Everyone has an opinion. Here’s mine: Dear fellow authors, ignore the ratings and read the comments.

Voicing opinions is a human imperative. That’s one of the reasons why there are close to 150 million Twitter users; that’s why there are close to 200 million blogs. That’s why there are so many websites where we can rate products and professionals. We want to have our say.

Clearly, I am an active participant in this culture of opinion pandering. In particular, I have gone onto various book sites to rate and review novels I’ve read.  It’s easy and somehow satisfying. Sometimes I think, megalomaniacally, that I might even be helping to guide and advise future readers.

Perhaps.

But, as a new author I now see all this from a new perspective. I have gone to goodreads.com and amazon.com to see what people thought of my novel and this is what I’ve learned: thoughtful reviews, including the negative ones, can be helpful and informative to me as a writer, while lone ratings, without commentary are not.

When I was a synchronized swimmer, at the end of a performance the judges would raise their scorecards and voila, I was ranked and rated. As a performer, these scores were not particularly helpful on their own. I did not know what parts the judges enjoyed, or the sections and technical elements in which I fell short. An 8.5 meant very little without the qualitative data to back it up. I wasn’t learning or growing as an artist-athlete. It was only after the events ended, when I had the opportunity to speak with the judges and hear their thoughts, feedback and opinions, no matter how difficult they were to hear, that I saw the bigger picture.

So, as an author I’ve concluded that I will pay close attention to those who take the time to comment (thoughtfully) and do my best to ignore the rest.

How do you view these rating sites?

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About clairecarverdias

Olympic medallist. Author. Communications consultant. Coach.
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4 Responses to Everyone has an opinion. Here’s mine: Dear fellow authors, ignore the ratings and read the comments.

  1. Great advice, Claire. Thanks.

  2. Mike says:

    I understand, in my sports background it was the film with the coaches that told the story of what we did wrong and had to correct. One thing as of late I have noticed more and more is opinions coming when people have not really read a whole paper/project. There are many opinions, I guess like in anything, one must recognize the sources of the opinions. Cheers

  3. tmycann says:

    Great point; it’s why I appreciate having found a good critique group, a good editor, and a good publisher. And can vent privately about those who miss the point entirely, or critique something other than the writing. 😉

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