Can you trust negative reviews?

Negative Reviews

Why you can’t really trust negative reviews

feedback

Hello to all my friends and readers. I’m very interested in reviews, including negative reviews.

In preparing for the imminent release of my newest book Perfect Prey, the sequel to The Trafficking Consortium, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open to anything that might be relevant to you, my readers, and all readers alike about why one buys and reads books.

This morning I came across this NY Times article written by Caroline Beaton. She is a freelance writer and producer who sends a monthly newsletter about science and society. She wrote the following article (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/smarter-living/trust-negative-product-reviews.html) on reviews.

Now as all writers and independent publishers know, our books live and die by the reviews people put on our products. In my case, people either write extraordinarily positive or extremely negative reviews. Given the subject matter of my stories, I feel that is understandable.

Emotions

What bothered me were negative reviews based on pure emotion due to the subject matter fell outside their usual comfort levels. Let me say this in response. I wanted to write something different that appealed to a decently sized reader base which stood out among the crowd. Not wanting to compete with thousands of authors with similar material, I looked long and hard to find a less populated niche of competing books. I found that niche and I proudly write my stories to stand out from the crowd.

Then today I found this article. For the most part, it confirms my findings and beliefs, yet articulated in a way that I might not have considered. The essay is not focused on books but rather on all online products for sale. I still feel that it is pertinent to my arguments on the decision process to read a book or not.

Postive and Negative ReviewsAmazon and other online retailers would have you believe that if a product has a bunch of five-star reviews, it must be good. Inversely, if it has a bunch of one-star reviews, it must not be good. In my case, my books garner either five-star or one-star reviews. Very few are in the middle. Combined those reviews net out to about three-stars, which may appear to be mediocre.

What is important to remember, is to read the language of the review in the context of the book. One of them doesn’t even apply to one of my books but rather a pair of socks. Huh? Obviously, the reviewer made a mistake, but there is little I can do about it. If I could edit or delete someone else’s review, that would destroy the confidence of the buyer in the decision-making process.

“Pay attention to contextual details and specific facts rather than reviewers’ general impressions and ratings. The number of stars someone selects often has “very little to do with” their review text, Dr. Gretzel said. People have different rating standards, and written explanations are inherently more nuanced.”
~Ulrike Gretzel, a communications professor at the University of Southern California and the director of research at Netnografica

Writing Reviews

Still, from my sales figures, I have an audience out there. Thousands of people have bought my books. Few have written a review. So, as a writer, how can I decide on whether what I write is what they want?

Negative Reviews

That’s a hard question.

“Very few people write reviews. It’s about 1.5 percent or 15 people out of 1,000. Should we be relying on these people if we’re part of the other 985?”
~Duncan Simester, a marketing professor at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management

We all read the reviews and make decisions based upon them. As an author, I would want everyone to write a review so that I can learn. However, as a consumer, I depend upon the reviews written to decide whether I buy or not, and at the same time, rarely post a review. I try to be good about them, knowing what I know from both sides. I still fail to do justice to my fellow authors. What I do know, is that to me, negative reviews have more weight in my decision-making process than positive ones.

“People are much more likely to write reviews if they have extreme emotions about something. This is why you see so many rave reviews and so many rancorous ones.”
~Eric K. Clemons, who teaches information management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

 

“We want to feel secure in our decision-making processes. We use negative reviews to understand our risk and reduce our losses, studies show. — Put simply, we should distrust online reviews because emotions are involved.”
~Lauren Dragan, an analyst of consumer feedback as the audio tech products reviewer at Wirecutter, a New York Times company.

My thoughts

As I read and processed this article, I understand and agree with most of the conclusions made therein. However, I want people to write reviews, both good and bad regarding my books. I need the feedback. To me, the only bad review is the one not written. All I ask as you write your review, write constructive and meaningful evaluations of your opinions, without letting your emotions drive your words. That’s all I ask.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.

