I checked THE RUBY BROOCH on Amazon this morning to find a new review. I appreciate every review the book receives because someone took the time to read the book and post a comment. And, I don’t have a problem with someone giving the book one and two star reviews. People have different reading tastes and every book is not for everyone. I do, however, have a problem when someone writes a review and instead of commenting on the plot or a particular scene or character gives away ALL the plot points.
Out of 125 reviews, this particular review won’t be read by many, but if even one person reads it, the reading experience will be ruined. It’s one thing to reveal the ending, and some research suggests that knowing the ending enhances the read for some readers (Spoilers actually enhance your enjoyment), but disclosing the complete story line boggles my mind. In a way, it’s like the child in school who discovers there isn’t a Santa Clause or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy and ruins the excitement for his/her classmates.
I tweeted about this and asked my followers to go to the review and click “no, not helpful.” Here’s the link: A Wee Bit Silly by SLR.
I debated on whether I should respond or not. I finally did. First, I thanked the reviewer for taking the time to read the book, then asked if they would start the review with “spoiler alert.” So far, no response. I did ask Amazon if they would remove, edit, or add “spoiler alert” but haven’t heard anything from there either.
I’m not alone. Many authors have similar experiences and the debate continues over whether an author should respond to a bad review, but in this case I’m not objecting to a bad review. Heck, I would have preferred a one-star. My problem is that the reviewer revealed everything that happens to the characters, their journey, their triumphs, their disappointments, and the resolution.
A member of the Author Social Media Support Group posted this comment under my “call for help” this morning:
I'm of the opinion that we should educate non-professional reviewers on what goes into a book review. As a former librarian, I used to read all the professional publications, which gave me the rundown on books, and the credentials of the reviewer mattered, as did bias, attention to detail, and so on. I don't ever recall a reviewer telling anyone about the surprise pony under the Christmas tree. I just did one for Hank Phillippi Ryan's "The Other Woman" (Amazon, Goodreads, LibraryThing) and I covered character development, pacing, storyline, and so on. How can we improve how the public does reviews?
I don’t have an answer for Sara. But I wonder if Amazon has a duty to its buyers to post guidelines as to what would be helpful in a review? Of course, even if guidelines were posted, reviewers like SLR would still write reviews and spoil Christmas for everyone else.
Happy writing & running, Kathy
If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
- Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors: How to Make Adverbs Work for You http://ow.ly/nHLSl
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- Writing is Rewriting IV | The Art of Dialogue by Stavros Halvatzis http://ow.ly/nHMAw
- Truths About Being a Hybrid Writer | Mystery Writing is Murder http://ow.ly/nHMPT
- ❤SA Larsen❤YA/MG/PB Author : List of Book Reviewers http://ow.ly/nHMZb
- Three Pillars of Fiction | Writing and Illustrating http://ow.ly/nHN60
- How to Craft a Happy Ending | WritersDigest.com http://ow.ly/nHN9v
- How to Create Credibility and Trust on Twitter http://ow.ly/nHNkD
- 5 Reasons Social Media Will Always Sell More Books | Digital Book World http://ow.ly/nHNpe
- How tips lists can get you major stories in top-tier media http://ow.ly/nHNuN
- How To Get More Engagement on Facebook [Infographic] http://ow.ly/nHNys
- The 18 Best Marketing Posts by LinkedIn Influencers | Kapost Content Marketeer http://ow.ly/nHND0
- How to Use Facebook Photo Comments | Social Media Today http://ow.ly/nHO8o
- How to Network Using LinkedIn Groups | Social Media Examiner http://ow.ly/nHOih
- The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book | Mediashift | PBS http://ow.ly/nHOrb
- Writing & Creating Magic: When Less is MORE | Kristen Lamb's Blog http://ow.ly/nHOET
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- 5 Daily Tasks You Should Perform as a Marketer and Blogger http://ow.ly/nHP15
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