Why I Don’t Write 3 Star Reviews or Less on Amazon by Vivana MacKade @ViviMackade #Opinion #BlogPost #BookBlogger #Books

Not all reviews are made equals, and not all reviews are fair.

Let’s say you buy a toaster.

It works, all good, you give it a 5star.

It doesn’t work, 1 star.

In between, there’s how well it cooks bread on both sides, how easy it is to clean, to use. All those things, though, can be judged in a fairly impartial way measured on a works/doesn’t work scale. There’s little left to the personal interpretation in a burned slice of bread you had set the timer on 2 minutes for.

How does that relate to books reviews?

It does by contrast, because books reviews gravitate in the opposite realm as writing, like all other forms of art, is strictly personal. The works/doesn’t work rule hardly applies.

There are wrongs, sure, but the line is subtle, grey, and often based on the (over-inflated) ego of the reviewer.

Let’s take grammar. Some things are plain wrong. Just wrong. But with so many types of English out there (US, UK, Australia, India, New Zealand) which are all correct in their own differences, a different phrasing might end up being considered wrong.

Would an Australian author deserve a 1star review from an Indian reader because, in each country, that concept or thought is wrote differently? To me, it’s a hard no.

On top of it, a lot of what goes into a review is a matter of personal taste. Overthinking characters. Domineering Hero. Vaguely silly Heroine. Violence. A lot of action. A little action. Explicit sex or closed doors. Unclear settings. All the above, and so much more, can be capital sins to a reader and shruggable details to another.

Does the author deserve a 1 star review?


Personally, being both a writer and a reader, the golden rule is clarity, so as long as things (settings, situations, and characters) are clear, I’m good–if I like the story.

There’s truth in the fact that many 1star reviews mean something is not working in the story, and for sure readers are entitled to their opinion. It’s what art is about, as I said. Personal.

The problem is another, and it doesn’t touch only book reviews.

Have you ever spent some time reading all the negative review of a product, any product?

If you have, you’re bound to have met some stupidity.

I kid you not, following are some of the reviews I found–

About a pair of shoes: “I ordered the wrong size”. 1 star.

About a set of children painting that had a pre-set colors choice. “I wanted to order the other set of colors.” 1 star.

About an erotic novel: “there was too much sex, it was offensive.” 1 star.

About an adventure book: “I don’t like the cover.” 1 star.

Sadly, I could go on.

Again, it would all be good and well because if I’m interest in buying a product, it’s not that kind of review that makes me question it. It may crack the faith I have in human intelligence, but it would not go against the product.

Back in the books market, though, such reviews do more damage than that.

To promote your book on websites with huge newsletters, those that assure the book decent exposure, you need to have an average of ten 4star reviews for a newly released title.

So those little 1star, idiotic reviews any functioning brain would discard within 10 seconds, actually make a lot of damage. Math, being the merciless bit&h it is, states clearly that it takes more than one 5star review to take up the average of one 1star.

That author will be refused from those websites, will not advertise a book that maybe has merits, and make no money.

Yes, the problem is the system, is bonding advertising to something as fickle as people’s judgement, but as this topic would require a blog post all on its own, I’ll leave it at that.

So, to put it all together, being this a world where anyone can say what one thinks, I will certainly review books and publish reviews with less than 3 stars.

On my blog, on someone else’s blog, websites, and so on. Not on Amazon.

I’ll never publish a less than 3 stars review on Amazon, unless I see there’s so many positive reviews (I’m thinking numbers in the hundreds) where my review will not impact that author’s chance to advertise his or her work.

An author, especially one fighting for reviews like indies or newbies, has a lot to lose from a review I write that might be tainted by my own ignorance, not the Author’s.

And for what people think is okay to write in those reviews, I’ll leave it for another fight.


