Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Rate This Four Hearts and Ten Stars! Hot! Hot! Hot!

The other day I came across a website that reviewed romance books. I had actually heard about the site before and never visited. Mainly because I had also heard about the negativity of their reviews. Curiosity got me and I read several. The comments made were mixed. Some were well thought out and possibly truthful from that person’s point of view. While others were tacky voiced opinions I felt were said more for entertainment purposes. Of course, like most people, I thought, why would a person believe it’s okay to say such hateful things about a book that’s been published? The book had to have merit for an editor to publish it. Especially an editor from a major publishing house. I then reminded myself that reviews are purely subjective. Just as one editor’s choice I would agree with while another I would not.

One irritant I’ve seen in common with reviews is that most have some type of rating system. Once again, personal opinion holds sway. Personally I believe all rating systems for published books should be done away with. Give the reader a short blurb about the story and leave it at that. If you add anything, letting the reader know if the book is explicit in describing sex scenes, I guess that would be okay. For some that would be a red flag and to others a green.

While I'm speaking of reviews, I came across one review for an author I know on a bookseller’s website. The reviewer made it apparent she wrote the ugly review because the author had said something that she disagreed with on a public forum. If the reviewer was mad at the author, what are the chances that she really read the author’s book? Nah-ah! Zilch! Well, I had read that author’s book and enjoyed it throughly. So I had the pleasure of including my comments, and soon after another reader wrote about how much she loved the book. I can’t help but wonder if the disgruntled want-to-be-published-author knows that I Googled her name and found out so much about her? What will I do with the information? Nothing. But I certainly will walk a wide path around her if I ever met her. And buy a book of hers? Doubt it. That is, if she ever gets published. I don’t need that type of bad karma in my home.

I wonder how many books out there failed because of the opinion of one reviewer. I would like to think none, but I know how influential some of the reviewers can be to readers. Of course, it’s a two-way street. You can try to be nice to everyone, but someone at sometime will take offense to something you said or the way you look at them. I added the last part because lately I’ve been going without my glasses as I did when I was a teenager. I have to remember not to squint or otherwise someone will think I’m giving them the evil eye or something. LOL!

How much do reviews influence your book choice?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reviews don't influence me at all. They're subjective and I always remember that.

Generally speaking, I stay away from people who "bash" anything, including books. Unfortunately, in the case of one author bashing another, I won't, for any reason, read the bashing author's book(s) in the future.

I just don't like bad manners.

Whatever happened to the saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't ..."

Karen Beeching (who still doesn't remember her blog password)

Christy said...

Before I started writing seriously, I used to pay attention to reviews, but no longer. It's just one person's opinion and often times, I disagreed with that opinion.

With a bad, mean-spirited review, I always assume the reviewer has a grudge against the writer and I pay absolutely no attention to it.

And I'll do my very best to remember this if I get published and someone does that to me. I have a feeling it's easier said than done.

JoAnn said...

I'm not interested in reading someone else's opinion of a book. I've been burned enough to know better now! However, I do put a lot of stock in cover blurbs. That's what decides if I buy or not.

Carla Swafford said...

Be careful of blurbs. There are a few authors I'll buy their books without even knowing what they're about. Sometimes I've checked out the blurbs on the back and realized how bad they are - nothing like the books. If not for the authors, I wouldn't have bought them.