LitRPG Forum discussion

69 views
Reviews Wanted > reviews

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Clint Young (new)

Clint Young | 4 comments I recently received a friend request from an author I read in this genre. In it he thanked me for the review I wrote. If you have seen any of my reviews, you’ll know they are all identical. I do this for two reasons:

1. As much as I read, there is no way I would be able to afford this addiction without Kindle Unlimited. This is the equivalent of going to the library, and while there is nothing wrong with that, I am not putting much money into my favorite authors’ pocket. Reviewing a book on Amazon and/or Goodreads gives the author exposure and helps them to sell more books. I realized earlier this year, that not only was it a privilege to be able to read these works, but that I had an obligation to review them to support both the authors and my habit.

2. If you have ever read a book review (or any review for that matter) on any site, you will soon find that the world is full of nothing but trolls. Books, movies, music, video games, etc. are all forms of escape and entertainment. If my attention is captured and held from start to finish, it’s five stars for me. I don’t care about grammar and spelling. I don’t care about plot holes or mistakes. Yes, I notice them. Yes, my analytical brain wants to focus on them. However, if I am entertained, I can ignore it all. Since I don’t have the patience or the skill to write a book, yes, I have tried, I don’t feel that I am capable or even justified in critiquing someone else’s work.

So yes, from now on, all books get a five star from me as long as I can make it through to the last page. I recently had a conversation with an author trying to sell his books at a convention. He opened my eyes as to how hard it was to make money selling digital content. My reviews are both an apology to authors for not being able to buy their books outright, and a thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read.

This doesn’t mean there are books I don’t like. With the amount of content available, I will never run out of books to read even at my pace. This allows me to simply drop books that don’t capture my attention. I do not review these books for the same reasons I do review the books I like. The last thing I want to do is stifle someone’s creativity. Just because the book wasn’t for me does not give me the right to bash on the book or the author. Most of these reviews are just petty and more about the reviewer trying to gain attention or flaunt their superior grammar skills. This serves no purpose and rather than being helpful, they just tarnish the industry and the experience for everyone.

I think I only have around 40 reviews out there so far since it wasn’t all that long ago that I decided I needed to start doing this. Rest assured, that all the books on my completed reading list, 197 so far this year, are all five-star worthy. Thank you to all of you authors that make life so much more fun with your imagination and storytelling.


message 2: by Fel, LitRPG Devotee, Reading Is My Cardio (new)

Fel, LitRPG Devotee | 195 comments Mod
What a unique perspective Clint. Thank you for sharing your process.


message 3: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Rangel (goldenseal50) | 34 comments Now I have to memorize your name so that if I see it on an Amazon review I can ignore your 5 stars. Kind of makes your review pointless... but okay you do you.


message 4: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Bodden | 1 comments Thanks dude. That’s a nice way to look at it.


message 5: by Troy (new)

Troy Osgood | 10 comments KU is very viable for authors to make money and a lot of times very good money that they wouldn’t make without KU.

So don’t feel bad for using KU.

Unlike a library, it does financially support the authors


message 6: by Troy (new)

Troy Osgood | 10 comments Also, not sure where that author says it's hard to sell digital content. That's the main source of income for indie and self-published authors. Very few make any money selling physical books anymore.

For indie and self-published, eBooks and KU are the main sources of income.


message 7: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Olsen | 2 comments And then everyone clapped.

I mean, I get skewing one's reviews up because how Amazon treats 3 stars or less as a bad review. But all 5☆ just for finishing the book seems disingenuous.


message 8: by Darren (new)

Darren | 43 comments While I do agree about Kindle Unlimited - it's a great deal I'm not sure that 5 stars for that reason is appropriate. I too don't care about grammar, spellun errors, typos … I want an author to tell me a story.

If that author can tell me a good story that I enjoy I will review. I don't always review bad books though (I should)

KU does in fact support the authors and they can make decent money from reads. The more people that read the book through KU the more they make - so a review helps.

Sometimes, I find a book that is SO GOOD on KU.. that I have to buy it. I was even given a book specifically to write a pre-release review and liked the book - so I bought it when it released.

I love Kindle Unlimited - It helps with my LITRPG addiction.


message 9: by Darren (new)

Darren | 43 comments Sylvia wrote: "Now I have to memorize your name so that if I see it on an Amazon review I can ignore your 5 stars. Kind of makes your review pointless... but okay you do you."

