Reviews…Do they help?


Today was the first time in a long time that I’ve bothered to log into Goodreads. I’ve only had one review in the last several months (this one was on Amazon) and just haven’t thought any reviews would be going on, anyway. Well, I was wrong. I didn’t get reviewed, really, but I got some ratings. Some 1 star ratings. The first 1 star rating I noticed was on A Girl Named Cord. I was a bit disappointed. Then I saw the second 1 star rating. Even though it was disheartening, I was impressed that two people I didn’t even know bothered to read my book. Then I decided to look at my other books to see if there was anything new. There was. Two more 1 star ratings for The Night I Walked off of Boot Hill. And guess what? The ratings came from the same two people. It was the same for The Ballad of Margaret Hearst (The Untold Story of Margaret Hearst). Two 1 star ratings from the same two people. And, to my great unhappiness, it was the exact same for Me and Billy the Kid. I’m going to make a guess. I could be completely wrong, but I feel pretty sure that I’m right. The two people (do they even deserve to be called people?) didn’t read any of my books. I have a few reasons to support my guess. The first one, the most obvious one, is that I could for the most part keep track of everyone who bought my book. A family member or friend would let me know that they’d bought my book (thank you all again!) and a few days later I would see a sale had gone through. And then there’s my second reason. If you don’t like the first book you read from a certain author, are you going to spend money on another of their books? How about four of their books? I doubt it. Anyway, I know I wouldn’t. Especially when Me and Billy the Kid is a fairly expensive e-Book. If I didn’t like a 99cent book, there’s no way I’d try the author again with an $8 book. It just wouldn’t happen.

Okay, so this was a pretty frustrating day. I started wondering what gives these kind of people the right to hurt random strangers who have done nothing to them but give “birth” to a book and present it to the world, wrapped carefully with a bit of the author’s own soul? How could any person be so cruel? I know several authors who are going through this same thing. And yes, I’ve always thought that bad reviews are a rite of passage for an author. But it doesn’t count if the book wasn’t even read!!! Obviously these ‘reviewers’ (maybe the name ‘dream smashers’ would be more appropriate?) looked at my cover and hated them. Okay, so that wouldn’t be a first for me, but bear with me. So these dream smashers are art haters! 😉 That is it! They aren’t lovers of literature, because if they were, they would have at least read the book before making a judgment. I’ve heard that a picture speak a thousand words, but are all my covers that hideous? I don’t think so. So that leaves only one option. These dream smashers just enjoy hurting people and its best to ignore them. If they can’t give you the time of day to actually read your book, why should you waste time worrying over their rating. Of course, other potential buyers are going to see that 1 star rating and shy away…

Or maybe they won’t.

Out of curiosity, I looked up The Hunger Games on Amazon. Out of 19,000+ reviews, over 350 of them were only 1 star reviews. And some of those reviews were pretty brutal. But quiet frankly, I loved The Hunger Games. And obviously a lot of other people did too since there was a movie made from it.

So maybe reviews should just be ignored. Many of them do more harm than good. Yes, getting a good review makes you feel like a real author and getting a bad review came make you feel worthless. But when you get right down to it, what matters more? Are YOU happy with your book? Do YOU love it? Yes, for those of us who are trying to make a living off of our writing, the opinions of others are going to matter a great deal. But YOU, as the author, can’t change what those people think. There are going to be people who adore your book and eagerly await the next one. And there are going to be people who just can’t handle your book and don’t even read the whole thing. But, again, you can’t do anything about that. You have no control. All you can do is remember what YOU feel. And as for me, I love my books. I don’t care if other people love them. I don’t care if other people hate the covers I choose. I just don’t care. The people who are important in my life are the only ones I do care to hear their honest opinion. Other than that, I am just going to ignore negativity. It is going to be hard, but I can’t afford to let other people get me down. And to all those dream smashers I simple want to say this: The End.

Not bad for my 310th post, right? 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Reviews…Do they help?

  1. I love this! I knew going into publishing that bad reviews were going to happen. I tried to brace myself, preparing myself before I even got one, but it didn’t soften the blow when it finally happened. I unfortunately dwelled over them for the first few days before realizing, like you, that it just didn’t matter. I’m thrilled with my stories and even if I was the only one in the world who ever read them, they would still bring me the same amount of joy. Glad to see I’m not the only one who felt like this. Thanks for your post!

    • You are very welcome! As authors it is hard to ignore bad reviews because we start thinking maybe there is something more we could have doe to our book. But to please one person, a dozen others might be offended. So it is just better to do what makes us happy! 🙂 Good luck with your books!!!

  2. A thoughtful post Briana and a brave one. Well done for coming to the conclusion to just ignore these thoughtless people. You’re right about one thing – the only thing you can control, and the only that really matters, is if you’re happy with what you’ve written. You should be proud of all that you’ve achieved – pat no attention to these ‘dream smashers’! Great name by the way:-) Blessings, H xxxx

    • Thanks Rosie! I intend to ignore the ratings since they didn’t come from anyone I care about. I guess I should be honored that a couple total strangers took the time to pick on me! I’m finally getting noticed! 🙂

  3. If I remember correctly, Napoleon Hill was quoted as saying, “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” Carry on, and conquer! Keep up the good work, Briana. 😉

  4. Briana – I think you are completely right about them not reading the books because you wouldn’t read a second if you didn’t like the first. I’ve heard a bit about this phenomenon of late – the serial 1 star raters…not nice, but best ignored. Charles did a great post yesterday about the perils of self publishing and I raved on for ages in the comments about that topic so I won’t repeat it here. Suffice to say your books are great and show a real evolution in your writing as you progress and I, for one, am looking forward to your next offering! 🙂

    • Thank you very much Helen! I’ve noticed this seems to be happened a lot more frequently-I’ve seen a good many posts about it-and it is too bad there are people who do that. I am glad you like my books, though! You are the best! Hope you are doing well!

  5. You make a very good and helpful point Briana. I think it is too easy to pay too much attention to bad reviews. I know I do. We should focus more on improving our writing, to make it the best that it can possibly be, and not get too hung up on some nasty reviews which may have been written, as you say, by people who haven’t read the book properly if at all.

    • Thanks Elaine! And maybe I’m not thinking right in a way, because I am trying to ignore negativity. That’s not to say I won’t pay attention to constructive criticisms, but sometimes it is just easier to turn a blind eye to the bad and look for the good. It makes you happier, I do know that! 🙂

  6. Excellent post and reasoning. You came to the right conclusion. Write for the joy of it. Write because you want to. It matters not what others think of it. You are in good company as it has happened to me as well as many other authors. I look at it this way, it is wall graffiti. They didn’t take the time to read so why should I take the time to notice. So let’s write on, shall we?

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