Books, indie author, Out of the Box Blogs, Reviews, scifi, Urban Fantasy

The Pre-Review

I have a conundrum. I hate pre-reviews. You know the reviews that people put up on books before they are released. The 5 star ratings that say “I CAN’T WAIT!!!” with unicorns and rainbows, but they haven’t actually read the book yet. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. They make me so crazy for these top three reasons:

  1. They dilute any real ARC reviews. If I’m looking at reviews to purchase a book, I can’t trust the rating because who knows how many 5 stars are just people that are excited to get a book. The ARC readers could be rating it 5 stars but now the true average is skewed.
  2. It hurts the authors and publishers. They tend to get alot of likes, so they are at the top. This is a problem because when I’m looking for an actual review, all I find is…OMG when am I going to get this book!!!! and not anything with substance. After awhile I get sick of shifting through them all and sometimes just give up. The sad part is after a book comes out, some of these 5 stars will get changed to lower ratings once the book is read.
  3. They use the likes later for a real review. You see people like those “I can’t wait reviews” because neither can they. And they can build up to a 100 likes in a year. But here is the twisted part, the reviewer can then edit it to a real review and keep the likes automatically becoming a top review, without any work (or sometimes without a good review) because they keep those likes. Then they get more for the actual review, it’s like getting double points, or let’s just call a spade a spade it’s like cheating.

But here is my problem, you have sites like Amazon that “fixed” this problem by just not allowing reviews of any book before its release. Now when I go to review any ARC I receive I can’t put a review on Amazon. I always intend to go back, but you know what they say about good intentions.

So which way is better, let anyone review anytime or only allow reviews once the book is released to stop all the 5 star previews that haven’t read? Les suggested giving the ARC readers a code to allow them to review, but who would we get the code from and would you needΒ  one for every site? I don’t know the solution or which way is better, frankly I see pros and cons in both system but you guys always have the best feedback so I figured I’d put it out there and see what you have to say…

26 thoughts on “The Pre-Review”

  1. I have to say I see a lot of people commenting on books I’m intending to read at goodreads before the book’s release, and it annoys me. But (personally) I don’t really rely *too* heavily on reviews anyway. I’ve seen a lot of negative commentary on books I thought were really good and vice versa, but the fact that these ratings on books that haven’t been released definitely give more of an idea of “who’s waiting/author popularity” and not “how good the book is” gets really grating lol! πŸ™‚

    Out of curiosity, do you guys accept ARC submissions? I may have missed it, but didn’t think it would hurt to ask. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ugh, yes! And I hate that because of that fix I can’t put ARC reviews up. Good intentions, as you said. Hrmph. I don’t even get the mentality. The author’s next book could SUCK. Why in the world would you pre-rate something?!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know! That just happened to me. An author that I’ve been reading for years just released a book in her series, book nine, and I gave it one star because I think it was terrible, especially for her. But it was an ARC and hasn’t released yet so she has a ton of 5 star I can’t wait reviews…hence the rant!

      I have to write a small disclaimer about this because Les reads this series too and liked the book. Our review is coming out this weekend, you’ll see how differently we view this book, but for now I’m venting all my anger at the pre-reviewers!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There have been too many authors lately who’ve let me down with really crappy books after I’ve previously really enjoyed their other books. I’ve learned to be wary about assuming you’ll love their next thing. It’s most disappointing when this happens within a series. (*cough*Temeraire*cough*)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate that I can’t post my ARC to Amazon before a release date. I never remember to go back. I don’t go by reviews for the books I read. I go by cover and and synopsis. I am adventurous if it sounds good I’ll read it. But I have bullshit reviews about how they can’t wait to get a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s not just a problem related to books either. I’ve seen similar instances for video games and DVDs as well. I’m sure it occurs with other products too. One solution might be for Amazon/Goodreads etc to have a policy to remove reciews by those who haven’t read the book. Since the people usually state this right up front in the text, it would be easy enough to have a “report” function that other users could click to flag the review. Or reviews of unreleased products could simply be moderated until the release date. Either option would require more oversite on the host site, but ultimately would improve the quality of the reviews for their customers too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can flag a review on goodreads but that’s not one of the options (I just checked) but very good suggestion I think I’ll write them and ask them to add it to the flag list. They should pull those reviews just like they pull other inappropriate reviews.