Hello all my fans and readers

dickering in asia

It’s been, maybe, more than a week since I last wrote to you. Sorry about that. Marketing, headaches, and producing the paperback version of ‘The Trafficking Consortium,’ focused my attention these last several days.

dickering in asia
source: travel.cnn.com

Let’s start with marketing. Alright, so the image I’ve chosen is not directly related to my business, but the image does make it feel that way. Bickering. Plew! Sometimes I feel like it’s a terrible waste of time and then other times, not. For two weeks or so, I paid for Facebook advertising. The results weren’t too bad, and I sold some books. Was it enough to offset the cost of the advertising? No, but this time round, I didn’t expect to come out ahead. I do know that I generated enough to minimize my overall costs, and perhaps, will come out ahead in the months to come. So, I figure mixed results. Now I am off and trying a different tactic, Amazon advertising. This model is different. Where Facebook charges every time the advert is displayed, Amazon will only charge when someone clicks on the advert. I don’t know which will work better, but I do know, that one has to focus on the target audience for the advertising to be effective. Let’s see what happens.

Neuro-fatigueOn the headache front, I saw a chiropractor for several adjustments. He specializes in upper cervical services, and I must say, the results are positive. My headaches are now in the low-intensity range, and I’m hoping soon, they will disappear altogether. The trouble is, I am drinking water as I have never before. I wake up with a dry mouth, spend the day with a dry mouth, drinking vast quantities, and still go to bed with a dry mouth. Doc says that it is a good thing and that I am flushing the poisons from my body. I also feel extremely fatigued, feeling like I need sleep all day long. It’s hard to function, and I can’t multitask as I am accustomed. Both maladies will resolve themselves, or so the Doc says. It all has to do with something he calls, ‘Retracing.’ There’s a YouTube video on the subject. Check it out. I’m not sure what to make of it all, but I put my trust in his tender care.

The Trafficking Consortium
Copyright (c) Richard Verry 2016

Lastly, I’ve been working on formatting ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ for print publication. I can’t believe how many times I submitted a version to the printing house, only to reject it myself as I am proofing it. Hopefully, the version I uploaded yesterday will be my final and approved, version. Knock on wood.

It’s so odd; I never expected that I would be rejecting my proofs. The printing company, yes, me … no. However, I know that it will be a better product. Afterward, I will update the e-book version to match the printed edition. Don’t worry, the edits are minor, and anyone who already purchased the e-book version will get a free updated version.

Review button

And, oh, BTW, check out the new 5-star review from a brand new reader of mine. I was sooooo excited to read it. Thank you, Amy. Here’s the link to her review.

Till next time, have a great day and a better tomorrow.
Rich

 

 

Marketing and Self-Publishing

Everything is possible, nothing is impossible, it's all in the attitude

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to writing and marketing my books. I’ll tell you; I much prefer writing over marketing. As an independent publisher, I have to split my valuable time between the two. It seems that at most times, the split is not even. Rather, the nod goes to marketing rather than writing.

Everything is possible, nothing is impossible, it's all in the attitude
Changing the word impossible to possible.

Which is a curse in its own way. The best marketing tool is good inventory, though the definition of good, in this case, is broad. Spending much of my valuable time in marketing is, in some ways, an evil. A necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.

For the average reader and customer of books, I know you don’t necessarily care about this topic, but believe me, it is the bane of most writers, even those that have made it in this competitive world. Regardless of how we market, we all do. Whether we do book signings at the behest of our publishers or spend a few minutes a day following up with our social media drills and the like, it takes time away from our real passions, writing the next great novel.

So, if there are any publishing house out there interested in exclusive rights, let’s talk. I’m open to ideas.

In the meantime, I’m going to drink another cup of coffee and muddle on. I have some ideas for my next novel. Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
Rich

How do I think of these things in such detail?

Creative Stream Working

How do I think of these things in such detail?

Yesterday, I received this intriguing comment from one of my readers. My life partner girlfriend also wants to know the answer to this question. She cringes at many of my stories. As many times as I try to satisfy her with a reply, sooner or later, she brings it up once again. I figure everyone of my readers is thinking the same thing. So I thought I would give it a stab and try to answer the question.

