Monday, January 10, 2011

Saying the same thing in two different ways

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. What with the holidays, the signing and sending off of numerous books, and no school for those in the house who normally leave me alone, it has been a long time. Well, it's the new year and it is starting off just as the last one ended. My book "Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male" has already received two reviews so far in 2011. Both are basically saying the same things, but in two distinctly different ways. Let me share--

Reviewer 1 started out with, "I must start this by saying that this book had two major strikes against it from the start...I dislike memoirs and I really dislike short stories. So reading a book like this was a chore for me"

Reviewer 2 said, "Although totally out of the normal genre that I read, I was willing to give a chance to "Sensitivity 101 for the Heterosexual Male" by Philip Nork. Another reviewer friend of mine suggested I read it after she did and saw all the 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon as she posted hers."

Reviewer 1 added, "As I struggled with keeping each tale separate (and failed miserably), I kept cringing..."

Reviewer 2 said, "The way Mr. Nork starts the book out is to identify each of the lessons he learned from the women in his life. The unique style and individually of each brought out the hidden messages, and although I couldn't relate totally because of gender and age, I still understood the heart-felt lessons and could apply them to my own the book continues it was nice to see how the earlier lessons resurfaced in even more unique ways."

Reviewer 1 ended by saying, "Would I recommend this book? *Sigh* sadly I can't think of anyone I know who would like it."

Reviewer 2 ended, "Sensitivity a wonderful book if you like the genre. I think most people read it as a memoir, but according to his website Mr. Nork calls it a fictionalized version of his life. The stories are unique, the situations are so well written that I felt like I was right there, and the characters come to life. The storytelling is wonderful and the writing is strong. Again, this book may never make it on my Top Ten list, but after giving it the benefit of the doubt, I can understand why there are so many 4 and 5 star reviews listed. Nice job, Mr. Nork.

I take all reviews with a grain of salt knowing that they are just opinions. These two though drastically show the difference between a well-versed professional and an every day reader. I respect both of their points, but reviewer 2 gets more points from me. Not because it is a 'better' review, but because the reviewer sees the big picture, while reviewer 1 sees only what it means to them.

I believe that anyone who reviews books has made a commitment to those readers (and to the writer) to let them know what is inside the book, and then let them decide whether or not they should read it. By inputting so much of their own likes and dislikes, reviewer 1 has done a disservice to both of them. I have read many books which were not my preferred likes, but still was able to give a balanced review of the book.

By the way, Reviewer 2 sent me an e-mail before posting the review on her blog to apologize for the delay (only two weeks) and to let me know what was going to be said. She told me up front that it was not her cup of tea, but that the review would be built more around the foundation of the book and not about her opinion of the subject or genre. She also asked for my permission before she posted. Once I approved, she then sent me the link to her blog.

Reviewer 1 had the book for almost a year and never corresponded with me once. I 'found' the review as I was surfing the net.

I will not name either reviewer because this is not about them. It is about the different ways people get their message across. I will say that Reviewer 1 is another self-published author looking for support, just like me. Reviewer 2 is a ten year professional book reviewer who doesn't need me, or my book, to make her career. For what it's worth Reviewer 1 gave the book 2 stars, while Reviewer 2 gave it 4 stars.

These are but two of the hundreds of reviews that "Sensitivity 101..." has received. In time, they will both fade away and become mere memories. But the way Reviewer 2 handled the situation makes me wonder if I should start using only professional reviewers going forward.

Am I right or wrong in my opinion? Do the amount of stars a book is given influence whether you buy it or not? How personal do you think a reviewer should be? What makes a 'good review' in your opinion?

Did Ya' Ever Notice...that you can't please everyone all the time? I say "you shouldn't even try!"

1 comment:

  1. Well, as you mentioned, we want reviews that point out the bigger picture, won´t we?