Can you trust negative reviews?

Negative Reviews

Why you can’t really trust negative reviews


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 ( 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.


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.

My take on a book review

The Trafficking Consortium

I received a one-star review on my book ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ the other day. It contained two words “Terrible ending.” I won’t say who it was that wrote the review, it’s not important. What is important is that the reviewer liked the book enough that they read the entire thing. If they read the entire book, how can it deserve only a single star? There had to be some redeeming value to the story.

The Trafficking ConsortiumNow me, if I’m going to give a book a bad review, I’m either going to do one of two things. Abandon the book during the early chapters and move on to another book. There’s plenty of other stories out there. Or if I choose to read the whole thing and decide to write a review, I will be detailed in my evaluation of the book, pointing out specific things that riled me.

I’ve written a couple of bad reviews in the past, but it’s not often. I grew up taught that if I can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I guess that is why I don’t write many bad reviews.

As I pondered the review last night, I realized that the book did just what I wanted. It left the reader with a question or a desire for more. While people reading a book dealing with felonious acts want nice clean endings, I like putting in twists. If they want the details neatly wrapped up, prosecuting the offender, and the victim fleeing their harrowing experience, then they may or may not get their wish.

In my case, as I repeat throughout the book, there is no escape for my heroine. Why should the reader think that she would? Is it because they retain hope that she will find a way to freedom? Well, as my readers of my other books well know, I like leaving a hook at the end. This book is no different.

Though I originally intended to write this as a stand-alone novel, so many people are asking for a sequel, and I’m considering it. The hook I left in the book allows me to do that. Who knows, there may be a trilogy in it. I can envision many scenarios that will allow that to come to pass. There couldn’t be a sequel if I wrote Avril’s story so that she found a way to escape to her old life. What’s the fun in that?

I don’t plan on writing a comment on the site with the review. In my head, I’m dismissing the review. Better to leave well enough alone.

Until next time, have a great day and a better tomorrow.

Gifts for readers like you


Gifts for readers like you

If you liked my books, your friends and relatives may like them too. All of them are available on my website,,, or from your favorite eBook store.

Most are available to read for free with Amazon Unlimited.Free button

Several are also available in paperback; perfect for under the tree.

Thank you for your support.

To read the reviews by readers like you,
click on any of the book covers for more information.

The Taste of Honey
The Taste of Honey

Broken Steele book cover 3D
Broken Steele

The Breakup Upright Book
The Breakup
Mermaids Irresistible Curiosity book cover 3D
A Mermaid’s Irresistible Curiosity

Her Client Trilogy book cover 3D
Her Client Trilogy

Her Client Book 1 cover 3D
Her Client

Her Overseer Book 2 cover 3D
Her Overseer

Her Essentia Book 3 cover 3D
Her Essentia

The Trafficking Consortium
The Trafficking Consortium

Perfect Prey
Perfect Prey



A Big Thank You

Her Client Trilogy book cover 3D
Her Client Trilogy

I wish to express my gratitude for the fantastic reviewsreviewsreviewsreviewsreviews 5 star reviews that Bibs left on Amazon for my trilogy, ‘Her Client’. You brought a big smile to my face. Thank you, I really appreciate the reviews. A paper back version is also available at CreateSpace logo .

Bibs is correct. These books are not for everyone. Yet, I wrote them because I saw a market and people are responding. The-Breakup-advert4aIf you liked ‘Her Client’ you may enjoy reading ‘The Breakup’, currently only available off my website, Just $0.99.

In the review, Bibs wanted to know if I would continue Jolene’s story? I have considered it. If you are, sent me your comments, including ideas on how you think Jolene should carry on. If there is enough interest, I will see what I can come up with.

Do you know what the trouble is? I have outlined over thirty stories in the same genre and I really want to bring them all to life. I’m working on two more right now, in addition to finishing up the third book in my “Mona Bendarova” series entitled ‘Lucky Bitch’.

Her Client Book 1 cover 3D
Her Client, Book 1 in the Her Client Trilogy
Her Overseer Book 2 cover 3D
Her Overseer, Book 2 in the Her Client Trilogy
Her Essentia Book 3 cover 3D
Her Essentia, Book 3 in the Her Client Trilogy

Thank you for the reviews.

I am Richard Verry and I appreciate the support.

Normal? What is normal?

Open book

Do you consider yourself ‘Normal’?

Of course I do. I feel that I am the most normal guy one could meet.

Sometimes, my girlfriend has a different opinion. From reading, editing to discussing my books and novellas, she thinks I’m something different. I suppose and hope that is why she likes me. Just to remind everyone, we’ve been together for over twelve years.

Having said all that, let’s get back to the question. I spoke recently about the imagery that flies around in my head all day. I suppose that makes me different, since I am convinced that most others don’t have those experiences yet abnormal? No way!

Webster’s Dictionary defines normal as:

  1. a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
    b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
  2. occurring naturally <normal immunity>
  3. a: of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development
    b: free from mental disorder

Open bookWhen I compare myself to Webster, if there is any question, then by definition, I am normal. While I am unique, I also personally know hundreds of people and by extrapolation, millions who think like me and enjoy similar interests as I do and follow the same shows, hobbies and genres. In so many ways I conform to standards and patterns that society expects of me. I work for a living, pay my taxes, maintain my own home, take the garbage out and enjoy a daily shower. That last is really important.

My mother carried and delivered me naturally, though she told me later that I almost killed her as I wanted to come out sideways. She tells me that they had to push me back in, turn me around before delivering me. Does that make me abnormal? No, I don’t believe so. Breech births do happen. Of what I know now, if I was born more than a hundred years ago, neither me, mom or my sisters might not be around. Medicine back then wouldn’t be equipped to handle the difference from a normal birth.

psychiatric hospitalAm I categorized as of having average intelligence? I think so. I definitely know that there are people smarter than myself and others who are not. That makes me normal.

That leaves ‘free of mental disorder’. That’s a subjective term in so … many ways. While I know that there is scientific, medical definitions of various mental disorders, no one has ever accused or diagnosed me of having one.

I can only conclude I am normal. What about you? Do you consider yourself normal? If so, why? If not, really? I want to hear from you. Perhaps I can turn your story into a book. We should chat. You can use the comment section below to get started. I would so enjoy hearing your story.