About Viviana MacKade

Beach bum and country music addicted, Viviana lives in a small Floridian town with her husband and her son, her die-hard fans and personal cheer squad. She spends her days between typing on her beloved keyboard, playing in the pool with her boy, and eating whatever her husband puts on her plate (the guy is that good, and she really loves eating). Besides beaching, she enjoys long walks, horse-riding, hiking, and pretty much whatever she can do outside with her family.
Find me:
The best way to know me is through my website (and the books I host): http://www.viviana-mackade.blog/

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13 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Write 3 Star Reviews or Less on Amazon by Vivana MacKade @ViviMackade #Opinion #BlogPost #BookBlogger #Books

  1. Oh my lord, I can’t believe I missed the publishing of this post as it means so much for me!
    I’m SO SORRY!!!
    Thank you Shannon for having me, and to all the readers for interacting and giving me their point of view, I love when it happens!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lady and Star

    I think this is a fair view. There have been books I rate 2 stars or less because I simply don’t like them. The plot, the characters, the writing – all of it. I’ll post that review on my blog and Goodreads, but not retail sites. Just because I didn’t like the book doesn’t mean other people won’t and taking away positive reviews simply because it wasn’t my taste isn’t cool in my opinion. I agree with that. But if a book is problematic, then all bets are off! Offensive, racist, sexist – whatever – books that have it and it’s not discussed as a bad thing or brought to light, is out. Those 1 and 2 star reviews can help someone not read a book that would be scarring or triggering, so I think they’re good in that respect. But it all comes down to matter of opinion. Thanks for writing this post, it gave me a lot to think about as a reviewer!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was a commendable thought. I handle a similar principle: when I have nothing positive to say about something, I prefer to say nothing. Unless I’m pressed by the author or committed myself to write a review in return for an ARC.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well… of course reviews are our personal opinions and that’s the whole point, no? To let others know how we liked or didn’t like a book. And an opinion is never wrong – its just yours or it isn’t. Also, I actually do read the 1 and 2 star reviews. Yes, many are just stupid, but sometimes you’ll find someone who has some real problems with a book, that might be good to know. Mind you, just because that reviewer doesn’t like something, it could be the exact same thing that you love to read in books – and vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jarilissima

    It would have to be a pretty awful book for me to give it a low review, which has happened rarely, maybe twice.

    Otherwise, I’m pretty generous with my reviews. I read a lot of indie, and if I don’t like it… I just leave it alone. Indie authors are doing everything on their own (mostly) and I would feel bad criticizing that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the realm of opinions, there’s never right or wrong. But it doesn’t mean there can’t be thoughtfulness. Especially from someone who, like me, knows what’s behind those stars.
      As I said, it’s not the opinion-giving that’s wrong. Every reader is/should be free to give it for every piece of art. The entire system is not right. Opinions shouldn’t be what gives you the chance to advertise, unless those professionally given as it happens in contests or the such.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s a question for ya. I recently read a book, and rated it a solid 3 stars. I wrote a full on review for my own site, but had some hesitation posting that 3 star review to amazon. See, the book had zero amazon reviews.
    Would you publish a 3 star amazon review on a book if you knew it had no other reviews? That automatically makes it an average of 3 stars.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d probably write it, because it’s not a bad review, and it’s not super hard to push the average up if it gets good reviews. I’d also be very careful and detailed int telling what problems I had with the story. Thank you for the question!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG I’m so glad you wrote this. I should have wrote this but I thought I had some shameful secret. Like I want to bash Netgalley in the head. First of all they are nazis for making me use stars to begin with because… I don’t use them. But besides the point right now.
    If I give a negative review of the book, why would the publisher want me to put that on Amazon? that doesn’t make sense. That would hurt the book. So, I fake it to get it off my shelf that I have books I haven’t put reviewed in the store. Because I feel like I’m doing the author a favor. If I was a publisher/author and someone wrote a negative review on Netgalley, I wouldn’t want it on Amazon. Have you seen my review of All the Stars and Teeth or The guest List or Verify or You Are Not Alone. No one needs that on Amazon.
    Thank you for writing this. I feel so much less ashamed.

    Liked by 2 people

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