The reader asked the following question.

“Just finished the 2nd book. [‘Her Overseer,’ book 2 in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy] and I need time to think about this one? Guess my question is how do you think of these things in such detail? It was pretty gruesome. Are there things you write about that you’ve done or want to do? Just wondering.”

Her OverseerThe book, ‘Her Overseer’ is gruesome. It is brutal and graphic. It is the second part of a three-part story within the ‘Her Client’ trilogy. There is a twist in book 3, ‘Her Essentia’ which I think readers will enjoy. My girlfriend cringed reading the first two books, but by hanging in there, she found redemption in the third book.

Frankly, I don’t know how I think up these scenes and describe them in such detail. They just appear in my head as I write them. To me, it is a natural progression of the story that seems obvious as I write.

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. From a young age, I’ve always been interested in mystery/suspense and true crime novels. Later I added science fiction to the list. The more fantastic the story, the more out there the characters behaved, the more I liked it. However, I’m not referring to fantasy stories such as depicted in today’s graphic novels and the like. I like realistic stories that are plausible and could happen in real life. Some of my favorite books from my early years included the true crimes of the FBI, which depicted the thoughts and reasonings of characters on both sides of the law.

 18" x 24" graphite on 50# matte paper
Today’s Challenge

My paintings and drawings reflect a naturalistic world. I love realism in my creative works. I don’t do abstract or fantastical creatures, such as depicted in much of today’s art. The one exception would be my love of mermaids.

Mythical, yes. Naturalistic, yes. Plausible … absolutely.

But fantastic creatures that nature could not possibly develop on this planet through natural selection … no.

I also believe in monsters. Not the kind thought up by the creative minds of scary movie, no, I mean the human kind of monster. The kind that actually exists.

I write what I believe could naturally occur, here on earth, by humans. Nature is uncaring and brutal. Sharks and other predators don’t care about the feelings of their prey. They kill and eat what they want and move on. Orca whales have been observed playing with and tormenting their prey before killing them. From the lowliest of life on earth to the king of the jungle, this is how nature developed life on our planet.

All humans have this drive built into our DNA. Societal norms try to adjust us to not act upon our baser instincts but wInterview Snippets on Mona's Storiese all let it out, at some time or another. A husband beating his wife to belting a misbehaving child when a simple spank of the hand would do, are just two examples of human instincts struggling for release. I could list thousands of examples supporting my belief. Fortunately, most of us suppress this impulse as best as we can.

My stories delve into the realm of humans who drop their shields and let out their baser instincts. My monsters are real, and I have little doubt that the monsters depicted in the ‘Her Client’ trilogy, are real and they exist. They hide and stay out of the limelight, but they exist. In the real world, a rare few are discovered and make the news, but I believe that the known monsters are a small percentage of the total out there. No one can convince me otherwise. My scenes are gruesome and describe a realistic interpretation of the human monster hiding in all of us.

As to the reader’s follow-up question, no I don’t write about what I’ve done, nor what I want to do. Like 99.99999% of the population, I suppress my inner instincts in everyday life. However, I will grant you, that perhaps it is possible, that as I write, I allow a tiny fraction of my basic human suppressed instinct out, enabling me to write in such detail.

I’ve been told that writers write what they know. I don’t believe this. Look at Stephen King’s novels. Do you really think he did all that he wrote about? Do you think he thinks about really doing it? I doubt it. Do I wish I could actually do what I write about in my scenes? Definitely not. I’m a pacifist at heart. It’s all in my imagination, knowing full well that these monsters do exist.

On thing I discovered in my writing journey is that I like to write from the character’s point of view, rather than a third party, observers point of view. I like to write what the characters think and feel. At times I will bounce from the protagonist’s point of view to the antagonist’s point of view and back again. I find it interesting to reveal their thoughts and ideas. I like to expose their emotions of surprise, love, lust, anger, fear, rage, bloodthirst, relief and revenge as the scene develops.

