Some of the Best Reviews are Not Good

Barnes & Noble is the place to go for spam book reviews. Half the time the comments are nonsense and have nothing at all to do with the book, they’re just put there by some kid (generally) goofing off. And that’s okay. You take it for what it is.

Sometimes the reviews there are really good, and not necessarily positive. One example of this I just noticed the other day was for a story I put out earlier this year called Humanoid Central. It’s the only review of that story on B&N and given the review it was surprising to see it given three stars:

Not one of his better stories. It was very slow in the beginning, almost to the boring point. It wasn’t till the very end that the author’s knack of an interesting came into play.

What I love about this review is that it’s really a compliment about some other of my stories that the reader liked better. They’d had higher expectations from this one because they’d obviously enjoyed something else and I’m glad of that, though sorry to disappoint them this time.

It’s true that Humanoid Central is not one of my best stories, but at this point I don’t worry about that. There’s some good stuff in there and someone’s bound to enjoy it to some extent. I’m sure it could be improved. The same could be said of The Girl in the Trees, which also has a solitary review on B&N right now (some of my older books have many more), part of which contains this editing advice:

Get rid of the old woman, after she appeared, this book unraveled. Making the book longer would create a tremendous novel, one I would be anxious to read.

I’ve come across a similar sentiment in other reviews – didn’t really like the book but if it was a full-length novel it could’ve been great! Mark Coker of Smashwords pointed out earlier this year that ebook readers do seem to prefer longer books. People in general seem to like that these days. Part of it is value – you get more words for your money – but part of it is also appetite. Obesity isn’t just about eating anymore. Take a look at the new Hobbit movie – part one of three (!) and it’s nearly three hours long at that. Fatten everything up! That’s the watchword of the day.

I also liked this spread of ratings for Sexy Teenage VampiresAverage Rating 3  ( 47 ), Rating Distribution:

5 Star (18)  4 Star (4)  3 Star (8)  2 Star (5)  1 Star (12)

 Love it or hate it I guess. Some of my favorites for this one include:

that was dumb  I thought this was supposed to be a love story

I don’t get it at all. It seems like it would be a really good book if it was turned into a novel.  

Omg this is the dumbest book in the world – What the heck is wrong with the author. He might have pshycological problems if he thinks that this book was worth writing

Lovely me – Sorry i ment good the book was awsome leave it alone


One thought on “Some of the Best Reviews are Not Good

  1. Thanks for the link to our recent blog on review sites. You make a good point here – we’re blogging this week about exchanging reviews with Tahlia Newland, who was much more keen on a constructive review than a good one.


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