The first days after releasing a book, it’s hard not to compulsively check Amazon and Goodreads every ten minutes to see whether there’s a new review. As a writer, I LOVE four- and five-star reviews. Let’s be honest. I like being told that I’m a brilliant writer.
But as time has passed, I’ve found that, while five-star reviews are the most encouraging and exciting, the most useful reviews, both as a reader and a writer, are the three-star reviews.
I know some people who get upset at three-star reviews, as if it’s a negative rating. It’s not. On Goodreads, three stars is described as “I liked it.” And you know, I’m okay with people liking my books.
And the thing about three-star reviews is, the reviewer is often much more fair about presenting the strengths and weaknesses of a book. It’s not nearly as fun to hear about my writing weaknesses as it is to hear about everything I did well, but it’s so necessary. If I don’t know what problems readers have with my writing, I don’t know how to polish it up, make my words smoother and more powerful.
I also appreciate the frank honesty of three-star reviews. Higher ratings tend toward effusive praise and lower ratings tend toward vague, snippy generalizations; but three-star reviews are (generally speaking) more thoughtful and complete examinations of a book’s merits.
How do you feel about three stars? Do you tend to rate books high, middling, or low?
When/if I ever get published, I’ll probably dissolve into a massive weeping fit with every 1, 2, or 3 star review. Let’s be honest. It takes me a while to grow a thick skin whenever I have a new draft or anxiously await someone else’s opinion. Hopefully, after that, I’ll have the same attitude as you.
The 1 and 2 stars are definitely harder to swallow. Especially when you want to write an angry response detailing exactly why their criticisms are unfounded, but you know you should just leave it alone… But I’ve found that most 3-stars are pretty fair. Granted, this is coming after a year and a half of learning how to handle reviews. The first month after Demon’s Heart was KILLER. Like, Rapunzel’s mood swings from Tangled killer.
Oh man, I bet. As much as I want to be published, I’m terrified of those harsh, harsh negative reviews. Because I read so many of them for other books, and no book is left behind.
The 3 star reviews are always the best.