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?


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.