Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wordplay Wednesday™ April 12, 2017 – Puissant

Anatomy of Book Reviews – It’s All in the Stars 

Are you an avid Amazon book reviewer? Do you love reading a book, sharing your thoughts in a review—and bestowing it your 1 (rotten tomato) to 5 (GOLD*) stars?

Author to Reader—do you know how to write a review that makes you look good, informs prospective readers, and gives the author an honest critique?

Amazon author rankings are enigmatic at best and confidence-destroying at worst. Unfortunately, many readers who review and wield their star-power arbitrarily, know not what they do …

PUISSANT (pwisʹɘnt; pyooʹi sɘnt) adj. – powerful; strong; n. puissance  [WW #107]

In a book or product review, or even life, power without substance is false positive.

Today’s puissant word is prompted by a nice 4-star review received on Amazon, for my latest book. 4 and 5 stars are always appreciated. You hear a “but” coming, though, right?

But … it’s time to address those delightful readers who mean well, while not truly understanding what their reviews and star gradings actually do to or for, an author—much less for other readers, for whom they should be writing. (This article refers to real people/reviewers; see Forbes article about fake reviews.)

I appreciate each and every review; yes, even the antagonistic ones. All are puissant in their own way. I learn from the negative as much as I stroke my ego reading the glowing reviews. Not all reviews are created equal …

When reviewing, do you consider too, the book and author you’re writing about? To a puissant and voluminous author (you know, the Stephen Kings* of the world), one review does not carry as much weight and affect rankings like a book with, say, less than twenty-five reviews. (*King averages 2,000+.)  So …

A review with less than 5 stars, while perhaps admiring in content, creates a quandary for prospective readers and frustrates the book’s ranking.

Although the reader obviously liked my book, he didn’t actually review it. It’s wonderful he felt urged to take a fun trek down Memory Lane—the true objective of the Blast from Your Past! books.

His comments broke down to about 80% his DJ history/memories (and I’m OK with that), 15% making nice about my book (so glad he’s looking forward to the next one!), but only 5% worth for other readers. More importantly, he did not tell us why he gave the book only 4 STARS.

It’s all in the puissant stars … FYI, there is little negative difference in author rankings between 4 stars and 1. There is a HUGE drop in rankings, though, when we receive 4 stars rather 5. And Amazon’s algorithms pick up on the negatives …

And it’s compounded if there is no explanation from the reviewer as to why less than 5. Without a reason, the review is a disservice to prospective readers, and reduces the book’s visibility. If you have NOTHING negative to say about the book, then for heaven’s sake, award it 5 stars!

Just threw this in to see if you're still reading 😉
So dear readers, be truly puissant in your reviews, whether for Amazon or other public venue. Grade books and other products authoritatively.

Tips: Always state reasons for your opinion and comments. Does it warrant a negative? Then try “constructive criticism.” Bottom line—why did you hate it—or why did you LOVE it?

To other authors: remember, you can’t please all the readers all the time. Be confident in your writing and appreciate the negatives, while you cherish the puissant positives.  
*Note to Amazon: the stars should be in a rainbow of colors to reflect our true opinion: 1=red (hated it); 2=pink (some redeeming value); 3=blue (just OK); 4=purple (good, could be better); 5=Gold (excellent!).

Word Challenge: PUISSANT. Make your book and product reviews puissant! Guide others who peruse them, and offer commendable insight, as you fit puissant into your week of thoughtful writings.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle)


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