The Power of a Review


Are you influenced by reviews?

I try not to get upset by a bad review but I had a real stinker recently and it hurt.

The book in question hasn’t had a review below four stars and most are five, but along comes a one star, which the reviewer says she gave grudgingly and her review is vile. The book clearly didn’t float her boat and looking at her other reviews I can see it wasn’t her usual genre and I wondered why she bothered to read the book at all, let alone leave such a vitriolic opinion on a very public space.

Recently I read a poor review of a book and was so incensed by the arrogant attitude of the reviewer that I immediately bought the book – a sort of two-finger cyber salute. I then went on to enjoy the book immensely. Reading matter is subjective and what suits one doesn’t always suit another.

We are influenced by reviews, whether when buying books, goods or services and have an absolute right to report on poor quality workmanship but shouldn’t reviews, be useful to other people? Positive reviews almost never get challenged but a negative review instantly draws the reader to the reviewer’s poor opinion.

Reviews are incredibly helpful, good and bad. My debut book was self-published and I made grammatical mistakes which were soon screamed out through reviews and never again did a manuscript or piece of work go online unless it was polished to perfection. Reviews stay online forever, you can’t press delete.

I love reviewers, readers and bloggers who review – what author doesn’t? These lovely people read your work and then take the time and trouble to pen their thoughts and opinions and publish online. There is nothing more heartening than being told that someone has genuinely enjoyed your work – months, maybe years of hard slog disappear in a moment of sheer joy, knowing that your story enhanced someone’s life if only for a short while.

I asked a popular reviewer for their tips on reviewing and the comment was, “Be respectful, keep it real and write your review well.”

A negative comment, taken in the right spirit can be very helpful but I do wonder what is behind the mind of a person who slates a book with pure hate.

Thoughts anyone?

C x


Caroline James on Amazon