Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review of Reviews

Okay, let me start out by saying I am a strong believer in everyone being entitled to their own opinion. This blog post is not bashing anyone that has left a bad review for an author; it’s about the reviews that leave us asking “WTF?” …On that note, let’s begin.

It doesn’t bother me if someone doesn’t like my book. Sure, in a strange world everyone would love my work and dub me the best writer ever. But we live in a very diverse world and that would never happen. We all come from different backgrounds, have varying circumstances, and have particular likes and dislikes. Therefore, it is expected that there will always be good and bad reviews on a book.

But here’s where I have a problem with reviews in general:

*When a reader basically summarizes the book. Hello, there is already a synopsis about the book available. If you need to add a couple more points because you feel it is valuable to your review, go right ahead. But to outline the entire story? It’s not necessary. We would rather know how you FEEL about the story, not give a bullet point presentation on it.
*When 90% of the review is quotes from the book. Okay, a short quote or two from the story is pretty cool to add, but please don’t fill your entire review with them. Again, we want to know how you FEEL about the book; what do you like about the quote or the character that’s saying it? When I read reviews like this, I honestly feel that the reader didn’t read the book at all and just grabbed quotes to fill a review. That’s truly what it looks like to me and I actually know people that do this because they skim-read books.
*The infamous DNF review WITH A RATING! Okay, so you couldn’t finish the book for whatever reason. No big deal. I’ve read plenty of books I didn’t care for. But to give an author a ONE STAR rating…. I just don’t understand it. First of all, I can’t rate a book I never finished. It was my choice to put it down for whatever reason, but I have no clue as to what the entire book is like BECAUSE I DIDN’T READ IT!!! So how can readers give one-star reviews on books they didn’t read? I’m sure there are people that disagree with me, and maybe you can send me a message to give me the other side of this debate, but I absolutely disagree with a reader rating a book they didn’t finish. When you read ten percent of a book and mark it DNF, please do not rate it. I don’t care whose book it is, you have no reason to do that. I realize some people believe if they couldn’t even finish the book it deserves a shitty rating, but if you’re gonna grade someone on their work, you at least need to have read it.
*Complaints that could have been avoided if you’d READ THE SAMPLE FIRST!!! You get a free sample of most ebooks, right? SO READ IT! I’m tired of reading reviews of books that say, “I just didn’t like reading first person.” WELL GUESS WHAT? You can figure that out from reading the sample. And you can usually figure out if the writing is good, too. Also in this category, people who complain about how long or short a book is. I’m pretty sure the information is right there when you purchase the book.
*Reviews that attack other readers or the author. I just CANNOT stand reviews that say “I have no idea why there are so many 5-star reviews for this book.” Or, my personal favorite, “All the rave reviews must be from the author’s friends and family.” … Okay, let me just say this. When I published my first story, NOT A SINGLE FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER OF MINE KNEW I PUBLISHED A BOOK.  This was my choice. I wanted authentic reviews from readers that did not know me. I got A LOT of fabulous reviews for that book and I still do. However, at some point, there were actually a couple of reviewers that literally berated other readers for giving it 5 stars, and they even claimed that I “obviously” had my friends and family leave great reviews. Okay first of all, FUCK YOU. I didn’t know a single person on there that left a review. And second of all, don’t ever leave that in any book review. It’s rude, immature, and it’s not relevant. It’s fine if you don’t understand why other readers liked a story, but realize that your preference is just different. If you don’t trust a review, then only get recommendations from your friends. Don’t ever attack other readers for the stories they like, that’s just ridiculous. Be respectful, for shit’s sake.

In closing, I realize that not everyone cares how they review a book, and to be honest, a review is a review and we’re grateful you took the time to leave one. But if you want to be a productive participant in the reader/author community, there are a few basics that can make this interaction successful. And when you anonymously leave a review, it doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole. I understand that sometimes tact is a waste of time these days, but consider the Golden Rule now and then and see if Karma rewards you somehow. You may find a random happy little morsel in your life when you least expect it =) 


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