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.

Mentally drained

Mentally Drained

Mentally drained

Just a quick note to everyone. Since my last post, I’ve been very busy, mostly with family and friends. However, I’m now back, at least in spirit. My body is straining to keep up with my desires. That is, writing and keeping up with my friends and followers, all the stuff that makes my life worthwhile.

Mentally DrainedThat said, since my return to work yesterday, I am mentally drained. Yes, that’s right, I’ve been off since last Thursday afternoon. At my job, I am responsible for various applications that are widely used within my client base. After testing several weeks ago an upgrade to this platform, I figured updating it yesterday would be a no-brainer. Over and done with, easy. Right? How wrong I was.

Instead of taking a total of three hours to implement and then another three hours to test, two days later, I’m still working on it. I figure I will complete the project tomorrow but one thing I do know, I will be calling the vendor once again. Yep, before I left today, I discovered something wrong that needs to be fixed before I can put the ‘DONE’ stamp on the project.

Yes, I know you probably don’t care about my concerns at work. However, it is affecting my ability to write and chat with you, my followers. When I got home yesterday, I felt so drained that it took a couple of scotches, dinner, and time in the hot tub before I felt a bit more relaxed. Early to bed and I slept the entire night, right through to the morning alarm. Great, as normally I’m up once or twice a night, and not for a trip to the head.

So why did I feel unrested as I got ready for work? And now after my shift and I’m home, I feel almost as bad as yesterday. I am once again, mentally drained, which makes me feel physically wiped out. “Hey, where’s that glass of scotch?” Or should I open a bottle of wine? Either way, something smooth will soon be passing across my tongue to chill out.

What does this all mean to my writing? Well, as it so happens, I’ve done little, and I’m stressing over it. Yet, I’m so mentally drained, I can’t seem to pick up where I left off. Sorry, everyone. I’m working hard, and I appreciate your patience.

Thank you for your supportSo, I’m off to find a bit of downtime. I appreciate all that every one of you has done for me. A new exciting book will soon be released, and I’ve got another nearly ready to turn over to the editors. With notes on several story lines in the works, I need to get going.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
Rich

Followup to ‘How do I think of these things’

Thaumaturgy

Followup to ‘How do I think of these things’

In my last article, I wrote about how I come up with my ideas for my books. I received several comments from people who read my books. I found them interesting.

The Taste of HoneyThe first comment comes from a reader who read my first book, ‘The Taste of Honey.’ At the time, this reader wrote me and, if I recall correctly, told me she had a hard time with the story. She considered herself to be a traditional, conservative person and didn’t read all that much. However, a friend turned her onto the book and while struggling with the storyline, discovered an underlying unexpected love story that she loved. It turned her around, and she eventually wrote a compelling five-star review.

The following is what I received in response to the article.

“I found it insightful as well as a confirmation of what I already felt in my heart was the way you find your inspirations. I’ve always believed you to be intelligent and extremely creative. It’s nice to see you finding the right outlet for that creativity (of which you do so well!).” jb

Apparently, she knows me well, and yes, I am acquainted with this person.

Another reader sent me this comment.

“It’s hard to understand how you can write that in such detail and emotion. And, not wonder about you. […] After reading your statements and seeing that your girlfriend felt the same way, I think I feel much better. Maybe, lol.” gd

Her Client Trilogy StackedI am only just becoming acquainted with this reader, having recently received several comments and messages regarding my ‘Her Client’ trilogy. After reading the first book, she contacted with a note indicating how much she liked it. After reading the second book, I received a second comment expressing the need “… to think about this one?” implying that the story might have been a bit over the top for her. [No surprise. This book is intentionally horrific and deals with the real monsters among us.] Her followup to this comment to this book inspired me to write my previous article. The last I heard, the reader was just starting the third book, ‘Her Essentia.’ I have little doubt that she will send me an additional note.

Interestingly enough, the ‘Her Client’ books are my best sellers. I never expected that to happen. As a result, those are the kinds of books I will continue to focus on as I write.

The Trafficking ConsortiumI received many comments on the article. I hope it helps you understand where I am coming from and where I am going. My stories don’t come from personal experiences. Rather, they come from observation and wondering, “what if …”.

