The blog of author Harper Alexander

A Small Rant from a Disgruntled Writer

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I’m running into a bit of an issue, these days. It has to do with reviews. Let me be the first to say, I have every awareness that there are areas I need to improve as a writer, and I love the idea of growing as a writer. That being said, allow me to address the issue…

In the early days, I was getting nothing but good reviews. Some 4 star, some 5 star, but very nice reviews either way. This surprised me, because what I have published is (obviously enough) a lot of my early work. But of course I was pleased.

Then the 1 star reviews started to roll in. I realize these are going to come, but there are two things really bothering me about them as of late. One: I will get lots of ‘likes’, but then the only person that decides to leave a review is the one person who deems it 1-star quality. It really bothers me that, clearly, enough people like it that it’s worth reading to many, but if the only people to leave reviews give it 1 star, that’s going to doom it for all the people who might otherwise have loved it.

Reason it bothers me #2: (Alright, I just thought of three good reasons, so I’ll add another one after this)… I respect that people are opinionated and some are going to hate what others love, giving them the right to rate something lowly. However, in my book, 1-star quality is when there are all kinds of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical issues in addition to personal issues you might have with the story itself. Basically, when something is so bad that there’s nothing good about it. I’ve seen 1-star quality, and I’ve always been thankful that I have the education and good sense to avoid it. So it really, really digs at me when my decently-put-together piece of literature is compared to ones that are sloppy and un-professional. I don’t care if you don’t like the story – give it some credit for being professional, PLEASE.

Now, the third thing that’s been bothering me. Lately, I have been getting both 1-star reviews AND 5-star reviews. For every 5-star, I seem to get a 1-star. What am I supposed to do with THAT? Am I bad or good? If I was getting regular 3- star reviews, at least I would know that my writing was average and I just needed to improve a bit, in one area or another. But with this…? I have no idea what to do. I want to do whatever I can to rate as superior to 1-star reviews, but if other people give it 5… Then, for them, I don’t want to change anything.

Am I supposed to try to improve at the risk of losing my 5-star-bestowing fans? Or leave things as they are and continue to receive upsetting 1-star reviews as well?

Who would have thought I’d ever wish for a bunch of 3-star reviews, but I would really kind of rather be getting those, and wish I was just more average, right about now.

What’s an author to do?


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