Sunday, October 17, 2010

The awful truth about great reviews

My third Harlequin American Romance, FAMILY MATTERS—out right now—has received a few reviews. And they’re awesome!

You can check them out at my “Buzz”/links page on my website, if you’re so inclined.

At the moment, I’m on deadline, so this blog post is going to be quick and—

You thought I was going to say dirty, right? Sorry to disappoint you. ;-)

This post is meant to be quick and honest.

The awful truth about great reviews is that each review is only one person’s opinion.

On the other hand, the wonderful thing about great reviews is that each review is only one person’s opinion—and reviews are most often written by people who are not our mothers, fathers, siblings, critique partners, friends, coworkers, workout partners, or grammar school lunch buddies.

I’ll confess, I used to think the opposite was usually the case. I’m ecstatic to report that it’s not! :-)

And now, a question for you: what stirs your interest in a book? A glowing review? A negative one? Or the content of the review itself—that is, the details of the book?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille


Cindy Carroll said...

Honestly, I don't read reviews. What gets me interested in the book is the cover (sorry, but it's true), the back cover copy and the first sentence. If I like all those I'll read the first paragraph. If I still like it I'll buy the book.

Barbara White Daille said...

Cindy - don't be sorry. It's a valid opinion and one I usually share.

I'm compelled to read the reviews when they're for my own books, though. ;-) you might have noticed, I was very fortunate with my cover, too. LOL

Thanks for weighing in!

Have a great Sunday.


Dale Mayer said...

I'm with Cindy on this one. Although I have to say that because I don't agree with so many movie reviews I tend to want to see the movies with only so-so reviews as so many of my old favorites were never high up. I judged books by the back cover copy as to whether I'm going to buy or not.

Barbara White Daille said...

Dale - I agree; there's that opposite- reaction factor when other people's opinions don't match our own.

I'm big on back cover copy, too.


Gillian Layne said...

covers and back copy, and the first couple of pages really make the decision for me. I never read reviews.

Pamela Stone said...

First congrats on the great reviews! Good job.

I do at times read reviews although I base my decision more on content. I buy most of my books off the shelf and find back cover and the first page or two to be a better indicator.

Even with movies, I might read the reviews, but am more interested in characters and story than another person's opinion.

Barbara White Daille said...

Gillian - sounds like you're in the majority!


Barbara White Daille said...

Pam - thanks so much! I was thrilled about the reviews.

You're right there with everyone who is weighing in on my questions.

This is turning out to be a very interesting--if small and informal--poll.


Pamela Stone said...

Great cover, BTW.

Barbara White Daille said...

Pamela - thanks. As I've been saying since I first saw it, I lucked out on that cover.

And I love that the flowers on it echo my new web site, too.

Talk about serendipity!


Estella said...

I don't pay much attention to reviews---as you said, it's only one person's opinion.

Barbara White Daille said...

Estella - welcome to the club. ;-)


Amy Atwell said...

Like many others here, I don't spend a lot of time reading reviews for books or for movies. I buy what suits my tastes and my mood, so I look at covers, read the back cover copy, the snippet (most books have some sort of scene snippet or teaser at the front).

Barbara White Daille said...

Amy - you're fitting right in with the rest of us.

I'm amazed that we're all on the same page so far.


Julie Hilton Steele said...

I am in the middle of Family Matters right now and love it. Seriously am in love with the story and characters. Have I mentioned I love it?

Do I need to put out a disclaimer that I am not related? ;-)

I am a big one for seeking out books that have a different setting, a unique story line, a twist. For example, with Family Matters I was attracted to the different story with an amusement park as well as the Irish influence (my red-haired grandmother was raised by her Irish grandparents who settled in sister and daughter are flaming redheads who fit in well in Ireland when they went). Books that connect with my life are the first ones I go for.

I am in the minority here because I do pay attention to reviews,in part, because I write them! But I also know they are only one person's view. I have been shocked at reviews of books which are the total opposite of my view of a book. Still, others have been spot on IMHO.

I do not like reviews that are a rehash of the story. I try to avoid spoilers when I write reviews because I like to discover the key points of the book as I read. I figure others may feel the same way. I don't need to know ahead of time. So if I see a review is going that way, I stop reading.

But I also am paying more attention to reviews now because of the economy. I have to be more selective and conservative in my book purchasing. So I definitely purchase books with an AVERAGE high rating OR when I know the author has delivered in the past, no matter the review. I save books that I may be interested in but which have not gotten overall good reviews for special sales, just like clothing. I just can't be as risky with my money since books are my main focus of pleasure but also one place I can cut back. Sigh.

Lastly, if a book has "buzz" I will get it. Doesn't matter the review. I was thrilled to see you got an RT Top Pick. When I see something like that on a major site, I pay attention.

Peace and congrats, Julie

Barbara White Daille said...

Julie - finally, a dissenting vote! LOL

Valid points, each and every one.

And I'm with you on not putting spoilers in reviews. The highlights are good enough for me.


Well, I'm blushing! I appreciate your kind words, and I'm thrilled that you're enjoying the book.

Thanks for the comment about the 4 1/2 Top Pick from RT. As a reviewer yourself, you'll know they read a lot of books--which makes receiving a good ranking even more awesome.

Regarding your thought about liking books that tie into your life: I mentioned something similar at some point on the Virtual Book Tour I'm doing right now--although I can't remember exactly where I said it. LOL

Anyhow, that's a big part of why I love to read and write romance--through the characters, I learn something about life in general and often my own life in particular.

Thanks for all your comments!


B. A. Binns said...

Thanks for sharing this. My book, PULL, got an aweful review a few weeks ago, so it helps to know that I shouldn't take that to heart.

Besides, last week I got a pick me up by a high school boy, a member of my intended audience, who liked it so much he read the arc in less than a day. Then he took the time to send me a two page email detailing what he thought about it and recommended it to two of his teachers. And then a librarian friend stopped me in the hall to say how she loved it and GOT IT that the ending really was the right way to go. Each is only their own opinions, but It helps me that my intended readers love it, even if a professional reviewer had qualms.

Barbara White Daille said...

B.A. - hugs on the bad review. They do sting.

But what wonderful validation you received from the other readers! THOSE are the kinds of comments we need to focus on. Congrats!


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

If I see consistent good reviews for a book, that may get my attention. One review, one way or the other, doesn't matter that much to what books I buy. It's more what the books about than anything.