Monday, March 7, 2011

Seeing stars

I was thrilled when a reader recently gave one of my publications a five-star review on Amazon. (Most of my reviews have been on Smashwords, so just getting one on Amazon was exciting.) Then I read that some people don't think very highly of them! In fact, I read that one reader discounts all five-star reviews, assuming that they come from friends or family. That reader also discounts all the one-star reviews, and reads only the others, the moderately-starred two-, three-, and four-star reviews.

Do you tend to give out many five-star ones? I used to casually give top reviews to every book I rated on Amazon. After realizing that they are meaningless to some people, I've started giving four-star reviews instead. That's probably more realistic, after all. I suppose a five-star should only go to the best book you've read all year, or maybe in the last six months.

I like to do other authors favors. I know how hard they work and what an effort it is to get to the stage where you have a book to be reviewed. But if it's not a favor to give a five-star review, then I don't want to do it.

By the way, if I couldn't rate a book at least four stars, I wouldn't even think of reviewing it. What do you think? Do you take the five-star reviews seriously? Or not?

(I'm still thrilled with the five-star review I got, no matter what!)

(Painting: Starry Night Over the Rhone by Van Gogh)

16 comments:

  1. I hadn't thought about the friends and family thing Kaye, but I do read the reviews before I buy something on Amazon. Good for you, Kaye! I know your book is awesome.

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  2. I do take five star reviews seriously. While most people might have one or two buddies or family members who would post a five star review, I think most reviews come from strangers. I know they do in my case!

    ~ Krista Davis

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  3. That's good to hear, Krista. Are you disappointed at a four star review?

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  4. If I really like a book, I tend to give it 4 stars; I reserve 5 stars for my VERY favorite books that I rave about and tell people they have to read (probably a couple a year), because that's what makes the most sense to me. When I see ONLY 5 star reviews of a book, and only a few reviews at that, then I get skeptical that it's just friends and family. But as long as there are reviews of all kind, I do take the 5 star reviews seriously.

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  5. Gigi, that sounds sensible. I'm happy to say I've never seen a book with all one star reviews. It only makes sense that a book resonates differently with different people.

    Mary Ann, I'll look for your five star review. :)

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  6. I used to give 5-star reviews on a regular basis, but as I've matured (maybe the 'b' word is involved—but only a little *grin*), a terrific book, worthy of both time and dollar, is a 4-star.

    The last 5-star review I gave was to my sister. I gave her 5 because I wanted to encourage her, and I was really pleased with her book. But now? I wish I would've given her 4 stars because it wouldn't have screamed "Friends and Family."

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  7. That's exactly what I'm afraid of, Peg. I don't want someone to think I'm giving a dishonest review. Maturing can be good!

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  8. I look at the review more than the number of stars.

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  9. I have to agree. I tend to think the five stars are friends and family. However, I do read them for content. Maybe they point out something that I am looking for in a book. I also throw out the 1 stars. They're generally not well reasoned, but rather snarky. If a book has four stars, that's really a recommendation to me.
    THat said. I'd give you five stars, and do it honestly.

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  10. Well put, Kath. And you're so sweet to say that last thing! I am, by the way, very very happy with four star reviews. I have a four star and a five star on Smashwords for my short story collection and am ecstatic about that! For my novel, I hope to get four and will be perfectly satisfied with those!

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  11. I disclose that I have a relationship with the author if I have one. That way, they don't HAVE to suppose. :)

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  12. I think that's a very good idea, Sarah! I think I'll do that in the future.

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  13. Five stars is for a book I really enjoyed and on which I couldn't find any flaws. Most aren't like that, of course, but I do restrain myself for giving very low reviews. Then again, that may be because if the book is no good, I'm not going to use precious time to read it.

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  14. I actually had the chance to read five-star books when I travelled to Argentina because in one of those apartments in Buenos Aires I was given for rent, there were books in the room so I read them. I definitely loved them, I thank the apartment landlord who left those books there for tourists to read while on their trip!
    Julie

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  15. Thanks for stopping by, JL and Julie!

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  16. Super lovely blog you have here!

    xoxo,

    colormenana.blogspot.com

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