Reviews

Fakespot

As a reader, I enjoy perusing book reviews. I usually start my assessment of a book by reading one-star reviews to see the worst the reviewers think. One-star reviews will tell me the book’s pitfalls and problems, and are less predictable than glowing reviews. I do read across the star rankings, though. The best reviewers across all the rankings provide lots of good information.

I cringe when someone gives a book on Amazon a “Wow! Loved this!” book one star because they misunderstood the rating system – that one star is actually the lowest rating. Just saying!

While reading reviews on Amazon recently, I noticed that a one-star review on a nonfiction CBA title said that most of the glowing reviews were fake. The reviewer cited Fakespot as the source. I’d never heard of Fakespot (www.fakespot.com) so maybe you’d be interested in learning about it, too.

As most of you know, I wrote books years ago. So just for fun, I entered the link to reviews of my book, Love Finds You in Maiden, North Carolina and got this: https://www.fakespot.com/product/love-finds-you-in-maiden-north-carolina

I also entered the link for The Lady and the Cad:
https://www.fakespot.com/product/the-lady-and-the-cad-truly-yours-digital-editions-book-616

I was glad to see that my reviewers aren’t fake!

I don’t take this exercise too seriously but it’s something to know about and maybe have a little fun with. Some of my books released to enthusiastic reviews, some to crickets, others to, “Hate this book!!!” Bottom line? Don’t let praise go to your head, and don’t let criticism make you depressed. Reactions of any type show that you are making a difference in the world.

Your turn:

Do you read book reviews? Why or why not?

What do you consider the most valuable and reliable source of reviews either online or in print?

 

 

 

 

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You Are Not Your Words

Writers love words. That’s a good thing. But when we become attached to our own words, that’s a bad thing. I see it often in meeting with writers and offering critiques at writers’ conferences. The writer will hand me a piece of his or her work, “to see what you …

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The Curse of the Writer

Speaking from an agent’s perspective…
I have more conversations with clients about their feelings of anxiety, apprehension or insecurity than almost any other topic. Almost every writer I have ever worked with as an editor or an agent severely doubts themselves at some point in the process.

Doubts occur in the midst of creation.
Doubts occur when the disappointing royalty statement arrives.
Doubts occur … just because…

It is the curse of the writer. Writing is an introspective process done in a cave…alone. It is natural to have the demons of insecurity whisper their lies. And, in a cave, the whispers echo and build into a cacophony of irrepressible noise.

Once I had an author with dozens of titles in print and over three million books sold turn to me and say with a somber voice, “Do I have anything left to say? Does anyone care?” I didn’t quite know how to reply so tentatively said, “Well, I like it!” The author responded with a grump, “But you are paid to like it.” After we laughed, we agreed that this lack of confidence would pass and ultimately was very normal.

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How to Post a Negative Review

Posting a negative review is not the same as trashing a book. Sometimes you really are doing a service to let prospective readers know the book in question may not be right for them. Here are a few tips:

Be sure you rarely post a negative review. If you make a habit of posting bad reviews, you’ll be known as a grump who hates everything and your words will lose their power.

Approach from a position of authority. Why should prospective readers value your opinion? Examples might be that you are the president of an historical society, a professor, or hold some other position that shows readers when you say a book contains inaccuracies, you probably know what you are talking about.

Address problems with the book itself, not your perceptions of the author’s shortcomings as a person. The author may be dead wrong, but approaching the book dispassionately will gain you more respect in the reading community than simply blasting the author.

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Avoid Trashing a Book Online

When I’m thinking of buying a book, I do read the one-star reviews. There. I admitted it. But would I write one? No, and here are three reasons why:

The author is not a moneymaking machine, but a human. A mean reviewer won’t see the fallout of posting a nasty review, but writers cry, get angry, sulk and fall into depressions over one-star reviews. It’s not fair to use the Internet to vent at a target you think is safe because you are in a bad mood that day or just angry in general. I know I’m preaching to the proverbial choir because I don’t sense angry dispositions among our regular blog readers, but we’ve all seen reviews from people who need a chill pill. If a book happens to hit all your HATE IT buttons, take your chill pill before bequeathing a one-star review. Wait a day or two before spouting off. Or better yet, don’t.

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