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Author Topic: First 1 star review, feels like a badge of honor. Should I comment on it?  (Read 3250 times)  

Offline RyanDisney

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I published my first piece of nonfiction about three months ago and it's doing fairly well. With about 1,000 reads (split 60:40 between sales and KENP), and reviews in the low double digits (4.4 star average), I finally got my first 1 star. "This is a very short story not a book. I get a free book every month and I wasted it on this." She's not wrong about it being short, but I went out of my way to telegraph that to any potential reader. I don't care if she removes the review, but I do feel a little bad that she's upset. If she wrote the review the same day she purchased the book, she's still in the window to get a refund, and I'm debating if I should comment and tell her. Are there any downsides that I should be aware of?

Offline Donna White Glaser

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There are a million, billion possible downsides to commenting on reviews, particularly 1 stars. Even if you try to explain yourself or if they get something wrong, it can backfire on you in a big way.  My perspective is that readers' reviews aren't really my business. I know that sounds weird but the truth is the reviews are for the reviewer--a way to express their opinion on a book--and for other readers. And in a way, they're doing us a service. This person's review will steer away other readers who dislike short reads, thus reducing additional 1 stars. JMHO
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Offline crebel

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It sounds to me like she borrowed the book through the KOLL (Kindle Owner's Lending Library) that is a Prime perk allowing members to borrow one (and only one) eligible book per calendar month.  She won't get any money back for the return, and she is out of luck to borrow another book until May.  My advice is don't respond; everything she typed is accurate and you can't change her outcome.
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Offline Flay Otters

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Best not to for.. reasons. Just be a proud member of the 1 star review club.

Offline Eric Thomson

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all


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Offline WalkingOnMars

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Never feed the trolls! I bet if you could take a look at her other reviews, she'd be equally as unhappy with a lot of what she's purchased. You can't satisfy some people. You mentioned that the book was short - if this reader wasn't willing to help herself before she downloaded the book, what can you do to help her? Nothing.

Offline AlecHutson

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Never feed the trolls! I bet if you could take a look at her other reviews, she'd be equally as unhappy with a lot of what she's purchased. You can't satisfy some people. You mentioned that the book was short - if this reader wasn't willing to help herself before she downloaded the book, what can you do to help her? Nothing.

Agree with this. I recently got my first one-star review on Goodreads - took me about 800 between there and Amazon, so I'm not too worried, and out of curiosity I scrolled through their previous reviews. The Golden Compass, 2 stars. Lord of the Rings, 2 stars. Game of Thrones, 2 stars. A bunch of classics, 1 star. I'm not sure why some people keep reading and reviewing if everything is so terrible.

Apparently they style themselves a writer, because half of their reviewed books are 'how to write young adult fiction' books. Not sure they're going to get very far with the whole writing thing if they think Phillip Pullman is a bad writer.

Alec Hutson

Offline Atunah

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It sounds to me like she borrowed the book through the KOLL (Kindle Owner's Lending Library) that is a Prime perk allowing members to borrow one (and only one) eligible book per calendar month.  She won't get any money back for the return, and she is out of luck to borrow another book until May.  My advice is don't respond; everything she typed is accurate and you can't change her outcome.
Yes this. The reviewer feels like they wasted their once a month borrow on a 19 page short. Its their valid feeling and opinion.

And it doesn't make them a troll. Can we stop with the name calling of reviewers?

And before someone says they should have know how short, on devices its not as clear as on the computer.
The short is 4.4 out of 5 stars. That is a really really high rating. There is no reason to complain or otherwise think about a 1 star in that case. None. 1 stars are as valid as 5 stars. Period.

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Online Ann in Arlington

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Never feed the trolls! I bet if you could take a look at her other reviews, she'd be equally as unhappy with a lot of what she's purchased. You can't satisfy some people. You mentioned that the book was short - if this reader wasn't willing to help herself before she downloaded the book, what can you do to help her? Nothing.

Sorry -- a reader who isn't happy because the book is shorter than expected is NOT a troll. Even if the warning was there and the reader just missed it. AND, Even if all her reviews are low, that still doesn't mean Troll. It means that she's not moved to review unless she feels like she needs to warn other readers. I get that.

It seems to me that you are characterizing a reviewer without justification and it comes off as dismissive and unprofessional.

Not cool.

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Offline Cheryl Douglas

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all

Agreed

Online Jena H

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I got a one-star that said, in total, "Never received."  I don't know WHY the person never got the download, since I don't control that process, and ironically it was a free book, so he/she could always get it again.   ::)

But as long as your blurb mentions "short story," or those words are on the cover, or the info is communicated some way, you're absolved of any blame if the reader didn't see or notice the information.

Stuff happens.  And as others have said, don't respond.  That person is entitled to express her opinion, which she did, and that should be the end of it.


Jena

Offline Herefortheride

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People never seem to have an issue with overly complimentary 5-star reviews...only one-star reviews!

This person had a bad experience based on length, so be it. If the book was amazing she wouldn't have minded it being short. So you might have got off lucky that she didn't mention anything else.

IF you got a review 5-stars "Good read" I bet you wouldn't think twice but if you got a bad review one-star "bad read" would you feel different?

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Offline ShaneJeffery

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This is a complete non-issue. The impact this review is having on your book is nil. Replying on it will make you seem amateur and thin-skinned.

