Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My book only got three stars. Waaaaaaahh!

Many of you know that I review for Love Romances and More book reviews. Despite their name, not every book they review is romance. Sometimes there’s mystery, crime or suspense, even biography. But by far the biggest group is romance novels.

Just as many parents are convinced their kid is the most beautiful, smartest and best in the entire world, so many authors are certain their novel is deserving of the #1 place on the “New York Times” bestseller list. Unfortunately only one book gets that honor at a time, although over the years thousands have made it to the top in their turn.

So it is with reviews. I’m well aware that some authors have crossed the paths of reviewers who seem not to have read the book at all from their review, and others who gave the book one star because it was short, when the blurb clearly states it’s a short story. Those are head-shaking events an author just needs to ignore.

But even a genuine reviewer, who knows what they’re talking about, is unlikely to give every book five stars. Maybe the characters didn’t grab them. Or they’d read too many plots similar to this one. Or maybe the book they just finished was so engaging anything else seems second best.

Most romance books I like are worth a three, a three and a half, maybe a four at the most. They’re good. I’m glad I read them. I’ll probably read the next book in the series, but they didn’t leave me wishing they hadn’t ended. The characters told their story, I enjoyed it, but it’s not a five.

Look at the review. Did the reviewer complain about spelling or grammatical errors? Did the reviewer say there were timeline glitches, or plot holes? Did the reviewer not mention some aspect of the book usually commented on? Those are clues for the author. If the reviewer didn’t say something complimentary about the characters, chances are she didn’t like them. Get a critical friend to read the book. Is there something about your hero or heroine it might be better not to repeat in a future book?

Otherwise just accept that a three star review isn’t bad. It means the reviewer liked your book and will probably read another one by you. That’s actually a good thing. You’ve succeeded in catching their interest.
Keep writing.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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