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Zenny Daye
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General Discussion > Should I delete negative reviews now that I'm an author?

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message 1: by Zenny (last edited Oct 05, 2020 12:49PM) (new)

Zenny Daye (zennydaye) | 6 comments So... I started a goodreads account a while ago to keep track of all the romance novels I read, because I realised they were all starting to blur together. I'd be about a quarter way in before I checked my reader history to see that I already read it a year back for example.

I don't review all, if I'm not at a computer when I'm done, I will forget after about a day, but I've been trying to track them all.

My average rating is probably <3. I try to leave detailed reviews of why I didn't like a book, not because I want to "drag" the author, but I just try to really think it through. I have no followers and I just started on friend requests yesterday -- the reviews were little notes-to-self. I get very upset when I read a book that mucked it, imo, so I try to introspect and figure it out. I thought it would be good craft-wise.

And then this summer, I realized that sometimes you just have to push ahead and write the book you want to read. So I did that, and had fun all the way.

But now that I'm an author, I don't want to look as if I was "negging" other books to make my book look better. I was going to leave an "author review" for myself but then realized that it might look exactly like that. Is that even a good thing to do, review your own book? I mean, does everyone just give their own book 5 stars automatically, since I assume every single person writes the book they wanted to read?

My first thought was to simply delete the bad reviews and keep the 4+ ones, except I'd be back to where I was in the beginning of forgetting what I read, what I thought about it, what I would do different, etc. I don't want to be the author who reviews other people's books like "The editing was horrible."

But there are some massively popular books in my genre with glowing 5 star reviews that I gave one star to. I don't have any followers or friends, so it's largely a non issue, but what should I do? Delete the reviews and rating so as not to look like a hater, thus ruining the whole point of keeping track of what I've read... Or maintain some personal integrity and keep the reviews?

Now that I've made the effort to actually write one myself, I get how authors can be extra sensitive to that... I don't want to come off like a troll, but I would still like to be able to leave honest reviews for myself and apparently there's no way to make them private??? I don't want to be compelled to leave everyone 4 and 5 star reviews for no other reason than to avoid looking like a troll at some distant point in the future?

Any suggestions?

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments I would leave them - I respect authors who rate as a regular reader.

message 3: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 5 comments Yeah, why would you change your review if it was your honest opinion to start with? And to be honest, when I see a book that only has 4 or 5 star review I get suspicious, it doesn't look genuine. Look at any really famous book out there and it will have one star reviews! That's just how things work - not every book is for everybody. As long as you are honest, you explained what you didn't like about it, etc, other readers will find that valuable.

As for reviewing your own book I wouldn't do a review, but I sometimes use that space to give the readers little extra tidbits of information about the writing process.

message 4: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Anderson (wendylanderson99gmailcom) | 11 comments I was you! When I started self-publishing, I had the same thoughts about my low-star reviews. I ended up leaving my honest reviews as is because, yes, it was my honest opinion of the book at the time.
Honestly, now when I'm trying to decide on reading a book or not, I go to the one and two star reviews first. I read them before I read three, four and five star reviews, because somehow, I feel like they are more honest and not just support for the author. Also, it is helpful to read those reviews because often times they spell-out why the reader didn't like the book and that helps me decide if I want to read it or not.
Having low-star reviews on your books (I've been told) helps because then it doesn't look like you've had all your friends and family give you five star reviews.
It hurts like a stab through the heart to get a one star review, now that I've published six books, I do keep that in mind and unless the book is very poorly written and edited, I don't hand out as many one star reviews. In short, I'd leave them.
Good luck to you!

message 5: by Zenny (new)

Zenny Daye (zennydaye) | 6 comments Yeah...
It hurts like a stab through the heart to get a one star review, now that I've published six books, I do keep that in mind and unless the book is very poorly written and edited, I don't hand out as many one star reviews

I'm dreading it. I know they'll be coming at some point. I think I'd actually like the review in addition to the one star. I'd like to know what someone could ever possibly hate about my most favourite story ever.

I'll try to be less negative. Now that I guess I'm sort of "behind the scenes," it's easier to empathise. A friend of mine pointed out that if I made it to the end, there had to be something that kept me reading no matter how bad it was.

message 6: by Julian (last edited Oct 10, 2020 12:16PM) (new)

Julian Hilton | 18 comments Actually.. I think one of my favourite reviews for my children's book, Bradley and the Dinosaur.. is the two star review, with just two words, 'Senseless Story'. I mean, yes.. I was somewhat taken aback when I first read that review.. but, it does also make me chuckle (I mean the person also took the time to write a review, which is better for the book than the hundreds of people who don't write anything) and it's good to know that it's not everyone's cup of tea.. and in any case... it's a very accurate review.. the book could easily be seen as senseless too! Going one better, I have a one star review for a book of mine on Goodreads too... But I agree, this only adds depth to the view of a book. Sure.. if all your reviews are 1-star then maybe it's time to look away.. but if some people love it, and some people hate it.. I'm ok with that and I agree, it's better than only having 5-stars...

message 7: by Julian (new)

Julian Hilton | 18 comments P.S. I'd like to add that you shouldn't change your reviews or delete them, because just as readers complain about authors scouting around for good reviews, that would present a slightly less than honest picture of who you are and what you believe. i for one also reviewed my own book, but that was by accident as it sort of popped up when I was adding the book to my profile and I didn't realise I was not supposed to write anything. I did them as a bit of fun anyway and I don't think anyone reading them would take them too seriously.

