Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Starred Reviews

By Pamela

Hello, my name is Pamela and I'm an online shopper. Amazon is my biggest crush--books and movies, clothes and shoes, Luzianne family-sized green teabags and Wellness Ocean Core grain-free dog food. What's not to love? I could wax on about the convenience of shipping, the customer service and the fact that I can shop in my jammies, but I'm afraid an intervention might follow. Yes, I am Amazon-addicted. But in a good way, methinks.

My morning email box contained a couple notices asking for feedback on recent purchases, which led to my thinking about reviews. Yes, I read them and write them. And I'm aware of Amazon's recent push to oust those who give glowing reviews of books-by-friends-and-family in order to sway purchasers. There are even people who will review your book or product for a fee. I've never been paid for a review and wouldn't dream of it, but I wonder if I've ever been duped into a purchase by a false review. Maybe and maybe not.

Creative Commons,
I also post reviews on GoodReads. While I'll rarely devote the time to write out a review, I do at least hit the star option and leave my opinion in a click. What I noticed is my proclivity for 4- and 5-star reviews. Do I love every book I read? No. But if I finish a book, then chances are I really liked or loved it. A book earning less than four stars by me likely got set aside in favor of another book waiting nearby. So there it languishes, on my virtual GoodReads 'currently reading' shelf, gathering virtual dust.

So, my challenge to you is to be fervent in your reviewing. Be fair, honest and kind. If you really liked or loved a book you read, take a moment and share your opinion in an online forum. You can even go a step further and let the author know (via her website or Facebook page) how much it meant to you. Didn't love it? If you post a negative review online, make sure you're judicious in the kindest way possible. Be a reviewer, but in a good way.


  1. I tend to only rate or review books I enjoy. That probably makes me a less-than-stellar critic, but I always think of the author reading over my shoulder. I do wonder, is it dishonest to forego posting a negative review?

    1. I don't think it's dishonest to forego a negative review. I know there are plenty of books out there that others have loved and I've been less than thrilled with. So books, to me, are more subjective than, for instance, a blender that doesn't live up to it's expectations.

  2. I think a lot of writers are hesitant to write anything less than a 4 star review, especially on books in their own genre. Networking with other writers is a way newbies can help increase their own chances at publication later. I handle this by only reviewing books I have something very positive to say about. If I didn't love it, I won't review it. This way my reviews can still be trusted - they are honest - and I don't risk alienating other writers.

    1. Kim, that's pretty much my thinking, too. My momma always said, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all." Boy, sometimes that's hard, but sage advice nonetheless.


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