is good. In the end, that's for the majority to decide I suppose.


message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 277 comments I remember being taught that one should evaluate the person making the criticism and if I can't respect the person why should I care about their opinion?


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael | 6 comments I had a one star review because the layout was too large on her / his kindle.


message 6: by Lexy (new)

Lexy Wolfe (lexy_wolfe) | 5 comments I got a 2-star rating for a book that hasn't released yet. (They supposedly acquired it through NetGalley.) Days later they put a written review that is a poorly regurgitated version of the book's blurb with no actual criticism or reason for a low rating. I can only hope that Goodreads does not have that much impact on my novel.


message 7: by Adam (new)

Adam Stone | 5 comments As a writer, I understand completely why something like this would be frustrating.

As a reader I can offer this condolence, I wouldn't take a one-star rating seriously without a good review explaining why the book was rated that low.
If the majority of the ratings are 4 or 5 stars, then one unexplained low rating is not going to stop me from buying the book if it looks like something I might like.


message 8: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 14, 2019 05:57PM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Talia wrote: "When someone rated my new book with 1 star but no review--where all others gave it 4-5 stars--I was curious as to what kind of books she liked. I clicked on her name to discover that she douses many books with 1 star. It's as if she reads the description, decides it's not for her/ doesn't interest her, and instead of just moving on, throws 1 star. This young woman lists 1,600 books, which means that she harms authors and books with little consideration.

Readers get to rate a book however they want, for whatever reason they want. Consumer ratings and reviews aren't to "harm" or help "authors and books", they're the opinion of one reader. We all get to have one.

Isn't there a GR standard that requires ratings to be based upon reading the book--or at least some portion of it--for an educated rating? "

Nope. And for darn good reason.

Readers aren't stupid. A negative rating from a complete stranger with no information whatsoever won't mean anything to anyone else.

My advice: stop looking at ratings/reviews for your books, they're not for you anyway.

If you're after an "educated rating" you want a professional review, which is quite a different thing altogether.


message 9: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 14, 2019 06:42PM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Julian wrote: "A poor review in the middle of 5 star reviews can stop sales dead.

The only people who think that are all trying to sell books. Readers don't dismiss a book that otherwise looks interesting to them due to 1 "poor review" from a complete stranger, who's taste they don't know. Not unless they mention something objective that the other particular reader doesn't like either.

Seriously, authors need to chill out. I've said this many, many times before, and I'll probably have to repeat it a unknown number of times to come: Readers know tastes and preferences vary. We do!! We are not lemmings. We don't blindly go off what some other person thinks, or even multiple people.

5 star reviews can, and do, steer people away from books that aren't their cup of tea, and a 1 star review can entice another reader into picking a book up because what is said about the book makes them think they will like it.

I have lost track of all the glowy 5 star reviews that helped me know a book was NOT for me.

Consumer reviews are not book promotions, and book consumers are individuals with a variety of tastes. We also are not stupid.

"In the end, that's for the majority to decide I suppose. "

That's not how it works.


message 10: by Talia (last edited Sep 15, 2019 07:30AM) (new)

Talia Carner (authortalia) | 56 comments To clarify: This novel is my 5th, and I've had hundreds of reviews (mostly glowing,) so I know to expect a range of opinions. Only once I responded to a reader who questioned historical accuracy. I've never complained about a less-than stellar review since I believe that only the Bible has an almost-universal appeal.
What I questioned here was the access to GR of a reader who threw in many hundreds of 1 stars (and another few hundreds of two stars) without a word of explanation, thus lowering many books' averages.


message 11: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Talia wrote: "What I questioned here was the access to GR of a reader who threw in many hundreds of 1 stars (and another few hundreds of two stars) without a word of explanation, thus lowering many books' averages. "

I know that, and you've been answered.


message 12: by Miss M (last edited Sep 15, 2019 01:54PM) (new)

Miss M | 84 comments Talia wrote: "To clarify: This novel is my 5th, and I've had hundreds of reviews (mostly glowing,) so I know to expect a range of opinions. Only once I responded to a reader who questioned historical accuracy. I..."

