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To review or not to review... that is the question.


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Initial post: Aug 5, 2012 9:49:28 PM PDT
lwd says:
I've been reading and occasionally posting on the different threads in this forum. "Badly behaving Authors", "Badly behaving Readers", "Badly behaving Reviewers", and the most current - "Are you a victim of the Review Mafia?".

I've mentioned on several of those threads, that I've quit reviewing books altogether, based, partially, on those threads.

Apparently, reviews are now considered some kind of Public Service.

Points by all sides have been brought to the fore. i.e. Reviews are for Readers, not authors. Reviews are to "help" authors produce a better product. Reviews are to generate sales. Reviews are to hurt sales. Personally, I don't care who the reviews are for, I just liked (past tense) to write them.

I'm not trying to instigate controversy here, just find a few answers.

Are you still reviewing - and if so, why?
Do you plan on starting to write reviews? If so, Why?
Finally - have you quit reviewing - and if so, why?

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 10:22:12 PM PDT
Ederyn says:
Hiya, lwd! I don't write reviews because of the possible/probable backlash, but on occasion I've wished I could when I've come across a book I've either really loved or really hated. Maybe the solution is to set up a sock puppet account just for reviewing...? *ponders*

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 10:30:13 PM PDT
lwd says:
Hi, Ederyn -

Unfortunately, 'sockpuppet' accounts seem to be the antithesis of the aforementioned threads. Set one up, you are instantly a villain. Write a positive review for an Indie - you must be dishonest or a shill.

I've read a couple of great books (and horrible books), myself, but I don't want the probable backlash either.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 10:45:39 PM PDT
>>Are you still reviewing - and if so, why?
Do you plan on starting to write reviews? If so, Why?
Finally - have you quit reviewing - and if so, why?<<

I can't reply, because none of those apply to me. :(

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 10:48:55 PM PDT
lwd says:
Anna -

Sorry, should have added: Do you plan on never writing a review? If so, why not?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 10:53:44 PM PDT
Yay!

Yes, I plan on never writing a review, because I don't like to write and I can never think of anything to say except, "This was a really good book" or "This was a really bad book."

Sometimes, for variety, I'll say, "This was an okay book."

Seriously, writing a review would seem like doing a paper in college. And since I spend my days in school, I don't really want to do it when I get home.

Sometimes I want to write a really good, snarky review for a really bad book and see what happens. But luckily for authors of really bad books, I haven't done it. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 10:59:33 PM PDT
lwd says:
Anna -

Actually, writing a useful review is relatively simple. First part: The basics of what the book is about. Second part: Why you did, or did not, like the book. Third part: Why you would or would not recommend this book to others.

Then, naturally, arguments start in the comments of why you are right/wrong, or even more fun (if you're lucky), a slew of comments discussing the merits of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:16:48 PM PDT
That sounds suspiciously like work!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:22:59 PM PDT
lwd says:
Anna -

It certainly is nowadays. When I did write reviews, it was to share opinions with people who had read the same book, a mini "book club" if you will with only one book being discussed.

I live in an area that when neighbors get together, we talk about work, children, grandchildren, our health (to the extreme, we're all getting older, and the list of personal body functions - not working - are a mile long), never books or hobbies.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:49:07 PM PDT
Iola says:
I review, and will continue reviewing, so I can keep getting free review copies.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:51:46 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 5, 2012 11:53:54 PM PDT
lwd says:
Iola -

Are you a member of the Vine program?

Edit - added: Sorry for the question, I just checked your profile, and see that you're not.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:54:24 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Hi lwd!
Tl;dr - yes, I write reviews. Yes, I intend to keep going. I do it because I enjoy it.

1. I'm not an author, never have been, probably never will be (unless I finally get talked into that Math PhD...).

2. Started writing reviews regularly because I'd found a truly horrid book that deserved 1star. Then I thought I might point out a book worth 5stars that had no reviews. I noticed my rating started moving and wanted to see how low I could get in 12 months with a fairly niche genre. (Now pretty steady, haven't moved much in 3 months).

3. I keep writing them because it's fun, it keeps a record of what I've read and what I thought of them, occassionally someone says they like them and they're helpful, so some little known author's get seen and read, and it's an interesting intellectual exercise.

4. I don't do it for the author, except to maybe help along an author who hasn't any reviews. Enough people say "I won't buy a book unless it has at least one review" to make me think it can make a difference. I do it somewhat to "give back" to the reviewers who've helped me make purchasing decisions.

5. I am now less likely to buy let alone review a SP. I just can't see the point of opening myself to *that*. I do still keep pretty niche, but a little more broadly "romance" and an increasing number of "popular" titles. (And less interest in helping authors be "seen"). I purchase all the books I review (no arcs or freebies). I don't blog them - the only place the reviews appear is on Amazon.

6. Because I buy my own books, they are more likely to get 4 or 5 stars (I'm not aiming to buy trash), but I will and have reviewed across the star ratings. I haven't reviewed a DNF. If a bOok is part of a series I try and review them together and link them in the reviews (because that's what I'd want to know).

