Author Confessions About One-Star Reviews

I recently wrote a post on books that got a one-star star review for the most ludicrous of reasons. It fired up both Twitter and Goodreads and people had, as always, mixed opinions on the matter.


Given the success of Dear One-Star Reviewer, I asked fellow authors on Goodreads to take the one-star review to the next level and share their experiences on the matter, so here it goes…


Author Vs One-Star Review


“I think bad one star reviews are when the reader hasn’t actually READ the book and judges it off of some controversy and gives it a one star to drive the rating down. This happened recently with Blood Heir and it happens ALL the time. I have seen it happen with Good Luck With That and The Black Witch as well.


People hear some controversy or are offended and then go and post one star reviews on books they haven’t read. THAT is ridiculous. It’s fiction! It’s supposed to make you think. We live in a society that is constantly getting offended and sometimes it hurts the authors.” Amanda


“I second your opinion, Amanda. Another reason why some people give one-star ratings to certain books is their political, racial or religious personal views. How often have some ‘good Christians’ poured vitriol on books that contradict their beliefs? Authors who are tackling controversial subjects are especially at risk of such biased reviews.” Michel


“Well, I had a few sour experiences with one-star reviews that had, in my opinion, little to do with the quality of my writing or book. Let me first state that English is a second language for me (I am French-Canadian). I am fluent in English but I can still misspell English words (very infrequently). A British reader did tell me however that he thought my written English was excellent and had not detected the fact that I was not a native English speaker. Still…


On one occasion, I got a one-star rating for a military fiction thriller with a review that was as rambling and incoherent as you could imagine and sounded like it had been written by someone on drugs. 


On another occasion, I got a one-star review for one of my time travel ebooks (which has been downloaded over 25,000 times on a free ebook site), with an angry comment saying that my book was an incitement to communism and a full fledged attack on Christianity! I suppose that mentioning the fact that Canada has a single payer health care system equals incitement to communism for some and that saying that my heroin was an atheist was a direct attack on the Church. Geezz…


Lastly, one woman gave me a one-star rating after she found a typo on the first page of one of my books, saying that she immediately stopped reading my book. 


They say that people are entitled to their opinions, but some opinions are less educated than others.” Michel



“Such conduct is an unfortunate reality in today’s world. There are people whose sense of reason and definition of manners, reasonableness, and dignity are warped beyond belief. Combining that with the anonymity of doing these things thanks to the Internet, only expands the gene pool of classless individuals.” C.R.D.


“ I am in the rather unusual (I think) position of having one book with five reviews – one of each! The one star review started off with the person complaining about everything that was announced in the blurb – in other words it was a niche book written for a specific audience and this person was clearly not one of them. The even complained that it was SF with “science in it”. (If they could not pick that even from looking at the cover, then they are thick!)


When I use reviews to buy a book, I always look at the “bad” reviews and see why the one or two star rating was given. The reasons mark the reviewer, so if the reviewer gives specific details, it is not so bad (unless the writing deserved it.)” Ian


 “My weirdest experience with 1-star reviews involved another one-star review. 


The story; a friend of mine here on GR 1-starred and hate-reviewed that book on pickup artistry, and in due course the Broflakes came a-calling to tell her how wroooong she was for 1-starring a book she hadn’t read completely (she’d read the free preview and decided that was enough rapey misogynist BS for her). 


I made a couple of civil comments, trying to explain to the posters how they might want to listen to her position without trying to start shit on a friend’s feed (like ya do) but one of them was particularly obnoxious, and I finally said “(friend), why don’t you just block this dickslap and have done?” 


Which she did. About five minutes later I happened to glance at MY profile, to discover I had a review for my first book. A one-star review, from the guy in the prior conversation, in which he called me a rape apologist and a hypocrite. 


Yeah, I flagged that review. GR took it down but the rating’s still there. Then, another participant in the “conversation” elected to one-star my book and flag my comment for “abuse”. 


I would like to point out that their objection to my friend’s review was that she hadn’t read the book…but apparently one-starring my book without reading it (and personally attacking me), was an acceptable response. 


Situations like this are why I despise the “manosphere”. But yeah, that’s my weird story.” Eric



 “Too often, these 1-star reviews reflect more on the reviewer than on the book or author. All this, along with the huge variations in ratings given to the same books makes me wonder if this ratings review system is worth anything to make for ourselves a valid opinion about a book. I personally, I believe that a book’s blurb will tell more about it (and with more accuracy) than any readers rating systems. We just need to analyze that blurb’s wording carefully, without buying it as cash.” Michel


“Nothing worse than a ridiculous one-star review. I don’t mind a legitimate one, but I had one where the person hadn’t even read the book, they just seemed to have decided I shouldn’t have written it… or that I was misadvertising it? I don’t know. It’s a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice, but apparently if the characters aren’t actually called Elizabeth & Darcy then I shouldn’t be calling it that. Um, isn’t Bridget Jones’ Diary a retelling of P&P as well? Her name isn’t Lizzie either! Lol” Valerie


“Not a 1* but I did have someone label my book as unrealistic, it was a murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie set in a small village cut off by a severe storm.

I’m not sure which part was supposed to be unrealistic, the cut-off village (happens almost every winter here in the UK) or an ex-wife killing her husband’s new love. 

I do love some of the things people put in reviews.” Alex


“Maybe it was a paperback and the cover fell off? I’m clutching at straws.  I’d rather forget the 1 star review my pen name received ridiculing my story having not even read it.” D.J.


“ I read the full article and honestly it made me laugh. When I go to pick out a book I look at negative and positive reviews. Sometimes I will come across negative reviews and they will help sway me TOWARDS the book because of what people say. I have seen some RIDICULOUS reviews, like a person reads erotica and says “DNF this book had sex in it!”. Everyone is entitled to their opinions though! 

As a book blogger I think that critical reviews are VERY important, but I know other book bloggers that will only post positive reviews. I have to admit, when an author sends me a physical copy of their book and I have issues with it. I do feel bad writing a critical review, but I am not going to sacrifice my integrity as a reviewer for an author’s feelings. My hope is that they are professional and can handle criticism. 

I have only given out like… 2 one star reviews in my life, but some of my 3 star reviews are VERY critical while others are mostly positive. I tend to round up I guess.” Amanda


“I had one of those 1-star reviews. The reviewer didn’t like the genre. Fortunately, I wasn’t self-published and my publisher had already sent it out for legitimate reviews and my book got several 5-star and 4-star reviews.

I think this reviewer made it her duty to give 1-star reviews as when I looked at her profile she had a few other such reviews.” Paul


“Yeah, that’s ridiculous. You look at their reviews and there’s so many 1 star you have to wonder why they read, or if they read it in the first place. Or someone that says “I’m a veracious reader” and look at reviews and they have 3 or 4 books reviewed. I just SMH and wonder what the hell they’re doing.” Trish



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