Published Author, Self Publishing, Writing

Why Your Four-Star Review Sucks!

Ok, I’m going to jump right in here and vent. As an independent author, reviews mean so much. Seriously, every time I release a book, or someone tells me they’ve read one of my books, the first thing out of my mouth is always, “Thank you.” The second thing is, “Will you please leave a review?” Most of the time people say yes, but also most of the time, they don’t do it even if they said yes. I’ve had to get my mind past that and not take offense. At first, I thought if they’ve agreed to it and haven’t left a review, they must hate it. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that some people just don’t leave reviews. They don’t want their name out there, or they’re not comfortable leaving one. I understand that, so I move on… but that doesn’t stop me from asking.

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I’ve been told that in order to feel like I’m not alone in this world of writing and self-publishing, that I should connect with other writers. I’ve tried that, and I follow quite a few on social media and they follow me back. But I’ve never felt a full connection with other writers. I’ve been in groups, and I see people connecting and talking about how they love each other’s books, and I’ve always felt like I’m on the outside looking in. What I’m constantly irritated by is the 4-star reviews I see writers giving other writers. I have seen more than one person lately talking on social media about being banned from Amazon or being reported on Amazon for leaving bad reviews. If you’re a beta reader and you’re giving poor reviews, you deserve to be blocked and reported. Seriously, WTF? Especially if you’re a fellow author. What’s the point when you yourself are striving for 5-star reviews, yet you’re so stingy with them and even go so far as to boast about the fact that you only leave 4-star reviews on principle? What’s your principle? Do you hold some special status in the literary world that we don’t know about? Do you feel better about yourself for withholding that one star? For the love of God! If you’re another author, you know the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into writing, editing, then self-publishing a book. Not to mention marketing! For those efforts alone, you should be giving 5 stars. Even today, I saw a review that an author left for another author. She posted it on Instagram. Of course, she only gave it 4 stars, then she went on to insult the plot, and even added, “insert eyeroll here” in her review. And the author she reviewed actually thanked her for that?!?!

This is why I don’t want to connect with other authors. For some of you, that 5th star may not be a big deal. For me, if I know you’re also a writer and you’ve held back that final star, I think you’re a jerk. A big, fat, hairy jerk! One of my recent books got a 4-star review… not only from another writer, but from one who had read all of the other books in the series and given me 5 stars. She not only withheld that star, but she insulted my writing. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that because now I’m fired up about that. How rude! My first instinct was to turn around and do the same thing to her, but I have more class than that.

I can think of at least 5 people I’m connected with who wear their “4 stars only” rule as a badge of pride. Not that they give a crap, but I don’t think that makes them seem intelligent or hold them in higher regard because if they happen to give me that 5th star, I’ll bow to them. Pfftt, hell no. I just roll my eyes and vow to never buy/read/review any of their books. Sidenote… I know of someone who bought The Art Of Zen and she’s a 4-star stickler. I’m thankful she bought my book, but I don’t want her to review it. Especially since I bought her book and gave her a 5-star review before I ever knew this about her.

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I know some who read this are probably thinking, “Geez, lady. Get over it and move on, it’s only a review.” That’s true. But this is my blog so I can vent about whatever I want. 4 stars is a good review, but if you’re willing to give it 4, there’s no reason not to give it 5. Oh, and another thing! My very first 4-star review on my debut novel was from someone who is not a writer, but a childhood friend. They have a strange screen name, so I didn’t know who it was. But I dug and I figured it out. I was shocked, and hurt… and 4 years later, I’m still irritated by it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, fellow authors and people who have known you since you were 8 years old, shouldn’t be jerks when leaving a review.

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Just my point of view… If we’re all in this together, we should lift each other up and give praise, especially if we want it in return. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk!

Writing

It’s Been Awhile…

I haven’t written much lately… well, let me rephrase that. I haven’t written a blog lately. I know in the past, I’ve chronicled my writing journey, as well as my job interview experience. I don’t think I have the energy to get into what life is like in the job world. Let’s just say I’ve been unemployed since April 2020. More on that later.

I’ve been writing, a lot. If you read my books, you’ll know that I published book 3 in the Heart & Soul series. Through The Storm follows Alexandra Lorraine and Slater Heart as they navigate the scandal of a lifetime. They’re finally together, making up for lost time, and dealing with a media frenzy. I truly love Alexandra and Slater, but I haven’t been writing in the Heart & Soul series lately. More books are to come that follow them through life and introduce new characters, but it’s been put on pause for now. I’m really getting inspired to write other stories. Stand alone novels that have happy endings. My very first novel that is not part of a series is releasing on 2/14/2021. The Art of Zen. It’s an opposites attract love story.

So, what have I been working on for the last year? Well, I finished Zen last February. For a year, it’s been through editing and having people read it who I know I can trust to give me honest feedback. Now I’m ready to share that with you. I’m excited about this one. Like I do with all my books, I fell in love with these characters, and I hope you do, too! Up next is Where We Belong. It’s a friends to lovers story. Two people are brought together by a family tragedy. Through their grief, they rebuild their lives and fall in love.

When I finished writing Where We Belong, I felt like their story wasn’t completely over. In my heart, I knew there was more to it. So, this is now book one in a trilogy. I’m almost finished writing the second book in this trilogy titled, Coming Home. The second book tells the story of a man who returns home and falls in love with someone he knew from the past. They’re both coming out of troubled relationships and form a friendship that turns into love.

I also co-wrote a novella! My first collaboration, and my first novella. It was an interesting experience to learn another writer’s process. It is a holiday story that starts on New Year’s Eve. It’s called The Wish. We’ve gotten some good feedback on it and I’ve learned that people like fast reads. My books are long. The kind that can take either a few weeks, or a snowed-in weekend, to get through. To write something this short was a challenge for me. I’m glad I did it and grateful for the experience.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m finishing up Coming Home, then I need to check in with Alex and Slater and get the fourth book from the Heart & Soul series published so you can all enjoy their journey. It’s titled, Meant To Be. Thanks for reading this post, and make sure to spread the word if you’ve read and liked any of my books!

Until next time,

Brooke