I have mixed feelings about book reviews. They are considered the life blood for books by indie authors, because often they are the only way of getting the word out about one’s book. I recently received a comment on Facebook from a reader who purchased my book after reading the reviews. On the other hand, a bad review can be devastating.
As authors, we adore those 5 star ratings and dread anything below. Even so, as an author I’m looking for constructive feedback because I want to become a better writer. If the book receives 5 stars, why? If it receives less, why? Not all reviews address that. In fact, not all reviews and their ratings are good ones. Not all of them make sense. I was recently advised by someone that they never gave 5 star ratings because they mistrusted them.
The star system is, of course, subjective. If I’ve read ten books on a given subject, the number of stars will be based on comparing it to those ten books. If I already have a working knowledge of a subject, then an introductory level book is of less use to me (and hence worth less stars) than something with information and details I need. For a product, high praise after using the product for only a week or two is of little value compared to someone who has been using the product for a year or more. It’s all relative to the reviewer.
Anyone who has read a lot of reviews has probably noticed, as I have, that one or two star ratings are not necessarily helpful either. Reading the actual review will often reveal a dissatisfaction with something other than the product, such as a late delivery, no delivery, packaging problems, didn’t read the instructions, misused the product, bought the wrong thing for the intended purpose, or it didn’t meet personal expectations. And sometimes it seems as though folks just want to ding an otherwise good record. I pretty much disregard these. Sometimes the problem is with the company’s customer service. Whether or not that should be reflected in the number of stars given depends on whether the item was purchased from the manufacturer or a middle man.
In spite of all that, I still try to prod readers into writing reviews. If a review of my book is honestly written with a good rationale for the rating, I cannot complain and am extremely grateful for each one. I am extremely fortunate and encouraged that the reviews so far have been good ones. From what they say, I know that the book is achieving the goal for which I wrote it, to encourage homesteaders. I’m sure at some point the book will not meet a reader’s expectations and their review will reflect that.
Reviews for 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead (the ones I’ve been able to find, that is) can be read at the following:
If you’d be willing to add yours to the mix, I’d be ever so grateful.