Happy Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!! *positive burst of energy for the beginning of the week*!!!!!

Thanks for coming to the Alley. It's L.G with you this week. Before I get started, did you check out our Featured Book of the Month? You could win a free book so make sure to head to our contest tab to enter the contest before leaving the blog.

Calling all READERS:

What do lists and ranks mean to you? 
Do you base what books you read or your to-be-read pile on lists like NYT Bestsellers Lists or the amazon ranking lists? And if so, does the sort of list matter?


And how about reviews? Do you read reviews before you buy a book? Does the actual review make a difference or do you just look at how many stars the book was given?

You know those things on Amazon, right above the review, that say "a zillion people found this review helpful" or "a zillion people found this review unhelpful"? Does that ever impact what you read?

I'll be honest--I rarely read reviews before I read a book. Very rarely. I sometimes read reviews after I finish the book because I always like seeing what other people thought/liked/didn't like about things in books. I also don't know where the book reading is on a list or where it ranks. It doesn't really matter, to me.

But I see a lot of this lately and, even though these things don't really influence what I read, I'm not crazy about what I'm seeing--

Authors asking people to do things that will increase their ranking and "likes" and "stars" and so on. I have no problem with authors wanting people who have read their books to give support. We need support as authors. I may not use them, but reviews can be very very beneficial to authors. So, yes, if you have read something and you loved it, like the author, give them stars, give them reviews. 

But what about when they are asking people who have never read their book? What do you guys, as readers, think about authors asking for reviews from someone who hasn't read the book? 
What about authors asking people to "find this review unhelpful" because the reviewer didn't like the book--not because the review itself was unhelpful or bad.

What do you guys think? Do you think asking those sort of favors crosses a line for authors and portrays what may not be accurate? Do you even care about those reviews and ranking and all of that?

As readers, do you have standards you hold authors to when it comes to these sort of things?


AND DON'T FORGET (HENCE THE ALL CAPS) ABOUT OUR PITCH CONTEST WITH AGENT AND AUTHOR LAUREN HAMMON ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8th!!!!!!


HERE  are the rules. So go work on your pitch and come back to give it a shot on Wednesday!

And, don't forget that Thursday will be another round of NA Lit Chat (twitter), hosted by EJ (twitter). I will be there to represent the Alley @NAAlleyblog, so please stop by! #nalitchat



Post a Comment

  1. There are really authors who ask people to rate their books even if they haven't read them?! Wow. I would never have the nerve to do that!

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    1. I know, isn't that crazy! I personally find it apalling.

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  2. What? Rate a book I've never read? Uh, NO!

    As for reviews, I never look at them until I've read the book, then ... maybe. Usually if I didn't enjoy it all that much and want to see if it's just me (sometimes, I swear, I can't have been reading the same book).
    On listings ... I tend not to bother. I'm too out of date for bestseller lists, though there might be an occasion that one tweaks my interest. Generally, a book gets on my list because it sounds good to ME.

    And good luck to all who enter in the pitch contest. ^_^

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    1. I pick books the same way you do-based on what sounds good to me!
      And I know what you mean about not sure if you read the same book as the reviewer did. It's amazing how vast our opinions as readers can be.

      I'm glad we have two readers so far who would never rate a book they didn't read! :)

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  3. I would never rate a book I haven't read. That's silly.

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    1. :) that's a good answer! I find it sad that some people do and that others ask for that.

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  4. I do tend to read the reviews of books, but it usually doesn't affect whether I read a book or not. I like to decide for myself whether a book is good or not.

    Great post, girl!

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    1. I think that is awesome if the reviews don't decide for you. I think it can be hard to keep an unbiased mind when reading something if you have other people's negativity about it, so that is great that it doesn't influence your read.
      and thanks hun!

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  5. I look at the book goodreads page to see if my friends already read the book and what rate they gave it and if there's any review. But that's it. And even if the *stars* aren't that high, if I want to read it, I'll read it regardless.
    Now, authors asking for likes and such ... yeah, I saw that one and still can't believe it.

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    1. It disappoints me how much I see it. It makes me question how much of that stuff (likes, reviews etc) is genuine.

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  6. I might read reviews after the fact, but hardly ever before. I really don't like a lot of reviews I read. So many of them sound cookie cutter & generic, and I feel like I wasted 10 minutes of my time. I also am weary of book reviewers who only post positive reviews; who say outright in their review policy that if they don't like a book, they won't review it. I don't think it's necessarily a bad policy, but it doesn't actually give me any notion of how good books differ from bad books for them, and it's like the good books exist in this happy vacuum.

    I do, however, have reviewers I like, and I'll usually read their reviews of books that have piqued my interest but I'm not sure I want to invest time in.

