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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reviews - How much do they really matter?

I saw my first review of Losing Faith this week! It was cause for celebration, first of all because it was a pretty darn good review, but secondly, just because the waiting is finally over. I feel like I’ve been on the edge of a cliff for the last month or so, not knowing how I would feel or react when people I didn’t know started talking publicly about my book. Of course I still need to wait and see how I’ll handle the negative reviews.

Here's a little quote from Crystal from My Reading Room on Losing Faith...

"Suspense, religion, romance, teenage angst, this book has it all and it is all well-done.  Losing Faith was an amazing read that hooked me in the beginning and when it was done I was well-satisfied with the conclusion.  Great from start-to-finish!"

And here's a link to the full review:

As the author of a book that’s out there in the wild, I know reviews matter to me. Boy, do they matter to me! But I wonder, as a reader, how much do they matter to you? Do you often search out reviews on certain books, or do you just read the ones you stumble upon?

Personally, I rarely look up reviews on books. Once in a while, if I really LOVE a book, I’ll go searching for negative reviews, just because I find it so incredibly difficult to believe that someone could say anything bad about such an amazing book. And it also is a great reminder of how incredibly subjective this writing and reading process is.

Will you still read a book, even if you’ve read a few negative reviews on it? Or do negative reviews sometimes spur you on to read it, to see what all the criticism is about? I don’t think I’ve ever NOT read a book I wanted to read because of reviews I’ve read. I have read one book that I can remember because the negative reviews intrigued me. I do think I went into reading that book with my mind pre-decided that I probably wouldn’t like it though.

I'm curious, is what people are saying about a book (friends, family, bloggers) a major factor in many of the books you pick up? How likely are you to review a book online somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know!

Reviews are important in that they get the word out about books and authors, especially new ones. But I wonder if there’s much difference to readers in whether they are good reviews or bad ones. The one thing especially helpful about great reviews is that more reviewers may be apt to review it also, which is a great buzz-starter. Buzz is good, I'm not discounting that. I just wonder whether I'm in the norm, just stumbling upon the odd review and hearing about a book I may not have otherwise, or if there are many of you who actively search out reviews and use them to dictate your reading piles.


  1. Congrats on the wonderful review. I can't wait to read "Losing Faith."

    I'm also curious what people think about reviews. I think that a really positive review will cause me to take note of something, but a negative review doesn't always discourage me. If I see a real rave somewhere, I may clip it and put it aside for when it's my turn to pick my book club book.

    And I also sometimes search reviews of books I've read--out of curiosity to see if someone shared my opinion on something.

    Looking forward to reading more comments on this!

  2. Yes and no. If everyone is saying that a book is horrible based on things like the writing is terrible, the editing is terrible, than no, I won't read it. If the reviews are mixed about the story itself being bad I probably wouldn't let it deter me from reading it if it were something I was really interested in reading in the first place.

  3. I've kind of always thought that reviews have a point but they also don't. Some readers rely solely on reviews they read to decide whether or not they want to read a book. Some people search for reviews of books they are interested in to help them make a choice. I used to be so concrete about the books I read but it is much more spontaneous now. I love reading reviews, but the ones I write are more for me than anything. If I find a book I really love, I want to share my thoughts. I would never write a review to specifically bash an author or sway someone away from reading it. It's a personal thing for me, in a way. I'm glad the first review of Losing Faith was so positive. :]

  4. My answer is similar to Autumn's. If many, many people say the writing and editing are bad, I might not pick it up. I don't have an interest in reading sloppy books.

    I will say that negative reviews CAN spur me to read a book. If I see that someone whose tastes differ vastly from mine gives an angry/negative review, I'll assume that I'm going to love it. And you know what? Quite often I do. Ha!

    Also, I'm suspicious of books that get all 5-star ratings, for some reason. But when a book has lots of raves mixed in with some mediocre reviews and even a few pans, that's when I'm sure the author is onto something. Getting reactions across the board make me think that the book has lots of layers, and then I can't wait to see where my opinion will fall on the spectrum!

    In conclusion, reviews can make a difference in what I choose to pick up, but not always in the way you might expect. :-D

  5. I am swayed by reviews, not just for books but for movies, too. I guess I see it as the slush pile effect, where someone else is going through the pile and saying this one is worth my time and this one isn't. So if a lot of people are saying this is good, I'll take the time to read it, and inversely, if a lot of people are saying it's not, I probably won't. But I wouldn't make that decision based on one critical review.

  6. Congrats on your first review!! So excited for you. :)
    I look for key words... touching, meaningful, powerful, unforgettable...and crave an emotional experience. So those are earmarks of a book I generally enjoy, but might be negative to some readers. I am a whole lot more likely to give a mediocre-reviewed book a chance than a mediocre-reviewed movie!

  7. I do search reviews (without spoilers) to books before I buy them. Negative reviews won't stop me from buying a book unless it's so overwhelmingly negative - almost everyone hates it.
    I'm more leary of glowing reviews. I tend to have too high an expectation when all the reviewers are in love with a book. I'm waiting to be blown away and when I'm not it's disapointing. I've learned recently to just go with the flow and not expect "the best -insert genre here - book ever."