Today I hit a milestone. I received my 1,000th customer review. Those are reviews where the reader actually wrote at least a few words. Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and others allow a simple rating on a scale of 1 to 5. I have over 1,600 of the ratings variety of criticism, but I prefer reading about why the reader liked or disliked my book.
The 1,000 word reviews are across all eight of my books, so the nicely rounded number doesn’t allow me to open a good bottle of Champagne. (Don’t have one, anyway.) 718 of the reviews are on Amazon for a 4.4 average rating. That made me feel good until I wandered over to Goodreads. There I found 245 reviews for an average of 3.8 stars. Actually, this doesn’t bother me at all. Goodreads always trends lower than Amazon. Besides, I trust Goodreads reviews because they made an effort to visit the site without a prompting email. (The remaining reviews appear on Barnes & Noble and Apple iBooks.)
What have I learned from reading all these reviews? Gosh, maybe not a thing. I certainly haven’t changed my writing. As I think back, the middle-of-the-road reviews have been the most useful to me. They usually liked the book, but had a reservation about one thing or another. Those reservations have tilted my writing to a degree.
I like reviews. And I appreciate readers who take the time to give me some feedback. So … thank you to all who read my books and an extra thank you to those who post a review.