Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Dreaded One-Star Review

I was shocked to see that J. K. Rowling’s latest book has more “1 star” reviews than “5 star” reviews. Yet it sits sky high in the rankings and is selling like crazy. Curiosity made me read a few of those reviews. They reveal much about the reviewer and nothing about the book. Here are a few:

1) I would love to buy this book but it is too expensive!
2) I have no official review for this book as I have yet to read it. However, I just downloaded it to my kindle and the font is tiny.
3) Have not read and will not read

Boy, I’d like to ban these people from reviewing since they do not know what a review is. In fact, I’d like to suggest that if you don’t like a book, didn’t finish it, it wasn’t a genre you appreciate, you skimmed it, or you didn’t read it in your native language, then DO NOT REVIEW IT.

I have asked dozens of people to review my books and I really appreciate the honest ones who say “No, thanks, it’s not in a genre I like” or “Sorry, I started reading it but it wasn’t to my taste so I won’t be reviewing it.” Obviously their moms taught them that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.

On the flip side, some books receive false “5 star” reviews written by friends and family of the author. These well-wishers usually do not know how to analyze the writing, plot, characters, etc., of a novel and are not doing the author any favors by writing inflated praise.

What do you think? How influenced are you by reviews?