Friday, April 29, 2016

Reviews… what do they mean?



The free promotion for my book, IMAGINATION is long over and now, as I had hoped, reviews are starting to roll in. This got me thinking as I read people’s opinions of my story… what do reviews really mean?

If you’re trying to do marketing on major sites such as Bookbub or Booksends, reviews mean you must have a minimum of them to even be considered for an ad spot, and the majority better add up to four stars or more. Logic being, higher reviews helps weed out books not quite up to par. Seems fair, right?

What if I ask twenty of my friends to buy my book and leave reviews? (Better yet, I buy it for them! At $0.99, it’s a bargain for twenty fresh, glowing 5-star reviews). Or maybe, if I’m a college student, I’ll ask my class, or my dorm, or maybe everyone I work with, etc. You get the point. Reviews are like plastic flowers, they may look pretty displayed on the mantle, but they have no true substance.

I got my first ever 1-star review for one of my books (out of hundreds of reviews for my eleven published novels) and the very same day I got a 5-star for the very same book. One reviewer said it was unreadable while the other said it was incredibly well-written and he/she couldn’t put it down. Who should I believe? These readers are not my friends, but total strangers. Another example is my book DROP OUT which has 60+ reviews, all from complete and total strangers. 92% are four or more stars with the large majority being 5-star. Nearly everyone who reads DROP OUT is affected by it and many people write me personally, yet, there it is at the bottom, a single, solitary, lonesome, 2-star review.

Everyone in the world has their own personal likes and dislikes for books. It is the same with movies, and sports teams, and food. (I hate sushi!). Does my review of the awful sushi I had at a restaurant mean that restaurant serves awful food? No! It is a matter of personal opinion. With stories, each one will affect a reader differently because each reader relates and identifies to different things in life!

So, when that first 1-star review comes in and smacks your brain leaving you wondering how this person couldn’t have liked the story you’ve poured your heart and soul into, remember… not everyone likes everything all the time! It is what makes us unique as individuals.