Yeah. Kinda defeats the purpose of reviewing, but if kept the readers attention and they aren't playing editor (grammar, etc) it might deserve that rating.

I've given several books that I liked 3 stars which is a great rating- I liked it. I only give 5 stars to those that I really liked. :)


message 10: by Clint Young (new)

Clint Young | 4 comments I would argue that 99% of the reviews are pointless. First, I really don't care what other people think, I'd prefer to read the book and judge for myself. Not doing so could make me miss out on something I find incredibly satisfying. Second, I can't handle more than a few trolls bashing petty errors or comparing one book/author to another before my eyes start to bleed. So reading the reviews at all is a waste of time for me.

I just feel like the whole idea of reviewing fiction is ridiculous. Just because you didn't enjoy the plot/characters/etc. doesn't mean that I will feel the same way. The only way to know is to judge for yourself. Thereby making reviews pointless.

I am not writing the review for the public. I am writing it as a thank you to the author. I even make that clear in the review.


message 11: by Troy (last edited Sep 18, 2019 10:56AM) (new)

Troy Osgood | 10 comments The only problem with leaving a 3 star on Amazon for a book you liked is that Amazon considers 3 stars a negative review.

The problem is with how Amazon ranks the reviews. Anything below a 4 is a negative review.

So if you like a book, do not give it a 3. You are telling Amazon that you didn't like the book.

It's a messed up system, but it's what we have to work with. On Amazon.

There's talk of combing Goodreads and Amazon rankings so hopefully that helps it all out.


message 12: by Roger (new)

Roger | 18 comments Sylvia wrote: "Now I have to memorize your name so that if I see it on an Amazon review I can ignore your 5 stars. Kind of makes your review pointless... but okay you do you."

Agreed


message 13: by Devan (new)

Devan | 26 comments I am afraid I agree. I have sooooo many books I want to read that I don’t want to waste any time on one that doesn’t “fit” me. The only way to know that is to read reviews. When I do so and see people point out dislikes/likes that we have in common I follow those people for as long as our tastes align. Thus the whole point of reviews. The process above, while kind and honorable, defeats the purpose.

That being said I still think you for your insight. I love seeing other people’s perspectives. I for example am not sure I have ever given a book lower than 3 stars. I figure if the book was worse than that I did a horrible job on screening which book to read next and should never have chosen that one. I also feel that if I rate a book less than 4* then it deserves an explanation/review for the sake of other readers and the author. That way others will know if my views jive with them.


message 14: by Clint Young (new)

Clint Young | 4 comments Devan wrote: "I am afraid I agree. I have sooooo many books I want to read that I don’t want to waste any time on one that doesn’t “fit” me. The only way to know that is to read reviews. When I do so and see peo..."

This brings up a question for me that I am sincerely interested in...Do people actually read reviews and make decisions based on them? I understand reviewing physical products. They serve a function and can be judged on how well they work or last. All appreciation of art is completely subjective. If I paid any attention to movie reviews I would have missed out on 99% of my favorites.

Devan's explanation of finding reviews with similar tastes makes sense to me but only so far as I am willing to wade through the comments. But again, since everybody's review of art is subjective, I still feel the need to know for myself.

So, I'm curious. Regardless of whether you review books or not, how many of you actually read reviews to make a decision?


message 15: by Apollos (new)

Apollos Thorne | 12 comments Here's what I do as an author.

I read reviews, although, I don't really look for what they're saying, but why they're saying it. I won't actually buy a book without sifting through the reviews for a bit, unless I know the author. I look for overlap in the positive and negative. If everyone is saying they like or hate the MC, plot, twist, etc., then it's likely true. If one or two people are saying something, I might look at their other reviews. If they leave low star reviews on everything, I'll completely throw their opinion out. If I find they've giving books I enjoyed a bad rating, I'll buy the original book I was viewing almost every time.

I read low star reviews, but always take them with a grain of salt. If they are an author, or a reader who's constantly leaving low ratings/reviews I'm immediately turned off. The worst are authors who leave low ratings on other author's books. I will not buy your book if you do this. The only exception was Ramon from LitRPG Podcast who had reviewed hundreds of LitRPG's before he ever wrote and published his own work.

