I can’t help reading online reviews, it’s a guilty pleasure, but ultimately meaningless. People are all over the place and you don’t know them anyway. I suppose you can take away some insight every now and then but usually I find that the more you look into it a review and the person behind it, the more the whole thing just cancels itself out.
Case in point. My old story “The Part Time People” received two new reviews yesterday on Amazon, a one-star and a three-star. The reviews were sparse, one-sentence affairs that didn’t say much, but I went and looked at the other reviews by the same people and found this: the one-star reviewer has often handed out single stars, but also bestowed five-stars on some “billionaire” porn story. So, okay. This ain’t my ideal reader. The other reviewer had only one other review, where she gave two stars to Jack London’s White Fang. I think she felt sorry for the wolf that it ended up on a farm. I can tell you one thing for absolutely sure. My story in no way deserves more stars than White Fang.
The Part Time People is my most-reviewed book on Amazon – 35 in all – and the spread is interesting:
5 stars – 9
4 stars – 7
3 stars – 6
2 stars – 7
1 star – 6
Does this make any sense at all? The average is 3.2 on Amazon (2.5 on Goodreads, where my stories’ ratings are almost always 0.5-1.0 points lower than on Amazon itself). It’s just all over the place.