August 27, 2012

The types of online reviews that drive writers totally nuts

The weekend has not brought joyous news in regards to online reviews.

For many writers, online reviews are the primary pulse they can apply their fingers to, because writers receive very little actual feedback regarding their books. So, they have to go online to feed their voracious doubts, like – is my book successful? Is it liked? Does anyone get it?

As we’ve now learned, a lot of the feedback we see online is not trustworthy – some writers can, essentially, buy reviews and attention. This is kind of weird for me, because I treat online customer reviews with the same wariness as I do the comments on a news article – the odds of anything intelligent being said are very low, but the odds of reading strung-together swears and racial epithets are very, very high.

Yea, verily, the internet has become marvelously efficient at bringing frustration right into our homes and pockets. And online reviews are definitely a source of some frustration for writers. After a few years of watching them, trends emerge.

So let’s take a stroll, and discover the breeds of online reviews that slowly and steadily shave off numbers not only from a book’s ratings, but also from writers’ life expectations:

The Poor Packager

This book arrived quite damaged. There were water stains on the box, and some of the water got in the box, and it got on the book, and that’s bad, because I don’t want water on my books. Also, the mailman was very rude and I think he went to Auburn (boo Auburn).

Cannot wait to read the book.

0/5 stars

The Clinically Incapable of Giving 5 Stars:

This was THE BEST book of the year! Absolutely phenomenal! Couldn’t put it down. Loved it, from end to end. Amazing. I cannot WAIT for my kids to discover this book! An instant classic for sure!!!!!!

3.5/5 stars

The Didn’t Finish It But Feels Completely Fine With Rating the Whole Thing

I read about three and a half paragraphs of this, and it just didn’t grab me. I was actually being pretty generous – usually I decide if I’ll finish a book within the first three words. (Books whose first sentences start with a “The” or a proper name are usually pretty terrible, you know?)

1/5 stars

The This Was Not the Book I Wanted To Read

This book was set in Victorian England, so I assumed that this book would delve into the mechanical complications and innovations brought about in the hackney carriage industry, and the slow modernization into the popular hansom cabs, which revolutionized transportation and urban design in London. However, this book was about a stupid love story, and I have no idea why anyone would want to read about that.

2/5 stars

The Wildly, Innovatively Glib

The plot elements in this book progressed in a natural fashion which I found satisfying to the appropriate degree. There were characters and the actions of those characters were in tune with the nature of the characters. Events occurred. The majority of the words were arranged in a highly readable fashion, and I could hold this book in my hands, and read it with my eyes. On the whole, I read this book, for this book was readable, and was read, by me.

3/5 stars

The Price Warrior

After checking the price levels of the ebook of this novel against the published, “conventional” version, I think we can all SAFELY agree that this is YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE of the PRICE FIXING publishers BLATANTLY indulge in in order to maintain their STAGNANT, 18th century industry! Can we all agree that both this, AND the RIGGED monopolies of online book purchasing, is an OFFENSE to us, the AMERICAN consumer?!?! Shame on these vile profiteers! Shame!

Book was pretty good, though.

0/5 stars

If you or someone you know has ever left reviews of this sort, please seek help immediately.