The Sometimes Frustrating Book Review – Factual Inaccuracies

I love reader reviews of my work.  I think I've said that enough times here and in the back of my books to have started sounding annoyingly repetitive.  I just want to be perfectly clear how I feel, before I speak my mind on a related issue.  I love, love, love reader reviews!!

I read a review of my work recently that made me a little crazy.  And this reaction is not unique to me, as many authors I know have voiced frustration over this issue.  Some authors have done bad things after reading a review like this, by commenting unprofessionally on the review or getting friends to go comment on it.  That's not good; in fact, it's very, very bad.  And that's not why I'm writing this blog post.  I don't need or want anyone to join me on a crusade against this person's review.

So what is the problem?  To be clear, it's not the star assignment of this review that bothers me.  It's the fact that it's full of inaccuracies.

I'm cool with a reader complaining that they didn't like a character, or that they thought my writing style sucked, or they speculate (incorrectly) about how I developed the plot.  That's an opinion and everyone's entitled to one of those.  But when they claim that I didn't specify a certain fact in the book, when I clearly did, it makes me cranky.

This particular review listed several things that they felt were missing, but those facts that they claim aren't there, are in the book!  I wanted nothing more than to go find them in the book and point them out to this reviewer, so he/she would see that they were misinforming possible future readers. I have no interest in changing anyone's opinion, but I do want people who are considering reading the book to see “opinions” and not “inaccuracies” as they decide whether to become one of my readers.

Opinions and facts are different things, and facts should be accurate.

As cranky as I was to see those inaccuracies, I didn't say anything about them to this reviewer, ‘cuz that's a big no-no in my world.  So I have to sit on my hands and rant about how the world is so unfair.  Woe is me!  I'm a writer with an inattentive reader!

In my opinion, the two best things that can come out of a review are:

  1. other readers can make better-informed purchasing decisions, and
  2. writers can improve their craft based on the feedback.

I've received a couple of reviews like this, and I know other authors who've also gotten them.  It's just part of the world I live in now, and knowing that does make it a little easier to accept.  In the end, by writing this article, I hope I'm able to express the importance of reader reviews for both readers and authors.  I guess the best solution for people reading reviews is to read a few of them to get an overall feel for the writing, and not to just rely on one review, since it may contain inaccuracies.  And the best solution for writers like me is to just ignore them.  Which I will now be able to do since I have vented on my blog and gotten it out of my system.  🙂

xoxo Elle

10 comments on “The Sometimes Frustrating Book Review – Factual Inaccuracies

  1. Hey just letting you know I have been reading some of Samantha Youngs work based on your recommendation, and I really liked it so thankyou 🙂

    In regards to this,and I am sure others will agree (hopefully), try not to let it get to you too much, you have a lot of hardcore fans that love the work you put into your writing. I personally think that anyone that can’t follow a brilliant story enough to keep track of whats been written is skipping pages >:( BLASPHEMY!

    Yet again, keep it up. I look forward to the ends of the following months, I have even logged reminders on my phobe calendar

  2. Elle-

    Any reader that doesn’t read more than one review before deciding to purchase a book doesn’t really base their purchasing on reviews. I always read several reviews, as many as I can find, negative and positive before I make a purchase. But so far, you haven’t let me down. I don’t think I need to read reviews to know that what you write is quality work and extremely addictive reading as well as entertaining and fresh!

    Just read My Vampire Summer last night and LOVED it!


    • Heather I can always count on you to talk sense! Seriously! So glad you liked MVS and thank you for your kind words. Can’t wait to read the review. Xoxo Elle

  3. I don’t form my opinion of a book from other readers reviews. I read the synopsis and form my own decision of whether or not I want to read the book. The influence of others is not always good. Keep up the good work!

    • You’re actually the first person to say that to me. I’m surprised. I guess this means I’d better go back and review my blurbs again and make sure they’re grabbing potential readers to the max! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. xoxo Elle

      • I am the same way, so yes the synopsis is very important for some readers. I try to hardly ever look at reviews before I read a book or watch a movie. My tastes are unique and I like to make my own decisions.

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