No, I’m not crazy, I know how the star system works. This particular verified purchase review says:
do not recall this book and I cannot give a fair critic [sic] of it.
So, basically, someone bought my book, maybe read it, can’t remember it, and gave it a one-star review because they can’t remember if they read it.
Seriously, if the intent was to troll me — don’t they realise that ANY review is a good one? If people are buying the books and leaving review, the book is active. It’s churning interest. As long as they spell my name correctly, right? And this one is even more hilarious than the previous one-star review.
I’d like to use this opportunity as a segue into a discussion about how to read reviews. This is meant for both authors (for their sanity) and readers (when evaluating reviews).
Side note to authors: read the Amazon Myth Busting post, before you consider Amazon and reviews.
When evaluating the worth of reviews (not editorial critique — that’s a subject for another day), always look at the Two and Four star reviews. The breakdown is rather simple:
- One Star: tells you just that the reviewer is a caustic moron. You won’t learn about the book, you’ll only learn about the reviewers preachy opinions
- Two Stars: Didn’t like the book, and assessed why
- Three Stars: humdrum meh.
- Four Stars: liked the book, but not blind to it’s faults
- Five Stars: loved everything about it
So, readers, if you’re looking to evaluate a new book — look at the two- and four- star reviews. These are more likely to show you what is the good and bad about this book, and match it to your own tastes. (And do remember, that all reviews — like all art critique — is far more subjective tastes than exact science).
And, authors, just keep working to get as many reviews as you can. Who cares if it’s a troll leaving one-star rating? If your work is good, then the overwhelming numbers will be positive. No book is for every reader. The total average (and the more reviews the more meaningful it is) is telling prospective readers if the work is generally good or not, and the two and four stars help them match it to their tastes.
Crack open the champagne, and keep on writing!