Author Topic: one-star review, need advice  (Read 2506 times)  

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2018, 09:27:08 AM »
To be honest too ... if I see less than 200 four and five star, I think I can assume those are family and friends and friends of friends.  Over that number there is a following maybe. So you have to decide if it is your genre you like to read.

For religious, under 800 or so 4 and 5 star you are talking about congregations now. Over 1000 you are getting into followers maybe.

I have no idea that that is an observation I have that is actually true. I won't give any details on why I think that might be true.

This seems like a belief that might be better left unshared, as it labels the vast majority of our author members liars and cheats.

Offline VirginiaMcClain

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2018, 09:34:59 AM »
I am talking about reading and the star system ... I could give a flip about BB or promoting outside Amazon.

And she isn't talking about either of those things. She's saying she sells enough to make a living off of her writing, but has a max of 19 reviews on her most well reviewed book. (I'm guessing erotica because those tend to have extremely low review rates.)

But in any genre, indies who are incredibly popular can have anywhere from 25 to 200 reviews per book and still be well outside of the 'it's all family and friends' category. That is simply a ridiculous assumption. I have 26 reviews on my debut novel on the US amazon site (and I'm definitely not anywhere near making a living off my writing yet) but only 3 of those are from people I've ever met. Point being, assuming that anything under 200 reviews is from people the author knows personally is insane. I WISH I could get 200 of my friends and family to read my books (most of them don't read fantasy). When I finally reach the 200 review mark on a single book it will be 99% people I've never met.
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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2018, 09:37:18 AM »
And because of this logic, the enter star rating system is useless because there is no proper context. This mentality has created an environment where everything is expected to be 4 or 5 stars, and three stars has become the new one star, making the entire system useless.

This isn't First Grade where we need to give everyone participation trophies. This is a business where business people are asking consumers to spend their hard-earned money (and, more importantly, their precious time) or their books.

If I go into a restaurant and the food is undercooked and the plates are dirty, I'm not going to say "By golly, they sure tried really hard so I'll give them three stars." Because as a consumer, it is not my concern to boost the fragile ego of the business owner and give them a motherly pat on the head and a kiss on the cheek.
First grade? It's like that in high school now. (I taught for 36 years, and these days anything less than a B is viewed as a slap in the face.)

That said, the lack of context cuts both ways. I've seen reviews where the comments sound much more positive than the rating looks. Of course, rating a creative product like a book is going to be highly subjective anyway, but the lack of generally accepted criteria makes the situation even more confusing. I find reviews for some kinds of products useful, but for creative things like books and videos, I place much greater weight on factors other than reviews.


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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2018, 09:39:58 AM »
And she isn't talking about either of those things. She's saying she sells enough to make a living off of her writing, but has a max of 19 reviews on her most well reviewed book. (I'm guessing erotica because those tend to have extremely low review rates.)

But in any genre, indies who are incredibly popular can have anywhere from 25 to 200 reviews per book and still be well outside of the 'it's all family and friends' category. That is simply a ridiculous assumption. I have 26 reviews on my debut novel on the US amazon site (and I'm definitely not anywhere near making a living off my writing yet) but only 3 of those are from people I've ever met. Point being, assuming that anything under 200 reviews is from people the author knows personally is insane. I WISH I could get 200 of my friends and family to read my books (most of them don't read fantasy). When I finally reach the 200 review mark on a single book it will be 99% people I've never met.
Agreed! There may be some authors who can get an enormous number of friends to review books, but that isn't most of us. Not being a great self-promoter, I don't even tell my friends I'm writing. The ones who know discovered it online, not from me.


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Online C. Gockel

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2018, 09:45:24 AM »
I very strongly suspect that when they're remotely interested, they'll even buy a copy and read it and keep notes on file for the future, even if they don't select it.

I have suspected this, too.

ETA: I think BookBub wants books that are memorable, so they don't mind the bad reviews so much (unless there are consistent quality issues mentioned.) They like books that are a little off the beaten path.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 09:47:04 AM by C. Gockel »


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Offline Evelyn Alexie

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2018, 09:47:13 AM »
This mentality has created an environment where everything is expected to be 4 or 5 stars, and three stars has become the new one star, making the entire system useless.

I used to judge writing contests for romance groups. The score sheets used to ask the judges to rank from 1-5 for a given criterion. These days, the score sheets I see rank from 5-10. You can't rank an entry lower than a 5 but it "looks" better.  :-X
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Offline RTW

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2018, 09:50:14 AM »
If the email to Amazon is 200 words, that's 200 words you could be writing in the next book, which would be a much better use of your time, because Amazon won't remove it.

My books have been featured in BookBub almost twenty times now. But, here's the kicker, I've applied at least 400 times. You don't have to wait four weeks to apply again. You can apply immediately at a lower price. And you don't have to use just the first in series. Last week, my third book was in BB and it was hugely successful. I've had BB promos on books 1-6 of the series and all have been hugely successful.

