Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thought Provoking Thursday: Goodreads Reviews

This is a tricky subject to cover, so I need to tread carefully.  I know I've talked about reviews, but I want to talk specifically about Goodreads reviews and some of the effects they have.

I've heard I should not read Goodreads reviews.  Yep, that's going to happen, not.  It's too hard to see that someone has reviewed your novel and then not read that review.  Do I wish they were all 4 and 5 star reviews.  Of course.  But that's not reality.  In fact I got a 3 star from the Reading Housewives on Indiana the other day that I thought rocked.  Click here to read it.  The reviewer was very honest.  She like the book, was entertained, but could not connect with my main character.  I'm good with that.  She was respectful and tactful and I appreciated that.

I recently got a horrible 2.5 star review on Goodreads (and subsequently the reviewers blog).  I'm okay with the review.  I felt the language was a little harsh, but I respect the reviewers opinion.  It's a subjective business.  As writers, we hear this all the time.

And reviewer's followers sometimes take their word as gospel.  Again, fine.  They follow them, maybe they have some of the same opinions on certain books, so they take their reviews and base their decisions on them.  I'm down with that.

However, (of course there's a however) I think if someone reads a synopsis of a novel, and they think it sounds interesting, they should make their own judgment.  Plain and simple.  I mean, reviews are important, but if you doubt that review  in any way, just pick the book up and try it out.

There was one thing that bothered me about this particular review.  It was the fact that the blogger stated that the people that gave Never Eighteen five stars must not have read the book.  Yes, she has her freedom of speech, I just find this comment reckless and unprofessional.  That's just my opinion and I'm free to voice it as well.

I was researching opinions about Goodreads reviews, and only came up with a couple sites.  I think we as writers worry about criticizing reviews, as we should, so we stay away from the topic.  Here are a couple good blogs, click here for one by Alissa Grosso about the pros and cons of the site.  And click here to read one from Faerye.net about Goodreads vs. Librarything.

As you see, I've linked to the review in question above , only so you can read it, please do not feel the need to defend me or my novel.  Like I said, it's a subjective business.  Some people will hate your work, some with love it.  My friend Gae made a good point, that the bad reviews give the good ones some legitimacy.  Balance, Yin and Yang and all that.

Even you don't read or don't like Never Eighteen, I will still love you. :)  You are my blog readers and followers and I hold you close to my heart.

I hope no one is offended by this post.  It's just something I think about and wanted to talk about.  I would love your opinions on Goodreads, review bloggers, and Amazon reviews.  Do they hold water?  Are they gospel?  Do you only trust ones from your friends?
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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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