Recently I've had 4 & 5 star reviews followed by a one star for "Dark Blonde," perhaps the best selling of all the 20 novels in the Mike Angel PI series. One stars are no surprise to me but I note the wide disparity of opinion of some of my books. I'm tempted to but won't reply to this one that begs questions:
If you like a hard-boiled PI who is very jaded - and like reading about crooked poltiicans, crooked cops, etc. then this is for October 1, 2017
Usually don't post reviews unless I can give a good review. For this book - I could not finish it. Hard boiled PI - lots of sex, politics, crooked cops, crooked politicians. Just not my style.
First off, I hate reviews that admit not finishing a book. Second she doesn't explain why she departed from her "usual" reviewing only with good reviews (which makes me again question the whole value of reviews). She identifies some of the elements in the book then says it was "Just not my style."
Look, no way would I review a book I felt was not my style, say a sappy romance. What makes her take that position then insult with a one star? Okay, if she had something more tangible than "not my style" I'd appreciate it. I can understand why reading a chapter or two leads to not finishing a book. I recently quit a Samuel Butler classic for the same reason. But what about reading the opener? Reading other reviews? It's clearly described as a "hard-boiled mystery." On the other hand she loved one of Balducci's books and I can't stand to read him. Taste? sure. I know it differs. But reviews like this one give me the fantods.
Can't please everyone. There are negative reviews out there of every book under the sun. There are negative reviews of Kafka, Shakespeare, Nabokov, Tolstoy, Pasternak, Tolkien, Herbert and every other great writer you can think of. Philistines abound. You will get negative reviews no matter what you write. Ignore and move on.
As an aside, one reader's negative is another's positive. She hated it because it has a hard-boiled PI and lots of crookedy crooks? " Hurrah, that's what I want!" says the next reader over.
Half the time, I don't read the positive reviews. I read the negative, and shop based on that.
I once had a review from someone who accused me of promoting domestic violence, telling me that as a female author, I should be ashamed of myself. That cheered me up.
Firstly she quoted the names of two characters from a completely different book.
Then she claimed that the husband (leading male) brutally beat his pregnant wife, which came as a shock to me, because;
a/ there was no violence
b/ the characters weren't married
c/ the female lead wasn't pregnant
I soon established that this woman leaves reviews like this all over Amazon, often deliberately picking books about BDSM and biker gangs (neither of which are in my books) and then slating them.
One review against another author has over 250 angry comments against her review, pointing out that she is mad/deranged/lying/hallucinating/sick/twisted/has a secret bdsm fetish but hates herself for it.... but have A'zon removed the offending reviews? Nope.
My favourite responses to her reviews come from someone who now trolls her. She leaves a comment against the reviews saying something like - 'Thanks for leaving your 1 star review. The 450 members of my erotica reading group are now using all your 1 star reviews as recommendations for books we may wish to enjoy. The authors thank you for the sales.'
Something like that anyway.
Sadly, Amazon won't remove reviews like hers no matter how unfair, unreasonable, or untrue they are.
I just smile 'til it kills me, and stick pins in a doll I have set aside especially for the purpose.
OMG! I love that troll the troll response. That is classic!
Even the really good authors get bad reviews. If people respond passionately to your writing, it figures that some will despise it while others will love it. Not much comfort if you have one review sitting there like a zit on the end of the nose, but it's better when you've got many others that overpower that one. I just hope my own newly pub'd book gets a few good reviews before someone dings it, since I'm sure there's a negative review with my name on it out there, somewhere. O.O
The most irrelevant one I got was on Goodreads - one star, no comments at all. The benefit of Goodreads is that you can then look at what the reader generally reads. Now my books are espionage/thrillers with a lot of action, and what did this reader generally read, Mills and Boon. To this day I have two questions. What on earth prompted you to read my book (if you did at all), when you read nothing but romance, and 2. Did you select a single start for my book in error?
It would have been much better if she had commented, as at least I would understand why the one star, and that would be it, each to their own. But no, nothing.
That's one thing about Zon - they make you write something in the review unlike Goodreads. For what it's worth, I read romance plus sci-fi, fantasy, UF, paranormal, and even sometimes thrillers and mystery. So just because that person reads a lot of romance doesn't mean they wouldn't read other stuff.
It happens to all of us. My only negative review is from a woman who received a FREE book! (Free ARC - thanks for the freebie and here's your reward lol). She admits to not finishing it, to not liking the genre, and to just wanting to leave the review to "be done with this."
We all take our lumps. Karma will come around (bad things happen to internet trolls) and good things will happen to you, if you just shrug this off. (i know, it's hard, but just shrug it off).
It may give us all an ego boost when we get 5-star reviews, and make us depressed when we get one star.
But the whole point of reviews is to advise other readers whether it's worth taking a punt on our books, not massage the author's ego.
I have a couple of reviewers who give 5 stars to me on GR for books listed as 'coming soon' but are not yet released.
Reviewers can be odd!
Re the part of your post that mentions readers who only read a few pages and then submit a review, I continue to advocate for the number of pages read (which Amazon knows whenever a reader opens his/her Kindle) to be displayed with the review. As a prospective buyer, I would be better informed by knowing that a book review is from someone who didn't even read the whole first chapter much less the whole book. As an author, I would be better served knowing that the reviewer read very little and thus has little to offer in the way of intelligent criticism. Seems like a win/win to me. Granted, it wouldn't work for non-Kindle reads and granted, an author is responsible for getting the reader's attention from the get go, but I for one feel that anyone reading a review would benefit from knowing how much the "reviewer" actually read.
You still wouldn't know how much the reviewer read because they could easily skip entire chapters. I did that for one book that I bought without looking inside to find out that the main character was a stupid, selfish, whiny brat. I didn't even read the entire first chapter, then skipped to the last chapter to find out what happened with the main character that I liked in the previous three books who was 'missing' in this one to bring you his stupid bratty son. I'm sure the tool would indicate that I read the entire book when I didn't. And as a pissed off reader, I had the right to say exactly how I felt about that switcheroo, if I felt so inclined.
uncle....I got two reviews of the one book from the same writer....the first said DO Buy This Book.
The second after I said his second book had very serious problems like conducting a lineup using a blown up in a car charred severed penis to try and identify a person. I laughed at than scenario. You slept with him - is this his big penis?
My reviewer was lazy and the second reviews is almost 99% the same words but ended DON'T Buy This Book. He added the "Don't". Maybe this proved my point.
Both reviews can be seen on Amazon!!!!!
Oh yes. I got a one-star review titled "Pointless." (The same book got two-, four- and five-star ratings. No three-star ones.)
I've noticed it's a thing these days, suggesting that the author should not have written this book, and that it was a waste of his/her time as well as the reader's. It cracks me up, such concern for productive use of my time
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway has a 3.8 rating on Amazon. I know that many people don't consider it their favorite of his, but seriously? Out of curiosity, I read some of the lower starred reviews, and didn't come away with a good feeling about what some readers want in a book these days.