Nobody owes anybody an explanation of their GR reviews or ratings, least of all to the author. GR explicitly also has no requirement for someone to have read or prove they have read a book before rating. It’s impossible to control that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, GR deleted the long-running Feedback group where this came up for discussion frequently and staff made it clear that readers are free to rate completely as they choose - some rate books on whether they think they might be interesting, some use the scale in reverse with one star being the highest, etc. There’s just no way to regulate uniformity with the large membership and GR has made it clear they won’t interfere. If you think there’s something illegitimate going on you need to take it up directly with GR management via email but based on their history I believe they’ll tell you this is normal.


message 13: by Jim (last edited Sep 15, 2019 09:25AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic For whatever reason, the vast majority of avid readers choose to never post a rating or review. The minority that do post them do so to share their personal, and therefore subjective, opinion with fellow readers, not the author.

Contrary to what some novice authors believe, sales drive reviews, not the other way around. Rather than obsessing over consumer ratings and reviews, an author would be better served if they focused upon learning and striving to constantly improve upon their writing, marketing, and promotional skills.

In this extremely competitive field, very few achieve commercial success. That said; some do. There is no reason why you may not eventually become one of them. I wish you success.


message 14: by Jan (last edited Sep 15, 2019 01:48PM) (new)

Jan Notzon | 210 comments I think the lesson here is that while some may rate a book 1 star purposely to lower the book's overall rating (which is unfortunate), there is not much that can be done about it.
Life's unfair. (And there's not much that can be done about that either).


message 15: by Lexy (new)

Lexy Wolfe (lexy_wolfe) | 5 comments Jim wrote: "Contrary to what some novice authors believe, sales drive reviews, not the other way around. Rather than obsessing over consumer ratings and reviews, an author would be better served if they focused upon learning and striving to constantly improve upon their writing, marketing, and promotional skills."

So, I am admittedly novice in the arena of marketing and self-promotion. However, my concern is for a book that only has NetGalleys available (it publishes in about 40 days) getting a 2-star rating.

You are not of the opinion that a low rating could impact the view of potential buyers of whether they will even glance at the book? At least the ones that only glance at the stars and don't take the time to look at the actual reviews if any?


message 16: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 15, 2019 04:53PM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Lexy wrote: You are not of the opinion that a low rating could impact the view of potential buyers of whether they will even glance at the book? At least the ones that only glance at the stars and don't take the time to look at the actual reviews if any? "

There is nothing you can do about potential readers who only look at star ratings (although I don't know anyone like that).

Readers really are not stupid. We really do know that tastes vary. We really do know just because someone else we don't even know didn't like a book doesn't at all mean we will not.

We also know for ever well-beloved and popular book out there, there are people who, for whatever reason, didn't like it. We know even for all the books we hold near and dear to our hearts, there are people out there who, for whatever reason, didn't like it.

Really, I promise and pinky swear, we do know this!

Since your book is on Netgalley you do know, that does not at all suggest or guarantee a positive rating. Yes, I understand you feel the one you did get was disingenuous somehow, and that may be, but you also, hopefully, were prepared for the fact that you very possibly could get some negative ratings from those reading the ARC.


message 17: by Lexy (new)

Lexy Wolfe (lexy_wolfe) | 5 comments Alexandra wrote: "Since your book is on Netgalley you do know, that does not at all suggest or guarantee a positive rating. Yes, I understand you feel the one you did get was disingenuous somehow, and that may be, but you also, hopefully, were prepared for the fact that you very possibly could get some negative ratings from those reading the ARC."

Well, there is the little corner of my mind hoping that one of my efforts is the next great ooo-aah in the literary world, of course. It sits across the table from the other corner that thinks they will be regarded as one of the four horsemen of the literary apocalypse.

But more than anything, I hope for honest feedback/opinions from people I don't know that would help me improve my art by giving me hints where I may be lacking or telling me what they liked. I know those would be opinions more than anything, but I don't know what those things might be.

I don't want to be so arrogant as to think I know what readers would find enjoyable.


message 18: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 16, 2019 08:30AM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Lexy wrote: "Well, there is the little corner of my mind hoping that one of my efforts is the next great ooo-aah in the literary world, of course."

Sure, but even if that's true somebody isn't gonna like it. Just look at the ratings for books that fit that description. So, when you put a book out on Netgalley that means you must accept the fact that there may be negative ratings/reviews that result from that. Netgalley doesn't promise positive reviews.

But more than anything, I hope for honest feedback/opinions from people I don't know that would help me improve my art by giving me hints where I may be lacking or telling me what they liked.