I only leave five star reviews myself that are usually in the form of a facebook post. Amazon deletes my reviews since I'm an author. I do rate books here on goodreads, but even then I only do one's that I like. The only exception is if someone is caught plagiarizing.


message 16: by Clint Young (new)

Clint Young | 4 comments Apollos wrote: "Here's what I do as an author.

I read reviews, although, I don't really look for what they're saying, but why they're saying it. I won't actually buy a book without sifting through the reviews for..."


I can understand that. I guess it all boils down to patience for me. I have none. I started your latest yesterday and just finished it this morning, started Dan Sugralinov's immediately after, and will probably finish it before I go to bed tonight. And start a new one tomorrow...Yes I know, "Hi, I'm Clint and I'm an addict." I just find it more fun to keep reading than wasting time searching for the best option.

I am still hesitant to allow reviews stop me from trying a book. There are plenty I have simply stopped reading a few chapters in because of the complaints you mention above. Yes, I may have saved myself some time by sifting through comments, but I still wouldn't really know. It's like food, everyone's tastes are different and you really never know if you like something until you have tried it yourself.


message 17: by Sylvia (last edited Sep 20, 2019 07:23PM) (new)

Sylvia Rangel (goldenseal50) | 34 comments If I give a 3 star rating it doesn't mean I didn't like the book. Hey, I finished it! If you check out my list you will see a ton of currently reading lol those are dropped books. To get 5 stars from me you have to be writing for me. Not only did you write in a style that I can follow so easily that I literally see pictures instead of words, but you made me smile and maybe my heart even beat fast a time or two. I probably smelled the grass or the blood and heard the screech or roar of critters. I was so excited and happy by the end I wanted MORE! lol That is a 5 star review from me.

I do read reviews searching for hints and spoilers to let me know if I am going to like the book. 10 minutes reading reviews is better than 2 hours to find this damn book is a harem/reverse harem or some other situation I prefer to avoid.


message 18: by Aleister (new)

Aleister Davidson (aleisterdavidson) | 3 comments It doesn't matter how you felt about the book. If you are giving a three star review then Amazon thinks you hated it. It is as simple as that. They don't consider it a positive review, even if you did. There is a disparity there between what the readers believe, and what the all powerful Amazon algorithm believes. But at the end of the day, when you leave three stars you are telling the bots that the book sucked and not to show it to anyone...which literally cuts into the author's paycheck.


message 19: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Rangel (goldenseal50) | 34 comments Aleister wrote: "It doesn't matter how you felt about the book. If you are giving a three star review then Amazon thinks you hated it. It is as simple as that. They don't consider it a positive review, even if you ..."

Are you sure? Because I heard kindle unlimited paid by page read, stars shouldn't have anything to do with the authors paycheck.

Also those stars aren't just for other people.. sometimes, over time, I forget. So I use the star system myself to tell myself how much I liked a book.


message 20: by Allan (new)

Allan (allan_williams) | 14 comments I don't read reviews of books. I do look at the average rating and at the count of reviews. If the kids only a few and the average is low, then I will generally pass on it.


message 21: by Apollos (new)

Apollos Thorne | 12 comments Clint Young

It's all good. I started posting my stuff back on royalroad.com in 2015. I've studied comments and reviews for years to try to decipher them so that I could perfect my storytelling. It's hard to sift through them and get past the fluff.

Sylvia wrote: "Are you sure? Because I heard kindle unlimited paid by page read, stars shouldn't have anything to do with the authors paycheck. "

It doesn't affect an author's paycheck directly, but in many cases, a bunch of 3 star reviews could tank an author's release in a way nothing else could. Compare the star ratings on Amazon and goodreads. Goodreads is always lower, because it interprets 3 stars in the same way you do. Amazon just handles them different. If you click on "See all customer reviews" on a books amazon page, it will take you to a page where you'll see two columns on top. On the left will be "Top positive reviews" and the left will have "Top critical reviews". It lumps 1 star through 3 star reviews together.

One thing that is also affected that you wouldn't know unless you've tried to advertise your own book is that most popular blogs, email lists, etc. that you can advertise on won't take your book if it's rating is too low. Often, the cut off is 4 stars. For some it's even higher. So if your book is rated over all as 3 stars on average, they won't even take your money.

No one knows exactly how Amazon's AI works, but it handles linking and emails to it's customers differently depending on the number of reviews and rating. It's just harder to pin down.

