Author Laura Kaye
Thanks for inviting me to offer some thoughts on receiving 3-star reviews. I think this is an interesting discussion! I’ve been published for a year in April and in that time have received hundreds of reviews on my books. At first, I was so nervous to look, and the lower-starred reviews kinda hurt because, of course, I wanted everyone to LIKE ME! PLEASE LIKE ME! LOL But as time passed, I realized four things: 1) not everyone is going to love everything I write, 2) that’s okay, 3) blog followers are not automatically turned off of a book by a lower star rating or critical review, and 4) people have very different ideas about what those star ratings mean. And that latter point is especially true of 3-star reviews.
I personally tend to think 3 stars means average, but I’ve received 3-star reviews that were absolutely glowing, leaving me saying to myself: that’s not a 3-star review! LOL But I know some people view 3 stars as “I liked it,” and I’ve definitely received some 3-stars that read that way, like this one: “I really enjoyed this original tale. It's HOT and engaging. I recommend this short story for people who are looking for a light, racy novel.” That’s a great review and totally made my day. It was also the last line of a 3-star review that offered no criticism of the book in question. So, what this has taught me is to read first, react second. Because 3-star reviews aren’t automatically good, or automatically bad. Would I prefer 4- or 5-star reviews? Sure. But my stomach no longer sinks to see a 3-star because often they offer lots of positive feedback. Plus, there seems to be some suspicion about books with “too many” 5-star reviews (whatever that means), so having some lower ratings that are still largely positive helps in that regard, too.
Author Anita Clenney
As a reader, if I give a book 3 stars, it probably means it’s okay, but not great. However, I’ve found that reviewers view the stars differently. One girl raved about Awaken the Highland Warrior, and gave it three stars. Another wasn’t very positive at all, and gave it three stars. That tells me stars are in the eyes of the beholder, or the reviewer in this case. When I see a 3 star, it’s disappointing. I like those 5’s, but I can usually learn something from the 3, and as mentioned before, sometimes the review that goes along with it would have been at least a 4 in my mind. I think most blog followers won’t rush out to buy a 3 star book unless something about it really appeals to them. I think the star rating system is good, but we’re all human and we each view things differently.
Author Carly Fall
What does a 3 star review mean to me?
I supposed that some authors might cringe at a three star review. I, however, don’t. I supposed this is because I have actually received a one star review, and let me tell you, that one hurt! I was in a corner nursing my bruised ego for a few hours when I saw that.
I am a firm believer that as an author, there are going to be people out there who don’t like my books. It could be my writing style, the story, the genre, or maybe the characters I’ve created. Whatever their reason for not liking my books, so be it.
Authors need to remember that they can’t please everyone all the time, and if they try, they will lose some of themselves, as well as some of the story. A three star review to me simply means that the reader thought the book was okay. They didn’t love, love, love it, they didn’t despise it, and maybe if they are desperate for something to read in the future, they will pick up another one of my books.