Consumer reviews are not author feedback. They're not messages to authors, they're opinion posted for that person's benefit, and to share with other readers. Authors who read consumer reviews of their books are eavesdropping on a conversation not meant for them.

Feedback comes from critique groups, beta readers, editors, etc. and should be sought prior to publication.


message 19: by Jim (last edited Sep 16, 2019 11:51AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic Lexy wrote: "Jim wrote: "Contrary to what some novice authors believe, sales drive reviews, not the other way around. Rather than obsessing over consumer ratings and reviews, an author would be better served if..."

Lexy,

In answer to your question regarding potential readers of your work being discouraged or otherwise influenced by consumer ratings and/or reviews, I can only expand upon my previous observation as expressed in message 13.

Consumer ratings and reviews are merely personal, subjective opinions which readers wish to share with other readers. They are not intended for the author of the work. Readers who occasionally come across a consumer rating or review understand that one reader's "Best book ever!" may very well be another reader's "Worst book ever!".

Again, I strongly suggest that an author's time and effort be focused upon striving to constantly improve their writing, marketing, and promotional knowledge and skills rather than obsessing over ratings and/or reviews - positive or negative.


message 20: by Lexy (last edited Sep 17, 2019 01:39AM) (new)

Lexy Wolfe (lexy_wolfe) | 5 comments I suppose we authors/artists tend to regard book/art ratings much the same way that ratings can affect other consumer goods. If you were deciding between a 4.5-star fridge and a 2.0-star fridge, pretty sure you'd be more inclined toward the 4.5-star one.

Yes, I realize that a fridge is not a book, but the idea that the consumer thought process is groomed toward rating-based judgment is there. Also, if the fridge ratings included why (Door won't stay shut, the compressor broke after X months, etc) the manufacturer could make sure the next fridges have those problems addressed.

I disagree that reviews are not for the authors. They just aren't *only* for the authors. It would be like saying that the audience is not there to inform the actors/directors/writers on Broadway about how well they did.


message 21: by James (new)

James Best | 34 comments yes, the book art for the cover is very important to helping a book sell. I am proud of the covers I have on my two books. people have always told me they like the professional look which is because they were done by professionals.


message 22: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Lexy wrote: "I suppose we authors/artists tend to regard book/art ratings much the same way that ratings can affect other consumer goods. If you were deciding between a 4.5-star fridge and a 2.0-star fridge, pr..."

You can “disagree” with a fact all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact.

Consumer reviews are for the benefit of consumers. Trying to make them serve another purpose for the benefit of the product seller is a subversion of the intended purpose.


message 23: by Dana (last edited Sep 19, 2019 06:58PM) (new)

Dana Alexander | 10 comments Agree completely re: making reviews "serve another purpose for the benefit of the (product) seller". And yet it - "subversion of the intended purpose" - happens all the time when reviews are sought in illegitimate ways, either to boost positive ratings or counter negative ones. In those cases, I'm not sure how well reviews benefit the customer/consumer but rather focus on misleading them.


message 24: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 19, 2019 07:28PM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Dana wrote: "Agree completely re: making reviews "serve another purpose for the benefit of the (product) seller". And yet it - "subversion of the intended purpose" - happens all the time when reviews are sought in illegitimate ways, either to boost positive ratings or counter negative ones. In those cases, I'm not sure how well reviews benefit the customer/consumer but rather focus on misleading them. ."

Yes. There are certainly many unscrupulous people who are biased for the product seller who pollute the system for their own purposes. Such as,

1. Asking friends, family, fans to upvote positive reviews, downvote negative reviews.

2. Using any form of coercion or intimidation, including soft, subtle forms, to influence reviews to more positive and/or dissuade negative reviews.

3. Getting friends, family, fellow authors to post "reviews" which are really simply book promotion copy, and aren't even ethical enough to disclose their relationship with the author.

And, that's not getting into things like paying for fake reviews, and making a bunch of sockpuppet accounts for the same...

So sadly, yes, there are many who pervert the system, and do so to mislead consumers.

Authors have valid forms of marketing, promotion, advertising, and feedback.

Consumer reviews are none of those things.


message 25: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic Dana wrote: "Agree completely re: making reviews "serve another purpose for the benefit of the (product) seller". And yet it - "subversion of the intended purpose" - happens all the time when reviews are sought..."

Dana,

The fact that consumer reviews are nothing more than personal, subjective opinions is the very reason that intelligent, avid readers utilize other methods to choose which books they decide to read and which not to read.

