Reviews: Pro and Con

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When I was in elementary school, one of my teacher’s had noted on a report card that I took criticism well. Frankly I don’t recall a lot of negative criticism in elementary school. My husband would say it’s because, overall, I don’t care what people think. In many ways this is true. It’s not that I don’t care what others think. It’s more a case of no one being as critical of my doings as I am myself.
My first book was published this past October. As soon as it hit Amazon I began watching for reviews. The book received primarily 5-star reviews and a couple of 4-star reviews. Most of the criticism had more to do with typos and formatting and perhaps the slowness of the beginning of the book. However everyone agreed the ending was worth the read.
This evening I received my first 1-star review and my book was called “Drivel”. Rather than upset me it puzzled me. How had this one person developed such a different opinion of the story? No mention was made of typos or formatting or even pacing. In fact she didn’t even finish reading it. I decided to investigate a little.
When examining the other reviews by this reader I was amused. She did have a couple of 5-star reviews but they are few and far between. The majority of her purchases seem to be products. She didn’t like all of those either. She was very displeased with a Sesame Street Toy but she loved a Sue Grafton book. Hated a John Grisham book but loved a Tebow Action Figure. I suppose I can take some comfort in being lumped in with Grisham since I like most of his books. I can’t take the review of someone who disses a cookbook too seriously. In fact to be perfectly honest I don’t take any of it too seriously. I am thrilled with good reviews because any writer worth her salt wants to know she has created something that gives others pleasure. I also know not everyone has the same taste in books. That’s a good thing. I had my high school moments of groaning aloud when we had to read “The Old Man and the Sea”. We all know Ernest Hemingway is a well loved author to some people. Most women supposedly love chocolate. I prefer vanilla. That’s life.
So let me say this to Jan: Thank you for trying to read my book. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. But that won’t stop me from writing another book. And I hope it won’t discourage others from picking it up and giving it a shot. It’s a pretty good story, typos notwithstanding, in the opinion of at least seventeen other readers.

One thought on “Reviews: Pro and Con

  1. If our writing pleased every single reader we would have achieved the panacea to success and wealth. Fact is, you cannot please every taste. Some will not like your work but, provided the majority of readers do, then you are doing things right.
    Sometimes people choose to read a book outside of their favoured genre and discover they don’t like it. Some of those leave negative reviews. Some people don’t like anything. Truth be told, some negatives are left by jealous prospective authors.
    I always read negatives as, sometimes, they provide constructive criticism. That helps. Insult and arrogance doesn’t, so if I see that kind of review, I tend to ignore it.
    Readers know the difference, I believe, and most will form an opinion as a result of balancing the good against the bad.
    Nice article, by the way.

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