What a Mixture of Reviews Tells Readers About a Book
Every writer wishes for 1,000 five-star reviews when in reality, we need reviews all over the board
In addition to a cover and description, reviews are a selling feature that can oftentimes make or break a book sale.
This is because it's based on customer opinions.
These reviews are the most honest selling points your book is going to present to potential buyers. And the truth is, even though we want to have a ton of 5-star reviews, we want to have a mix of star ratings because this gives customers a more realistic view. Sounds strange, right?
A two or three-star review typically tells customers what they didn’t like about the book.
And as a matter of fact, customers appreciate reviews that explain what they didn’t like about the book. Why is this? Because many readers appreciate being told upfront about any aspect of the story that isn’t favorable.
Here is a great example of a 50/50 review from my book The Backup Superhero:
courtesy of Amazon.com
This 3-star review gave customers a ton of feedback about my book, and I appreciate how they laid it out.
The first half of the review consists of the storyline, the middle consists of what they didn’t like or had hoped for, and the last half recognizes what they liked about it. Looking over this review, you can see a solid example of what customers would gain from this. The reviewer even acknowledged that readers who appreciate a novel over a novella won't find as much value in this because it’s episodic fiction.
There are many times when authors worry that a bad review will scare customers away.
I too was guilty of this.
But another seasoned writer explained to me that like so many other products we buy, having a smattering of ratings all over the board gives readers a sense of realism. He further explained that more customers will feel swindled if they purchase a book with all four and five-star reviews and don’t like it, rather than purchasing a book that has an array of reviews.
After taking all of that in, and as hard a pill that was to swallow, it made sense.
The last thing I wanted was for a customer to leave an especially nasty review because they felt cheated. That was going to do more damage than someone who read the book despite some 1, 2, or 3-star reviews and found their conclusion matched those reviews. It’s all about checks and balances.
Honest reviews will get you further than any kind of review.
In the end, I would rather have the honest opinion of a reader rather than someone trying to boost my ego.
As tough as it is to hear how much someone doesn’t like your work, that is how this business is. The best thing you can do is look through your reviews, take the feedback as it is and see how you can use it for the next book. You may find out that there are areas you can improve from the feedback as well.
Remember to take all reviews as an honor that someone read your book and took their time to write down their opinion, as not many readers do this. Any review is helpful.