Author Topic: I Love Goodreads  (Read 3520 times)

Creative_Vortx

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2010, 06:01:24 PM »
Ultimately I don't think reviewer reviews matter that much.

Thank you for your seemingly accidental insult.  I know you probably didn't mean it that way, but still.  Good book reviewers actually put in a lot of work, and have a lot of people who rely on their reviews.  Reviews, after all, can be considered "word of mouth". 

I rely completely on reviewers because I don't have many friends that read. Without book review sites I would buy very few books that I wasn't already in love with (ie, anything BS I will buy no matter what just because I love his style, and if Patrick Rothfuss ever puts his sequel out I will have that one the first day). A review on Goodreads is actually how I came to learn about Brandon Sanderson (yup, found him BEFORE WoT, lol) and subsequently bought multiple copies of all his books and gifted tons off to friends and family in hopes to get them reading. I put a lot of weight on what other similar minded people (into fantasy or sci-fi) say about books in the genre. I reject your opinion Peter!  :D
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 06:05:58 PM by Creative_Vortx »
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2010, 10:07:49 PM »
I honestly believe most people who buy books do not read reviews, and I'm not sure why you would find it insulting. There's nothing wrong with writing reviews. I just ultimately feel their affect on sales is debatable. Even if a lot of people rely on someone's reviews, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the total number of people who buy the books. I could be wrong, but it's the feeling I've gotten over the last 6 years. People put more stock in their friends saying "this is cool" than a pro or semipro reviewer sitting down and figuring out why something is cool.

Reviewers add to the discourse and analysis of books, but critical acclaim often bears no relationship to sales. Criticism is great; critics should keep on doing their thing! It just won't necessarily impact whether or not most people buy the book. And I don't think critics need to feel that it should have an impact.

If a lot of people like a book, and people know that a lot of people like a book, that will make them more likely to look into it themselves. But exactly what those people say about that book they like is often irrelevant. The quantity of the feedback has more effect than the quality. The number of Amazon reviews a book gets shows how it's selling more than the quality of those reviews or even how a book is rated. Most books on Amazon that sell decently have over a hundred reviews and between 3.5 and 4.5 stars. Similarly, lots of people look on Rotten Tomatoes at the cumulative score and don't read a single review, then combine that with a trailer viewing to decide whether to see something. But then after something's been out a week, it's not the Tomatometer that affects whether someone will go see a movie: it's what their personal friends have said about it.

Lots of critics liked Daniel Abraham's books and Ken Scholes' books. Sales have been dismal in both cases. Why? The critics are doing their job, if their job is to try to affect sales of books they like or dislike (which I expect most critics would deny). But a lot of people who would like the books if they read them just don't know about the books. Those people don't pay attention to reviews. Somehow a critical mass of word of mouth has not occurred. It's a very mysterious process that rejects all attempts to define it.

Some people do pay a lot of attention to reviews and find reviewers they know the tastes of and decide to buy something based on whether they know to agree or disagree with a reviewer. But for the vast majority of book buyers this is not the case.
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Creative_Vortx

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2010, 11:13:49 PM »
Kay, you may be right about the general reading public. If everybody took stock in reviews a lot more then we wouldn't have people standing in Barnes n Noble for 2 hours staring at the Fantasy section, irritating me because they're standing right in front of the area that the book I'm about to buy is in!  >:( Grr!

I guess sales are still defined by how much $$ you ultimately put into marketing. Look at Dan Brown and his crazy female following of house wives (personal observation  :D ). It seems to me that they just constantly threw $$ at the book's marketing even if it was horrid (personal opinion  :D ).

Now that you've explained your reasoning behind it I officially remove my rejection of your opinion Peter, we can be friends again.
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zas678

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2010, 11:48:22 PM »
I think some reviews are helpful. I know there are quite a few people who started on Brandon Sanderson because of the quote on the front of Elantris from Orson Scott Card.

But, I agree with you that most reviews aren't going to be the major determining factor in reading a book. Personal Recommendations are.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2010, 02:22:59 AM »
I wasn't considering cover blurbs at all. That's a different story, though also something that has more effect on some people than others, and perhaps not as useful as Tor thinks (the LOVE their cover blurbs). However, I have indeed heard of a lot of people who picked up Brandon for that reason. But then, it turns out that Scott Card is effusive whenever he blurbs a book, and not all of those books go on to success.

