Discussion Topic -Listening to Reviewers

I’ve reviewed a lot of books. I’ve had great experiences and very bad ones. I’ve often wondered how much stock the actual author puts into reviews. I know some take them very seriously. I have worked closely with authors who took every suggestion I had to heart and worked on the issues I brought up. From my experiences, these authors are few and far between. 

As a consumer, before I purchase books, I almost always check the reviews. I weigh the good and the bad. I often check on multiple websites to make sure I’m getting a fair sorting.

As a reviewer, I try to give detailed constructive criticism. I go at the review with the mindset that the Author is wanting to put their best work forward. If I were to release any of my writing, I would want it to be the best I had. 

Sour Grapes

I’ve witnessed a lot of sour grapes as well. Some reviewers will review books from genres they know they don’t like and give it a crappy rating. This grinds my gears. In my mind, these type of reviews are a waste of everyone’s time. The perspective consumer and the author. Neither can use that review for anything constructive.

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As an Author, do you take reviewers seriously when they critique your writing? 

How do you deal with sour grapes?

Let us know in the comments!

 

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8 thoughts on “Discussion Topic -Listening to Reviewers

  1. Reviews are supposed to be taken seriously from my perspective because reviewers put their time, thoughts, and energy into reading, thinking, and reviewing an author’s novel.

    From my author perspective:

    I for instance, asked several bloggers to review my novel and my novella. I give the reviewers information that they ask for in their review policy and try to be as polite as I can. From the reviews about my novel, I understood that there needs to be a new edition of the story so people could enjoy it more. It hurt, but it was necessary. In the edition, I would also need to make changes to the time frame, think about the ‘boring parts’ and fix them, and fix a couple of other things. I learned a lot from my reviews and I am thankful for their honest opinion. Their honest opinion allowed me to grow as an author and I took those lessons and applied them to my novella. I also had two instances where it was obvious that they didn’t read the book, those reviews hurt the most because in my opinion, they shouldn’t have been written.

    My novella has been accepted better by reviewers and friends. Only one individual told me that it needs one more editing spree, while the rest did not mention it. I can’t please everyone and that’s okay. The reviews make me glow with happiness because the reviewers took the time to explain to me the good and the bad. I am very thankful.

    From my reviewer perspective:

    I like to read books and review. I try to provide reviews with honesty and knowledge that if I was the author, I would know that the reader put effort and really did read the novel even if I didn’t understand it. I like to read books in my favorite genre’s, never in something else because my feedback would be useless. Once, I tried writing sci-fi and failed. So much research goes into sci-fi. I like reading sci-fi, but my reviews would be of no help to the author. Also, from my beta reading experience, after reading a book, I pay attention to the worksheet and calculate the score. So far I have been really lucky with the books that I chose to review and a day will come when I will not want to post a review and then my morals will come into light. However, I can tell you now that, I will do my best to explain my position and my decision to post the review and I will only post it if it will help the author the grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve come across a few books that I didn’t release a review of. I let the author know my issues and they promised to fix them so I keep my review between us. Others I’ve had issues with didn’t care about the problems and had no intention of fixing the problems. I released those reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I take reviews very seriously. Any professional writer wants other perspectives, a trail check, am I still on the right frequency? Many times readers surprise you by dwelling on a story point you thought comparatively minor. All we’re doing is putting words on paper and expecting readers to be entertained and informed on several levels. How are you going to get better if you don’t willingly ask for critiques?

        As for fake reviews, I got one not long ago. Four stars and they hadn’t read the story. I tossed it.

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  2. I published my first novel as a complete Newbie. There were more mistakes than hell could shed light on. My first few reviewers enlightened me on these mistakes, and assured me I had an otherwise solid work. One reviewer in particular mentioned his dislike of the way I revealed the magic system in my fantasy. Too much telling, he said. The reason for this was because the magic system was a complex science in this world, and you don’t “show” physics. You explain the set theories. I could not change the dialogue because, well, that’s what the characters said and to change their words would be a lie. However, you could do other things. I tweaked descriptions, withheld parts of the interactions, and managed to create a pleasing medium. There’s a huge difference between “Glint drew in his electric yin and yang qi from his diantien towards the silvery armor, where they exploded together in a burst of power” and between “Thunder roared through his veins as power crackled between the warrior and his armor.” So I kept the dialogue school masterly yet changed what a writer could change whilst keeping the world as it is.

    Point is, absolutely. Reviewers can mold the work in immense ways, but at the same time their words must not be all powerful. Balance seems key.

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  3. I truly believe reviews are great for getting important info! We can’t always make the best works for everyone off our own minds and hearts, and no one will know if the book can make people happy more than someone who picked it up and tested that. Just recently, a reviewer told me my anthology would have gotten a 5 from her! the only thing missing was titles for each of the stories! I’m still working on thinking a few up, but am still wondering if many would agree with her.

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  4. I agree with everything that you have said in this post. I am also irked when I see that a reviewer has reviewed a book from a genre that s/he does not like, and then gives an insulting review and an even more insulting rating. Seriously… How can the reviewer determine whether or not the book is appropriate for fans of the genre if s/he does not like the genre?

    Another disturbing trend that I have seen, particularly on Amazon, is that many of the “top reviewers” write really long reviews that are mostly comprised of quotes from the books and write one or two sentences stating that they liked or disliked the books. They don’t even use quotation marks! However, even if they did, it is still plagiarism because 80- to 90-percent of their reviews contain direct quotes from the books’ summaries or the books themselves. If that’s what I have to do to be a “top reviewer,” I am more than happy to keep my very low reviewer rank, thank you very much.

    Most of the authors that I work with seem to take my constructive criticism in stride, but there are one or two that have not bothered to respond to the constructive criticism. Sometimes I am thanked for my honest review and I never hear from the author again, sometimes the author will ask for more clarification, and other times the author will let me know that s/he has made changes to the book.

    I really try to be objective and not allow matters of personal taste to influence my reviews, but at the same time I want to share my subjective thoughts about the books I review. Some may argue that I am lenient with my reviews, but I do not start reading a book with the mindset that I am going to find some problems. If I run across errors or something that might turn off fans of the genre, I find them; if I don’t, I don’t. I also post all of my reviews on the blog. I’m not doing this to be mean, but I want my followers to know why I don’t recommend the book. If they decide that they can overlook the issues that I had with the book, then they might enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that’s really fair. I have also been told I’m pretty lenient. Truth is, I’m pretty easy to please with books. I genuinely enjoy a variety of genres and it’s not often I read a book and dislike it.

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