Author Topic: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?  (Read 5489 times)  

Offline jb1111

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Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2020, 05:43:51 pm »
I get that reviews in terms of their general presence, and that we can see how many there are, are coveted for marketing reasons. I can see why or how that form of social proof holds value to an author looking to increase sales. But, the actual content of the reviews themselves? Worthless.

That's why as an author, you're best off listening to a group of people who know you or your work to some extent, or whom you trust in some capacity when it comes to making editorial decisions. And, even then, the best person to listen to is yourself. You're the artist, and more often than not, you know best. What's the worst that can happen listening to yourself over the general rabble when it comes to editorial decisions for your book(s)? You lose a tiny percentage point off your Goodreads score? Meh - everyone and their dog has an average above 3.5 on that site. The ones that don't are the outliers.

While some reviewers can seem pedantic or cantankerous, they still are customers of your product, and I wouldn't completely discount a review if the person actually seemed to have read the book.

And where reviews are especially useful to the author is that they reflect the opinions of at least some of your readership, and at times they can be an indicator of whether your book was effective or not. What I think an author must do is balance the good reviews and the bad. And even some of the bad reviews may still show that your book was effective in getting something across.

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    Offline NikOK

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #51 on: November 23, 2020, 05:59:49 pm »
    I am a marshmallow--soft and easily flattened. Every bad review bothers me. I let myself have a mini pity party and then move on. Like this morning when I saw the most "helpful" review is this buster who stated that there were no dragons in my first book until the very end and it's just one long angst-filled romance story instead. Which...*slams head against desk repeatedly* And people voted that one as the MOST USEFUL REVIEW. Christ. It's completely inaccurate information. Dragon's first appearance is in freaking chapter four and the book blurb explicitly talks about the fact that the plot is centered around stealing the dragon back from the yakuza! So yeah, dragon's off-screen while the main leads try to steal it back from the bad guys, you giant jerk. I also PURPOSELY wrote the first two chapters to be centered on the relationships of the main leads to weed out this exact kind of jerk--someone who is going into this just for the dragons and nothing else. Anyone who doesn't like character-centric writing should be out by the second chapter, but this guy decided to stick around to whine about it instead of simply closing the book and moving on. Sigh. There's far more positive reviews than negative and I remind myself of that every time my self pity crops up when I see the bad reviews. I try not to read them, but I have self destructive tendencies so... *gestures to above comments* It just takes learned maturity to ignore the negativity. Most of the time, people who routinely give 1 or 2 star reviews are looking for things to dump on because they're just unpleasant and they feel superior dumping on someone else's work. I hate it, but it's a part of the career. There is no escaping it, so I just make sure to remember that the percentage of folks who like my work is far higher.

    Ha, yep, definitely a buster.

    Offline Awasin

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #52 on: November 23, 2020, 08:02:14 pm »
    If the review provides me with some sort of fair and actionable feedback, I have no issue with it at all.

    Post a video of you walking on water. Why waste your time writing?

    Offline H.C.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #53 on: November 24, 2020, 06:45:58 am »
    Post a video of you walking on water. Why waste your time writing?

    This ^^^^

    Online Maura

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #54 on: November 24, 2020, 05:23:21 pm »
    Like usedtoposthere, I read reviews, and I've learned some things from them. Mostly, though, I read them for the insight they give into readers and human nature. One person hates x; the very next reviewer loves x. People read the book and see all sorts of things I don't believe I put in there; people read the book and miss things I think are obvious in plain words. It's all interesting.

    As to being bugged by reviews - I have reviews from 1 to 5 star that bug me. The bad ones that really get to me are those from people who obviously read - or at least started - a book that from the description they knew they wouldn't like just so they could post a review about what they didn't like. The good ones I'd as soon disappear are a few that carry misinterpreting what's there to extremes, are vulgar, or have animated gifs (GR) that are completely irrelevant.

    But as mentioned above, reviews are really for readers. I'm peeking in at my own risk.

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #55 on: November 25, 2020, 10:43:13 pm »
    You don't seem to have a very high opinion of your audience ...

    If by: my "audience", you mean: people in general, you'd be correct.

    And where reviews are especially useful to the author is that they reflect the opinions of at least some of your readership, and at times they can be an indicator of whether your book was effective or not. What I think an author must do is balance the good reviews and the bad. And even some of the bad reviews may still show that your book was effective in getting something across.

    Sales being my primary focus, and given people often say one thing while doing another, I think the best indicator of whether my book's effective or not is performance on the balance sheet. If many random reviewer/consumer's actions contradict their words - as is often the case - then those reviews are useless to me from a book-selling standpoint.

    That's why if I'm looking for real, actionable information regarding a given book or story's content, I'll leave that to those selected specifically for that purpose.

    In the interest of accessing the best information I can, which thereby helps improve sales, I need to remove the randomness, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy humans exemplify to the greatest extent possible. Paying any mind to the words of random, chaotic reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads runs counter to that objective.


