Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IWSG: Reviews--Gotta Love 'em!

IWSG is the brainchild of our awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you want to become a part of this group, check out our website. I should say, check out our beautiful, informative website. Lots to see and learn there! We're also on Facebook now. Exciting!

Today, let's talk about reviews ... or should I say, let's whine about reviews. Actually, I don't want to talk or whine... I want you to explain them to me. Aren't reviews a little like voting? Can a bad review cancel out a good one? Does each review stand alone? No doubt, they all confuse me.

I've really enjoyed the reviews I've received on my novella, The Last Daughter. I have thirty of them. I know it takes time to figure out what to say, so I appreciate everyone (yes, everyone) who took the time to write one.

It thrills me to think thirty people actually read my book ... and I have friends who read it that don't review. Ever notice how weird friends act around you before they read your book? Like ... they're scared it's going to be crummy and they won't know what to say to you. I understand that. I've felt that way too. And then there are friends who buy it, read it ... don't tell you until afterwards. I understand that too. Better to protect friendships. (I knew a guy who sent his friends detailed critiques of their published books. Ouch!)

I guess my biggest complaint about reviews is when someone writes that there are huge gaps in the story, that it didn't make sense. That hurts. Especially when I worked hard to create/construct a story that makes sense. I want to know where those gaps are. 

A couple of people stated The Last Daughter was a horrible story. For one person, that wasn't strong enough. S/he said, "Horrible. Horrible. Horrible." I guess three horribles makes it worse than horrible. Point taken. Stories that have to do with abuse aren't for everyone. Yeah, it gets a little dark but you read worse in the newspaper.

Oddly, these reviews haven't bothered me. Seriously, they haven't, but they have confused me. Were there gaps because of a glitch in the epublishing, the formatting? Couldn't a reader tell if that happened? Or did I seriously screw up some transitions?

One review that had me really confused was the one that said, "I really enjoyed the book which moved along at a nice pace. The one thing I never like in any novel is when the female allows a man to have the upper hand, as this one did with her ex boyfriend. She should never have allowed him back into her life."

Ex boyfriend? What ex-boyfriend?  She didn't have one. Still, I'm glad she liked my story and thought I had good pacing. That's important.

I did get some excellent reviews. Believe it or not, not all of them came from family and friends. Some of the "fun" ones are HERE.

30 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star

Share with me: how do you feel about reviews? Do you learn anything from them? (I'll be paying closer attention to transitions--just in case!) Some of my friends say they never read them. Really?  C'mon, never?



Lexa Cain said...

It's very hard to work on something so hard and have someone not get it. And sometimes, not get it so much that they comment on stuff that isn't in the book but only in their imaginations. But you should know by now that art is very subjective and people will place their own preconceptions and beliefs onto your work. And some are just plain wrong.

The important part, like you said, is that your book is being read, your story is alive, your characters are making impressions on people other than your family!! Yippie!! :-)

Laura said...

I've not yet published, so I haven't had any reviews myself, but when I'm looking for a book to read I tend to read the reviews first. However, I don't tend to take too much notice of them; if a book has a couple of bad reviews, I'll still get it if it sounds interesting to me. I think reviews shouldn't be taken too seriously, though of course they are important.

Charles Gramlich said...

I still have a hard time with negative reviews. If the review indicates that the person just didn't get it, that's OK, but if they complain about the technical aspects I'm a little more upset. Ultimately, if you are being read, though, you will get some negative reviews.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What ex-boyfriend? That's funny.
The one star reviews with one line that makes no sense amuse me. I wonder if they even read the book.

Karen Lange said...

Bad reviews sting a bit - and I find I have to "walk them off" sometimes. One thing that's really helped is something I heard author Jody Hedlund say. She said that our books (or any writing work) won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay. Just like we don't like or agree with everything we read, so others may feel the same way.

I try to assess the negatives in a review and see if it's valid and then move forward.

Have a great week! :)

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I love everyone's comments. It always means so much when readers take the time to comment. Thank you!

Caryl McAdoo said...

Like you, I'm thankful for EVERY one! A hard thing is when you get a new author-friend's book (especially when they've got more books published than you - your first one's fixin' to come out!) and they know you have it, but on reading it, you thought it poorly written with unnatural dialogue and unbelievable story lines. Do you just forever keep quiet? Should you take it off Goodreads all together with no comment? People have said - you can find SOMEthing good to say, but what about the 'stars'?? And when I profess to be a guardian of the Truth, how can I say less than the whole truth if I open my mouth at all? I say follow Mama's advice: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. What do you think?

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Caryl, I talked to a friend about that the other day. She said she makes sure everyone knows that she never gives 5s. I've reviewed some things recently where I struggled ... I won't explain it here. Private email coming. :)

Lynn said...

I never like to do reviews because I never know what to say even when I like or love the book. I could give it a 5 star, but then if I don't have anything worthy to say, it seems pointless, so I just don't do reviews. I think no matter how good a book is, someone is going to be negative about it, just because.

Lynn said...

Just saw this from a friend on FB:
Did you ever discover a book you really like, so you read all the books you can get your hands on by that author, and then it occurs to you to read reviews of the authors' books on Amazon, and you see a gazillion bad ones? And you wonder what you are not seeing that everyone else is seeing or vice versa? Makes me want to stop reading reviews and just enjoy my damn books.