So no, keep your reviews... what I find hard though.. and here you'll have to think... is what to do about reviews NOW that you are published. I shy away from this, I'll be honest.. I quite often read children's books, I have a daughter, but I'll admit if I don't particularly like a book, then I don't really want to leave an unfavourable review. Should I? I know how much work goes into producing, and even more beyond that, promoting a book. So for now, I tend to review the ones I really like. I'll leave the criticisms for other readers (for now). Is that bad? I don't know. I can't imagine famous authors pouring scorn on other author's work - and it doesn't really matter if your famous or not.. I'm not sure it's the job of an author to be a critic of other authors (that's a job for critics and readers I think).. so for me, if I can't say something nice, then I'm probably not going to say anything.
Just my tuppence...

So how will you be reviewing, going forwards.. that's the question?!

message 8: by Zenny (new)

Zenny Daye (zennydaye) | 6 comments
So how will you be reviewing, going forwards.. that's the question?!

For now, I think it's fine? Maybe someday goodreads will let authors have private reviews... It definitely feels "weird." I've just realised I've been stabbing people in the back mercilessly for years and not thinking twice about the author and their efforts/feelings.

If I ever were to gain a following or fans or anything, then I might start writing reviews offline or in Evernote again which is what I used to do before goodreads. Some sense of co-writer code of etiquette might kick in after a while.

I'll definitely try to leave more "positive criticism" reviews now that I have a better sense of the process.

message 9: by Julian (new)

Julian Hilton | 18 comments Hi Zenny... without having read any of your reviews (I hope they weren't THAT bad!) I think it's a wonderful honesty you are supplying here.. and that makes sense.. if before you were leaving truthful reviews anyhow.. perhaps that is something you set a lot of store by.. that people know the 'truth' about a book.

Yet of course it's also true that in life there is more than just truth, and sometimes things are a little more complicated. It's great that you are also on the journey and also learning about the other side of the coin too. That's not meant to sound patronising either. In my limited experience (ten years from writing my first children's story, to seeing it in print, and another four years since then) I've noticed that even a three star review on a book on Amazon (especially if left by someone who leaves a lot of reviews) can really hamper sales in the short term, especially if it's the last one on your feed, or a top-rated critical review. But to be fair this is true mainly when you don't have many reviews in total (say less than 30).

So yeah.. it can be pretty damning to a books success, particularly if it's self-published to be dropping one and two-star reviews about the place.. even three stars. But still, here's the deal.. people want to buy good books.. and if a book is great, there is no question.. so as long as people aren't being particularly malicious about it, I don't think it's a big deal. If a book isn't great.. that's not really the reader's fault.

I'm lucky that Bradley and the Dinosaur now has about 85 reviews, and over 70 of them are 5-star.. so I feel like I don't need to worry so much if people rate it high or low, I kind of know how well the book has been received. It's just tense while you wait for those first 30 reviews or so.. or even the first 5! My latest book Jumbo Giant Sausages.. had about 2 reviews for over the first two months... a tense time. Partly , you're just waiting for someone to hate it... but that's ok! I know a lot of people love it too...

For me, I think I love to write encouraging reviews of another author if I really love the book.. I know how hard it is to create something, and make it.. you have to care a lot to get something out there - and they deserve recognition and praise for that to my mind, and yeah.. there's a bit of camaraderie in that too. But I also agree that the name of the game is not getting 5-star reviews.. but a balanced palette of views so that people can decide. It's true if I'm buying anything, I'll often look at the one and two star reviews first. So well done to those people.. they will really TELL you something about a product! Just gotta hope a few people love the thing as well :0). Thanks for the thread, very thought provoking.. and honest.. and a good story too!

message 10: by Yaakov (new)

Yaakov Lui-Hyden | 1 comments I have written 3 books and my first has a lot of sentimental value to me and I think is quite unique. I had plenty of 5 star ratings On amazon and here , many from students of mine or Facebook friends who bought my book.

Then came along a 3 star review and it stung for a moment. Even though he rated me 5 star for plot uniqueness the stars that counted were 3 stars. And I checked out his profile and he has reviewed thousands and has a very high review ranking.

His blurb below was insightful and gave me genuine and useful criticism and also his belief that I had a lot of potential. It really was the best review I ever received. He told me what he liked and didn’t like but most importantly why. That 3 star review in a sea of 5 stars, shone brightest.

If your 3 star is backed by useful critique, do not fear giving them. And don’t delete them. You could be the reason that person became a better writer.

message 11: by Robert (new)

Robert Beers | 10 comments No, you should leave them, but welcome to the club. I wish more readers also wrote. They would have a far more informed mind when it comes to leaving a review. I just finished Jim Butchers Battleground, and my honest review is probably not one his rabid fans will appreciate, but it is honest and it is informed.

message 12: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Carrabis (josephcarrabis) | 129 comments You should learn from them.

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