So when I shop online for eBooks, I read reviews. I notice the number of reviews, but it's not a deal breaker. I read three of the top reviews and two of the lower ones and make my decision to click or not click.
Reviews can make or break a writer's sales.
Or so we tell ourselves.
I've been blessed with many good reviews ... and not so blessed by bad. Some of them I deserved and learned from. A well-written bad review can spur a writer to do better next time. After all, I'm not a perfect writer. Weaknesses abound. I mean, I'd like to think I'm like Mic Jagger, getting better with age but, sadly, I'm not.
I do have a tendency to end the book on a sudden note. As a reader, I like a quick start, a quick ending, and I don't need my hand held with a bridge from one scene to another. But that's me. As a writer, I have to consider my readers and give them the long drawn out, emotion-filled ending they seem to want. If I don't, I'll get reviews like "That's it? Really? After this romance you want to end it on a dime? Really? You ruined this book for me!"
Then there was the reader who claimed I'd made my heroine weepy. "She cried sixty-five times." What did the reader do? Keep a tally? Even I would have noticed sixty-five crying spells. I had a review of another book where the reader said, "I can't stand stories where infertility is magically healed." What? Never once did I say the heroine could not have children. She'd lost two babies because of an abusive husband who beat her.
I dislike it when a reader attacks the author instead of the book. I've been called dumb, uneducated, untalented, too lazy to do research (oh, if only she could see my research files), over-sexed *cough* ... okay, we'll gloss over that one.
My editor was thrilled there were three-hundred and fifty requests for BEARING IT ALL through NetGalley before its release. She actually believed I'd get that number of reviews. The first two that came in were two-stars. Ouch. Sales skidded.
Several said I stretched the bounds of believability--it was a paranormal, y'all. Bear-shifters done my way. Did I get three-hundred and fifty reviews? No. Three-hundred? I wish. Two-hundred? Can a grown woman cry here? Last week, the book just got it's sixtieth review. I nearly dropped to my knees in gratitude.
Free reads does not guarantee happy readers. It seems to bring out their snarky side. Do I review every book I read? Only if I can leave a good to average one. I know the effort that goes into writing a book. It's not in my nature to bash another writer. If a book was a "did not finish" for me, I'm not reviewing it--and I do this for two reasons. I don't want to hurt another person's feelings and it can be career suicide for me to leave a bad review for another. The writer's posse or fan club may gang up on me and leave a bazillion one-star reviews. While it doesn't seem fair we can be battered in reviews, but cannot express our true feelings without fear of reprisal, it is becoming more and more the nature of the business. And that saddens me.
THE SIXTY REVIEW WONDER