Basically, I apply on a Monday for a discounted BB. When it's rejected, I apply the same day for a free feature. When that's turned down, I move to the next book. On any given day of the week, all year long, BookBub has an application from me. Their selection process isn't based on the number of reviews or the average. Mostly, they look for a book that fits well with books already selected, or other books in the application process.

With three books, you can apply every five days and still be within their four week rule.
Book One discounted on the 1st
Book One free on the 6th
Book Two discounted on the 11th
Book Two free on the 16th
Book Three discounted on the 21st
Book Three free on the 26th
Book One discounted whatever date is 28 days after its last application, in this case on the 6th.

It takes planning, so you don't violate their rules. I've been doing it this way for almost four years now. And that's the secret to my success with BookBub. Bury 'em. With 15 novels to choose from, I can literally send an application every single day.

This is amazingly helpful info, Wayne. Thank you.


Offline Max 007

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #32 on: February 12, 2018, 09:59:12 AM »
I used to judge writing contests for romance groups. The score sheets used to ask the judges to rank from 1-5 for a given criterion. These days, the score sheets I see rank from 5-10. You can't rank an entry lower than a 5 but it "looks" better.  :-X

LOL! Now that is funny. I like that.

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #33 on: February 12, 2018, 10:00:39 AM »
People have such warped views of the reality of publishing that it feels like I'm reading a joke site here sometimes.

Seriously.

There are a few members whose posts consistently trigger this response from me...






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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #34 on: February 12, 2018, 10:02:14 AM »
This is true I think.

To be honest too ... if I see less than 200 four and five star, I think I can assume those are family and friends and friends of friends.  Over that number there is a following maybe. So you have to decide if it is your genre you like to read.

For religious, under 800 or so 4 and 5 star you are talking about congregations now. Over 1000 you are getting into followers maybe.

I have no idea that that is an observation I have that is actually true. I won't give any details on why I think that might be true.

We don't get to see how many downloads the book has with no reviews. Nor do we know if they really took the time to read it all or read it at all.  You do get a good deal of that info - but only with your book.  Private matters are private matters.

Does a KU reader really dive into the reviews is the question or does anyone?  I just have a loose perspective I use to gage things as I first start looking at a book.  Do you see only a lot of stars and start buying ?  If you are KU who cares.  So the levels I think are to be considered as an indicator if you are going to shell out money.

A 3 says, "No, this is not top notch." But they give some feedback too. You can change the book. 

So your idea on 3's is cool.





So those of us with books that have only one review don't have any family or friends  :'(

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Offline Catherine Lea

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2018, 10:17:46 AM »
I have a one-star that simply reads, "Wouldn't download." And they still didn't remove it.


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Offline Tizzy

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2018, 11:18:59 AM »
And because of this logic, the enter star rating system is useless because there is no proper context. This mentality has created an environment where everything is expected to be 4 or 5 stars, and three stars has become the new one star, making the entire system useless.

This isn't First Grade where we need to give everyone participation trophies. This is a business where business people are asking consumers to spend their hard-earned money (and, more importantly, their precious time) or their books.

If I go into a restaurant and the food is undercooked and the plates are dirty, I'm not going to say "By golly, they sure tried really hard so I'll give them three stars." Because as a consumer, it is not my concern to boost the fragile ego of the business owner and give them a motherly pat on the head and a kiss on the cheek.

Totally agree with this. As a reader and reviewer I give one and to-star ratings whenever I find it fit. Sure, I rarely go for it since I tend to research what I buy to make sure it'll be at least a decent book/up to my expectations, but whenever I run into a book that's pure drivel or where characters don't make sense I don't hesitate to slap it with a low rating - and why should I? If I think your book is not good and therefore I can NOT recommend it to people, the best way to let people know is by rating it as such, your fragile ego be damned.

I do, however, try to write reviews and let people know what's wrong. And my reviews are always longer than a line or two, since I do believe the best kindness you can do to the author of a bad book is letting them know why their book is bad. I myself as an author don't mind one-star ratings so much (I mean, I try not to cry when I get them :P ) if they come with a review letting me know why they hated it. Unless said review signals the reader was way out of their genre, but even then that's part of the business. Yes it sucks to have your epic medieval fantasy novel rated one-star because "It didn't have enough romance," but what can you do? I'm sure somebody out there read Lord of the Rings and didn't like it because of not enough spaceships, since this happens to even the best of us.

I really think we need to understand there are failing grades for a reason and use them more often. The rating inflation that's taken over the publishing/movie/videogame industries is absurd and in the end in detriment of both creators and consumers.

Offline Rose Andrews

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #37 on: February 12, 2018, 02:21:13 PM »
I got two 1* last week (not on the same book). No reviews, just the stars. And you know what? It's totally okay. These things don't really matter overall (unless you're selling terrible work and that doesn't seem to be the case with you). Sometimes people don't like our work. Who cares? You're still a damn good writer especially if you're getting Bookbubs, there's something you're doing right!