So, should you still leave 3 star reviews? Sure. Just make a distinction between Amazon and goodreads. Both platforms just don't interpret them the same. I normally recommend using goodreads as you're main platform to review, and use Amazon to encourage authors to continue series that you want to read more of. It just is what it is, I'm afraid.


message 22: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Olsen | 2 comments Sylvia wrote:

Generally speaking, Kindle Unlimited pays by page views, correct.

This assumes that the book in question is being read by Kindle Unlimited; many choose to pay cash for their books (especially in conjunction with audio books.)

But this isn't about the author getting paid, this is about the author getting fair representation in the marketplace. 4 to 5 stars doesn't hurt the author, although they may need more to be actively promoted by Amazon et al. 1 to 3 stars actively hurt the author, making it more difficult for their books to be searched in relevance to other books with similar keywords. The fact that your 3-star review says "I liked this book, but only enough to give it 3 stars" doesn't matter. A three star review, using the Amazon rating system, is a blow to the back of the head. If you "kind of liked" the book, you should rate it 4 stars and list in the review what you found wrong. If you "kind of hated the book" then you leave a three star review, actively punishing the author, but maybe post some positive traits so those seeing the review (if they're able to see the listing at all) can make a more informed decision.


message 23: by Darren (new)

Darren | 43 comments Hmmm ...interesting to know. 3 star ratings are also a way to tell an author that you liked it... but would need to improve to get 4.


message 24: by Troy (new)

Troy Osgood | 10 comments Again, 3 stars on Amazon is negative

As far as Amazon is concerned, if you give it 3 stars it means you didn't like the book.

Reviews have nothing to do with an author getting paid. Sales = pay.

Reviews = visibility in Amazon's algorithims

As well as reviews for the reader that actually looks at them.

But for the indie author, it's all about affecting Amazon's algorithims and getting push from Amazon.

50 reviews is the threshold. Anything below 4 is a negative.

Is it a messed up system?

Yes, without a doubt

But currently, it is the only system there is


message 25: by Wolkenfels (new)

Wolkenfels | 3 comments Clint Young wrote: "This brings up a question for me that I am sincerely interested in...Do people actually read reviews and make decisions based on them?"

I certainly do. But more on goodreads than on amazon because amazon has too many reviews that are worthless for the same reason you explain your five star ratings with.

Unfortunately there is an abundance of 5 star reviews for books the reviewer would not even recommend to their friends.
If you don't differentiate than your review is worthless for me.

Think about your friend tells you about that "great movie" and you go into the cinema and the movie is utter trash and then later you learn he praise every movie he can stay awake the whole time...

In my eyes reviews are a service to other readers and not a fan service to authors. And even authors will learn from a thoughtful review and have a chance to write a better next book than to be praised for a bad book.


message 26: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Langham | 12 comments I am sorry, but I don't leave negative reviews lightly. If a book is bad and not just a little I am going to leave a corresponding review and give the proper number of stars. You want to only leave 4 and 5 star reviews? Keep it up and the atrocious editing will continue. The short books that barely constitute a short series in a series of 14 books will continue. The other thing that will continue is bad authors that aren't good at writing books will continue to put out bad content without the need to get better.


message 27: by Dustin (new)

Dustin Tigner (dustintigner) | 16 comments Matthew wrote: "The short books that barely constitute a short series in a series of 14 books will continue."

Could you clarify what you mean by short books in a long series? Are you dropping a book's rating because it doesn't fit a length requirement? What is that length? 40,000 words, 80,000 words?

A novel is 40,000 words or longer. And if the book is shorter, it may be an episode in a serial, which is often long at 8+ episodes per season and may have multiple seasons. These episodes typically cost $1-3 dollars, which is fine. Are you knocking these authors down simply because you don't like the format?


message 28: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Katz | 22 comments I generally only remember to leave a review here on goodreads (the process is more complex on amazon), but when I'm leaving a review, I'm generally doing so for my own benefit, so that I can look back and see how well I liked something when a sequel or w/e comes out. Unless the book was unusual, I'm usually not going to bother writing anything for a 4 or or 5 star review, since what is there to say, "this book was awesome"? I will, however, want to know why I disliked a book, which is why I'll never leave a 1 or 2 star review without explaining myself.


back to top