Recently, I received a 2-star review on Amazon for my novel Only Scandal Will Do. Now, I admit I was disappointed that my work didn’t please a particular reader. Writers usually hope that their works will be well received, and I’m no different.
In this case, however, I thought one of her major criticisms was very interesting. She goes on to talk about why she didn’t like my heroine, but the title of her review was “I feel deceived.” And her complaint is that because my book had received a lot of very favorable reviews, she believed she would like it too. If you’d like to check out that review, you can find it here.
Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it? If, in general, a lot of people like one thing, and you believe you have similar tastes to most people, it stands to reason that you should like it too, right?
The problem with generalizations, however, are that we are all individuals. So while a whole lot of people may like a particular thing that in general you like too, sometimes we all march to our own drumbeat. This happens in all kinds of things–movies, books, television shows, video games, foods. I’ve stopped listening to critics for movies because I’ve found that a lot of times I really disagree with them. My particular taste is different from theirs.
So, if we can’t always depend on reviews, how do we decide whether or not we will like a
particular book or movie? For me, when choosing a book, I notice the cover first, then I look at the blurb to see if it pulls me in. Then I either read a sample (e-book) or read the first page (print) of the book to see if I like the writer’s voice and then decide if I want to buy. This isn’t fail-safe, by any means, but if you don’t want to rely on reviews, you have to come up with other mechanisms to help you decide what to buy.
What are some of your strategies for choosing books or movies? Have you ever been deceived before and dissatisfied with a book that had been recommended?