I have recently been pondering reviews. More accurately, the purpose of reviews. See, I always viewed a review as my personal thoughts that are to help other consumers make an informed decision. So, lets say I read a book. I don’t like the book. I mention that I don’t like X, Y, and Z about the book and give the book 1 star. However, I also am quick to say that if X, Y, and Z don’t bother you then you might enjoy this book. Vague enough?? Let me be specific:
I hate love triangles. I just don’t like the trope much at all. I also totally hate books with cheating. So, lets say I grab a book and it has a love triangle and cheating. To me, thats a book I will hate. I will give it one star and explain that I don’t like love triangles or cheating. However, if you aren’t bothered by those two things, you might love this book.
I have always felt that the review was for the consumer. I like to get other peoples honest opinions on the content, plot, pacing, etc of a book. To me, 1 star means I hated the book and 5 stars means I loved it. Honestly, I never gave much thought to how others might view a review. Then someone got a bit nasty with me on Amazon about a 1 star review I gave a book.
So, basically, this person said that I was ruining the author and preventing them from getting recommendations because Amazon uses the ratings to determine what to recommend. She said that 1 star is for books that have tons of grammar mistakes and are poorly written, not just a book I didn’t like. Honestly, I was really taken aback. While I always write reviews because I know it helps authors, I never write a review with the sole purpose of my rating helping an author. Does that make sense?
So, I review books because I want to share my thoughts. I want to help other readers find great books. Simply being a part of this process helps authors-their books get out there, they get introduced to new readers, etc. However, I don’t write a review thinking “Will this help or hurt the author”. I would never say anything just straight up mean. My reviews, when critical, always emphasis why I personally didn’t connect with the book. I don’t feel a 1 star book means the book is filled with errors. In my world, a 1 star book is one I hated or didn’t even finish.
So, whats my point? Well, I guess my point is to see if I really am just blind! Are reviews solely for helping the author? What is a 1 star book to you? Am I totally off base here??
A side note, the person who was not very nice to me on amazon? Yeah, every one of her reviews was a 5 star. I’m not buying that either. I want helpful information about a book not just someone pumping sunshine. So, tell me-where do you stand? I have been giving this topic a great deal of thought, but I just can’t imagine changing the way I review books.