The obvious abuse of consumer reviews by unscrupulous people such as those described by Alexandra in message 24 is the very reason why novice authors should not obsess over them.

Reviews do not drive sales. Sales drive reviews. So, if receiving reviews matters so much to a novice author, he/she should focus their energy, time, and resources on striving to continuously improve upon their craft, along with developing a working knowledge of effective marketing and promotional methodology.


message 26: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 20, 2019 08:48AM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Right.

I'll also add that those who do poison the system with their unethical gameplaying only serve to cause customers to be more skeptical and suspect regarding stranger reviews, rendering the system less helpful to everyone.

Lose consumer confidence in the consumer review system and authors won't benefit from them even as a side consequence. (Although it makes me sick to know that some authors will only care about keeping the consumer review system unadulterated if it's pointed out how it otherwise hurts them, because it's not enough to simply care about readers and reader's rights to have their say without authors trying to co-opt it for themselves.)

We're already moving in that direction, and it needs to stop.

We've already also lost many who had been popular reviewers, who stopped posting reviews altogether due to author shenanigans. Many, many others now won't even consider a self-pubbed book, for the same reasons. Many, many others are highly skeptical.

Even readers becoming aware that an author reads their reviews has a dampening effect, and also is a soft form of manipulation. Even when/if completely unintended, this alone can skew reviews to the positive. It can also lose you potential readers. Frankly, I am very turned off by authors who make it known they read the consumer reviews of their books to the point I won't even consider buying/reading them.

I wish all authors would please remember: Readers and consumers truly are not stupid.

Consumer reviews are the one place consumers get to have their voice, completely free of any concern or consideration of the product seller. That's how it's intended to be, and we deserve to be able to have our say too, share our opinion, without product sellers insisting it's for them in some way, or whining because it hurts their feelings, or throwing a tantrum because pesky consumers won't get in line to care about their business.

Read em if you wanna, I don't care, but don't suggest they are for the author in any way, shape or form - they are not.

Authors should strive to behave in a professional manner when using their author name in public, most especially in book venues. And I don't see professional, successful, popular authors going around talking about reading consumer reviews.

Doesn't mean none ever do, but they sure don't say it where customers and potential customers will see it.

Frankly, an author talking about consumer reviews of their books in public makes them look like amateurs, which doesn't give a good impression of their books.


message 27: by Lexy (new)

Lexy Wolfe (lexy_wolfe) | 5 comments Okay, fine. Reviews are not for authors to get any sort of feedback from readers. I won't argue the point anymore.

Where *should* authors go to get feedback? I would like to research that platform and leave everything else to whom it apparently belongs.


message 28: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 20, 2019 09:05AM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Lexy wrote: "Okay, fine. Reviews are not for authors to get any sort of feedback from readers."

I already answered that question in post #18

"Where *should* authors go to get feedback?"

Feedback comes from critique groups, beta readers, editors, etc. and should be sought prior to publication.

If you want feedback from regular readers, ask for beta readers. I also suggest joining an author critique group - one that won't blow smoke up your skirt.

If you just want casual interaction with those who have read your book(s) use your GR Author page, a Facebook page, your own website.


message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard (smashed-rat-on-press) | 30 comments Lexy wrote: "Where *should* authors go to get feedback?"

There are a number of critique groups here on GR. Search the groups page for "critique"...? Some authors have a regular group of beta readers, belong to writing groups, etc.


message 30: by Alexandra (last edited Sep 20, 2019 10:28AM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Oh, and another thing authors need to stop - getting fellow authors to post a review for their books as a "favor" or "authors supporting authors".

It looks fishy as hell, 99.9% of the time it's book promos, not reader reviews, and they read like it. And it's just another way *some* authors muck up the system. Please, just STOP. Or, at the very least be ethical enough to disclose it in your review. AND remember, if you've received a free copy from anyone with a financial interest in the product that MUST be disclosed. And if you're doing the "I'll by yours, you buy mine, so we have Verified Tags" you're not only review trading - which is a TOS violation - you're slime.

Please, please, please authors don't post glowy 4 and 5 star reviews for other authors to "help" or "support" them, that's book promotion, not consumer reviews. And we can tell, I swear to you we can.

