One star reviews… carving up a book!

When Mark Williams, one half of the team who wrote the brilliantly selling Sugar and Spice, created  the introduction to my guesting on his blog, he probably had no idea that he would be raising the dead, quite literally, when he mentioned my infamous one star review for The Stumpwork Robe. I had successfully pushed it to that darkest depth of my consciousness that I call my oubliette. According to Wiki: ‘An oubliette is a form of dungeon which was accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling.’ Well Mark had successfully opened the hatch and hauled that review out!

But here’s something none of you knew… there was another one on that was almost the same and last year after a five star reviewer made a tetchy comment against Amazon about those reviews, I approached Amazon in respect of both. I only discovered recently that they had not only removed one of the one stars (and thank you Amazon, that was very kind) but also the comment from the five star reviewer written in response to the one star reviewer. I tried to determine who that chivalrous reviewer was; that person who had sprung to horse with lance to defend me but there was no trail and so I never could thank them.

The etiquette of reviews is an interesting one. The writer doesn’t thank those reviewers who love the books and definitely doesn’t engage with the bad ones. One keeps a stiff upper lip, in fact one ‘keeps calm and carries on’, because there are stories all over the internet about those who react badly and attract negative press. But I have to say here and now how grateful I am to anyone who has given authentic quality reviews on my books.

The fact that readers take the time to review at all is little short of remarkable. I’ve been a reader all my life and in the past, I’ve never reviewed novels I loved. But then I became a writer and realised how very important it was to a book’s future to let other readers know how good it was and so now I do review if I have loved it.

As to that pesky one star? Have a look below. Would you bother writing something like that?

0 of 9 people found the following review helpful:1.0 out of 5 starsThe stumpwork robeWhoops! I thought I was buying a fantastic embroidery book, but in fact, it’s a novel! Should have read the details more carefullyPublished on 25 Mar 2009 by the Patchworker

I’ve decided that its funny, that I should in fact look at it in a glass-half-full fashion. It’s made me think how very important a title can be in the marketing of a book. And there’s definitely another post coming up on that. I’ve also decided that the review provides a wonderful contrast to the others on both and and for that its welcome to reside. What the hell!

NB: If you would like to review The Stumpwork Robe there is a coupon available for collection of the book for 50% off on Smashwords. Quote HG82X until 21 May.