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Unhappy author emails critical reviewer

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Margaret
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Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
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Post by Margaret » Fri May 13th, 2011, 9:36 pm

For those following this thread, Annis has done quite a few succinct reviews of obscure-but-worthwhile historical novels for my website - always of the ultra-helpful variety! Her most recent contribution is a review of The Deepest Sea by Charles Barnitz, a 1996 Viking adventure novel that was apparently never published in hardcover format but offers (in Annis's words) "a blood-thirsty, magical, outrageously funny yarn."
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Fri May 13th, 2011, 9:36 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]II've read some scathing pans of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code - and I'll bet Dan Brown isn't the least bit bothered by them.

[/quote] No, indeed. He's laughing all the way to the bank. :D

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Fri May 13th, 2011, 9:49 pm

Oddly, though I've never been much of a reviewer in the first place, involvement in this forum would probably actually put a damper on my doing so. The few reviews I have posted get a couple "helpful" votes apiece, I appreciate my anonymity, and life goes on. I don't think I've reviewed as many as 15 items of entertainment, actually, and those only when I've felt particularly strongly for one reason or another. Usually it's love of or a specific problem I have with a piece; in one case I remember posting a review becuase the other reviews seemed to me to be missing a major point.

Coming in here, though, I just feel like I don't have as much to offer as a reviewer in general! I'd rather spend time on here than navigating Amazon, in any case. That place gives me the willies. When I do get published ... eesh, I expect it'll be nigthmares.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri May 13th, 2011, 10:06 pm

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Margaret


Agreed! 'GRATE book" doesn't tend to be a very helpful summary :) I personally believe that online sellers of older books (Amazon or other) should at least provide the book's original cover blurb if nothing else. Still, I've ended up with some interesting (and sometimes unexpected) reads by buying some of these obscure books cheap at online auctions - it's a bit like a lucky dip! I will try to add some sort of summary of these on Amazon or do an HNI review if I think it will be useful to others.[/quote]

I know, that drives me nuts as well. Do remember to check Goodreads, and there's at least three of us who do collect those old OOP's and are librarians and get the covers and blurbs up (one of whom is me).
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annis
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Post by annis » Sat May 14th, 2011, 4:19 am

You guys do sterling work, Misfit- much appreciated by frustrated readers trying to get some info on OOP titles :)

Reminder to self - add a few words to the Amazon listing for Ronald Bassett's The Carthaginian, a good, fast-paced adventure in the macho '60s style about the final siege of Carthage by the Romans, which I found at a car-boot sale. Noticed earlier that there was nothing about it anywhere...

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sat May 14th, 2011, 8:23 am

Authors should learn not to go and get involved in Amazon reviews. They exist for reader comment and interraction and having the author looking over one's shoulder is at best uncomfortable and at worst situations can degenerate into stuff like this.
I was looking round Amazon UK the other day and saw an author chipping in about adverse reviews of his latest. Also noticed his author friends chipping in too. Then you check their books, and see they all scratch each other's backs and return the favour if there's a less than stellar review of one of their books. It so lacks professionalism and it's intimidating to readers.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat May 14th, 2011, 12:21 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Authors should learn not to go and get involved in Amazon reviews. They exist for reader comment and interraction and having the author looking over one's shoulder is at best uncomfortable and at worst situations can degenerate into stuff like this.
I was looking round Amazon UK the other day and saw an author chipping in about adverse reviews of his latest. Also noticed his author friends chipping in too. Then you check their books, and see they all scratch each other's backs and return the favour if there's a less than stellar review of one of their books. It so lacks professionalism and it's intimidating to readers.[/quote]

The same goes for just voting up and down of reviews. I've heard mention (and noticed it myself) of *certain authors* where any critical review is guaranteed to garner say five negative votes and any gushy review will garner the same number of positive votes. Come back to the book a few weeks and/or months later and you'll still find the same pattern of vote counts. Such an odd coincidence. Not.

I can't recall where I've read it, but I think some believe that voting down a critical review can get it buried off of the book's main Amazon page. I don't know about the rest of the book shopping public, but I go directly to see all reviews, which gives me the critical ones as well as the spotlighted ones. The critical reviews usually are much more helpful to me than all those gushy ones put together - and that's just not for books but any product I'm considering.

I've had more than one person tell me you don't ever want to review XYZ author on Amazon because you are guaranteed negative votes unless you give it five stars.

Back to commenting on reviews, I find it curious when certain books/authors get a couple of seriously devoted fans (and curiously anonymous fans with only one review ever) who hound all the critical reviews, even coming back weeks later to snark any new reviews. That was happening over at one recent HF book, until it was finally pointed out to these two anonymous commenters that if they were a fan their efforts really weren't doing the author any favors, and if they weren't fans well... it looked even worse. They promptly disappeared and last I checked hadn't been back.

Forgive the long ramble :o
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Michy
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Post by Michy » Sun May 15th, 2011, 3:21 am

[quote=""Misfit""]
I can't recall where I've read it, but I think some believe that voting down a critical review can get it buried off of the book's main Amazon page. [/quote] This makes sense, because they highlight "most helpful reviews" and if a review (either positive or negative) gets a lot of negative votes then it wouldn't be considered "helpful." Or am I misunderstanding what you're talking about?

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun May 15th, 2011, 11:04 am

[quote=""Michy""]This makes sense, because they highlight "most helpful reviews" and if a review (either positive or negative) gets a lot of negative votes then it wouldn't be considered "helpful." Or am I misunderstanding what you're talking about?[/quote]

No, that's it. Spotlighted reviews can change rather quickly depending on how they're voted upon. A new review up, with a positive vote very quickly after it posted had a good chance of moving into the spotlight. I've seen that happen when I'd been waiting for a friend to post her review, gave her the helpful and she jumped into the spotlight. And the reverse can happen for the reviews with the negative votes.

Some die-hard reviewers are really hot to get the spotlight reviews as they believe their chances of gaining extra votes will help them with ranking. Sigh...

I always just click on see all reviews, and then go to the one, two, three, etc. from there. Usually the five stars are the last I look at.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Mon May 16th, 2011, 3:36 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]I always just click on see all reviews, and then go to the one, two, three, etc. from there. Usually the five stars are the last I look at.[/quote] I follow a similar strategy. That is, I look at the categories that have the fewest reviews. If almost all the reviews are 4- and 5-stars, and there are only a handful of 1- and 2-stars, then those (the 1- and 2-stars) are the ones I'll look at. I'll probably ignore the overloaded categories completely.

I'm always most interested in the opinions of those who go against the current. :) Not that I'll agree with them, but they are the ones I want to read, rather than those who go with the current.

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