3* Reviews ~ RJ Scott: Outside the Margins

Join us as RJ Scott goes Outside the Margins.

RJ Scott OTMThe MM world is a funny old thing. We can most of the time be the most supportive and inclusive group of people. When push comes to shove we rally around those that need us, and we all look out for one another. That much is a given. We have fans that support us and love us, and we love them back. We have review sites that work tirelessly and for no reward to promote us. I get 5s, and 4s and 4.5s and recommended reads. I get five reviews on new books, I am lucky and I know it, and I thank reviewers and bloggers every day for the support they give the community. There is seriously so much connection in our niche market that it is difficult for me to ever feel down about my writing.


On those dark dark very black nightmare days when I get a 1 in a review. Or a DNF. Or a this is a hot mess I don’t know why I bother kind of review. Or a I hate this but I will be buying the next book kind of review. And where do I see these reviews? You guessed it… ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed… and that OtherPlaceCalledAmazon

For every ten 5s and 4s that I receive, from people that love the book, that want a sequel, you know, the types of reviews you want to print and stick on your wall, there will always be the 1s.

CaptureAnd f**k me, if they aren’t the ones we as writers remember. Those are the reviews that have us thinking we have completely cocked up our entire writing careers. The reviews that MUST be true because our insecurities support every word they say.

I wish I could tell you that even after four years and nearly seventy published stories that I didn’t feel that stomach dropping hateful feeling of being a failure whenever I see something really awful posted about my writing. I’d be lying. I still feel the criticism but now, I manage to get over it fairly quickly.

Someone at GRL asked me why I changed the ending to All The Kings Men when I re-released it. I had a simple answer. Review-pressure. So many reviewers hated it, and it didn’t matter who loved the look at the LA of sixty years ahead, all I heard was that I had failed.

So, what is the point of this post? Oh yeah, three star reviews.

You get enough unbiased reviews of an average work and you’ll see a pattern forming. This is called a normal distribution. With a reasonable amount of 5s and 1s balancing out the majority of AVERAGE reviews of 3s.

See, we should all, as writers, expect our books to get an average of 3. The good should balance the bad and we should be smiling and happy when a book has an average rating of a three. That means we have written for the average person and done well. So I call it a win to get a 4, or a 5, I call it a fantastic win. And yeah, I can get all miserable for a few minutes on the 1s, but hey, all my books on ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed average over 3, so I guess I must be doing something right (ROFL).

Which leads me nicely onto those rare MM books that are averaging in the high 4s. Does this mean the book was the very best book ever? Was it reviewed in a completely impartial manner? Or as a community do we bump up figures in a supportive way? Do the personalities of the authors sway a review?

And lastly, am I rambling again?

~ RJ Scott

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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3 thoughts on “3* Reviews ~ RJ Scott: Outside the Margins

  1. This is a great article. The lure of the baaaaad review hey!

    I find that most of the time I can easily ignore the 1 or 2 star reviews. Some have good advice I will take on board, some just tell me my writing style doesn’t suit that reader and some are so hateful they are juust funny! I genuinely respect everyone’s opinion, reading is a personal thing. Sometimes though, if I’m already having a bad day, they can get to me…I tend to read to compensate. So that makes it kind okf win-win, right?

    On the other hand, 5, 4 & 3 star reviews are better than anything so I try and concentrate on them, knowing that I made someone happy with my words!

  2. To elaborate on what I said on Facebook…most of the really good reviews where I can tell the reviewer -really got- the story have been 3*. I was bummed out about it for a while, but I am blessed with a very wise wife.

    Wife: What’s your average rating when you review books?
    Me: …three…
    Wife: But you still liked those books and would recommend them to people?
    Me: Well, if you’re gonna be all logical about it! XD

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