Saturday, November 9, 2013

You Can't Please Everybody

One of the advantages of doing a promotion with BookBub is the big boost in reader reviews that come after the promo. My first experience was with Designed to Kill, the second book in my Greg McKenzie Mysteries series. After it appeared for three days as a freebie for the Kindle, reviews tripled to 63. Happily they include 33 5-star and 17 4-star entries.

My second BookBub promo was for The Marathon Murders, book four in the series. It ran free for three days during the last week in October. In a little less than two weeks, reader reviews have climbed from 20 to 33. Again, favorable reviews predominate, with 20 5-stars and 9 4-stars. Checking through the list, though, I found an interesting phenomenon.

As you have probably noticed, Amazon includes a line at the bottom of each review that says "Was this review helpful to you?" It's followed by "yes" and "no" buttons. By far the majority of reviews have nothing checked in that department. Of the 4 and 5-star ratings, only a handful had anything checked, with one 5-star showing 9 of 10 people found it helpful and one 4-star showing 8 of 9 people found it helpful.

But for the 3-star ratings (2), one listed 35 of 39 people found it helpful and the other 13 of 16 the same. For the 2-star ratings (2), one listed 20 of 25 found it helpful, the other 18 of 25. It would appear that some people just look for low-ranking reviews as an excuse for not reading a book, regardless of the opinions of the vast majority. What I found really striking are the contrasts between reviews that run next to each other.

Here's the first 2-star review under the heading "mediocre":

"This started out well, but it went on too long. After a while, the author's style became annoying. I did finish it, but I won't pick this author again."

The review that followed is a 5-star under the heading "Great read!":

"Very well written story. Hard to put down. Excellent read. The story moved along at a fast pace that made it a pleasure to read."

Here's the other 2-star that appears in the midst of five 5-star reviews:

"Picked this up thinking it might be a good read and quality characters to follow in his other books. I'm an avid reader of suspense novels (military, police, espionage and so on)and enjoy repeat characters in an on-going series of novels. This book (and the characters) failed to deliver. Marginal at best. The writing style was amateurish compared to what I normally read. It's as if the book was written for high school students as reading material. The chapters were kept short. The story plodded along and never gained any traction. Basically a 'simple' book. Sorry, but I wont be spending any more time with Mr Campbell."

I find it quite interesting the way different people react to reading the same book. Just goes to prove the old saying that "you can't please everybody." But as long as I'm pleasing 29 out of 33 (almost 90 percent), I'm happiy.