This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Mostly because I just discoverd it about myself. However, Teralyn Rose Pilgram had a post yesterday about a similar subject, and rather than blog on her blog, I thought I’d expand on the thought here.

I fear negative reviews of my own work. Like if I ever get a book out there,I’ll probably cry when I see my first two or one star review. It makes me cringe just thinking about it. So I try not to.

But the thing is, I love reading negative reviews for books and really for anything I’m thinking about buying.

When I’m trying to decide whether or not to buy something, I try and read the reviews. Always. Especially books and electronics. This is why I love I’ll skim the 4 & 5 star reviews, just to get an idea of what people are raving about. But think I’ll click on that little link next to the 1 star ratings.

I’ll read what they all have to say. I’ll ignore the snark and sarcasm and stupidity (because yes, rating a product 1 star because UPS took too long to deliver it is stupid), and I’ll filter out what the reveiwers didn’t like.

Frequently, a trend will emerge. Maybe no one liked the Coby Kyros MID7024-4G Android tablet because it had problems with the Wi-Fi. And I decide “I’m technical, I can live with that/fix it if it happens.” (Which was a big mistake by the way, because the Wi-Fi wasn’t just difficult to deal with it was actually non-functional so I’m returning the device and getting a Nook Color and a patch for Android).

Or several of the lower-ranked reviews will say “I thought the anti-religous tone in this book was disparaging”. Or “I’d rather not think about teenagers who live such dark lives” (and some of the reviews actually say that flat out). I’ll see that and think “Those things don’t bother me. In fact, they might make the story more interesting”. And I’ll decide to buy the book because of those 1 star reviews.

On the other hand, if they say things like “the plot is cliched” or “cute, but not substantial” or “predictable without any redeeming qualities” and it’s a trend (because I think all books have that review at least once), I’ll probably steer clear.

Especially if those same reasons are exactly why the 4 & 5 star people rated the book so high.

So yeah…I suspect I’ll never be prepared to get that kind of feedback on my own work, but that little series of stars doesn’t impact my decision to buy. It’s always the reason behind them.

How do you feel about stars and product reviews?