So, press on and don't let people's opinions of your work get you down. Ultimately, can any of those reviewers WRITE a book? Books....in the plural? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But that doesn't mean their opinions are truths about you. As others have said, chin up, keep writing. You made someone react strongly to your work. I say if they took the time to give you a 1* and you know you're not a [crap] writer, then your voice was just not for that person. :)

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Offline S. C.

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #38 on: February 12, 2018, 02:42:09 PM »
Bookbub cares more about the content of the reviews rather than the number of reviews or star rating, but it is only one factor in their evaluation.  I honestly wouldn't worry about it. Reviews are so subjective. A one-star review won't necessarily rule you out, but comments about bad editing etc. definitely will.

It's also to be expected that when you get more readers that statistically some of them may not like your book. OTOH, if your cover isn't on point for your genre and that leads to a disappointed reader it will definitely impact whether you are selected for a feature.  Bookbub wants to feature the best in each of their categories and will evaluate your cover and writing themselves rather than relying on reviews.  I've had books selected with only one review before.  So don't let this review get you down.


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Offline EllieDee

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2018, 03:07:38 AM »
Quote
I have a one-star that simply reads, "Wouldn't download." And they still didn't remove it.

Yup yup yup.  Meanwhile, Amazon WILL take down ARC reviews if it strikes their fancy, and there's nothing you can do about either result.  Stiff upper lip and keep writing your novels.

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #40 on: February 13, 2018, 05:55:52 AM »
Dang, you're a hard woman, Julie!

But I agree 100%. Well put.

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #41 on: February 13, 2018, 06:21:51 AM »
I'm still chuckling at the idea that most writers have 200+ friends & family members who will go rate/review their book. That's hilarious!

One-star reviews that are unrelated to the book ("This wouldn't download!") are extremely irritating. My book has a slew of one-star ratings on Goodreads that are from people who couldn't possibly have read the book because it wasn't out yet when they rated it. I gather there are some folks who use one-star to mean "want to read." Great, thank you. Then there's the one-star review that starts off with the reader saying how much she HATES books with subject matter like mine, so of course she'd check it out. Surprise, she hates mine too! ;)

One-stars are part of the biz, and while they're painful, there's not much you can do except ignore them and move on.

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #42 on: February 13, 2018, 06:29:00 AM »
My book has a slew of one-star ratings on Goodreads that are from people who couldn't possibly have read the book because it wasn't out yet when they rated it.

The regularly scheduled clarification on Goodreads:

Regular users of Goodreads use the star system to influence their book recommendations. By rating books 1 star, it signals to the Goodreads algorithm that they have no interest in that type of book. The system then (theoretically) avoids recommending books like that to the reader. So when a person rates a book one-star, they are telling Goodreads "Don't show me books like this." It is actually how the system is supposed to work.

In fact, when you first sign up for Goodreads, you get the option to "train" your account by going through dozens of books and giving them star-ratings so you can teach the system what type of books you want to see. Those one-star ratings are part of the design and are meant specifically for the readers.

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Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2018, 05:06:39 PM »
I have a one-star that simply reads, "Wouldn't download." And they still didn't remove it.

That could be taken two ways. You obviously feel it meant that the reader had a problem with the download and never received the book.

But, it could also be a warning to others.

Just being the Devil's Advocate here. ;)
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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #44 on: February 19, 2018, 06:04:20 PM »
I'm still chuckling at the idea that most writers have 200+ friends & family members who will go rate/review their book. That's hilarious!

I'm glad you're laughing. Reading this is making me feel deficient. My family that's not so remote I wouldn't even know how to contact them is down to two, and my friends are only a small percentage of 200. Heck I'm pretty sure I don't have 200 acquaintances unless you count people I know to smile or nod at but couldn't name.

Is the reference maybe to cyber "friends"? Who aren't really friends and could be different in every way from how they represent themselves online?


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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #45 on: February 20, 2018, 02:04:01 AM »
I'm with all of you who found the idea that *any* of us have 200 friends and family who would review our books hilarious.

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Offline C. Gold

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Re: one-star review, need advice
« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2018, 03:18:16 AM »
I'm with all of you who found the idea that *any* of us have 200 friends and family who would review our books hilarious.
Hahaha! I have four reviews total I can ascribe to people I know. The other thirteen? No clue who they are from.

Is the reference maybe to cyber "friends"? Who aren't really friends and could be different in every way from how they represent themselves online?
I do have cyber friends from playing WoW and Asheron's Call over twenty years (gasp!) and I consider them better friends than many of the real life 'friends' I've had over the years. I've even met several in real life when we plan get togethers. Just because you never meet someone face to face, doesn't mean they aren't genuine. Like any relationship, time wears at the facade and reveals the true person underneath.

I do promote my books to my friends and family. But I never mention reviews. That four took the time to not only read my book but leave a review means a lot to me and they have my thanks.