Tag s | Book reviews


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:

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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6 Elements of a Good Book Review

In our discussions of late on reviews and authors’ reactions to reviews, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at the elements of a good review. And when I say “good,” I mean helpful. For the readers.  Because that’s what reviews are about. Helping readers decide if …

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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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Paid Book Reviews?

by Steve Laube

You may have read or heard of the NY Times article where an author admitted to using a now-defunct service that wrote positive online reviews for a fee. Unfortunately I was not surprised. There have been many attempts to game the system over the years.

One man bought thousands of his books in various locations to launch it onto the NY Times bestseller list (Read a report about it here). And here is a link to a recent article which helps authors strategize how to get on the Amazon.com bestseller list. I remember back when I ran a bookstore a well-known author refused to let our store run an event’s booktable because we did not report our sales to the New York Times.

Having a system to create fake reviews only reduces our confidence in the reviews we read online. In fact there are laws in place now whereby a reviewer must reveal whether or not they got the book for free in exchange for a review. (Here is the Federal Trade Commission guide concerning the “Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.“) Booksneeze.com is a great source for bloggers to get books in exchange for honest reviews.

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