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Star-Spangled Reviews
Category: WA Productions
Tags: star rating reviews anthologies novels

Star-Spangled Reviews

My thoughts were triggered by a newspaper article last week: ĎAmazon sues 1,000 fake reviewersí. Although this wasnít exclusive to book reviews, it made me think about how honest I am myself when reviewing friendsí novels and indeed our own anthology.

Do I think our anthology is worth awarding five stars? Maybe. I really donít know. Itís almost impossible to be objective. The same goes for friendsí novel reviews, itís almost like writing a review about yourself. Totally subjective.

So what do I do? Like many others, I suspect, I tend to go for four stars, assuming this is more realistic and will save it from the danger of looking like it has been written by someone who is personally involved in a project, or a friend of the author. Especially if my review is at the top of the list. Perhaps wrongly but I assume authors' friends review first to get the ball rolling. I mean you could hardly give your review of a friendís book less than four stars, could you? What would be the point? Youíre making the review to help sell it. †

Of course, itís one thing promoting your own book/anthology when profits are going to charity, and quite another paying a fake reviewer as little as $5 for a five-star review when the profits are going into your own pocket. Thatís shocking.

The next point is: do you own up? Some reviewers write a glowing report and then admit to being the authorís mother, daughter, husband, whatever. Or in the case of an anthology, one of the authors themselves. I think this is okay, but the wording will be difficult if you want to make it sound convincing enough for readers to want to buy the book. Others opt for pretending they have nothing to do with it. Iím a bit on the fence on this. Certainly if every reviewer owned up to being a contributing author, it wouldnít attract custom. Maybe the odd one is okay, especially if itís made amusing, but on the whole I think itís a turn-off.

With a bit of Googling I found this guide to the star system but doubt many reviewers stick to it:

On Goodreads:† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† On Amazon:

1 = Did not like it†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 1 = I hate it
2 = It was OK † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †2 = I don't like it
3 = Liked it ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 3 = It's okay
4 = Really liked it†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 4 = I like it
5 = It was amazing†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 5 = I love it

And by the way Ė in my opinion Ė ĎKaleidoscopeí is well worth the four stars Iíll give it. Or, wait a minute, should it be five? Amazon seems much more negative than Goodreads, perhaps because they are more for readers and the latter for writers. So, what am I going to do? Is it more what you say than the number of stars that counts? Big question. Over to youÖ

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