To the One-Star Reviewer Who Didn't Say Why

Updated: Mar 10, 2019


January 31, 2019



Reviews and ratings are an author's lifeblood. We try hard to write stories that rate at least a good four stars, and we are delighted when we get a "high-five." So, when a Goodreads reader recently threw a one-star bomb on my novel TO LEAVE A MEMORY, that teed me off, especially when she didn't bother to say why.

I understand that TO LEAVE A MEMORY is not for every reader. It's a bittersweet story about a family that overcomes tragedy to forgive. There are funny parts, some delightful children, and a very sweet but weepy ending, but I am well aware that not all readers like stories that make them cry.

TO LEAVE A MEMORY is rated 4.6 on Amazon and 4.2 on Goodreads (which traditionally rates lower for some reason), so I get a little ornery when some reader drops a one-star bomb with no comment or reason.

Tell Me Why You Didn't Like It

Not only did that one star lower my ranking, which doesn't help me sell books, it didn't help me understand what that reader did not like. Even two words: "Too sad," or "hated Andrew," would let me know her concerns.

For all I know, she didn't even finish the novel. I don't think readers should rate a novel they don't finish. If you stay with a story, you might overcome early negative impressions. I felt that way about GONE GIRL, but I kept going until things picked up. I also think readers should be responsible in their ratings. I am, and I always leave a reason for my rating.

I even gave a National Book Award winner a two-star ranking because I could not for the life of me understand more than half of the dialogue, due to lack of punctuation and speech tags. Also, I hated the characters, when I could figure out who was speaking, and I could have cared less about what happened to them, as they were a bunch of weird creeps, not to sound snobby, but for goodness sake, these people were oddball disgusting. Evidently I was not alone. That novel is only ranked at three stars from Goodreads readers, which is not great for a National Book Award winner.

Bottom line on this rant, if you've read TO LEAVE A MEMORY, I would greatly appreciate your letting me know your thoughts with a rating and a brief review. If you liked it, your stars will help overcome the recent one-star bombs I don't think my novel deserved, not without a comment to say why. And, if you hated it, let me know why. An author can only learn through feedback from readers.

Again, many thanks for following me, and especially for reading and reviewing my work!

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© 2017 by Pat Dunlap Evans