I’ve written three books in my life and all three of them have been subjected to the merciless criticism of the folks over at a certain social networking site for bookworms. These people are deadly serious about books, so when they detect the slightest weakness in your text, they’re more than happy to pounce on you like a wounded antelope caught under a rock. I read every review because I’m repulsively self-absorbed and because while getting a one-star review sucks, the people writing that review usually have valid criticisms. In fact, as you will see, I much prefer getting a one-star review to certain other ratings. Here now is my quick guide to how authors usually respond internally to their reviews, based on rating.
FIVE STARS: YES! Sh*t yes! Can’t do better than five stars. I’m right up there with Hamlet. But why did this person write ONLY one paragraph about how much they loved it? Seems like a copout. If you’re gonna give me five stars, you better MEAN it, buddy! I want a PhD dissertation that can serve an annotated companion to the text for future college students. Did you not notice the part where I alluded to tree branches on both page 134 and page 238? I planted that imagery there for a reason, Mr. Lazy! Seriously though… FIVE STARS! BOOSH!
FOUR STARS: Very nice. But why didn’t you give it five? Virtually every four star review says, “I would have given this book five stars, except for (insert one incredibly petty little grievance).” The author used too many commas! I didn’t like the jacket copy! The salesman at the bookshop who helped me find it was kind of a dick! Just give me the five stars. You’re dragging down my average.
THREE STARS: F*ck you. F*ck you, three-star reviewers. You are kind of the people who register onto message boards just to say, “meh”. Have a REAL opinion the next time you read a damn book. “Well, I kinda liked it but I kinda didn’t, so here’s my half-assed three-star review…” SH*T OR GET OFF THE POT, MISTER. Love it or hate it, damn you. Does nothing in life excite you? At least with a one-star reviewer, I know where I stand. But YOU, you filthy urchin, you think you’re being charitable by throwing me three stars like it’s loose change? You are horrible. And double middle fingers to the people who give you three stars but LOVE your book… those people who reserve four and five stars only for, like, the New Testament. You’re not reviewing restaurants for the Times. Be more of a star whore if you actually like something.
TWO STARS: Crap. So you really didn’t like it, eh? Sh*t. Was it something I said? Was it that sex scene on page 167? I can have that expurgated, you know. I’ll totally mail you a version with that part ripped out. WHOLE NEW BOOK. Hey, wait a second, did you base your review on a galley? Dude, that wasn’t proofread! You know that, right? I made six tweaks that change the whole TONE of the book. Give me another chance. Please. Please, I beg of you. They’ll never give me another book deal now. OH CURSE YOU!!!!!
ONE STAR: Haterz gon hate.