As writers we always want to please you, the reader. We desire your enjoyment; we crave your adoration.
Yes, we’re really that pathetic.
But we also realize that we can’t please all of you. It just ain’t gonna happen. You’re each unique as readers, with specific tastes, levels of propriety (what turns you on and what grosses you out), genres you love, genres you hate. (Is hate too strong a word? Readers have strong opinions.) And so we learn to take the bad with the good and merely hope that more of you like us than hate us.
The rating system for books on Amazon and other websites encourages reader opinions. In fact the system makes them IMPERATIVE. You can’t leave a review most places without deciding how many stars to give a product, er, book. So you have to choose. One, two, three, four, or five stars it is.
We love five stars. Goes without saying. We also love, mostly, the four star reviews. Sometimes we’re not sure what the difference is between four and five. Sometimes you tell us, exactly and succinctly.
Then there’s the three-star. What does a three star review mean? Average, just okay, kinda liked it, kinda didn’t, didn’t throw it across the room, won’t recommend it to book club? Didn’t finish it, the words were too big, the print was too small, the cat spit up a hairball on it? Who knows, only the person writing the review.
Who reads reviews anyway, you may ask. Do readers decide on books based on reviews? I don’t know but I guess: probably. Some authors won’t read reviews, at all, period. Others obsess over them. Why did I get that one-star review from that ass hat who doesn’t even like my genre/thinks I curse too much/can’t get her Kindle to work? How can I get rid of it? HEELLLP.
Not worth the effort, I believe. Accept and move on. I rarely read comments below reviews either. That is often where people get angry, or weird. It’s rarely something good hiding in that comment thread. So it was strange, and kinda wonderful, when I came across this two-year-old comment on a three-star review of ‘Blackbird Fly.’
Isn’t it great how the very thing that turns one person off a particular book is just what intrigues another? I always read the 3-star reviews first, and yours made me decide that this is exactly the book I want today. Thank you.
Yes, dearest reader, it is great. Diversity makes the world go round. “I always read the 3-star reviews first.” You just never know. So don’t obsess, writers. And review away, readers. We like you, we really really like you. And we hope the feeling is mutual. But if it’s not, a three-star review is perfectly fine. Just don’t get me started on the ones and twos.