Three Star Review: Bring em on!
Over the years, I've watched many authors jump up and down with ecstatic glee (including myself) when a four or five star review shows up. You'd have thought we'd won the lottery. Along those same lines we receive the occasional message about a dumping two and dreaded one star review. When those appear, we start drumming up support from any and all we know to blast the reviewer to the next millennium for being so crass and unnerving. How dare they post their opinion. I saw this just recently from the Queen of Vampires: Anne Rice. Come on Anne, you're a seasoned writer and a little criticism keeps us all on our toes.
But why is there no mention of the number three? What has it done to garner no recognition at all? Has the number three offended us in someway? What did it do to be left out in the cold? Why do we as authors not thump our chests and cheer when we get a three, three-and-a-half or even a three-and-three quarter review? Why? Well let's see. I believe it's because three is stuck in the middle. We take it for granted that we've written a three star book, but we want more, and for some reason, the number three just doesn't excite us. Well it should.
I've given out a slew of three star reviews. Some of the authors have accepted the review and moved on, while others were absolutely appalled with the ranking. Beats two, so I would think.
What do I like about the three star? It is an honest thought from a reader. Plain and simple. I'll say it again, it's an honest review—and potential readers will READ IT! I recently received three, three star reviews for Occupation and I was thrilled. I messaged each of the reviewers for their private thoughts on what they didn't like about the work. Overall, they thoroughly enjoyed the story, but there were a few parts that didn't please their palates. Excellent feedback! So, what did I do with those reviews? I spread the word and shouted from the highest building (without falling off). These are the reviews I seek out in spades. I will take ten three stars over one five any day of the week. We all know the stigma surrounding the five star:
"They must be family or illiterate friends."
"They paid for the review."
"They were promised a free book for a good review."
"They've set up ghost accounts to pad the reviews"
And the list goes one. But no one questions a three star unless it's a disgruntled author. In my humble opinion, what we as authors miss is, the three star is an compilation of our work through our readers eyes and minds. For me, it is the best tool available in sharpening our skills and turning out better works. After all, isn't that what we are aspiring to achieve? So, bring on the three's, our books are awaiting your arrival.
However, if you'd like to throw in a four, please feel free.