    Offline Doglover

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #56 on: November 25, 2020, 11:56:17 pm »
    I'm very careful when I check my reviews to sort by rating, so I only read the nice, glowing reviews.

    Make of that what you will.
    I never read reviews any more. Nowadays, you can go looking for that five star to see what they said, only to find it's just a star and nothing else. I don't like that at all. What the point?


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    Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #57 on: November 25, 2020, 11:59:30 pm »
    I never read reviews any more. Nowadays, you can go looking for that five star to see what they said, only to find it's just a star and nothing else. I don't like that at all. What the point?

    This is true. Very disappointing to find a 5 star with no actual review. I mean, I'm grateful for the rating, but kind words mean more.

    Offline alcyone

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #58 on: November 26, 2020, 07:42:22 am »
    I never read reviews any more. Nowadays, you can go looking for that five star to see what they said, only to find it's just a star and nothing else. I don't like that at all. What the point?

    As a book buyer who looks at reviews frequently when purchasing books, I think the star ratings as Amazon does them are useless, even time-wasting because if I go to look at the review to see it's only a rating, I've wasted my time clicking around. At least on Goodreads, unless the person has their profile set to private, I can see other books the person has rated to get a sense of whether our tastes match and/or what kind of a reviewer the person is. But on Amazon, I can't even do that. Being able to see why the reader liked (or hated) the book is what's valuable.

    Offline A past poster

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #59 on: November 26, 2020, 08:07:07 am »
    There is no transparency to the star reviews Amazon has now. Can people who haven't read the book leave stars?

    Any thoughts?

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #60 on: November 26, 2020, 09:23:18 am »
    You don't seem to have a very high opinion of your audience ...

    I like most of my audience, but there's a pretty large portion I don't like. To put it bluntly, a lot of romance readers are sexist. They have impossibly high standards for the heroine but forgive the hero for anything (except for acting "unmanly").

    I'm not Corvid but I will echo their statements:

    Readers lie in reviews.

    It's not lying extractly. More that people often don't know what they want. Readers complain about X then go buy X. Readers day they hate cliffhangers then go buy a series with cliffhangers.

    Don't listen too much to reviews. Listen to sales.

    With a few exceptions, my ratings are about the same on my older and newer books. My newer books are better (at least IMO) but I also attract a broader readership and do more to challenge readers.
    « Last Edit: November 26, 2020, 10:53:23 am by Crystal_ »

    Offline Randy M.

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #61 on: November 26, 2020, 09:52:13 am »
    Just when did Amazon start posting ratings without reviews? All my reviews are 5 stars. Then I have 3 and 2 stars in ratings alone. No reviews. This might sound like sour grapes but I'd much prefer ratings from readers who take the time to explain why they liked or didn't like the book. Giving a story 2 stars without an explanation?  Sorry, don't like it.

    Offline NikOK

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #62 on: November 26, 2020, 11:25:57 am »
     :-\
    Just when did Amazon start posting ratings without reviews? All my reviews are 5 stars. Then I have 3 and 2 stars in ratings alone. No reviews. This might sound like sour grapes but I'd much prefer ratings from readers who take the time to explain why they liked or didn't like the book. Giving a story 2 stars without an explanation?  Sorry, don't like it.

    Ratings come from people reading on kindle.  I think it gives you the opportunity to give a star rating when you get to the end of the book.  Someone was also saying before that alexa will ask you to rate books.  That's probably another source of ratings not reviews.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #63 on: November 26, 2020, 11:38:09 am »
    I know there's that saying about everyone's a critic, but it's not true. I'm sure Amazon was trying to get feedback from people, like myself, who don't write reviews. A star rating is easy and you're done, and as long as people who like reviewing don't stop it should help more than it hurts, right?

    Offline Rosie Scott

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #64 on: November 26, 2020, 01:58:50 pm »
    If by: my "audience", you mean: people in general, you'd be correct.

    Sales being my primary focus, and given people often say one thing while doing another, I think the best indicator of whether my book's effective or not is performance on the balance sheet. If many random reviewer/consumer's actions contradict their words - as is often the case - then those reviews are useless to me from a book-selling standpoint.

    In the interest of accessing the best information I can, which thereby helps improve sales, I need to remove the randomness, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy humans exemplify to the greatest extent possible. Paying any mind to the words of random, chaotic reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads runs counter to that objective.

    Corvid, I'd just like to chime in to say how much I agree with you on all of this. It is not about having a negative opinion about one's audience; rather, it is being realistic about who consumers are as a group. Reading reviews of any product can drive a person mad with the inconsistencies, misinformation, and randomness. There are better ways to receive feedback. If I changed how I wrote to abide by each review as it came I would no longer write what I love and I would have incoherent messes of books that likely would stop selling.

