On Reviews

On Reviews

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Since publishing my own books and taking on the task of critiquing others’ works, I can’t get the difficulty of reviews out of my head. It’s frustrating, and I’ve never really paid attention to it before.

First off, it’s subjective. You may think I’m stupid since that’s clearly a given, but what I’m trying to say here is that each reviewer comes up with their own criteria with which to judge a work. Most often, they post these criteria on their blogs, and when deciding whom I want to review my book, I examine them thoroughly. However, the disconnect happens when the review is read. I have a feeling not too many readers go an search the criteria out to clarify the reviewers feelings. I know I don’t. I see a book I’m interested in and I read the review, never once questioning where this perspective originates.

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Furthermore, if you look at any Goodreads or Amazon review page, you’ll see the oddity of the system. Because of these two tent poles for reviewing, many use the five star rating to judge books; however, the use of it lacks reason. I’ve seen one person review a book as two stars, citing bad punctuation while another will give it four stars, citing the same problem. At other times, a reviewer will give a rave review, strongly urging many to read it, and yet give the book only three stars.

I keep returning to this issue only because I can’t wrap my head around it all. Does it really help anyone to read reviews when they are so varied and so different? I’ve noticed that for myself, most reviews tend to be far skewed from my reaction anyways, yet it seems that many authors and other book authorities alike keep attesting to how much reviews are needed. One author even tried to persuade me into just pushing the star rating up to five but leaving my complaints that same. I can’t help feeling a little useless.

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5 thoughts on “On Reviews

  1. Depends. When it comes to Amazon, or Goodreads, I don’t take anyone’s review alone. I look at a few five stars and a few one stars. Can get a basic idea of some of the important stuff from there. When it comes to here… well, if I’ve followed a blogger for a while, then yes, I’ll trust their reviews. At the same time, I keep in mind that if they review primarily YA fantasy, for example, while I might trust their rating of those, I might not trust it as much for an adult scifi book they might have wandered across. Make sense?

    Same reason I, when writing up a review of a piece of fluff, state “I don’t normally review this type of work, so take my review with a grain of salt”.

    I think reviews are absolutely necessary, but only was about 30 percent of your decision to buy a book should weigh in on it. If that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree and do many of the exact same things as you when judging a book. I just find the disparity of some ratings confounding, not to mention the comments appended to them. As for your reviews, they usually seem to fit what I expect from you in the past, save some oddball low ones. I think I’ve commented on them when I’ve encountered them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s been many a time when I’ve messaged a friend of mine and griped about the high reviews this book or that has gotten. ” Have we even read the same book?!”

        I was reading a GR discussion lately where they were talking about services that offered x amount of 5 star reviews and such. Sad that that even exists.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It is subjective. And it’s no easy task for the author, to be sure… Unfortunately, aside from choosing your potential reviewers with flair (which is born from experience), there is nothing much anyone can do. Happy Valentine’s Day, Tim!

    Liked by 1 person

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