Amazon Reader Reviews: 12 Things Everybody and His Grandmother Needs to Know
Jim Hines does a pretty good dissection of this post here.
So, I get what Anne Allen was trying to say and I don't think she was trying to pander, browbeat, or insult anyone, but it still comes off as very "Won't you readers please think of the poor authors while you are reviewing?"
I find particularly interesting the claim that anything less than a 4-star review constitutes a "negative" review.
For me, 3 stars is "Meh, it was okay." Which means someone else might like it more, and I might give the author another shot with a different book, but I thought it was not bad, just not really impressive or memorable.
4 stars means I liked it and will remember the author, and 5 stars means I really liked it and will go looking for more books by that author.
The point here is not to discuss my personal reviewing scale, but I am wondering how many authors feel that a 3 star review is a "bad" review? I'm sure 3 stars doesn't exactly give you warm fuzzies, but Allen comes pretty close to saying that mediocre or bad reviews are taking money out of an author's pocket... oh wait, she does say that:
Giving 1 or 2 stars to a book that doesnít have many reviews is taking money out of the authorís pocket, so donít do it unless you really think the author should take up a new line of work.
Yeah, well, I'm sorry but if I think a book was poor (2 stars) or dreadful (1 star), I will say so. It does not mean I hate the author (well, some 1 star books have made me hate the author) or that I want the author to take up a new line of work or starve (well, some 1 star books...) but I definitely do not feel obliged to consider the economic impact my review might have on an author (never mind that I think Allen is way overstating how much influence one Amazon review has), and I think it's inappropriate for an author to suggest that.
Paraphrasing Jim Hines: Don't be this person.