Offline Kyra Halland

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all

This. Totally. Just don't. Ever.


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Offline D A Bale

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all

Ditto.

Offline Sam B

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all

Like everyone else, I'm gonna go with this.

Honestly, I think it should be posted at the top of the board, or tattooed to our foreheads or something. Nothing good can ever come of responding to a review, no matter how good your intentions are.

Offline Stephen T. Harper

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This. Totally. Just don't. Ever.

Plus, there are so many reasons you can get bad reviews. This is sitting at the top of my Amazon page as the most recent review...

1.0 out of 5 stars Not giving 1, February 7, 2017
By Kindle Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: King's X: A Supernatural Thriller (Kindle Edition)
I will not be giving you any more reviews of any of the books I have read. You people think I am a Spam

I guess he got tired of Amazon asking for a review.  Hard to get too worked up about that.

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Offline celadon

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This is a complete non-issue. The impact this review is having on your book is nil. Replying on it will make you seem amateur and thin-skinned.
Exactly this. Other potential readers will think, "So it's short. I knew that." Either they will be warned off getting a short book that they wouldn't want, or they already know it's short and the 1-star review will only tell them something they already knew. Thank your lucky stars that this is the only complaint they had!

I had a similar (sort of) 1-star review. They griped about a quality of the book that was alluded to in the title and description and was a quality that some other readers would definitely want. So while I don't like the 1-star because it's one star, I'm SO GRATEFUL that they were not trashing the quality of the book.

Online Doglover

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I published my first piece of nonfiction about three months ago and it's doing fairly well. With about 1,000 reads (split 60:40 between sales and KENP), and reviews in the low double digits (4.4 star average), I finally got my first 1 star. "This is a very short story not a book. I get a free book every month and I wasted it on this." She's not wrong about it being short, but I went out of my way to telegraph that to any potential reader. I don't care if she removes the review, but I do feel a little bad that she's upset. If she wrote the review the same day she purchased the book, she's still in the window to get a refund, and I'm debating if I should comment and tell her. Are there any downsides that I should be aware of?
If she borrowed it, which would be her one book a month, she cannot get a refund.

I am puzzled about your claim of page read split between sales and KENP. You don't get any information on page reads for books that are sold, only those that are borrowed.


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Offline Abalone

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Don't.  Ever.  Respond.  To.  Reviews.

That is all

Offline 9 Diamonds

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Yup indeed.

Offline Hasbeen

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I had someone  purchase each book of my series one after the other in just one week. Then proceed to give them each a one star review. Not only was it a one star review but each one got more personal. It felt as if he were trying to bait me into responding. The reviews were so nasty that they to be was walking very close to the line that Amazon says it will enforce if the reviews become personal. I posted my dilemma here on Kboards and the response was overwhelming to "ignore and move on". I did and while they still hurt I don't have this nut case in my life. When you respond remember you've taken their bait and given the power to disrupt your working live.

Since that happened to read a study someone did on the affect reviews had on books. The conclusion was the only number that mattered was the number of reviews good and bad combined mattered. If you had a bunch of reviews of your book then that is all that counts. It sounds as the one star was an outlier anyway so move on and forget this guy. I've examined the other reviews that this guy who gave me a one star had given other books. He didn't like anything and all the reviews were personal.

I wish I could tell you my skin is thicker for the experience but it isn't I've just learned its just part of the business and moved on.   

Offline brkingsolver

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 First 1 star review, feels like a badge of honor.

^This^ Congratulations, you've joined Earnest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pearl Buck and me. Welcome to the club. :)

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Offline EB

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Re: First 1 star review, feels like a badge of honor. Should I comment on it?
...
I do feel a little bad that she's upset. If she wrote the review the same day she purchased the book, she's still in the window to get a refund, and I'm debating if I should comment and tell her. Are there any downsides that I should be aware of?
No, you should not comment on it.
No, you should not feel bad about anything.
Downsides are numerous. Search kboards for "bad review" to see how these situations can go.

Yes this. The reviewer feels like they wasted their once a month borrow on a 19 page short. Its their valid feeling and opinion.

And it doesn't make them a troll. Can we stop with the name calling of reviewers?

And before someone says they should have know how short, on devices its not as clear as on the computer.
The short is 4.4 out of 5 stars. That is a really really high rating. There is no reason to complain or otherwise think about a 1 star in that case. None. 1 stars are as valid as 5 stars. Period.
^^ Agree 100%. A review is an opinion of one person; I am also weary of authors who put down reviewers. Not every person in the world is going to love the masterpiece you've created, and that's life. It doesn't mean they don't understand your genius, or they're too stupid to get it, or they're just out to get you. Most are just the simple opinion of a reader.  And yes, there are people who leave 1-star reviews out of spite because you said something they didn't like on the internet or hate your guts from real life, but really, readers can see through that. There are much better things to spend time on than stressing over reviews.

Unless, of course, every single one of your reviews say your stuff sucks (except the one from your mom), and the reviewers give you detailed reasons why your book sucks. Then maybe you should pay attention, and like, step up your game or something.  ;D ;)

Offline brkingsolver

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It doesn't mean they don't understand your genius, or they're too stupid to get it, or they're just out to get you.
I thought this was the role of an editor. 8)

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