|Christopher Eccleston in BBC drama 'Blackout'|
But, as I mentioned before in my very short "review" of 'Blackout', the style of filming just wasn't for me, but that's not to say it won't be for everyone else, it's just how I feel, personally. And when someone leaves a review of your books, they're leaving a reflection of how they feel too. However, whilst some reviews can make a writer's day - even those that leave a little bit of constructive criticism, because that can actually be quite useful - others can just be downright hurtful and rude. And we as writers can't do a thing to stop unecessarily nasty reviews being left, we can only sit there and watch as they lower our rating and, possibly, damage our sales.
But, do these type of reviews really damage sales? And do a bucket-load of excellent reviews really drive sales forward? Do people - when looking for books to read - really place a lot of importance on the star rating of a book or the amount of reviews it's received? I've had some amazing comments and feedback on my books from people on Twitter and Facebook, all positive, all telling me they really enjoyed my books, but not all of those people have left reviews on Amazon, and that doesn't bother me. Somebody telling me they enjoyed my books is more than enough for me, I don't need to see it written down in review form. But, do other readers choosing a new book to read need to see that evidence? I don't know. I can only assume that the majority of readers are intelligent people who may well check out reviews - postive and negative - but then be sensible enough to make their own minds up by making use of Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature, reading a sample of the book, and then deciding for themselves whether they'd like to buy the book or not. Because, if they go purely on what other people may have written then that can only be damaging for those of us who may have fallen victim to the odd really negative or unecessarily nasty review.
I've read a lot in the past few weeks about how a lot of indie authors think it's reviews that drive sales, and whilst they do help, of course they do, because a handful of reviews - both positive and negative - at least give potential readers some idea of the book they're looking at, don't they? But surely reviews should only be taken at face value, because, after all, they're only one person's opinion, aren't they? And you can't please all of the people... if only... ;-)
I mean, let's look at movie reviews for a second - they, as with book reviews, are just one person's opinion. I've watched movies that have been given 1 or 2 stars by a reviewer and yet I've thoroughly enjoyed those films. And the same can be said for the other way around - movies that have had 4 or 5 star reviews have left me cold.
So, I'm hoping, just incase I get a run of really tragic reviews (I am so pessimistic sometimes, I really must learn how to shake that...) that the majority of readers do actually take reviews at face value, check them out but then make their own minds up.
So, are there any readers out there who'd care to share how they feel about reviews? Do you take a lot of notice of them when looking for books to buy? How much importance do you place on reviews when searching for something to read? I'd be really interested to hear your opinions on this.
Anyway, that's enough from me for one day, I think. After all, I've just begun work on book number 6 this week and I really need to knuckle down and get cracking with that... but, watch this space to see who's become the inspiration for Zac - a hot American ski instructor who's going to be the main man in my Lapland-themed winter romance... ;-)
Right - I'm off for a cup of tea...