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Incentives for Reviews? Frowned on or Normal PR/Advertising

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In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2012 16:46:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Oct 2012 17:00:03 BDT
A review and someone's opinion are two entirely different animals. ;-)

Ideally, a review is an objective assessment of the quality of both the story and the writing, based entirely on merit.

Someone's opinion is just that: someone's opinion. I can say I didn't like the book or the writing, but the author knows what she's doing. Or I can just love a book because it grabbed me despite the author's poor style.

Posted on 16 Oct 2012 16:48:22 BDT
A B Syed, just because we're not begging or giving incentives, doesn't mean we don't value reviews and feedback when people take the time to write them.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2012 18:50:03 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 17 Oct 2012 09:17:30 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Oct 2012 22:04:15 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
Stella, I always agree with so much of what you say. But we're going to have a totally fruitless discussion if you tell me that you think a review is not an opinion.
In an English exam, a critical review may be just that, but for the purposes of reviewing a book you have just read, surely it is all and nothing but that?
Sorry about the weirdness of my reply, but I've got 'The Paradise' on in the background and one must speak correctly mustn't one? :D

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 11:55:57 BDT

Well, of course a review is also an opinion. I just wanted to point out the difference between 'taste' and a more distanced, based on knowledge review.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 12:03:42 BDT
Ethereal says:
I'd say the difference is a simple opinion might just say the reader loved or hated it, but a review is more likely to give thought-out reasons for saying this.
Which is still subjective but a bit less so than the first.
Another difference may be the first is between reader and author, the second is more for the benefit of other readers.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 12:12:22 BDT
Yeah. Though I think any 'comment' posted on a book is probably for the benefit of other readers, but authors will certainly take something from it, too; be it a massive feeling of satisfaction or a kick in the teeth.

It just depends on how you deal with the latter.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 12:59:47 BDT
professor says:
Some years ago Harold Macmillan wrote: "Despite all protests to the contrary, an author wants naught but praise for his offspring." (Sorry for the use of the masculine pronoun there but I'm quoting verbatim.) I suppose this might be applied to reviews. Certainly when a writer discusses his work with an editor, critical analysis is welcome. After all, the writer wants to put the best work he can out there. Reviews, and I agree with you on this, Stella, are more subjective and generally less well-informed than professional critiques. Since ultimately a writer wants his story to be liked, however,I think most of them would prefer positive reviews no matter how uncritical.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:04:24 BDT
Of course. If you are keen on negative reviews then there's seriously something wrong with you. lol

A pro reviewer had knowledge most readers don't have (which is good in my books, as readers will just enjoy the story then), so a pro reviewer will read a book in a different way, and will be able to point out strength and weaknesses in the writing.

The average reader will say, I love it, I like it, or not my thing. And that's all fine by me. I write for readers, not for reviewers.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:05:48 BDT
Ethereal says:
" Reviews, and I agree with you on this, Stella, are more subjective and generally less well-informed than professional critiques."

Generally I'd agree but suspect professional critiquers feel they must be seen to earn their often steep fees and in the absence of much to criticise come up with some tenuous stuff at times.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:17:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Oct 2012 13:18:03 BDT
professor says:
Thanks for that, Ethereal! I have two professional critiques coming up in book magazines in the near future. Was kinda looking forward to I'm not so sure!!! But, as Stella says, massive kicks in the teeth are something we have to learn to deal with.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:20:22 BDT
There's a difference between the critique you pay for to get feedback on your work, and a pro reviewer, who will receive your book for free in order to review. I think pro reviewers are paid by newspapers. Nevertheless, both can have an unpleasant outcome.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:28:19 BDT
Ethereal says:
I think you can tell when the comments are genuine - the first instinct is to tell yourself they're missing the point, but you knew deep down before you sent it off it's the truth and didn't want to admit it to yourself, and after a bit of space you can aknowledge it. And work on putting it right!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 13:40:06 BDT
When the book is already published? :-)

Posted on 17 Oct 2012 14:59:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Oct 2012 15:08:34 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
This thread is about people who buy books from Az or download free copies and how best to incentivise them to leave a review.

