Friday, April 25, 2014

Why I'm Excited about my First One-out-of-Five-Star Review

So today has started out on an interesting note... I've been officially humbled by my first 1/5-star rating of Wings of the Divided on Goodreads.

If you're wondering whether or not I feel like throwing myself off a bridge, I absolutely do not! I'm in fact not upset about this (unless it's the start of a string of bad ratings, which would be unsettling). Seriously though, I have been waiting--anticipating it, really--for a couple of years now for someone to read this book and give it the ol' one-star slammer.

Why would I be so masochistic, you ask?

Because it means the book is finally reaching a wider audience.

A lot of indie books have only a handful of reviews online, 6-9 seems to be the number, and all the reviews are filled with holly jolly praise. It could mean that everyone likes the book, but to me, if there's nothing but good reviews of a book, it makes me suspicious that the book hasn't made it out of the author's circle, you know: friends, family, acquaintances, friends of friends. And if the only people who read your book are people you know or people with whom you've had some sort of personal contact, the chances of getting a bad review are pretty low. People don't want to piss each other off, as a rule, so they'll be "nice" even if they hated a book.

I appreciate that this person who read my book was not nice. I appreciate the fact that my book has finally gotten "out there" to complete strangers who do not like what I have to offer. It means my audience has widened. It means that this book has gotten visibility, and that people are giving it a chance and being honest.

I also think that bad reviews pique people's interest in a book or movie or any artistic medium. If I am considering reading a book and it's got both high ratings and low ratings, that makes me curious to find out whether I'll be among those who liked it or hated it. It generates more curiosity for me as a reader.

My only wish was that this person had written an actual review to go along with the one-star-rating so I could know exactly why she did not like the book.

Did she get bored and simply not finish it?

Was it because there was no romance?

Did she find it sacrilegious?

Did she find it too religious?

Was it silly to her?

Was it too dark for her?

Did she think the writing sucked?

Did she hate the characters?

I'll never know. All I know is she didn't like it.

If you're an author, what do you think of bad reviews? Do they get you down in the dumps or are you weird like me and find yourself strangely happy for them? Share in the comments!


  1. Hi,

    Do you think there is a point in which the amount of reviews creates a tipping point where a novel will start to become popular or do you think the number of reviews come at a slow and steady pace?

    If you don't mind my asking, when did most of your reviews come in? Did the reviews happen mostly in the beginning or were they spread out over time?

    I wish you success in your writing and books.

    1. Hey, thanks for asking! Most of my reviews came in within the first few months. I did my heaviest marketing right around then. But I've had reviews and ratings trickle in over the last couple of years. I offered several books for free in exchange for a reviewer's honest review, and that kind of got the ball rolling. But it does take a while.

  2. I got a one star, a three star, and the rest are five's. I look for the comments left, more than anything. They can be insightful, or downright funny. That's why I post them on my own blog page. I love each and every review I get. They come from real people.

    1. I wish my one-star had some comments with it! One of the funniest slams I got was from a friend whose mother had tried to read WINGS. Apparently this woman is pretty conservative. She got to a part in the book where my Fallen angel Laphelle decapitates a hooker with his sword, and she exclaimed that she couldn't keep reading the novel because it was "AN EVIL BOOK!" *LOL*

  3. I haven't gotten any bad written reviews, (yet) but I'd like to think I'll take them in stride when they come. (Yeah, I'm delusional.) I did get a one-star rating on Goodreads, but I didn't feel too bad when I saw who'd given me that rating. Some dude in Morocco. If he even saw my book, I'll eat his fez.

    Good attitude!

    1. We may be in the minority, but I feel like the authors who get all bent out of shape because of bad reviews aren't being realistic. Sure, it's going to sting because you spent a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on the project, but realistically, the more people that read a book, the more chances someone isn't going to like it. I'd only start freaking out if the vast majority of people gave it bad reviews--and also, you've gotta take into consideration people's tastes are way different than, say, someone pointing out that someone is a lousy, unpolished writer.

  4. I liked the recent four star review I got for Love Dark. Turns out I was deep, but hard to put down. I wonder now what a modern audience would do with Dune. I had to read it three time to get the full scope of it, and once I got it, I loved it! BTW, the movie doesn't count.