Do You Read Reviews?


NOTES:  My days escaped me, and I forgot my Sunday post, so here it is today.




I always hear people talking about review of products.  They are either all for them, or they say they do not bother with them.  Personally, I like to weigh the good reviews against the bad.  I do this with books, or another product that I am interested in purchasing.  I am going to focus on books, since I buy more of this product than any other product.

NOTE:  I am using the word book, but I am also referring to e-books, which I buy more often than hard copy now.

In other words, I read the bad reviews.  If they are just pissie, or overly critical without talking about the story when it comes to the book in question, I ignore them.  Lemons happen in all products, and no one is perfect.  One or two problems do not necessarily make a bad story.  I agree that some do lazy work, and that makes for a bad read.  Shame on that author for giving self-publishing a bad name.  Thank God, more and more authors are now putting out quality product.  I know this, because I buy them.  I am in it for a story, when I am looking for a book.   I am in it for the fun, the escape, the entertainment, or the learning experience.

A review is not a critique.  It is an overall review of the story, and a little bit about presentation, I may, consider it, but it will not necessarily keep me from buying.  Is the review just mean and overly critical or do they actually say something worthwhile, besides just dissing, because they can?

What I look for:  The cover grabs me.  I read the blurb.  If I like the story premise, I check the reviews.  Bad reviews vs. Good reviews, and what they said.  People are human.  The self-publishing do not have the budgets of the traditional, or on call staff to call for assistance, sometimes the product is not perfect, but that does not mean it is not a story worth reading. The more stories the writer writes will improve with time, because practice makes everyone better at whatever they are doing.  Hit and miss.  Trial and error.  Time, practice and effort generally brings improvement to most people, so if I like the story I will give a good review, not a critique.

If I really, really enjoyed it.  I check other works by this author as well.  It is the same with any product.   When I give a review, generally there is something I liked about the product.  I do not waste my energy on bad review, unless I think buyer beware.  You do not really want this product, and I am offering you concrete reasons not to buy.  Positive criticism is something entirely different from just being pissie, mean spirited, and overly critical.  Yes, the author may need that, but a review is not an editorial platform.  If you do not like it, yes, you should say so, but massacring the overall integrity of someone is just bad form, IMHO, in a review.

I have never experienced this, but I am sure my time will come, lol.  My opinion is that of a reader.  I am a voracious reader.  I love the story, the craft and all that comes with it. Reviews help me determine if I want to spend the money, take the risk, and more often than not, sell me in the end.  However, I read the review with an objective eye, and whether or not points made by the reviewer are truly valid, or just from someone who loves to critique, because they may be good at, and because they can.  The review is about assisting the interested buyer in the decision to buy or not to buy.  The review is not an editorial platform. photo credit: ~Matt LightJam {Mattia Merlo} via photopin cc





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  • You might think this is strange, but when it comes to books, I prefer to read the reviews after I read the book instead of before!
    Because I don’t look to reviews much when I decide what I should read. I can usually tell whether I will like a book by the cover, the blurb, and by reading a bit of the writing to see if it appeals to me. I also rely heavily on recommendations by friends and other bloggers whose tastes are similar to mine, so for the most part I don’t randomly pick up just any book.
    Once I’m finished reading it I often make notes to myself about what I liked and what I didn’t. These are mainly for myself, and they are often brutal about the writing so they are for my eyes only. But I need to be honest about what works for me, because I use books to filter out what I want to write in my own stories. If I like something it will likely transmute itself and end up in my writing, and it’s fun to see where my ideas might have arrived from.
    After that I dig into reviews and find out: Do other readers find the same flaws I do? Do they love the same things? Can other readers explain why certain things bugged me? Can they recommend other books similar to this one?

    As you can see, this topic fascinates me–and I should probably write my own blog post about it! 😉

    • admin

      I get that. I also go by recommendations, sometimes I buy just because I like the cover and the blurb, but after a couple of bad experiences and waste of money, I started reading the reviews. However, I do not let the review decide for me, but I do use them to help me make a knowledgable decision based on my own expectations from what has been said. LOL, I hate being disappointed, however, if I am not expecting as much I can be pleasantly surprised. It feels like a secret reward, when my judgement proves the read was worth buying.

      I like the way you use your way to learn from the books. I have never taken notes, but I might try that now. It never occurred to me. I like your way too. I think you probably learn more about the writing aspect applied to your own writing than I do. I tend to be in the read for the adventure, escape, thrill, get away. Books play in my head like a movie, so I do not slow down long enough to analyse, but maybe I should.

      LOL, you probably should write one. I find it interesting too. I enjoyed your comment. It made me think. I llove when that happens.

      • Once in a while I have caught myself buying a book just for the cover–sometimes that doesn’t end well …
        And the more I learn about writing, the more I’ve found that I analyze the stuff I read. 🙂

        • admin

          That is a good thing. It will help make you a better writer, because it builds understanding. I do analyze stuff I read, but not normally the first time through it. I read it totally for fun the first time, and then dissect next time through if it is a book I want to learn from. I find it easier to analyze movies first through than books. I am not sure why.

          Covers can totally grab me, but I have had one or two bad experiences, so I definitely read the blurb with it. The quality out there is getting better I think. I do not get too many bad reads, mediocre maybe half/half, but not bad.

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