Stars On Amazon

I have been away from here for a few days, I know. I’m working on that short story. If I’m “missing” for a time, I’m usually found perhaps briefly over on Instagram, reminding you I’m still among the living.

I was surprised to see this yesterday. Also, I don’t normally mention book reviews here. However, when a writer you respect reviews one of yours, you can’t help but take notice of it.

Author Adele Archer (the International Relations trilogy) has reviewed Frontiers at

She gave it “4 stars,” which is flattering. True, everyone wants to be a “five,” but I’m unsure about the value of “5 star” reviews. We see way too many “5 stars” on Amazon and I am increasingly finding as a consequence I cannot take them seriously. Most novels – including many huge sellers by super-famous writers – are honestly not “5 star” efforts.

Stars aside, reviews are, I feel, more useful as a guide for prospective readers than for authors. My uncle avoided reading reviews of his books. Following his example, I avoid reading them of mine.

If a reviewer loves your novel, as an author you risk becoming too easily satisfied, even complacent. If another gives it a mixed reception, you are apt to become frustrated. If someone hates it, you are likely to become discouraged as you move on with your next project.

Naturally, every reader – and every reviewer – sees every book differently.

[Photo by me, 2017.]

Released in December 2014, Frontiers is my second novel. I hope I have gotten better with my third, Distances (its follow up, and third in that series), and my latest, the unrelated, 1780s-90s drama, Conventions: The Garden At Paris. However, that is, of course, for readers to decide.

I discovered Adele had reviewed it only because I received a notification on my phone that she had “tagged” me in her Instagram post. I then “liked” the post as a friendly acknowledgement. However, following my “rules for reviews,” I did not read the full one at Amazon.

Another “rule” I have is that I do not supply free copies to reviewers (I have explained why previously); as you can see she bought it at retail just like anyone else. Nor did she receive a request from me to review it; she chose to do so entirely on her own.

Have a good weekend, wherever you are in the world. 🙂

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