And whether sales are definied by how much $$ you put into marketing is HUGE question mark. Now, if some complete nobody first-time author got the embarrassingly huge marketing push that Brandon is getting on WoK, would it make a sales difference? You bet; it would make an enormous sales difference even if the book is only OK. But what percentage difference is it going to make for WoK? Much, much less difference than it would make for a no-name. A lot of the people who are doing things like entering the ARC contests would have bought the book anyway because they're already Brandon fans. I do think the marketing will make a difference, but this is something you can't scientifically test. You'd need an alternate universe in which little to no marketing was done in order to see what difference the marketing made. Of course if the book does sell well, the marketing department will pat itself on the back for a job well done, whether it sold well because of anything they did or just because people read THE GATHERING STORM and liked it and decided to pick up Brandon's next book. Which is probably going to be the greatest single contributing factor to its sales.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2010, 02:58:32 AM »
By the way, I heard the GoodReads winners' copies were mailed out today. Not sure why it took them that long.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Terrisman243

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2010, 05:05:02 PM »
You'd need an alternate universe in which little to no marketing was done in order to see what difference the marketing made.

Or a time machine. That would do it too.

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2010, 07:29:51 PM »
But going back in time to change the variable would create an alternate timeline.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Creative_Vortx

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2010, 05:24:16 PM »
I think some reviews are helpful. I know there are quite a few people who started on Brandon Sanderson because of the quote on the front of Elantris from Orson Scott Card.

But, I agree with you that most reviews aren't going to be the major determining factor in reading a book. Personal Recommendations are.

Thats the reason I first looked for a review. I saw the blurb on Elantris by OSC and went to look for more information, found that Mistborn was more a story I could get into so I picked that up first. Forgot about that.

By the way, I heard the GoodReads winners' copies were mailed out today. Not sure why it took them that long.

Thanks for the info Peter. Can't wait to get it. And you're right, most of us that get ARCs will end up buying the book anyways to show support. I know I will be gifting a copy to my girlfriend and a friend.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 05:27:30 PM by Creative_Vortx »
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calvin

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2010, 05:43:28 PM »
I'm one of those that definitely reads the reviews...even for the authors that I love to death.  I use them to help get me in the mood to plow through the book, and to get excited about what's coming.  If it's an author that I've never read before, the reviews (and sometimes who wrote them) are critical to my buying the book.

With Brandon Sanderson, my brother was the first review that I got, and I bought everything he had published after that (there's no fail in buying a Brandon Sanderson book).  Now I'm waiting for the first moment that each new book comes out, and gnawing on the short stories and blogs on his website in the meantime.  I can't wait until he's done with the WOT books so that he can go full time on his own series.  I've even gotten to read an advance copy of one of his books that won't be published for some time, probably...not sure if that was a good idea, since I LOVE the story and it's gonna kill me waiting for it to get published.  I read Warbreaker on line twice and then bought it immediately when it came out.

Now, I'm the happy winner of an ARC...to the dismay of my brother who is a die-hard Brandon Sanderson fan.  He flipped out that I "scooped" him on this one.  He was already planning on being at the midnight signing for the release.

Okay, now the suspense is killing me waiting for that ARC to show up...Mr. Postman, WHERE ARE YOU???? 
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mycoltbug

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2010, 06:46:36 PM »
I so agree with you Calvin! I go home from work and frantically check the mailbox, table, under the couch, bedrooms, kitchen, bookshelves, and then the bathroom to see if it has arrived.  Why all those locations? I'm married to a non-reader, so my books tend to get hidden as a joke. Hopefully it won't take much longer, it's been 6 days since they "shipped" out.

Creative_Vortx

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #41 on: August 19, 2010, 07:35:19 PM »
My father once took a book I was desperately waiting for.. wrapped it in saran wrap, then put it in a zip lock back, then duck taped the whole thing, then repeated that step 3 times. THEN he put it on the roof of our apt outside our patio. What a great father. Took me an hour to remove it without damaging it.