That’s how my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ came to life. I was at my doctor’s office and as I sat in the waiting room, wondered “what if someone behind the counter and sent the medical history of a patient to someone who had no right to the file?” From there, the pieces just fell into place, and Avril’s story came to life.

The BreakupThen there’s ‘The Breakup’, a story about what a woman hopes will happen on a date of dinner and dancing. My ‘what if’ revolved around the word, dancing. “What was his definition of dancing?” Ginny is about to find out. The question is, will she be happy about it?

Overall, I don’t really know what to say. If you, my current and new followers, continue to read my books, what am I going to do but keep writing new ones that tickle your fancy and your emotions? I have notes on several ideas for future stories. Stay tuned.


maggicalExpressionsOh, and I almost forgot. I finally finished putting together my online art gallery. It’s called ‘maggicalExpressions.’ Links to it are on my book site.

Yes, that’s correct. I paint and draw when I need to disappear. Oh, yes, that’s what I do when I write. Well, it’s a different kind of medium, and I enjoy it. I hope you like them.


It’s a nice day today, blue sky, and lots of sun. I’m going to work on my book most of the day, and then I’m going to a party tonight. I can’t wait. It’s a themed party sponsored by a social club I belong to. It’s been way too long since I’ve attended one. I’m looking forward to it.


Have a great day and a better tomorrow.
Rich

New Novel finish and publishing soon

Trafficking In Women

New Novel finish and publishing soon

Trafficking In Women
Source: epthinktank.eu

Hello, all my fans and followers. Over the past few weeks, I’ve mentioned that I’ve worked on getting a story out of my head and written down.

I’m happy to announce that I finished it yesterday. At 92,000 words, it’s an interesting commentary on the human condition. I hope to turn it over for final editing by the end of the week, while I work on a cover design and the rest.

Be sure to look for it. It’s an erotic story about a woman who finds herself in an impossible situation, eventually forced to make a horrific choice to either sacrifice her soul and avoid an agonizing death or to save it and suffer the appalling consequences.

Both options are equally awful and unfair, yet she must choose her fate. If you liked ‘Her Client’ and ‘The Breakup,’ you’ll love this one.

A note of appreciation

Every Way We've Tried To Fix Email (And Why It's Not Working)

A note of appreciation

Every Way We've Tried To Fix Email (And Why It's Not Working)
Source: lifehacker.com.au

Good afternoon all you fans. I write to you today as a frustrated writer who may now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Why do you ask?

Since August, most of my posts have failed to make it to my email followers. While it royally sucked, the resolution may be in the works.

The publishing company that handles distribution of my posts to all of my followers uploaded a patch to server yesterday. This company handles all distributions, including social media as well as my email subscribers. So far, two days in a row, my email followers have received my posts. Whoo hoo!

However, I must admit, I am still hesitant to say that they fixed the problem. Only time will tell.

One good thing that came out of all this. I was forced to find a simple type of post that followers would like to read, rather than just the same only ‘buy me’ crap that often happened. That is when I stumbled upon the Word of the Day feature. It’s a hit as I have received many positive responses to my posts. Most of the responses tell me that they particularly like the ‘My Take’ portion, which I love doing, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Time that I am using to writing my next story.

Trafficking of Women
Source: epthinktank.eu

So, be on the lookout for my next novel, that I hope to publish next month. It’s tentatively called ‘The Trafficking Consortium.’ The story is inline with the ‘Her Client’ but with many differences as well. If you liked any of my previous novels, you’ll love this one.

Now, a big thank you to everyone who is buying my books. Sales for the ‘Her Client’ series is phenomenal, as well as I have seen an increase in sales of my other books ‘The Taste of Honey,’ ‘Broken Steele,’ and ‘The Breakup.’ A big thank you to each and every one of you who bought and read them. Please, do me a favor. Write a review on the site from where you purchased the book(s). It would to a lot of good to get the word out.

Thanks for being patient with my publicizing problem. And, oh, by the way, winter is still here. Snow is on the ground as we had a record snowfall on Sunday, blowing the old record away by 300%. Wow. Now, if I could only blow away my sales by 300%, I could retire and write full-time. Hey, it’s all up to you, the reader. Thank you for your support.