Friday, April 05, 2013

Why I Like 1 Star Reviews

Well, I may not like them when I actually get one! (That clog is yet to drop, but I have received a couple 2 star ratings on Goodreads, albeit without comments. Oh, and I finally had someone on Amazon return an ebook for a refund. 99 cents, really? Ah well, finally got that out of my system. Okay, where was I?)

Oh yeah, I was saying I like 1 star reviews. In fact, they're the first reviews I read when I check out a book I might buy. And here are my two main reasons why.

  • First, some are downright humorous. The excuses people give for dissing a book! "This is a short story and I was expecting a novel!" "This is Christian fiction! And it has an agenda!" "I don't like 1st person POV." "This wasn't even worth free." Why didn't the reviewer just say, "I'm a dumbass and don't read blurbs, samples, or pay attention to what I'm buying."
  • Second, I want to know what people agree on as to a book's most egregious faults. If quite a few repeat the complaint about the work needing editing, or is full of typos, or formatting is bad, then that's actually helpful to me. I hate reading books with a bunch of mistakes. But if the main complaint is something that may or may not bother me (like POV or thematic elements) then that's another thing. In other words, if I know I might have a similar complaint, then that low rating might echo my concerns but if the issue is no big deal to me, then I'll move on to the 4 star ratings and see what's good about it.

Now, as a writer, I sympathize with Kat and her struggle with posting honest reviews. In fact, I won't post a review unless I feel it's a 4 or 5 star. People get too offended with 3 stars or lower. (I try not to be. My desired approach is to find out how I can improve as a writer, but knowing I can't please everyone with my story telling - and that I don't have to.) And in (another) fact, Amazon supposedly doesn't allow writers to post reviews (because it's seen as competitive?), although I don't think any of mine have been taken down.

All that to say, I like 1 star reviews. I just hope I don't get any.
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