Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion- right? Of course they are.We all like to hear what people think about all sorts of things. That's conversation. We read opinions on blogs and websites. Well I do, especially now I have a few of my babies out there. Hundreds of pages of slogged over words available for 'strangers' to read, enjoy or dislike as the case may be.

I can take criticism. Hell, I had a mother who was an expert in dishing it out. I've saved every review I've found of my four (so far) books out there. Good and bad - doesn't matter. Spelling mistakes and getting the names wrong - doesn't matter. I've saved the lot. I want to print them out and put them in a little book of my own just to remind me that reviews are ONE person's opinion and they don't always get me.

What I don't understand are the rating systems some of the sites use. One that I know never seems to give anything less than 4 out of 5 - another gives so many 3s - labeled as mediocre, I wonder if they read the same book as me. Particularly when I saw one book given a 4 which was so bad, I couldn't finish it. I read a lot! At least seven books a week. On holiday - that might go up to 30. I know good from bad. I digress.
The reviews often say nothing negative and yet the score is still low. I've decided the rating idea is a bad one. What are readers expected to do? See a 3 and think - oh that's mediocre I won't bother? Or see an A+ and expect the most thrilling thing they ever read? Words are what matter - not numbers or letters. I wish some of these reviewers would take more time to say what they really think. Not hide behind a symbol. If you hate it - tell me why! Then I can see if its something I need to fix.


Dawn said...

I second that. I've had a few critiques that left me scratching my head.

Don't just tell me it sucks, tell me why you think it sucks! Then I'll fix it. See that's how it works. I'm a big girl, I can take it.

Also, make sure you know what you're talking about before you call someone on something. I recently had the pleasure of a critiquer telling me some facts in a story were wrong, that women in the military would never do this or that. They even asked me if I've ever seen a firing range and offered to show me one where their husband was stationed.
I was regular Army for four years with the 10th Mountain and I'm married to a soldier. My mother-in-law was a Marine, my father Airforce and my grandfather Navy.
Yes, I know what I'm talking about. Been there, done that.

But I agree. Be honest.

Laurie said...

I do maybe six reviews a year, and I only do reviews on books I like. A good many go into my "no review needed" pile. Of course, "like" can have varying degrees, from "WOOOOW!" to "Um, okay, nice way to spend a few evenings but I didn't get that excited about it." The second is still a good book, it's just not one of those that grabs me by the collar and shakes me and then makes me want to tell everyone about it. The last one that had that kind of effect on me was (as *everyone* knows by now) THE OUTBACK STARS by Sandra McDonald.

But I don't rate on a number scale. I used to compare the book to a city--like Las Vegas, New Orleans, Chicago, Orlando, and then explain why it reminded me of that city and why you should visit. Silly? Well, kinda, but I thought the city analogy might give readers a feel for the tone and atmosphere of the book. I don't do that anymore. I ran out of cities. I mean, who wants to be compared to Podunk, Utah (I made that up. My apologies to Podunk, Utah if such a place exists.) :)