When I see authors doing this - and it's REALLY easy to see - I not only disregard ALL their "reviews", I also disregard their books, and the book they're trying to promote for their "fellow author". Because it really pisses me off *some* authors are willing to pollute the consumer review process with their book promotions for their buddies. I consider it unethical, and I don't do anything to support authors I consider unethical.

If you can't post a truly, sincerely, 100% honest review AND disclose your relationship with the author if you have one of any kind, don't do it.

A consumer review is written from the perspective of the reader, giving an honest opinion of what you thought as a reader, to benefit other readers. Misleading people, skewing to the positive, because you post glowy book promotion to help your buddy sell books, is not a consumer review.

"Authors are readers too!" Yes, some are. A surprising number really aren't. But sure, authors are often readers, and certainly can write and post a reader review. That's a completely different thing than an author posting book promos as if they were a consumer review. If you've got any kind of bias for the author - including wanting to be "supportive", you need to - at the very least - disclose that fact. If you're writing book promo - something to promote the book - and not your honest, unbiased opinion as a reader, not as a "fellow author" don't post it as if it were a consumer review. Hand it over for the author to stick on their cover or blurb.

A vast majority of the time a self-pubbed book by a relatively unknown author is NOT gonna be objectively the BEST OF THE BEST. MOST books of any stripe aren't BEST OF THE BEST. If your "I've never heard of it by someone I've never heard of" book is getting mainly 5 star "reviews" (that all read like book promos) and those turn out to be posted mainly by other authors, yeah, it's fishy as hell.

This is just one more of the many reasons consumers are becoming more and more skeptical of stranger reviews, and losing confidence in the consumer review system. Because way too many people are trying to co-opt the system to instead help them sell books.

This is also one more of the many reasons readers are now highly skeptical of self-pubbed books.

I'll repeat:

I wish all authors would please remember: Readers and consumers truly are not stupid.

Authors who do things that show they think book consumers aren't gonna catch on and notice, that manipulate, trick, fool, intimidate, deceive, us - it's nearly always not gonna work out in your favor. Depending on what it is, it can also crater any hope you have at a career in publishing.

Please, just STOP.

Use legitimate means of advertising, book promotion, marketing. Consumer reviews are NOT it.

Support your fellow authors in ethical ways. Posting "reviews" for each other isn't one of them.

Yes, ethical authors and publishers do hand out review copies, to get consumer reviews. That's fine. Consumer reviews are still for the benefit of the consumer, to help us determine if we're likely to enjoy a book, or not. Steering potential customers to books they may enjoy and away from books they probably won't - which will differ reader to reader.

And NEWS FLASH: Both negative and positive reviews can do either one. Negative reviews can help some readers decide they may like the book, positive reviews can help some readers know they're likely to not like it. So, another thing authors need to get over, is freaking out over ratings under 4 stars. Readers are not blind lemmings, our tastes and preferences differ - and we KNOW IT.

I have a bunch of people on my Friend/Following list who love Romance. I loathe Romance. So, when I see them raving about some YA Fantasy book making it clear it's really mis-marketed Romance, I know to run fast the other direction. Their glowy 5 star reviews help ME AVOID a book I will NOT like. And negative reviews do the same, help some other readers think, "hum, that actually sounds interesting!"

What consumer reviews are not - even when from a provided review copy - is something to use to try to sell a specific book to as many people as possible by misleading them with biased ad copy. AND when a review copy is provided that MUST be disclosed, because even that gives the potential for bias, and readers have the right to decide for themselves how much weight and consideration to give such reviews.

(And yes, there's a reason I posted this in this thread :D)


message 31: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Lexy wrote: "Where *should* authors go to get feedback? "

Your critique partners, beta readers, and editors are your source of feedback on your writing craft and the story you have told.


message 32: by Talia (last edited Sep 07, 2020 06:37AM) (new)

Talia Carner (authortalia) | 56 comments Alexandra wrote: "Oh, and another thing authors need to stop - getting fellow authors to post a review for their books as a "favor" or "authors supporting authors".

It looks fishy as hell, 99.9% of the time it's bo..."


