Showing posts with label Feedback. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feedback. Show all posts

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why did you like THAT horrible book?

I've been reading book reviews on this morning.  Websites that encourage feedback from its client readers provide, in theory, a wonderful service to consumers.  After all, there are millions of titles out there to choose from, so hearing what others who have experienced a story first hand have to say may help you narrow your selection of potential buys.  But the sites offer more insight than that, especially to other writers.

We all know writers know the importance of genre in marketing their work and identifying with a their target audience.  But readers don't.

Before I was a writer, I read what my friends recommended were "awesome" books.  I had friends who were active in their churches and friends who were Goth.  Tattooed, pierced friends and friends who competed in beauty pageants.  Athletes and Dead Heads...and althletes who followed the Dead.  Clearly, their taste in books was as diverse as the people I hung out with.  I wound up reading across genres and sat in with various target audiences.  Reading the reviews on Amazon, it's clear to me others do the same.

Consider these stats:

New Moon, Stephanie Meyer's second book of the Twilight saga sensation, received 2,232 Amazon reviews that break down like  this:


If 3 stars represents "average," then 450 people, or roughly 20% thought the book was average or below average.

One of my all-time favorite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte has received 888 Amazon reviews


56 people thought Jane Eyre deserved a 1-star rating!

The Stand, by Stephen King.  Its complete, uncut version received 1,018 customer reviews on Amazon:


141 readers out of 779 thought The Stand was just "eh."

Just for fun, I checked out The Holy Bible.  I won't post those results here, since many of the comments  argued over religious tenets or over translation of certain versions, but I still found it hilarious that The Bible received negative customer reviews.

It does make my point, though.  Not everyone will fit into one writer's target audience.  As writers, we need to keep this in mind along every step of our journeys.  Negative feedback in our careers is a statistical certainty.  We'll draw it when we share our work on our blogs, with crit groups, and with agents.  We'll hear it from editors and publishers.  And once our books are in print, we'll read it on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else where the general public is welcome to share their opinions.

When your book is published, do you think you'll want to read the negative reviews?
Why or why not?