(A Writer’s Corner) A Shiny Star is Not the End…

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Over the course of my relatively short writing career, I’ve noticed varying reactions from writers new and old when it comes to that truly horrifying thing – the 1-Star Review  Duh-duh-daaaahh!!!

What you really should be concerned with is just how many you have for any given piece of work. Trust me, we all get them. There is absolutely no way to please everyone. And you won’t. You’re not that special. I mean it. I’m not being a dick, I’m just saying.  Everyone that writes and releases books to the public will have a number of people that do not get it, do not like it, do not want it near anyone that they care about. Seriously.

For newbies, this first low rating/bad review can be devastating. It doesn’t have to be. Just consider it another of those  “Welcome to the Club” moments. Honestly, this is the age of back-pats, coddles, friends and family reviews, and many other nefarious review sorcery. If you’re actively seeking reviews (which I think everyone promoting their work should be doing), you’re gonna ruin someone’s week with your writing. And if you do have a bunch of people cheering your work, you might still be knocked silly by that one bad apple. Don’t let it ruin you.

Now, to be fair, sometimes, you will get blasted by a troll. Someone who is sick of the good reviews, doesn’t like your online persona, or really, really didn’t like that your characters listened to Poison, Skid Row, and Pretty Boy Floyd.  If you’ve been trolled, take it as a compliment. You’re important enough to irritate someone so much they attack you.  Good for you!

As for me, I take the good reviews with the bad.  Check this one out:

Kimberly Bain’s Reviews > Blood And Rain

Blood And Rain by Glenn Rolfe

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Blood And Rain 
byGlenn Rolfe(Goodreads Author)

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Kimberly Bain‘s review

Jan 15, 2016
did not like it

 

I was very disappointed. There are many better options out there for this genre. Don’t waste your time. 

Writing style is amateurish and simple. Very poorly done. Save your money and find a better option. Written by a middle schooler…

 

 

See?  Kimberly judo-chopped me pretty good.  Did it sting? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, but I didn’t let it bug me for long. I just rolled with it. You can’t please them all.
Plus, I have enough good or okay reviews that it makes ones like these easier to shrug off. And so will you.

Keep your chin up, roll with it, and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

I do have a number of these fine reviews. Including one from a reviewer who read, like, eight pages and 1-starred me.  I’m just telling you that it’s gonna happen.  Feel the pain, then move forward.

And if you have weaknesses in your writing (and we all do), don’t be afraid to reexamine some of the things the lower-starred reviewers point out. They might help you correct them in your current or future work.

I believe in you.

Keep writing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ratings and Reviews: When Expectations Fall Short

Have you ever been worried about reviewing a book you weren’t thrilled by? How about posting a less than four or five star review on a book by someone that everyone loves (including you)? As I begin to advance in my own career as a writer, and start to meet some of my fellow authors, I feel like I’m heading to a cross roads as a reviewer.

About a year and a half ago Ronald Malfi posted something nice on his Facebook page about a piece of my work. I was psyched and humbled. I then messaged him to see if he might do me the honor of a proper review. He was kind in his reply, and stated that he didn’t do regular reviews anymore. I thanked him anyway and went about my business. It wasn’t until recently, when I started releasing my own books, that I began to understand the benefits of opting out of posting reviews. It all goes back to that question: What if I don’t like it as much as everyone else? What if that person is a now a friend? It’s a hard position to be in. You never want to irk somebody (or their fans), and us writers are a pretty sensitive bunch.

So far, I’ve been lucky. The majority of works I’ve read by people I know have been good, really good, or great. Still, there are those few…

I love to read, I know writers love reviews, so I keep on going about it as I always have: honesty, with no spoilers! But it this year, I had to stop reading a few books because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to give them nice reviews. One book was like a horrible B movie, one insulted me, and one was just bad. Those ones were easy, I didn’t finish them, so I didn’t review them. The more difficult reviews to post are now the three star reviews. In the Goodreads world that seems to be littered with glowing four and five star reviews, a book that rates with Orion’s belt seems like a sad, sad thing.

OR

And it’s not! I’ve actually been applauded and chided over the lesser (in some eyes) rating. Personally, I would love to get three stars, and have. A couple years ago, when I was just starting out, I ran into one of the authors I gave three stars. They told me I was the only one to give them that low of a rating. They didn’t say whether or not it upset them (this person didn’t seem irritated at all), they just noted it to my face. I’m quite certain I blossomed into ten shades of red. Although it was a little uncomfortable, we have remained friends. My little three stars paled before the heaps of love this particular novel received, but that didn’t erase the fact that I felt bad. It really does seem silly that I almost don’t dare to do reviews for the less than four star books. I wonder if I’m the only one with this problem, if I’m an oddity, but doubt that I am.

Going back to the Ronald Malfi stance…If I were as big and well-respected an author as he is, I guess my “opinion” might be more damaging. I can see that, especially if their fans are your target audience. It puts one in an interesting position.

If I ever reach the status of a Malfi or a Keene, maybe I’ll adopt the no review philosophy. Until then, I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing and hope I don’t ruffle too many feathers in the process.