I take reviewing others' books seriously. It's my reputation that is on the line--and my judgement. If it is a novice writer, or a writer I know, I do not give 3 stars or lower, but rather simply do not review. (Most likely, I don't read past page 10.)
Some beginner writers asked me to read, review, and give them 5 stars. Nothing less would do for them. I simply decline upfront to placing a condition on my rating.
"Authors helping authors" for me is giving forward. Some very prestigious authors have blurbed my novels, and in turn I do it for others who are coming behind me--if I find such a book interesting and well-written.


message 33: by Dana (new)

Dana Alexander | 10 comments There's been a lot of discussion lately on the AG regarding reviews, as well as those comments listed in this forum. How refreshing your point of view is, Talia! I had begun to think no one really took the review process seriously anymore and, instead, had turned it into a process of who can game the system better, i.e., giving 5-star favors for mediocre writing. Thank you for keeping it real!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 135 comments I have bought and read books on the basis of 1-star reviews; the ones that are "it had X and I hate X!" Well, if I like X, that's a point in the book's favor.

Also, some users use 1 as the top of the scale, and 5 as the bottom. (I don't understand it either, but they are out there.) There was also a bug (don't know if they've fixed it) which resulted in inadvertent 2-star ratings on random (sometimes unread) books.


message 35: by Jim (last edited Sep 24, 2019 09:09AM) (new)

Jim Vuksic An aspiring musician who attempts to play an instrument in public before learning the basic skills and requirements needed to actually play an instrument produces nothing but aggravating, incoherent noise that turns off their intended audience and ruins any chance the aspiring musician may have had at achieving commercial success.

The same fate awaits aspiring authors who attempt to write and publish before learning the basic skills and requirements needed to write and publish.


message 36: by Talia (last edited Sep 24, 2019 08:26PM) (new)

Talia Carner (authortalia) | 56 comments Lady Em wrote: "Talia wrote: "Authors helping authors" for me is giving forward. Some very prestigious authors have blurbed my novels, and in turn I do it for others who are coming behind me."

As a reader and reviewer, I can say that any whiff of this "author helping authors" scenario, ... is a virtual guarantee I will immediately dismiss those reviews, and usually the book and its author."


Regarding "giving forward": Just like the prestigious authors who blurbed my novels did so only because they found them deserving of their endorsements, I only blurb books that I find to have great merit. Otherwise, I simply turn down the request, because, as I said above, it's my reputation that is on the line, and I've worked too hard to dilute it by doing "favors...."


message 37: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 15 comments Dear oh dear, this is an interesting thread...

The first thing I'll say is that authors MUST remember that GR is a readers' site - not an authors' site. There are lots of places for authors to do some self promotion but by god you need to be thick skinned. That's the nature of publishing - some will hate you no matter how good you are...BECAUSE of how good you are!!!!

I've also copped some ratings I hated but the vast majority of reviews/ratings were good and I have to believe that anyone with half a brain - if they are basing book selections on GR reviews - will know how to weigh the balance.

The only time I was really upset by a review was when someone said that the only reason women were in the story was to satisfy the sexual urges of the MC. (An MC who never once has sex.)

Honestly, I was gobsmacked. It was like reading a review of Waiting for Godot which praised the performance of Godot.

But did I respond to the reviewer? No.

No point.


message 38: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 257 comments Adrian wrote: "Dear oh dear, this is an interesting thread...

The first thing I'll say is that authors MUST remember that GR is a readers' site - not an authors' site. There are lots of places for authors to do ..."


Had some like that i.e. reviewing scenes not in my book - appreciate sometimes we all get confused.


message 39: by Ville (new)

Ville Kokko | 29 comments I hope I'm some day at the point where have reviews of my own books that I need to resist responding to... As a reader, I've certainly responded to a couple of factually inaccurate reviews of other people's books. At least I can always do that.


message 40: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) There is a distinction to be made between good and bad, and I-liked-it, I-didn't-like-it, and since sites like Amazon allow reviews from anyone registered on their site, it's not always possible to gauge a book's merits by the reviews. I have not liked many well-reviewed books, and loved some that are 1 or 2 star books.
Someone inside the industry once told me that when they are pitched by an author who has a publication history, they will discount both the 5 star and 1 (or 1 and 2) star reviews. They figure the five stars are from friends and family and die-hard fans, and the 1 star are often from people who haven't read the book but don't like the author personally. (You often see this in political books or books by media personalities.)
If this is the "reviewer's" MO, people will see her for what she is and her word will carry little weight in the long run.
My personal philosophy is that if I can't give a product a 4 or five star review and give my reasons, I say nothing. I would not want to do something that might impact someone else's sales and livelihood. But that's just me.


message 41: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 15 comments I always call it as I see it (with one exception in the case of a friend that still gnaws at me) but I certainly include a quality aspect to my reviewing. Indeed the quality angle is more important than how much I liked it as I fully get that just because I didn't like something doesn't mean it's not a masterpiece.


message 42: by Van (new)

Van Fleisher (van_fleisher) | 17 comments I agree with J for a couple of reasons. First, I don't think authors are typical readers. I used to be a typical reader before I started writing, but now I'm pretty sure my writer's brain sneaks in its own views.

