“Hit me with your best shot! Fire away…!”
Book reviews are an interesting case study, but there is a distinct psychology behind them. When I’m surfing online bookstores for new books to read or even anticipating new releases of some of my favorite authors, I cannot help but notice those glaring “1 Star” reviews. I admit it, they make me shudder a little.
Are “1 Star” book reviews legitimate (for the most part) or are they from spiteful, unhappy people with too much time on their hands?
Here are some classic quotes that I randomly found from various books throughout Amazon:
“worst book I ever read”
“too many typos and couldn’t read”
“waste of time”
“author should pay me”
Here are some big clues to reviews that are written by someone with an ax to grind or just the fact that they hate seeing so much praise for a particular author:
- The review is the ONLY one they’ve written under a certain name (it’s simple to set up new emails).
- All of their reviews are similar in content (or exactly the same), usually one or two sentences.
- There is no constructive comment as to why they didn’t care for the book (characters, storyline, etc.), just that it sucked.
- They explained that they didn’t like the particular genre, but read it anyway to give it a bad review.
- Sometimes the review just doesn’t make any sense.
My take on 1 star reviews is that everyone has an opinion and generally are not afraid to use it. If someone has taken the time to post a review, whether a 1 or 5 star rating, and they explain in an intelligent manner why they loved or hated the book. I commend them, no matter what rating they gave – even if it’s my own book. It gives credibility to the book, reader, and the overall written book review.
If someone doesn’t like a book, it usually means that the reader is outside the intended target audience. For example, a person who loves erotic romance wouldn’t necessarily like science fiction, but that’s okay because there’s always something learned from it.
From the January issue of The Writer, there was an interesting article titled, Can bad reviews be good for book sales? by Chuck Leddy:
“While bad reviews can certainly damage author egos, a new study from Stanford University suggests something surprising: Bad reviews can actually lead to increased sales, especially when the author is unknown. The authors of the study suggest that even bad reviews increase consumer awareness of a new author. And while the reader of a poor review may remember the bad impression it leaves behind, the negative impression soon wears off.”
For all you fellow authors out there, take heart and don’t worry about “1 Star” reviews. If it’s a legitimate review, take note and don’t fixate. It’s all a part of the process of being an author.
Please feel free to leave me a comment. Would love to hear your opinion of “1 Star” book reviews.
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