Since my book went on sale, I’ve received some really awesome reviews.
As a matter of fact, all the reviews on Amazon right now are five star reviews. Which is super sweet and cool and a million other adjectives I should be able to rattle off being that I just wrote an entire novel.
I can’t help but wonder if people are afraid of writing a review that’s less than five stars.
Don’t get me wrong. The five stars give me ALL THE FEELINGS. I don’t print them out and cuddle with them at night or anything, but I do have a special love for them.
But at the same time, I know me. I know I’m not the type to give five stars to just anything. And I figure that there are at least a handful of people out there like me who can really enjoy a story and the characters but not feel like it is five star worthy.
Not everyone views the value of a star the same way.
Goodreads, for example, labels their stars this way: five stars is “amazing”, four is “really liked it”, and three is “liked it”. Even two is “it was ok”.
Amazon, on the other hand is: love it, like it, it was ok, didn’t like, and hate.
Essentially, a three at Goodreads is like a four at Amazon.
And that’s if the reader is actually going by the site’s definition. If you go to different reader’s forums, you’ll find that most readers have their own standard for each star. Some give out five stars easily, others never give them. Same goes for single star reviews.
Not everyone has the same standard. And that’s okay.
It’s like going to a Thai restaurant. They ask how spicy you want your meal and you say, “two stars” only to find out their two stars is the equivalent of your usual Thai spot’s “four stars”, and then you spend the rest of the night with fiery bowels.
Maybe that isn’t exactly the right comparison here. My book shouldn’t be giving anyone the flaming BMs.
I have a point here.
The point is, readers shouldn’t be afraid to leave reviews that aren’t FIVE stars. I’m speaking for myself, but I think there are other authors who would agree that honest reviews are welcome.
If you enjoyed the book, but you reserve your five stars for Shakespeare-level prose, I’ll still be happy to hear that you liked the story. So, don’t hold back. Leave a review.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. I said “if you enjoyed the book”. That means I don’t want you writing reviews if you didn’t like it, right?
Well, let’s be real here for a second. I’d be a big fat liar if I said I wanted to see one and two star reviews. Putting your work out there to be judged is not easy – particularly if you are slightly neurotic about it.
Every time I know someone is reading my book, I get a little queasy. I go back and read a few pages and think, “wow, this is terrible – I need to go tell them not to read it!”
You so want to be me right now, don’t you?
I tend to be of the “if you can’t say something nice” school, so personally, I have to really hate something to leave a poor review. Like, if your book somehow gave me the ebola virus, I’d probably leave you a star. Maybe two if the story at least amused me while I heaved my guts out.
But that’s not everyone’s M.O.
So, go for it. Do what you have to do. I might cry in a corner, but here is what I won’t do:
• I won’t send my minions to attack your review. I don’t even think I have minions, but if I did, I wouldn’t send them.
• I won’t reply to it defending my book.
• I won’t see if you are an author too, and return a star for a star.
What I might do:
• Blog about it.
• Consider myself a member of the big leagues. After all, talent does bring out the haters. Or at least that is what I’ll tell myself as I wipe away my tears with the crumpled print out of your review.
To sum up:
If you are an author, learn to embrace all the stars. If you are a reader, don’t be afraid to tell us you like our books. You don’t always have to love them.
[And here is the self-promo bit: To find out how many stars you'd give The Ruth Valley Missing, order your copy! Ahhh...I be the smoothest. On SALE today!]