PDA

View Full Version : Amazon reviews



Darzian
11-12-2008, 09:12 PM
Freaky.

I just finished Elantris and while basking in the aftermath, I decided to check on the reviews for that book on Amazon.

I'd read the book from a writer's POV for the first time- looking at character development, infodump, romance, and who Sanderson overcame various problems that writers (Especially fantasy ones) face.

I thought it was a wonderful book with very unique ideas in the cliche filled genre.

But some of the reviews on Amazon just shocked me. I'm convinced never to visit Amazon Books if I ever do get published. It just makes it clear that even the best of books will always have critics.
While I understand some of the critique, most seems......unjust.


If I read even one negative review about my work, it would definitely be crushing.

Even worse, some people are saying 'bad writing' while I see a bunch of errors in their review.

IceCreamEmpress
11-12-2008, 11:04 PM
Even worse, some people are saying 'bad writing' while I see a bunch of errors in their review.

I don't think that the standards for website consumer reviews are (or should be) as high as the standards for published fiction by professional writers.

veinglory
11-12-2008, 11:25 PM
I think it is a fallacy to say a person mjust be a great writer to review a book. A reader is a consumer, and a reader review is consumer feedback.

You can never please all of the people all of the time, so it would be wise to learn to not have strong emotional reactions to reviews of one's own work--or simply chose not to read them.

citymouse
11-13-2008, 12:04 AM
A friend who worked at Amazon in CS told me to look at the other books a particular reviewer has commented on. Often a sour review will be reflected in other reviews by the same reader. Once I asked that a review be taken down because the comments were for a book I didn't write. Amazon was very gracious in that instance.
C
"I could never be satisfied with just the approval of the critics, and, boy, I've certainly had to be satisfied without it." Norman Rockwell

Darzian
11-13-2008, 06:44 AM
I don't think that the standards for website consumer reviews are (or should be) as high as the standards for published fiction by professional writers.

True.

It's interesting how the features that one person finds good are found to be bad by others. I agree that one can never please everyone.

While reading, I usually don't find many things wrong. Perhaps I choose to read the good ones or perhaps I'm not as selective as other people, but some of the comments were surprising, because I truly didn't connect with them at all. It's strange how various people reflect on the same point in various ways.

I do agree about the need for criticism, of course. SYW is very helpful.

One problem may be high expectation. When you start a book, you may be expecting stuff that you likely wouldn't get.

Mr. Anonymous
11-13-2008, 07:22 AM
It's true for all books and all authors. I loved The Grapes of Wrath. There are people who hated it, kids who loathed reading it for school and even teachers who commented saying something to the extent of, "It's because of books like this that kids hate reading."

I felt like commenting, "With an attitude like that, we might as well welcome Idiocracy with open arms."

Personally, I don't think I'd be able to resist reading some reviews of my own work. It would hurt to read a bad one though, but there will always, always be critics and if that ever gets you down, just read the following Teddy Roosevelt quote. Always heartens me.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Marian Perera
11-13-2008, 11:34 AM
Anyone who pays for a book of mine may say anything they wish about it. I shall dry my tears on my royalty checks. ;)

Momento Mori
11-13-2008, 05:42 PM
Darzian:
But some of the reviews on Amazon just shocked me. I'm convinced never to visit Amazon Books if I ever do get published. It just makes it clear that even the best of books will always have critics.
While I understand some of the critique, most seems......unjust.

There's a famous saying about opinions being like a certain part of your anatomy and how everyone has one. :)

I'm an almost obsessive Amazon reviewer in that I've been posting reviews there for every book I've read over the last couple of years. I try and come at my reviews from an honest perspective, saying what I liked and what I didn't like and explaining why with examples.

I try not to hammer books or over-hype them (most of my reviews fall between 2 stars and 4 stars), but there have been a couple of occasions (the titles of which will remain nameless) where I've been shocked to see the sheer number of popular reviews for something that I found to be terrible - and on the flipside, terrible reviews for something I thought was great. There have been a number of instances where I have posted a 'bad' review for a book that has a huge following and ended up getting unpleasant comments and, in one case, an abusive email as a result. It all comes down to the fact that it would be a boring world if we all thought the same about everything.

I think that as a writer (albeit an unpublished one) there comes a point where you have to let go of your work and just ignore what people are saying about it. Most of the published authors who I've met have said that although they may pay attention to what 'formal' reviewers say about their work, they don't usually bother with what's written about them on Amazon.

MM

Darzian
11-13-2008, 07:13 PM
I have an apology to make. The book was so good (IMO) that I got frustrated at the reviews that were encouraging people not to buy it. My original post was set in a post-emotional state. Do forgive. It turned into a semi-rant.


I had a fun day today, looking through the reviews for Eye of the World. Someone had said: Good but nothing compared to Twilight.
:roll:

At least I know not to trust reviews much anymore, considering how much they vary among the populace.

tehuti88
11-13-2008, 07:57 PM
I find the reviews useful, but they must be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes people will actually rate a book poorly based on the fact that they never received it from Amazon, or there was a defect in the packaging, or they haven't even read it yet BUT they have something to say, etc. etc. o_o

What I find more irksome is when people poorly rate honest reviews just because they don't agree with them. I look for more indepth reviews. Even if I don't agree with them, if they're well presented and give good, descriptive reasons why they feel the way they feel about a product, then I'll find that review useful, even if I don't make my decision based on it. Those are far more useful than "OMG this is a great book, I adored it, buy it buy it buy it!!!"...even if I happen to think it's a great book and I adore it, myself.

And then along comes someone and what do they do to informative (if disagreeable) reviews? They rate them poorly because they don't happen to agree and "OMG don't you DARE diss this book its so fantastic you jerk!!!!"

*cough*

Like I said, grain of salt. I find it's better to just avoid the really short reviews and scan the first sentence or two of the longer ones to see the tone they're written in, and if they're informative as opposed to a bunch of ranting either in favor of or against a particular book. Many people don't know how to review properly--it's just like with writing critique. Some people will lambaste you just for writing in a particular genre whereas others will actually tell you what needs work. Even a critical review can be a good one, but it's hard sometimes to sift through them to find the useful stuff.

Mr. Chuckletrousers
11-13-2008, 09:28 PM
If I read even one negative review about my work, it would definitely be crushing.
The First Law of Subjective Opinion is that for any given person who loves a thing there is generally another who hates it, or finds it boring, or simply not their 'cup of tea'. A corollary of this Law is that there is no work of fiction so great that you cannot find readers who despised it. Negative reviews are thus to writing as twinges of pain are to living -- somewhat annoying but inevitable accompaniments, that only become problematic if they occur too often.

scarletpeaches
11-13-2008, 09:33 PM
Plus, I know of one person in particular who reviews books by people she's friends with and automatically gives them five star ratings, overloaded with the exclamation marks of which she's so fond. So even positive reviews aren't reliable.

Hell, just write the best book you can. Everything else is gravy.