Sunday, September 18, 2016

Do Reviews Really Reflect Your Writing? From BookDaily....Don't Despair. It May Not Be Your Writing.....

A note from SJ Francis:

I've had my shared of good and bad reviews for my debut novel, Shattered Lies, and I wholeheartedly agree with the post below. Some people just don't know how to write a review. They may be prejudiced toward your book's subject matter. They may just be having a bad day and they take it out on your book. I've had one reviewer think Shattered Lies was a mystery novel and when it wasn't, I was penalized for it. I have another reviewer state their love for the book but just gave three stars. I received another review that didn't like the homosexuality side storyline in Shattered Lies and based their entire review on that bias.
Received a bad review? Don't fret. Don't take it personal. Just move onward and upward onto your next project.
Thanks for stopping by!
S.J. Francis

Connecting Authors to Readers

Do Reviews Really Reflect Your Writing? | BookDaily #AuthorTips

Maybe It’s Not You

We’ve all been befuddled, disappointed, angry, and otherwise upset by some of the reviews we’ve received on Amazon or Goodreads. But before you let bad reviews undermine your confidence, consider the problem may be with the reviewer and not your work.

I received a 3-star review with the comment, “Good book. I really enjoyed …” The comment and the rating don’t match. A book so praised should warrant at least 4 stars.

I also received a 3-star rating without a comment. Yet the reader went on to buy the other four books in the series. Really? With all the books available, I certainly wouldn’t buy books I found to be mediocre. The man also gave the other titles 3 stars.

Some people who leave reviews or ratings have their own agenda or rating scale. I’ve learned to check what kind of ratings the reviewer gives to other books when I receive a 3-star rating or less to discern whether or not the rating is a reflection of my work or the reviewer. I usually find that my rating is the same as those given to most of the books reviewed.

I cringed at a 2-star rating but discovered that was the reviewer’s favorite rating. My first thought was that if he found books to be so uninspiring, perhaps he should be watching TV or movies. As I glanced down his list, however, I found titles of other 2-star books that I had read and liked very much. At least I was in good company. Then I wondered if he had confused and reversed the scale, thinking that 1 or 2 stars meant the better books.

My best example is a 1-star rating. I cried when I saw it. In checking the reviewer (click on their name), I found a statement that said she only liked to read historical fiction. That being the case, why would she elect to read a mystery and then slam it because it didn’t fit the genre she preferred?
Unfortunately, readers may not go to the trouble of checking reviewers, and we have to live with their ratings. I am not sure that Goodreads is a benefit to either the author or potential readers when reviewers can assign ratings, especially low ones, without justifying them. Low ratings hurt an author and can mislead readers.

That leads to the mystery of the amount of reviews or ratings we receive. Don’t be discouraged or interpret a lack of response as a reflection of your work. I get very few reviews. In the last week, I’ve received a handful of ratings on Goodreads and not one review on Amazon, but have sold almost 500 books. Please keep in mind that most of the titles that sold are part of a series. I can watch the numbers increase as readers work their way through the series. I am assuming here that most readers don’t continue to buy titles in a series unless they like the books.

A lack of reviews or low ratings certainly affects our rankings as they are part of Amazon’s algorithms, but don’t always interpret the lack as a valid comment on your writing or let it dishearten you. Enjoy the good reviews and keep writing.

About the Author:
Mary Lee Tiernan
I was born in New York, but the lure of open spaces brought me west, and I now call Arizona home. Throughout my professional life as an educator and newspaper editor, my passion has always been writing. My other passion is exploring all the West has to offer, and I am often RVing down the road with my cat Charlie.

You can find out more about her on her website

    Thank you all for visiting with us. Until next month...every one please stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Put a little love into your heart. Please speak up for those without a voice, whether it be a dog, cat, elephant or monkey.  One person, one voice can make a difference. May all your dreams and wishes come true for each and every one of you.
    S. J. Francis
    Advocate for the underdog, and cat, et al.

    In Shattered Lies: “Good and bad, it's All about Family."  Now available from Black Opal Books, on-line and indie booksellers.   
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And now for some legal stuff: Copyright 2016 by S.J. Francis. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, S. J. Francis and the guest author and are meant to entertain, inform and enlighten, and intend to offend no one.


  1. Interesting post. I actually would welcome a 3-star review as opposed to no review. Three stars mean the person "liked" the book. Some people take that literally. I had one person tell me, he'd never give a 5-Star review except for some famous great book like, "Of Mice or Men." I have a feeling most readers realize they'll see reviews all over the place, but if the majority of your reviews run the gamut with a majority in the higher ranges, I think the reader will be impressed. If anyone is worried about bad reviews, I suggest taking a peek at one of the best selling authors. They get their share of bad reviews. Some of my favorite books have a number of awful reviews and I just can't understand it.

    1. Hello Linda & thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment. I agree that a 3-star review is better than no review at all. All authors, best selling and not get bad reviews. It's all part of the writing game, and isn't that why we love it?
      S.J. Francis