7. I have reviewed books rec'd on forums, a couple of books from author's I met in passing (where the books were also rec'd elsewhere) but never a book of someone I would call a "friend", or have interacted a lot with. I have never been approached to write a review. I have never been "thanked" by an author (or at least not that I know of).

8. I am more aware of what I am looking at now when I see reviews. I know what a shill looks like, and I know which reviews are "purchased". I am less likely to buy those books (thus don't review them). I have stopped reviewing/purchasing a particular publisher because of "bad practices".

Gosh, that's long. Well, you did ask.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:54:59 PM PDT
Iola says:
No - Vine is only open to US (I think) and I live in New Zealand.

I get review copies through NetGalley and a couple of book blogger programmes. They are only ebooks, so not quite as good as DTB's, but better than nothing (especially with the price of paperbacks here, and don't mean I need to find shelf space).

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 11:56:45 PM PDT
cathyr says:
Iola is in NZ, I'm in Aus. We are highly unlikely to get into Vine until/unless Amazon opens in Aus, and even then it's only a maybe.

Vine never played a role in my reviewing.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 12:01:07 AM PDT
lwd says:
cathyr -

I was asked to join the Vine program awhile back, I declined. Evidently, all the 'free' products you get have a stipulation that 80% of the 'gifts' receive a review (good, bad, or indifferent). That really would be work, even a full time job for some.

Also, I've always been a bit skeptical about reviews that are paid for by getting free goods in exchange.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 12:07:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2012 12:34:03 AM PDT
lwd says:
cathyr - "I am now less likely to buy let alone review a SP. I just can't see the point of opening myself to *that*."

I reviewed two SP books a few years back, both authors thanked me in their comments, I was a bit embarrassed by both. (especially the 1 star review, he was quite courteous, but I still felt like I had run over his puppy by being so critical).

Edit: Changed 'dog' to 'puppy', as I didn't mean to suggest his book was a dog, it simply wasn't to my taste.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 12:14:16 AM PDT
cathyr says:
I have never had a bad experience as a result of reviewing. I just got to the point where I was over critical of the industry and reluctant to buy into the drama.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 12:18:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2012 12:18:47 AM PDT
lwd says:
I haven't had a bad experience either, but after the "bogus review" threads started, I didn't leave myself open to criticism of that nature. It's a slippery slope at best.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 3:45:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2012 3:47:43 AM PDT
Sticking to book reviews.
Reviews can entice someone to buy. Notice I say can, because someone will probably come along and say there is no statistical proof to back up the claim if I write a definitive 'do' entice.

No matter how authors try to convince themselves otherwise, reviews can help get a book looked at and possibly convince a reader to try the sample.
Now most authors will say that we don't need reviews because of the sample. Wrong, there aren't enough hours in the day to read the samples of each and every book a person lingers on. Even the 'Look Inside' feature takes up reading time.
Quickest way is to read a review, which takes the average reader a minute or so (perhaps less). That initial interest via the review may lead to the sample and ( or even an instant buy) then to a possible sale.

Authors forget the sheer mass of books that are on this site and readers are less likely to spend money on an unknown entity than a known one.

I review. I don't review every book I read. Trad pub. big names don't need any, so I tend not to review all of those. I don't review books that I haven't finished. If a book is completely not my cup of tea I just stop reading it, that includes quite a few that have been literary shambles.
Although there seems to be a general consensus about reviews being for readers, let's not kid ourselves about the fact that authors do (well a lot of them perhaps not all) read them.
How they react or whether they react is another matter entirely and isn't the matter being discussed.

ETA to rectify a Freudian slip

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:28:06 AM PDT
Splinker says:
Yeah, yeah. All these threads, blogs, etc on the evils of reviews/reviewers are less than a sunshower in a teacup. Go review. Review until your fingers bleed. You'll be fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:29:23 AM PDT
Splinker says:
Thatis perfectly acceptable.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:38:58 AM PDT
Splinker says:
I have reviewed afew books. I'm a writer. I am not overly kind in most of my reviews. I have had one or two where the author or a friend of the author felt compelled to comment. I didn't get into a long discussion because my review already states what i thought. I did not suffer backlash.

Despite what some people on the forums may think of me, i am quite handsome, as well as honest when it comes to writing and reviews.i am also no dummy when it comes to writing. If i see something that doesn't work for me, chances are it isn't working for others. I have noproblem in pointing out flaws.

I am no boyscout.

I haven't suffered any backlash and i am not too concerned if i do. If i was a reader only, without a book or three for sale, i wouldn't care at all.

If someone is concerned about people reacting to what they post, they should make a sock puppet account or stay away from the internet. Mr. Gore will understand.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:40:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2012 5:47:42 AM PDT
Splinker says:
But you do comment occassionaly on other reviews. I don't see much difference. Not that i think you should start reviewing.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:41:58 AM PDT
Splinker says:
You little scammer.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 5:44:41 AM PDT
Splinker says:
CAthyr:

Due to poor eyesight, i thought you said you found a horrid book that deserved one Ishtar. Now i want to suggestto Amazon that they includean Ishtar button for reviewers.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  41
Total posts:  267
Initial post:  Aug 5, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 12, 2013

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