Writing reviews, is it a mistake?

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I have written a few reviews and have been surprised with how hard they are to write. I’ve settled on a layout that suites me and is a bit different from most other reviews I’ve read. If I have loved the book then they are a pleasure to write, but when the book has, in my opinion, flaws then I get a bit conflicted. I like to think I’m fairly nice and I don’t want to be rude about other people’s work but I also want to be honest. These two don’t always fit in well. I am very aware when I write a review it is simply my own personal opinion and I have no great insight. I have read books and hated them when others raved about them and loved books others have hated.

On a recent review which I think I gave the book 3.5 stars, I liked the book but it did have several problems with it. A very good blogging friend of mine nicely pointed out I wasn’t really playing the game and that one day, hopefully some will be writing a review of my book and if I criticized theirs they will pay me back in kind! I really hope he’s wrong when I publish mine I hope I will get honest reviews, I want people to tell me if I have made mistakes, what they didn’t like, I just hope if they really hated it they don’t post the review on Amazon!

When I review books I use this system;

1 and 2 stars.

If I thought it was that bad I don’t write the review!

3 Stars

The book has a lot to commend it like a good plot or characters it does just have it all working together, I often thing books I give this rating could benefit from a decent editor!

4 Stars

A really good book, kept me interested just missing something to make it a great book.

5 Stars

An amazing book I wish I had written.

Amazon inflation
I always round up my ratings for amazon is 4 stars become 5, after all the author is trying to make a living!

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15 thoughts on “Writing reviews, is it a mistake?

  1. Writing reviews is good, I think. Especially for the author. It lets them know that they’ve written something people will actually like to read. Just yesterday, I reviewed a book for an author who just released her first YA novel, and it was the first or second review the book got, and she contacted me on twitter saying she was absolutely chuffed that I enjoyed the book, and that people will actually like it.

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  2. I don’t write many book reviews, however I write a bazillion other reviews!
    I rarely have a -☆ review, but if I do, I explain the issues without using excessive adjectives. I feel the point needs to be made fast.
    I also will include things that others may like but I don’t. Such as for a campground, “if you’re looking for an activity filled location for children, this is the place. However, if you’re looking for quiet, pass.”
    I would hope to think your buddy is wrong on the “reply” reviews. I would think you’d have to write a pretty scathing review and (no offense here) be a famous reviewer for it to matter that much.

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  3. I think the rationale behind your system spot on … its the approach I like to take for Amazon and Goodread reviews. The reviews I post on my blog only differ in that I don’t give a score, for me its the gut feel expressed in words that matter. When the day comes that I publish I’d like to think I’d take in any form of review, indifference would be the killer for me.

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  4. I tend not to read reviews for the same reason I do not listen to movie critics – at the end of the day it is one person’s opinion. I’d rather simply take the chance and read the book or watch the movie and draw my own conclusions.

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  5. Some authors might retaliate. You are criticizing their baby after all, but I feel it is better to be honest than risk the ire of Amazon by ‘misleading’ readers. My rating system is similar to yours. One or two stars? I assume I wasn’t the author’s intended audience and that the fault is mine and not theirs. Even my public threes are rare and are typically reserved for more books from more established writers who have proven their talent. I tend to be tougher on these books overall as I pick them up primarily because I know the writer is talented or the story compelling (rather than simply hoping) and the book has to live up to or exceed my expectations in order to get a five star rating. I also will round up for the same reason as you do.

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  6. This is the reason that I’ve balked on doing book reviews. Sometimes, I feel some people may not appreciate an honest review. I would rather save myself that stress for now. I read to enjoy the book and leave out the opinions.

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      1. I agree Eric. I’ve contemplated it many times especially since I write and would love my book reviewed as time goes on, I’m just trying to develop a method that will work efficiently for me and still maintain my integrity whilst at it.

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  7. For a few years much of my writing time was taken up on Amazon book and later graphic novel reviews. It was fun and I think I learnt a bit about writing on the way. There were two flies in the jam.
    1) That Amazon only gave you the option of 5 stars which is a bit restrictive at times.
    2) The antics of the Not Helpful brigade; some of whom were simple trolls, others who goofed off your ratings to get above you (petty or what?) and of course the fanboys when you dared to suggest their latest lurve was rubbish. Amazon seemed to have removed their ‘responses’ from public gaze
    After moving onto blogging I don’t do so much these days.
    Having said that reviewing is important; I believe you can judge something far better by reading ‘public’ reviews rather than professional ones, which tend to be rather blinkered.
    Review on folks

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