Stella, I thought that you were saying that a review was NOT subjective, sorry, I got the wrong end of the stick. Agree completely with this.

Posted on 17 Oct 2012 15:02:29 BDT
There's only one answer to that question: write a stunning book that will make readers want to share their opinion. ;-)

Posted on 17 Oct 2012 15:07:51 BDT
Ethereal says:
Threads do get sidetracked but at least it keeps them current!

Perhaps there simply isn't much support for the idea?

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 15:36:52 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
lol, a stunningly bad one will do that too :)

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2012 15:39:38 BDT
That's true. lol Possibly not the best way to start a writing career, though.

Posted on 18 Oct 2012 08:50:12 BDT
back in my work days i was on a course when speaker was asking how we knew if customer was satisfied and sone said no disatifaction certificates ( each of our establishments filled in one each month saying if there were probs) he pointed out that sometimes people aren't happy but just can't be borhtered tp complain, maybe done it so much in past and been ignored, maybe just have other more pressing time comstraints.... neg reviews are a bit like that - some from people who find fault with anything ( i had a couple of schools like that :( ) and others who've a genuine opinion - they're valuable to reader if they say WHY they didn't like a book. maybe they hate vamp stories and missed that this book had them - welll i love them so it wouldn't put me off if they said why they didn't like the book. if they just said "hate it 1 star" without any further comment then it tells me nothing.

when i'm reviewing i try to explain why and what i liked/disliked. i do commnet on length v price sometimes if its very short but (imo) expensive and if there are lots of grammar/spelling probs i note that - also say if there aren't as its good to get a book you can just read without wondering exactly what author was trying to say...

Posted on 18 Oct 2012 08:54:54 BDT
paid reviews - well i get a free book but always point that out - if i was getting actual money or something more i think however moralistic i want to be i'd feel bad about writing neg review and of course if i wrote many then i wouldn't get much other work. if its through a third party - say a paper or mag - then they also have an agenda and may want crit reviews however good the book may be just to push sales - controversy always sells - just ask J K Rowling - works well for her, or phillip pullman when churchs were saying his books were full of bad stuff - or of course salman rushdie - anyone read his book? everyone knows of it though :) even the Sun and the Harry photos - record sales when they were printed plus endless publicity via news progs.

Posted on 18 Oct 2012 11:36:41 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
I get what you are saying Jeannie, but if I read a book and thought it was rubbish, I would feel very bad writing a good review about it even if I was being paid.
I think that most payment systems are set up so that there is a buffer between the author and the reviewer. The one that I have seen is where the author uploads their book and pays and then the reviewer chooses from a list of books.
I would not feel right paying for a review. It feels slimy.
Its difficult isn't it?
So what really is the answer? we sit around like wallflowers until we're asked to the dance?

Posted on 18 Oct 2012 11:37:50 BDT
"Controversy always sells" While this may be broadly true, no paper or magazine has ever managed to boost its sales through slightly snotty book reviews. Much as every professional critic in the history of journalism would love to think otherwise.

Posted on 18 Oct 2012 11:55:27 BDT
A. B. Syed says:
The papers may not sell, but i don't know of any book that has not had the benefit of a boost from a bit of controversy do you? Lady Chatterley's Lover, Catch-22, Da Vinci Code, even Mein Kampf. The only ones I know which probably have not reached notoriety, acceptance and champions are probably the banned books from the bible :)

I don't know what sneering slightly snottily would do for a book though, so you're right Andrew.

Posted on 19 Oct 2012 08:55:41 BDT
the site i review for authors offer their books, we reviewers get a list and pick what books we want to review - i stick to my proferred genre. no one gets money direct - the site gets material and hopefully more visitors = increasing ads revenue, reviewers get a free book, authors get an honest review. i've done a couple of critical reviews when i've really struggled with a book that description suggested i'd like- felt sorry for author but thats what happens when you offer up for someone to read and comment. if i always gave good reviews regardless of how i enjoyed book then i'd be letting down myself and any readers of my review. i'm not saying my review will soley influence a customer but i know as a reader how i read and take note of reviews when i'm buying.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  16
Total posts:  95
Initial post:  10 Oct 2012
Latest post:  11 Nov 2012

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