So many people weep and wail and gnash their teeth over any review under 5 stars, and I really hate to see them so stressed out. I’ve had plenty of 4 and 5-star reviews, enough to stoke my ancient ego, but I’ve had 3, 2, and even a few 1-stars, too. Obviously, a writer prefers the upper end of the spectrum, but consider these points:
2. Some people use their reviews as a platform for their own beliefs and agendas. Such a review is pretty obvious to anyone who looks at reviews before purchasing a book.
3. Other people just like to bash anything which doesn’t float their boats. That’s also obvious, and it says more about the reviewer than it does about the book.
4. Too many 5-star reviews can look like a blitz by personal friends, all of whom feel obligated to sing the praises of their friend’s book—even if they don’t really like it!
5. A variety of ratings can actually help someone buy a book they’ll like, while keeping others from being disappointed in what they buy. Like = good reviews. Don’t like = bad reviews.
One has to take reviews with the proverbial grain of salt just as one takes conversation, editorials, and and even some news stories. You get a little truth, a little slant, and a lot of positive or negative hype.
Yes, reviews can be important when one wants a paid promotion with a site which requires a certain number of reviews at a certain level. There’s no denying that inconvenient little fact. (Besides, a few less-than-stellar reviews keeps a writer humble and looking to improve every time she sits down to write.)
And here’s one more inconvenient little fact—a large number of ho-hum or negative reviews could mean there’s more work to be done by the indie author who put the book out there to begin with! Look for trends in those reviews and take another look at the manuscript. Indie authors are fortunate because they can revise even after publication!
If you need to make yourself feel better, look up Book 1 of my first cozy mystery series: The Bogus Biker. Read the reviews under 4 stars. especially the 1 stars. Then consider this: the series came out in the summer of 2013. It sold extremely well and is still selling two years later! For everyone who didn’t like the book/series, there were thousands (literally) who did.
So—stop stressing. Think about what the reviews mean. Do what you have to do. It’s all part of the writing game.
And when you take off your writer’s hat and put on the reviewer’s cap, consider your words carefully. You can be honest without being mean. Remember, we’re all in this together.
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