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.


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?


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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