    I have been asked in the past to rate reviews for books and it's one reason I'm not on GoodReads anymore. It made me very untrusting of the content, which may not be entirely fair, but is what happened & I've never wanted to return.
    I also have been reading for quite some time now, and I know what I like. I also know when I want to read something beyond my usual realms & I know what aspects of fiction to look for in other genres & categories. I trust my friends when they recommend books to me, and while I may not always agree with how much a book is liked, I'm not sure any friend has actually recommended a BAD book or series to me. (Well, with the exception of "Pretty Little Liars" but that's neither here nor there.)

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  7. I typically read books based on personal recommendations, the blurb, the cover, or the excerpt. I’m like you. I don’t read reviews until after I’m done--mostly because I don’t want to be spoiled or let it bias me in some way.

    I've never had someone ask me to star or review a book I haven’t read. That’s just weird!

    Anyhoo, great post, L.G.! :)

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  8. I do read reviews, but that's because I browse a lot of indie- and self-published books. I'm sensitive to grammatical errors and poor writing in general (it's major a pet peeve and, unfortunately, it's too prevalent among that group), so finding that kind of thing out ahead of time matters to me.

    The cover and the blurb have to look/sound good, then I move on to the reader opinions. (Like Carrie, I also go off recommendations.)

    I don't bother with the 'X# of people found this review helpful' thing, although I do try to remember to click it, because it helps the reviewer's standing. I look at the title of the review and the first few lines to see if I want to read further.

    And I don't bother much with 5-stars or 1-stars. I mostly read the ones in between, unless the book has a lot of 1-stars or there's a split 'loved it / hated it' thing going on.

    If a book doesn't have many reviews, then I look to see how many other reviews those people have written. If it's a 5-star and it's the person's first review, I generally disregard it. That might sound picky, but I've been burned too many times by inflated reviews.

    Good post. :)

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  9. I tend to read books just based on if it sounds good - if something about the blurb or the first few pages really grabs me, I'll usually read it. Over at i09, I think, there was a list of 20 great first sentences, and I ended up looking those books up and adding a bunch of them to my wish list. I read reviews sometimes, if I'm completely unfamiliar with the author, or I just glance to see the star ratings.

    As for authors trying to manipulate their rankings and all that... yikes. Call me crazy, but that sounds like a ridiculous lack of confidence in their work. I was going to say more, but y'all don't need me ranting here. ^_^ But I would never do something like that.

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  10. It won't let me reply individually, sorry all, so here it is lumped together:

    @Bailey-- That is an interesting point about specific reviewers. I hadn't thought about that. And I agree with the concerns about how real some of it is when it comes to these sorts of things. And the more I see certain authors do it, the more I question the material.

    @Carrie, I agree. I don't like to be spoiled. And I agree, the blurb and cover does a lot for me. As well as the first page and then first chapter. I'm all about the hook.

    @Melissa, I do tend to read reviews if I'm looking at self-pubbed books, because like you, I'm big on the grammar in what I'm reading. I've bought quite a few indie books and been disappointed with the huge grammatical errors. Since then, I do check those reviews often. I hadn't thought about the reviewer first review. Good point.

    @Mason, I'm all about those first few pages! The blurb helps (or at least get it to the first few pages for me), but those pages generally determine it for me. And that is an excellent point! I think it DOES show some confidence issues. I also thinks it shows some ethical issues.

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  11. I need to actually be interested in the subject matter; some subjects have been done to DEATH (paranormal, steampunk). I need to be able to relate to someone in the story, or else I need to be actively seeking an escape. :)

    And it's important to me that the author be ethical -- don't attack your reviewers or demand only nice publicity; don't have a history of plagiarism or otherwise making money/getting goodies off what isn't yours. Don't be racist. Don't be misogynist. Don't be a 'phobe. Knowing that kind of thing about an author makes me wonder how much of that will bleed through into the writing (i.e. Orson Scott Card).

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  12. I always make the mistake of reading reviews before i buy a book and then make my decision based on that... but sometimes it just goes to show people have different opinions, and what you like, someone else could hate.

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  13. Toward my own personal book buying, lists have nothing to do with it and reviews rarely do. Many of my books I buy after just browsing through the bookstore. If I think it sounds interesting enough, I get it. Others, I see in blog posts, sometimes review posts and sometimes just promotional posts.

    As for rating books you haven't read, I would never do that, nor would I want anyone to do that for my work. It feels far better to hear you've done a good job when the person actually means it and knows what they're talking about. And, on the subject of wanting more sales, people who actually enjoyed your book will recommend it more than once, to friends, family, etc. People are often more likely to read the books recommended to them by such other people. Someone who rates your book, rates it once and is done.

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