Find out how the human race survives 3DIn ‘The Taste of Honey,’ I wrote a scene where one of my main characters goes through an ordeal of her own choice. She is offered many opportunities to avoid the tribulation. Yet, she chose to go through the ordeal, knowing she would die in the end. All because she loves her family more than she loves herself.

I wrote the scene from her viewpoint. I tried to capture her every thought, fear, and desire she experiences. I tried to capture everything she endures, moment by moment, from her point of view. I attempted to convey all of her senses; taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell; as she lived and died throughout her ordeal. I believe I was successful and again, all from the characters point of view.

A Mermaids Irresistible CuriosityJust know that not all of my books are gruesome. My free short story, ‘A Mermaid’s Irresistible Curiosity’ is a love story with a twist. It’s not gruesome nor brutal. It’s a story about a misguided mermaid who lives a life of instant gratification who falls in love with a fisherman. You can find the short story on my website, RichardVerry.com. It free and you can download it and read it at any time.

I hope that this explains the question and alleviates any concerns about my writing. More importantly, I hope this explains things to the love of my life, my girlfriend, and committed partner in love and life.

Sunday Update 1/15

The Trafficking Consortium Front Book Cover

Sunday Update 1/15

It’s Sunday morning, and for the first time in a very long time, I see blue sky above. They tell me that within the U.S.; my city has the second fewest blue skies throughout the year. Seattle being the first.

FootballSpeaking of Seattle, the Seahawks went down quickly to the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the American Football playoffs yesterday. Damn, they were my girlfriends pick to appear in the Super Bowl. We also had hoped that the Houston Texans would topple the Patriots, but as expected, they didn’t. They did put up a great fight against the home team. I thought it was going to be a blow-out and it wasn’t, despite the final score. For once, though, officiating didn’t feel all that one-sided for a change. Others may have a different opinion, but that’s what I got out of the game.

I hate to say it, but I think that the teams that will play in the Super Bowl will be New England vs. Dallas. The two teams I hate the most. Hey, don’t kill me. That’s how I have always felt, and probably will for the rest of my life. And for you Boston fans, let me just say, I love your city, been there a few times. I just hate the team. Dallas, to me, the only good thing you got going are the cheerleaders. There, I said it. Just don’t shoot me. Green Bay Packers, can you do it today? Can you put down the Cowboys in this afternoon’s game? I’m rooting for you.

Of course, my home team hasn’t made the playoffs in seventeen years. What the f#$&? So, what does that tell you?

Enough about weather and sports. I’m sure that there are enough weather and sports outlets out there that can fill your hungry minds.

The Trafficking ConsortiumI’m pretty sure my book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium,’  is ready for publishing. I’m just waiting on a couple of responses from my beta readers who are reading an advance release copy (ARC) of the book. I’m excited and nervous to read their reviews. Damn, the wait is excruciating.

If you want your own ARC of ‘The Trafficking Consortium,’  click the free button where you can download it free. All I ask that you write a review and post it on my site. You can do that, right? Free buttonJust click the envelope on my home page, RichardVerry.com. This is a limited time offer. The promotion will end once the book is published.

It does deal with a tough subject, although the story is not as horrific as the ‘Her Client’ trilogy. I wrote it intentionally that way. Sure, there’s sex and death in the book but so do most suspense dramas. It’s a first person view of someone caught up in the human trafficking trade and what happens throughout their captivity. While they hate their captivity, they grow as a person and start to see their life in a whole new way. Suitable for all readers 18+. I think you’ll like it.

 

Time to refill my coffee, so, thank you for reading this. Remember, if you want your free ARC copy of ‘The Trafficking Consortium,’ click the free button where you can download it free. Antique sealed dispatch letterAll I ask that you write a review and post it on my site. This is a limited time offer. The promotion will end once the book is published. All I ask that you write a review and post it on my site. Just click the envelope on my home page, RichardVerry.com.

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