And yes, I'm still waiting for mine as well. Irritating as heck.
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calvin

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2010, 07:48:40 PM »
My father once took a book I was desperately waiting for.. wrapped it in saran wrap, then put it in a zip lock back, then duck taped the whole thing, then repeated that step 3 times. THEN he put it on the roof of our apt outside our patio. What a great father. Took me an hour to remove it without damaging it.

And yes, I'm still waiting for mine as well. Irritating as heck.

Wow...cool Dad!  I know you were probably furious with him at the time, but looking back, he gave you an amazing memory!  AND he delayed the "post-partum" blues that come from finishing a great book by an hour.  LOL
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Creative_Vortx

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #43 on: August 19, 2010, 08:52:43 PM »
My father once took a book I was desperately waiting for.. wrapped it in saran wrap, then put it in a zip lock back, then duck taped the whole thing, then repeated that step 3 times. THEN he put it on the roof of our apt outside our patio. What a great father. Took me an hour to remove it without damaging it.

And yes, I'm still waiting for mine as well. Irritating as heck.

Wow...cool Dad!  I know you were probably furious with him at the time, but looking back, he gave you an amazing memory!  AND he delayed the "post-partum" blues that come from finishing a great book by an hour.  LOL

To this day every time I get a book delivered I make sure I take both the saran wrap and duct tape and put it in my closet. Ya great memory, but i'm scarred for life now. LOL
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fantastyfreak

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Re: I Love Goodreads
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2010, 05:36:23 PM »
I'm one of those that definitely reads the reviews...even for the authors that I love to death.  I use them to help get me in the mood to plow through the book, and to get excited about what's coming.  If it's an author that I've never read before, the reviews (and sometimes who wrote them) are critical to my buying the book.

With Brandon Sanderson, my brother was the first review that I got, and I bought everything he had published after that (there's no fail in buying a Brandon Sanderson book).  Now I'm waiting for the first moment that each new book comes out, and gnawing on the short stories and blogs on his website in the meantime.  I can't wait until he's done with the WOT books so that he can go full time on his own series.  I've even gotten to read an advance copy of one of his books that won't be published for some time, probably...not sure if that was a good idea, since I LOVE the story and it's gonna kill me waiting for it to get published.  I read Warbreaker on line twice and then bought it immediately when it came out.

Now, I'm the happy winner of an ARC...to the dismay of my brother who is a die-hard Brandon Sanderson fan.  He flipped out that I "scooped" him on this one.  He was already planning on being at the midnight signing for the release.

Okay, now the suspense is killing me waiting for that ARC to show up...Mr. Postman, WHERE ARE YOU???? 

Honestly, I used to be a cynic about book reviews. I always denounced them for their  noncontributory reviews that were never  real initiators for intelligent dialogue about the book. Simply put, some reviewers write uninspired reviews that noticeably mime the format, the comments, and details of their former reviewers. This usually helps purport the belief of readers that these reviewers are not necessarily reading the reviewed book.

Mind you, I'm only noticing a growing trend with many blogger. Since, I happen to be a blogger. I cannot help but see this error being magnified to a greater degree in nearly every review. Many reviewers depend upon the principle of quantity over quality. Therefore, their reviews suffer gravely from pithy statements about the books that could easily be used with any number of books. Rather than the book they are aiming to review properly.

Why do I feel disheartened by this? Because the book bloggers with flashy animations can easily delude readers into overlooking these reviews. In effect, bloggers like myself who will write a lower quantity of reviews due to closely reading the requested book happen to never be noticed. I'm fortunate for the ecstatic readers that sparsely populate my blog or the many authors that offer encouragement. But the traffic of my blog remains stalled because I forbade myself to use contests or higher quantities of terse reviews to promote my blog.

Anyways, I will probably have a "Way of Kings" review around October because I wish to write an exemplar review that proves to readers that I carefully read the book. And there are several great blog reviewers that have high traffic yet write fantastic reviews. I'm not directing my criticism to every single book blogger. My statement involves the pool of bloggers with high traffic yet have reviews that lack substance.

Sorry for the long winded rant!!
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 05:38:21 PM by fantastyfreak »