Monday, 1 July 2013

The Evil One Star Reviewer

When you write a book, being reviewed is a traditional part of the process but some writers wonder why anyone would put up a one star review.

I must say that I haven't read a proper review in years.  Proper, meaning someone with a degree in literature who writes a reflective critical evaluation.  The people I know who review books for newspapers and magazines are like us indie authors: they read books and they can produce an article of 500 to 1000 words. Having them read your book is great for advertising and they usually work to a template where they say one bad thing and two good things so that readers think they are unbiased and publishers are happy that it's mostly positive.  It's just business, not really a review at all.

On Goodreads, Smashwords etc the reviewer may be one who writes and reads but more likely it's just someone who bought the book and who enjoys the idea of being The Reviewer.

Unfortunately, I think "reviewer" is a word that drives normal people a little power crazy.  Let's face it: most of us have zero control over the people around us, so having the power to smash someone is just too, too tempting.  They have a bad day, and you get the one star review.

The other factor at work is that many readers can't tell the difference between, "I didn't like this but the writing is competent" and "I didn't like this because the writing is incompetent."  I got a poor review by a reader who said she hated the book because she didn't like the term of endearment the hero used.  I used "honey girl" which is common in Scotland as it's a new take on "hinny" and "hen" that are corruptions of "honey". Was she right to give a poor review?  Sure!  It's just her opinion.

The other thing that comes into play is that people feel that "proper authors" are much more likely to be good than indie authors.  So they expect to have to pick holes in things. I would suggest they read the last three Cat Who books to get rid of that prejudice.

There are also authors who make up fake persona and then trash other authors.  I've seen a bit of that on Goodreads and it fascinates me. Imagine being that petty minded!

I've been making my living from writing for almost two decades and I have to say that one star reviews don't bother me because there are plenty of people buying my books.  What I really want, are people who recommend my stuff to their friends.  The day the sales drop, I'll pay attention to one star reviews!

So if you're new, don't be upset by one star reviews. Focus on the group that does like your stuff and watch your sales figures.

Want to read one of my books?  For a sweet romantic mushy read, check out Lost Weekend: An Erotic Romance in Wales

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