The second point is the one J made about giving out three or less stars, ie not wanting to "impact someone else's sales and livelihood." If I think the book deserves four or five stars, I'll give them. If not, my lips are sealed.


message 43: by Karl (new)

Karl Braungart | 39 comments Hi Van,
Enjoyed your post(s). For me, after hours of writing and researching, I relax with reading. It calms down the day's "hurry up and get it done" syndrome. I like novels in my genre, although choosing a different genre broadens my thinking.
I had a review of one of my novels that did not please me. It was about Muslim prayer practices. Most Middle East countries do not permit women to pray with men. The editor reduced her good comments with the insult I didn't know my facts. Today on the Internet, there are lists of Middle East lands that still practice secular ways. The editor never mentioned which country...


message 44: by lethe (last edited Sep 06, 2020 03:27PM) (new)

lethe For me as a reader, reviewers who only hand out 4 and 5 stars are useless. I will either think that the reviewer is merely out to please authors or that they don't read very discriminately.

It is often the lower ratings that tell me whether a reviewer has a taste comparable to mine. I use a kind of litmus test: if you didn't like certain books that are very popular but that I hated, chances are I can trust your opinion on books you rated highly.


message 45: by Ville (new)

Ville Kokko | 29 comments I tend to feel that... hmm, how to put it, that giving bad ratings as well is sort of playing the game fairly. Saying things like they are, not so as to please people while censoring that which wouldn't.

I have read (more so than observed) that our current age tends to put too much emphasis on everyone's subjective feelings rather than how things are in a more objective sense. I don't want any part in that.

That said, these are not very concrete arguments. "Hurting someone's feelings" and "affecting someone's livelihood" are concrete consequences of actions. I can hardly blame anyone for reasoning based on that rather than the vague stuff I just said. If there's a principle that actually matters for concrete reasons because of which it's better to leave all kinds of ratings, I didn't state it above, because I'm not clear on what it would be.


message 46: by Dick (new)

Dick Hoffman | 4 comments I can tell from reading the preview whether I want to read the whole thing. If not, I skip it without leaving a review because my time is precious. If I finish it, I always leave at least 3 stars. People who leave only 1 or 2 stars are only telling me they have wasted their time.


message 47: by lethe (new)

lethe Dick wrote: "People who leave only 1 or 2 stars are only telling me they have wasted their time."

And if their taste is similar to yours, they may prevent you from wasting your time.


message 48: by James (new)

James King (jamoroki) | 3 comments Dick wrote: "I can tell from reading the preview whether I want to read the whole thing. If not, I skip it without leaving a review because my time is precious. If I finish it, I always leave at least 3 stars. ..."
I'm not so sure about what they are telling. If a person has read the whole book and feels compelled to leave a 1 STAR review, it must have had a strong enough impact for them to write about it. Therefore they should say why. Just 'Crap' or 'Boring' helps no-one. Ratings as opposed to Reviews tell us NOTHING.
One of the best contemporary fiction novels I've read TWICE - The Girl on the Train - has 4000+ 1 STAR reviews on Amazon and 50,000 1 STAR ratings on Goodreads. That tells me either I got it and they didn't or I have different tastes to a lot of other folk. So, my question is - Why are Reviews important?


message 49: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 15, 2020 09:56PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 135 comments My reviews are only important to me. I leave comments to remind me of what I thought, when I look back later on. If someone else finds them useful or amusing - great.

"Important" reviews are generally from professional reviewers. That is not the type of reviews GR collects. (Amazon is another matter.)


message 50: by Talia (new)

Talia Carner (authortalia) | 56 comments I also started recording my reading on GR in order to remember what I'd read. But I only review books I've read in full, (or reached 75% and didn't care how the book ended.)
I do not review books of which I've read only a sample and found it either lacking or just not for me.....
After a while, though, I discovered that readers like to read my reviews and when asked for book recommendations, I send them to My Books page.


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