Oct 15, 2012

Reviews- Good, Bad or Ugly?

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's a nail biting time in any writer's career- The First Review.

It's hard not take everything the reviewer says seriously, to pull apart every sentence. It's hard not to smile at the positives and be brought crashing down to earth at the slightest hint at a negative.

So it's very hard then to be hit with a negative review. And tempting to either counteract the reviewer with a reply, or to write a fake glowing review. This appears to be something that is endemic across the world wide web, if this report is anything to go by. Authors, across all genres, have been creating false names and personas and giving themselves rave reviews. Not only that, they've also been giving their colleagues bad reviews too.

As a relative newbie I haven't had many reviews myself. I always cower and look through my fingers if I'm alerted to a review of one of my books. And am always super glad if they're positive ones. I guess we all like a bit of praise. But I remember a piece of sage advice from an established author- never reply to a bad review and never take what they say to heart. Not everyone will love your writing. Some will. Some won't.

So why do these authors feel a need to write glowing reviews of their own books? Clearly it's about generating sales and popularity. (Clearly it's cheating and I don't like it!)

Apparently, the more reviews (good or bad) an author has on their amazon page, the more sales they'll get. It's a numbers thing. But does it work? Personally, I choose the books to read from personal recommendations/ familiar author/familiar genre and not from recommendations on a website.

I am a member of goodreads and see a lot of reviews on there, I even add a few myself. I try to only write positive reviews (although the last one I did only awarded 3 stars to a very popular author...I was very disappointed by her most recent book). Most times, if I read a book and don't enjoy it I don't say so, I just let it go.

How about you? Do you choose books because of a review, or for some other reason? Do you write reviews for books you read? How do you deal with a book you don't like? Or a review you don't like?

Louisa xx
ps. My new release The War Hero's Locked- Away Heart is available on pre-release at www.millsandboon.co.uk this month! (So far there's been one review- and it's a good 'un!)


  1. Hi Louisa,

    Congratulations on the nice review for your latest. What an intriguing cover - not like your average Medical Romance, that's for sure. It's bound to attract a lot of reader interest.

    Personally I tend not to post reviews of books. I've done just a few for books I really enjoyed but apart from anything else, time wise I'd rather focus on the multitude of other stuff I have to do than posting reviews. It already seems sometimes that I'm glued to the computer.

    Like you I don't like the idea of authors reviewing themselves. I understand the importance of numbers in sales but manipulating the reviews that way...no thanks.

    As for dealing with reviews on my own books - I try not to go looking for them. But if ever I 'm told about a lovely review, or for that matter, receive nice reader feedback, I store up the positives from it as much as I can. It's important to remember that your writing worked for other people, not just you. As for the negative ones - they can hurt, which is why most authors I know don't go looking for them. The best you can do is not dwell on them. It's interesting though, seeing why some people will give a bad score to a book - including not liking the hero's name. I had one reader who was displeased because the font was too small.

  2. Louisa
    As a reader only, I tend to not go by reviews only. In the past, I've discovered there are some reviewers that I will never see eye-to-eye with and if they give it 4 or 5 stars, I probably will not like it. However, something they give a 2 star I will just love. It's all personal taste I guess.

    I have one other thought about those writers that give themselves glowing reviews. It could backfire on them. If a reader purchases the book because of the glowing self review and absolutely hates it they may not be as apt to purchase that author again. I know I would be very wary of spending my money on that author again.

  3. What Annie said. Great cover!!!
    Some people will love your work, others not so much and, yes, sometimes for the most obscure reasons. Try to keep your eye on the positives =)

  4. Hi Annie, thanks for your comments, I think the medical covers (particularly the UK ones) have been revamped very nicely!

    I agree it's important to store up the good reviews if you come across them! My first book got one ho-hum review and I was pretty devastated until I received some lovely fan emails and I realised then that you can't please all the people all of the time! I love that some one has got a happy vibe from my writing. But I'd never write a review under a false name just to sell a book!

    Louisa x

  5. Hi Rita! It's interesting that you've got to know which reviewers have similar opinions to you- that's great. For me, it's a bit like recommending a film or a book- not everyone will love your choices.

    And I agree- it will backfire on them if they rave about their book and it's not that great!

  6. Hi Robyn, I'm learning you have to have a thick skin in this job! I'm trying to grow one quickly! LOL xx

  7. I hardly ever chose a book based on a review, Louisa. I chose by author and by friend recommendations. And I don't review books either. Call me lazy, but I'd much rather spend my time reading. ;-)

    As for dealing with reviews...I figure it's just one person's opinion. I try not to get too excited by the good reviews, and try not to get too depressed by the bad ones. So far it's worked. :-)

  8. Hi Louisa - I rarely buy a book based on online reviews. I do take notice of freinds or peers who recommend a particular book. I tend to read a bit of series and ST romance, and as I have my favourite authors, tend to make up my own mind about each individual book I read. And I would never post a negative review. Like my mother always told me...."if you haven't got something good to say, don't say it...." :)
    It's nice to get glowing reviews, but every book will speak to every reader differently -so I enjoy the good ones and don't read the not so glowing ones. Great post :)

  9. I mostly buy a book based on the genre, author & blurb. I do read reviews & yes, I do judge by the cover.

    I write a bit of a review if it's a book I absolutely loved. I don't think it's fair to dump on a book that just wasn't for me. There are books out there in the world for every taste. Some are for me, some not.

  10. False reviews will be their own undoing. I was really impressed by a five-star review this year and went to Amazon to read the first few pages only to discover it atrociously written. False reviews may generate first book sales but they will steer readers away from ever buying a 2nd or 3rd book by that author.

  11. Hi Michelle! I think you have a very sensible approach! I don't think it's lazy at all- you have other priorities, which I think are fabulous!

  12. Hi helen, I was brought up with that mantra too but there are obviously others in the www who weren't! Sometimes I get the feeling people write mean reviews just to be clever or controversial.

    Liking a book can depend on so many things, your state of mind, what you've just read etc...you might love it today, but not be so keen tomorrow or vice versa.

  13. Hi Cheryse! Wow- that's interesting. But goes to show we all have different tastes in what we read. I find it interesting that romance is often slated by people who've never read it.

  14. Great post, Louisa! And some very wise advice in the comments too! Still it's awfully hard not to take a bad review to heart, isn't it? Especially if it arrives on a difficult day!

    But then I don't buy or not buy on the strength of reviews and it sounds like many people don't - so it's important keep it all in perspective!

  15. Louisa, I've never bought a book based on an online review because reading tastes are so personal. I've definitely bought based on recommendations of friends (online and in person) who I know have similar reading tastes to me.

    And a couple of times I've asked in blog posts for new book suggestions and I've tried a few out - sometimes by borrowing a book from the library first, then if I like it, buying their backlist. I've found a couple of auto-buy authors that way!