  5. Honestly, I only pay attention to book reviews when I am posting one as a curiosity to see how my own opinions measure up to what is already there or if I am following a particular reviewer on goodreads. I really don’t see how the situation can be avoided. I don’t like the non-read reviews, that seems so pointless, and I do find it frustrating that I can’t post reviews for ARCs. I track all my reviews on a spread sheet planner so I can tell at a glance when a review should be posted, but my planner is filled for 2 to 6 months of projects that I always seem to be at least a week behind on, so going back to a project I have already moved from takes some energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First let me start off by asking, will you organize my life?? But really it does make it tricky when we have to post reviews for the same books on different days. It’s hard to remember everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always caveat my pre-release reviews with an “advance reader copy” comment to let people know I actually read the book, but I didn’t realize what a big issue this was? Honestly, I have only been reviewing more than a year so I am not really experienced with all the intricacies involved such as the likes you were talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I sometimes will add details, but I never rate it and it will always say – want to read or currently reading and that it’s an ARC. I might add the pre-order links if it’s something I have available to me. I actually do this because it’s something I would want. I’m lazy, if someone’s going to give me a link to the book on Amazon…sweet πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Now this is a true conundrum.

    She sat waiting to post her five-star review. The book had been wonderful and the free copy from the author was a bonus. Why did she have to wait, though? Was it because of the pointless ‘I can’t wait for this’ type of reviews? She didn’t know, but it was bothersome. Staring at the computer monitor, she decided that she would have to come back later.

    Meanwhile, the author sits in front of his computer staring at the review-less pre-order. He had given away copies so people could review his book. A worry frown creased his forehead as he scrolled through looking for any signs his book had been well received. I’d like to, at least, see if someone wanted to leave a review, he thought.

    “I can’t wait!” He exclaimed. The reader plopped down into his chair and began to search for the book. He had preordered it and his excitement was through the roof. He found the book online and snapped his mouse button down. The screen popup message read, ‘Would you like to leave a review?’ “You bet I would!” ***** – When is this coming out!? I love this author so much! He typed and hit enter. Hopefully, more people will leave reviews, he thought. Then the author will get more people reading and he’ll write more books!

    So being an author I tend to dramatize things, however, I think the above illustrates the conundrum well. Personally, I would prefer to have an open review process where a code can be given to those the author wants to give them to until the book has been released. I realize that pre-orders allow exposure before a book’s release, but I don’t think it is necessary to be able to leave a review beforehand, unless the author has given copies to someone. Well, that’s my 2 (5) cents.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The process bothers me also. It has always riled me up to see pre-release starred reviews. I continually ask myself when I see them how can people rate a book that hasn’t even been released yet (unless it is an ARC, of course). That is totally illogical to me. I am on my favorite author’s street team so I receive an ARC of the latest release and I have to review on two sites. So I do the Goodreads site and then here on the blog and then have to keep track of dates to go to Amazon and post it there on release date. I give kudos to Amazon for trying to fix the problem–the only problem is their “fix” hurts the authors by preventing legitimate pre-release reviews from ARC which sometimes helps me to decide if I am really interested enough to buy. I certainly don’t want to inhibit anyone’s free speech by preventing pre-release “can’t wait for it to get here” comments. That doesn’t seem right either. Just seems to me there could be a way to allow those comments to not become “starred reviews”.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post! I really don’t pay too much attention to Amazon reviews, but it definitely bugs me to see the endless “can’t wait!” reviews on Goodreads, which aren’t real reviews at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I agree, I don’t like “pre-reviews”. All the reasons you listed are good, but the first is the one that bugs me the most.

    I think the best way to fix this would be if Goodreads just made it a rule that you couldn’t leave a review on a book you haven’t at least attempted to read, then other readers could flag such reviews when they found them. This would not only help prevent “pre-reviews” but also reviews like “I don’t like this author’s politics so I’m going to one-star this book I have no intention of reading” or “this book sounds really stupid: one star!” or, like, the vast majority of the reviews that came up right away when Stephenie Meyer released her new book, which were like, “this is such a stupid idea! this isn’t what I want to read! I’ll never even touch this book!” Because those kind of reviews aren’t just unhelpful for the reader, they’re a way for these people to punish authors for whatever the person thinks they need to be punished for, and that’s really not cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think they could use something similar to the comment moderation that there is on wordpress. You know to make it so that reviews need to be approved before going up. Of course that would mean that someone would have to read all these reviews everyday, but I can’t think of another solution.

    Liked by 1 person

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