    To the OP, I stopped reading all reviews in 2018 because it is a net negative. While I think it is awesome a lot of authors have, I never learned anything useful or actionable from a review. Instead, the randomness, inconsistencies, and hypocrisy Corvid mentioned drove me mad when trying to apply feedback. What one person loves another hates. One person claims one thing, while another claims the opposite (this character is too strong/weak, or I love/hate this). With some reviews, you can't even recognize your own book in what they're saying. Negative reviewers move through a whole series (once again abiding by the behavior Corvid mentioned). Overwhelming positive reviews can do more harm than good if they sound fake or don't go into detail. Some reviews--negative and positive, but particularly positive--are incoherent, so I can't glean anything out of them.

    The best way I have found to hear useful feedback has been asking my audience directly. Sending out short surveys in my newsletters is a good method, and I often get great, enthusiastic, detailed responses. I also love getting fanmail from super-fans because they tend to go into detail about the things that really spoke to them, and I get a better insight into how my work is translating to others. Of course, even these methods highlight the inconsistencies. I did a survey once where most of my fanbase said they wouldn't buy a standalone, yet the next book I released (a standalone character prequel to the already released series) became my new bestseller and had high pre-orders. So you have to take even this kind of intimate feedback with a grain of salt.

    Fantasy/sci-fi. Writer of bloody warfare & witty banter. Provoker of questions.
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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #65 on: November 26, 2020, 09:16:51 pm »
    Interesting. I do not find this at all. I write for smart readers, and I have smart readers. I read their reviews with interest.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #66 on: November 27, 2020, 12:55:18 am »
    There is no transparency to the star reviews Amazon has now. Can people who haven't read the book leave stars?

    Any thoughts?
    Yes, because at the end of the book on kindle you can just leave a star.


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    Offline LostWriter

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #67 on: November 27, 2020, 08:27:32 am »
    A lot. I used to read reviews. Not anymore. I just pretend they don't exist and keep publishing.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #68 on: November 29, 2020, 12:52:34 am »
    While some reviewers can seem pedantic or cantankerous, they still are customers of your product, and I wouldn't completely discount a review if the person actually seemed to have read the book.

    And where reviews are especially useful to the author is that they reflect the opinions of at least some of your readership, and at times they can be an indicator of whether your book was effective or not. What I think an author must do is balance the good reviews and the bad. And even some of the bad reviews may still show that your book was effective in getting something across.
    That may well be true, but when you get a one star review because you live alone with your dogs (nothing about the book) you tend stop reading them and stop being bothered by them.


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    Offline jb1111

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #69 on: November 29, 2020, 03:01:55 am »
    ^^^^^ Understood. Some reviewers seem to just revel in the fact they can spout off.

    Offline Ross Harrison

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #70 on: November 29, 2020, 04:03:01 am »
    I've been lucky enough to not have any unpleasant reviewers who just want to be unpleasant. I get a little bit of exaggeration here and there about things someone didn't like, and people take stars off for some odd things (for example, my science fantasy book having fantastic elements), but nothing unpleasant. Thankfully, most of the more negative reviews actually explain what it is they weren't fond of, although some do just leave a star or two and that's it.

    In terms of bugging me, I think so long as a review is actually based on what's in the book, a negative review wouldn't bug me. The problem comes when it's based on a misunderstanding on the reader's part, but people reading the reviews don't know that. What you really don't want to see is someone say, "It was let down by the hero killing a man without any reason", and you know they somehow missed the line, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

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    Offline Doglover

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #71 on: November 29, 2020, 04:41:20 am »
    Not a review as such, but a comment on my ad for my six book series about people living in the reign of Queen Mary I. She said she was disappointed there weren't any dragons!  :o Sorry, lady, dragons weren't real. My books are history, not fantasy.

    Obvious I don't have so many of those smart readers!  :-*


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    Offline Dayseye

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #72 on: November 29, 2020, 04:45:52 am »
    The first cut is the deepest. And in my case probably deserved, too green to know about critique partners, first readers, editors - run on sentences ... (lol).

    After you've got a few titles out there - stories you're confident are well presented, to industry standards if not better, you'd better accept that these days everyone's a critic, and not everyone's going to like your work. Though why those particular readers push on with a book they find boring or (insert reason for one starring here) is the real mystery.

    Anyhow, I'm always thrilled to receive a positive review, and forever grateful for those handful of encouraging reviews from readers who were kind enough to cut a newbie author some slack, way back when.

    TL;DR It used to bug, but the good outweigh the bad, so now it doesn't.

    Offline Ross Harrison

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #73 on: November 29, 2020, 05:18:31 am »
    Perhaps I've been reviewing books the wrong way. "2 stars - not enough Kate Beckinsale in this book, and where are the Jedi? I wanted Jedi, not farm animals rising up against a farmer".

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    Offline Gareth K Pengelly

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    Re: So, how much do bad review ratings bug you?
    « Reply #74 on: November 29, 2020, 05:30:09 am »
    Perhaps I've been reviewing books the wrong way. "2 stars - not enough Kate Beckinsale in this book, and where are the Jedi? I wanted Jedi, not farm animals rising up against a farmer".

    Ross, you from the Derry in Ireland, or the Derry where the maneating spider-clown lives?

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