I am tempted..

what do you think of buying book reviews?  Want to know my opinion? A heinous practice, that's what I think---or rather, what I thought.
But then stars became too important and, by god, even more random. In the last couple of days I've looked around Amazon and Goodreads and found:

 a 1-star review for a friend's book that hasn't had ARCs sent out yet. (Jackie Ivie)
a few "omigod I lurve this book! it's a keeper!" 2- or 3-star reviews (nearly every book out there has something like that).
1- or 2-star reviews with reviewers complaining about all the sex sex in the story that is clearly labeled EROTICA
1- or 2-star reviews with reviewers complaining how they thought they were getting a full length novel on a story that is labeled SHORT STORY
1- or 2-star reviews on paperback copies of books for the slow delivery of those books.
and also
bushels and truck-loads of 5-star reviews for books that won't be out for a year or so -- because the reviewers love the authors (I can't bring myself to despise those reviews, but really. They're just as unreality based as the others)

The stars mean next to nothing to some of the people who click the buttons. (note the word some, it's important.**) But when it comes to operating in the promo world, they mean everything. You can't get much done in terms of promo without the star currency.

Fine. IF we need reviews And IF a big chunk of the people pasting stars aren't actually using brain-cells when they click, why not buy some reviews?  That path seems less repulsive and dishonest every day.

I'd rather have some honest "I dislike this story and here's why" reviews that I bought than a bunch of "I hate this thing--I haven't read it but I know I hate it because it has a ugly guy on the cover" sort of reviews someone passing by might post.

Of course I'd enjoy "I love this story and here's why" but the honesty bushwa is what I'm ranting about now. Honesty and actual thoughtful analysis -- and reading at least a big chunk of the book....That's what I want. And I no longer associate it exclusively with freely-offered reviews.

I'll save the "why do you hate my perfectly wonderful stories" for another emotional outburst.

**because obviously I'm not talking about your reviews


  1. Linda8:08 PM

    How about the 1-star reviews because the buyer thought the book was overpriced, or something was wrong with the Amazon link? Grrr! And then there are those I'm sure only leave 1 or 2 star reviews because everyone else loves the book, and they just have to rain on the parade. Bitter jealousy.

  2. I got two (TWO!) one star reviews for my book before I had even turned in my copy edits. I was so pissed but a few weeks later they magically disappeared. And something about buying reviews doesn't sit well with me. But I know many authors are willing to do it because they want to avoid all the crap from crazy people.

  3. Bah! I say. Fie!
    And there's bringing politics into it. Much as I dislike OSCard's politics, I'm not going to give his great book one-star for something unrelated to the actual book. (I might just skip writing about it.)

    I thought about snorting and carrying on about people who mark down books for having too many bad words or cats, but hey, opinion is the name of the game. If there's no WARNING: THIS BOOK FEATURES CHARACTERS THAT ARE CATS in the description then the reviewer gets a pass on my indignation.

  4. Grrrrr, SUGAR! BAH! That story makes me get right back on my high horse. Also makes me want to finally get off my duff and buy your books and read them.

  5. I got a bad review (and a letter) from a woman who hated the fact that the heroine's cold, distant, snooty father had a ball python for a pet. The heroine hates the pet and refers to the idea that it's perfect for her father. But the reader hates snakes and therefore will never buy my books again. : )

  6. I've had it explained that some people use the five stars in an entirely different way. Rather than a scale of one to five, with five being the best, they use it as a priority rating. And One Star equals "First priority" in a read-this-first sort of way.

    Though that's no use for those who say things like "this should be longer" or whatever.


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