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 Amazon.com. 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?
TLIF – It’s All A Matter of Opinion
by Allyson Lindt | Sep 6, 2011 | TLIF | 3 comments
I’m still figuring out how to do product reviews specially for books. My professor this semester wants me to do reviews on amazon for the current literature I’m reading as an assignment. When I look at reviews I look at all of them. Great post
In some ways, choosing which books to buy is becoming more difficult. You just make the best decision you can. Recommendations from a friend who likes the same kind of books you do is probably the best you can hope for.
I actually will welcome both the 4 and 5 star reviews and the 1 and 2 star reviews. Dean Wesley Smith once said on his blog that a really good, really successful story divides people. Some people love it and some people hate it but if you can reduce them to arguing and getting passionate about it then your story is a hit. I keep that in mind and hope that my stories will have that kind of reaction.