Publication Process: NON-peer reviews

So I’m going to show you some of my ouchies…

I enjoy reading strange stories but these were disjointed and boring. It felt like they were odd for oddities sake and as such they sucked. The third story was the least terrible but only marginally.

its a good book. My sister begged my dad to buy this book. you should read this book. Very weird and strange people in this book plus my sister Rebekah

Read 3 chapters and decided my time is worth more than what I was spending on it. Still couldn’t get into it. First Amazon book I’ve regretted purchasing.

Yes, these are all reviews for my stuff, posted on various sites. That ‘least terrible’ story is about to be reprinted in a “Best of” anthology. That book they regretted purchasing? That was a Nebula finalist. The middle review is on the same book, but it reads like it was written by a 6-year-old. They keep me humble ;o)

So what’s my point here? Well, when your work goes out into the world, you often have people in the genre review it. They know the genre, they know what the expectations are for the genre, and they understand that you’re writing a specific length.

But sites like Amazon, GoodReads, and Barnes & Noble? The reviewers on these sites are not necessarily reviewers of the same ilk. Some are. Some put up well considered reviews that help other readers understand what your book is like. Others? Well, some others just aren’t that helpful (particularly when they’re anonymous.)

When your work goes out into the world, you have to be prepared for it. No matter that a gazillion people give you a 5-star rating, there are going to be people who don’t agree. It’s part of life.

What are you going to do about it? Well, hopefully nothing. People have a right to say whatever they want about your work. And no matter how much it stings, it’s better not to respond to their reviews. How about asking your friends to gang up on the reviewer and take it down? (I saw someone doing this on FB just last week.) Really? Like a bunch of kids in the schoolyard going to take out the kid with glasses?

My advice? Just ignore it. If your work is any good, it’ll attract more good reviews than bad. And try not to spend too much time checking on your reviews. Easier said than done, I know, but…

Also, I don’t think buying reviews is a good idea either.

Just live with it.

4 thoughts on “Publication Process: NON-peer reviews

  1. Yeah – that first review is definitely an ouchie!

    I would think that some of the reviews, especially the ones that sound like they’re written by a 6 year old, might have some comedic effect, though. I recall the review of one of your works where the reviewer said they were intrigued by the lesbian overtones. We both said “huh?!” to that. (Although I still think you could pursue that line of thought…..)

    • The truth is that people see different things in every work of fiction. You may not alway agree, but you can’t argue with whether they see it or not….

      Yeah, that middle one -is- kinda funny ;o)

  2. I was going to mention the recent article on buying reviews, but noticed that you pasted a link to it in your blog entry. I was a little sickened after reading that article. I can honestly say that reviews have encouraged me to seek out a particular title, but I have never plunked down hard-earned money until I’ve sampled a chapter or two. Now that I know about purchased reviews, I wonder if I’ll be less likely to seek out recommended titles. The whole buyer beware thing.

    As for writing reviews, I used to do that, but I have stopped. My goal was to offer a well-reasoned review such as the ones you mention. However, I came to realize that my reviews were often overly critical (I read like a critique partner and can always find areas that need improvement). Now that I know there are so many false positives, I’m tempted to begin reviewing again to offer an honest opinion from someone who actually read the book and didn’t get paid to do so.

    Keep up the great blogs. I enjoy your insightful posts.

    • Thanks, Kyle ;o)

      For me, that article wasn’t a surprise. I was aware that that was being done in the electronics and appliance market for a long time. (for places like Cnet) So I’m always a little leery of reviews on those sites. Also, before I take one seriously, I go see what else the ‘reviewer’ has reviewed. In the case of the third one, the reviewer has only ever posted that review for me and a glowing 5 star review for another horse-related book. So I’m kinda suspicious of the mentality behind that review.

      Either way, a lot of reviewers are out there for reasons other than general helpfulness.

      I don’t often post reviews. I’m a terrible reviewer, and can’t be very objective about books. I either love them, or I don’t bother to review….so I’m always skewed.

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