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Thread: Authors should really stop telling readers how to give reviews

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  1. #1
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    Authors should really stop telling readers how to give reviews

    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.

  2. #2
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    I think if you waste time worrying about reader opinions -- especially in this age of Amazon where anybody can say pretty much anything they like in a public forum, even if they have an agenda -- then you're asking for trouble.

    You will get email from readers moved to tell you what they thought of your work, and that's enough to deal with. A note, like a review, is one person's opinion; everybody has one.

    Reviews do not, in any larger sense, determine or even influence sales. Some of the best-reviewed, even beloved, books I've ever written had mediocre sales, while those I knew had problems outsold the others.

    I have no idea why, and I don't waste time thinking about it. I'm too busy thinking about the book I'm writing now.

    * * * *
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  3. #3
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    Oh -- and to respond to the OP's statement, authors also have opinions, so if some of them choose (foolishly, IMO) to try to shape whatever their idea of "fair reviews" is, then that's their opinion.

    Readers will review the way they want to, and I doubt many, if any, will be influenced by an author's wishes or opinions. Except that handful who will be pissed and will deliberately and with glee give the next book they don't like an even worse review.


    * * * *
    "You know, I started it. The whole having a soul. Before it was all the 'cool new thing'."

    -- Angel, commenting on Spike's cool new thing.
    Buffy the Vampire Slayer


    ___________
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  4. #4
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    I wonder does she believe that authors who publish poorly received books should get paid just as much as authors who publish books that many, many people enjoy?

    That's commie pinko chatter, right there.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Sirion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    I wonder does she believe that authors who publish poorly received books should get paid just as much as authors who publish books that many, many people enjoy?

    That's commie pinko chatter, right there.
    Haha, exactly! ^_^