Monday, June 2, 2014

Any Publicity is Good Publicity

Amazon has this relatively new promotion (Jan. 2014) called Kindle First. Each month, four upcoming kindle releases are offered for $1.99. I always look forward to reading the synopsis of each novel, understandably biased as it is written by the book’s editor. My choice for June is The Fracking King: A Novel. I might have leaned more toward the mystery, Supreme Justice, except for two reasons. 

The first reason is that I’ve followed the news about fracking within the United States and look forward to reading the author’s treatment of this controversial practice. The second reason involves a “review” submitted by someone who believes the author of The Fracking King: A Novel should do more research due to the spelling of a word in the book’s title (for the record it is spelled correctly.) The comment has led to a “review discussion.” 

First, let me say it is not my idea of entertainment to read critical remarks or faint praise meant to discredit an author’s work. Having been on the receiving end, I know the potential damage such a review can cause to an author’s self-esteem or credibility. Low-star reviews offering no substantiating insight, however, reflect the mindset of the reviewer far more than they reveal the worth of the book being reviewed. 

A reviewer’s opinion falls under the heading of free speech, a constitutionally guaranteed inalienable right. Opinion connotes view, estimation, belief, judgment, attitude, and outlook. Opinion does not signify fact, absolute, dogma, or law. 

Granted, at times I have decided against purchasing a book when credibly written low-star reviews outnumbered axe grinding low-star reviews. On the other hand, a large number of high-star reviews suggests to me that the author has succeeded in reaching their target audience, something all authors aspire to and admire in others. In that case, my responsibility is to determine if the book targets my interests.

A high-star review has never convinced me to buy a book that didn’t interest me, and no low-star review will ever stop me from buying a book I want to read. Therefore, are reviews worth anything more than unlimited entertainment and insight into the human psyche? Definitely!

Reviews confirm that people are reading the book and sharing their opinions with others. Contrary to popular belief concerning the “word of mouth” theory, not everyone who hears an opinion agrees with it. Some people like to form an opinion based on their own criteria. Whether they ultimately agree with the “word of mouth” opinion or reach a different conclusion, one thing still holds true.
Any publicity is good publicity.
This is my opinion on book reviews and publicity. I would love to hear yours.


  1. This was a thought-provoking post. I tend to choose books based on either a recommendation by a friend, or a book jacket blurb that tells me what the book is about. I can't really say that reviews convince me to read or not to read.

  2. Thank you for your comments, Elizabeth. It is interesting to hear how people look at reviews and if they use them to choose their next book.

  3. A really helpful article! One bad review (against other four and five star ones) really knocked my confidence, even though the criticism completely missed the point of fiction in general (i.e. fiction doesn't always have to be like real life!). So it's great to see your spin on all reviews and what helps people decide to read a book (or not). Thanks for writing it, I will tweet it!

  4. Thanks for tweeting, Emma. I agree that it is easy for a bad review to spoil your day, until you decide it is all Rock and Roll!

  5. I sometimes use reviews to break ties. Two books or movies catch my interest and only buying one, I will go with the higher rated.

    I got my name published in the paper for not paying my property taxes (thought I had done them, I swear!) But hey, any publicity is good publicity...right? LOL

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)


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