Reader Friday: Let’s Talk Book Reviews

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

 

4+
This entry was posted in Writing by Jordan Dane. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She also pens young-adult novels for Harlequin Teen. Formerly an energy sales manager, she now writes full time. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs.

22 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Let’s Talk Book Reviews

  1. Despite everyone’s advice, I do read them. And then I agonize over ever tiny nuance until I’ve driven myself crazy.

    Seriously, I need help. (I don’t, really. Well, maybe a little…) 😉

    • Ha! I peek at first few after a release but then stop. Mainly I shift focus to next project & let the old one go, except for promo.

      The thing is, both good reviews AND bad ones can affect how you write going forward. That goes beyond ego stroking, which is why I don’t obsess over reviews & rarely read them. Obsessing is time away from writing or planning next book.

      • That’s why I read them. I want to know what my readers want and make adjustments where I can (that won’t compromise my message).

        It’s when I start checking them 7,000 times a day that I start to worry for my sanity.

        You shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I’ve read (and reviewed) your work. Very good stuff!

        • Aw, thank you. When I first started out, I obsessed as you describe with your 7000 times a day thing. Ha! But I had to quit. Too much time spent.

          I don’t read reviews BECAUSE I don’t want to be influenced. It’s interesting how differently we approach this. I hope more people comment. It’s fun to read about reviews & how authors deal with them.

          When I got rejections on projects from editors or agents, before I was pubbed, I had a ritual of shredding them to rid my office of the negative energy.

  2. I love reading my reviews on Amazon, B&N, etc. On Goodreads, I don’t bother anymore. For some reason readers are more inclined to nitpick there. Most are ridiculous little things, too, like the killer not getting caught quick enough. Huh? For mystery/thrillers the story would end if the killer got caught in Chapter Five.

    The best advice I’ve ever received is to never respond. Period. Unless a reader specifically asks a question like when the next book releases. Otherwise, I click “helpful” and move on.

    • I like watching your promos, Sue, when you include a review. That’s powerful stuff.

      And I agree, never respond. That’s a slippery slope you’ll never climb up once you’ve gone down it.

  3. A reader on Twitter/Goodreads gave me a 3-star review for one of my young adult novels & I mentioned it to my YA editor & inhouse publicist at Harlequin. We got a chuckle over it, even though it was a bit disturbing. Why?

    BECAUSE I HADN’T FINISHED WRITING IT.

    Not even my editor had seen it. My publicist contacted the reader to ask how she got her hands on it, but no reply. We determined she wanted the attention on Goodreads for an advance read. Her tweets were a progress report of “30% done, 3-star” “50% done, 3-star” “Finished, 3-star.” I asked my editor to drop the issue with the reader, but we had quite a laugh over it. That incident, along with a reviewer who gave me s 1-star because another reviewer revealed too much in HER review & ruined the reading experience for Miss 1-star, gave me perspective on reviews.

  4. I read my reviews and groan or celebrate once a month. I’ve got 8 books and I keep a chart of the total reviews for each book and their average on A and G. The one star reviews bug me. If I’m not enjoying a book, I don’t finish it and I don’t rate it. It just goes in my didn’t finish pile. I certainly wouldn’t read a book all the way to the end and then give it a star review – that’s a waste of my time to read while not enjoying the story.

    • Exactly. If you notice, the 1-star review people always sound a little unbalanced. They’re reviews tend to be short and they use CAPS. Ha! When I’m looking at reviews to consider before I buy a book, I want to read a lucid review with substance. If the 1-star reviewers have a more lengthy and meaty write-up, I will read it, but most don’t on books.

      I like to review books I honestly like, similar to your point of view, Alec. Thanks for the comment.

  5. I read reviews, but I seldom write them. When I do, I try to follow the golden review rule. “Review others as you would have others review you.” I don’t mind honesty, even if I disagree. What I dislike are the open attacks whose only purpose is to discredit honest authors. Few reviewers seem to understand that just because a book doesn’t work for them, doesn’t mean it’s an awful book.

    I just finished reading a YA book from a best selling author and really didn’t like it. The plot was fine, but the execution was really poorly done, in my opinion. I will not be writing a review of that book, because I was clearly not the audience for it and I have no desire to malign a fellow author. We are the same species after all. Others have enjoyed the books. It can serve no purpose to give a negative review.

    • I believe as you do on writing reviews.

      For a long while I did not write any reviews, but I’ve had some very generous authors do them for my books, unsolicited, and was very grateful. I now write them sparingly.

  6. I read every review as part of my morning Internet chores. Of course, I love the five-star reviews and normally shrug off the one-stars, but there’s generally some good writerly nutrition in the three-star reviews. In fact, it was reviews for my early books that led to the Great Defuckification of my recent works–say the last 12 years. When that many people say they would read more if the language were less crude, I thought it wise to listen.

    • That’s sounds like good advice. Thanks, John.

      I heard that ITW had big named authors like you read their worst & funniest reviews at a conference and YOU won. You made me want to sift through mine for a conference reading gem.

      • I did win! And here’s the quote, about NATHAN’S RUN: “The glue boogers in the binding were more captivating than Gilstrap’s torpid prose.” Nice.

        • i LOVE that. And for such a great book. OMG. There’s hope for all of us. HA! Thanks for sharing that. I hoped you would. Good man.

  7. My observation is that if a book is on the way to becoming massively successful by true word of mouth (the most powerful thing in publishing), then even a mountain of bad reviews will not impact that from happening. I think everyone should remember this and just keep producing the best work possible.

    I’ve worked in the music industry for 25 years where reviews bad or good have virtually no impact on sales or live gate receipts.

    The Broadway and West End Theater industries are the only creative industries I know of where bad reviews have direct impact and can “Close the show”.

Comments are closed.