It’s All In The Review–Maybe Not!

Sebastien WiertzPublished in The Albert Lea Tribune week of May 25, 2016. Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf

Do you leave reviews for your favorite spaces and places? In the olden days we had to rely on newspaper advertisements and radio advertisements to find if the places we wanted to shop or dine were good establishments to visit. Or businesses had to rely on the word-of-mouth of customers who had used their establishment.

Things have changed and now businesses and other venues can be reviewed online by those who loved their services or did not have a good experience. Places such as,, and many others, along with the buzz of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and the other gazillion sites out there will tell you the ups and downs of places and products. And if you are a business in a small community and think you are safe from these reviews — well think again — you are probably listed somewhere out there.

Most businesses now have their own websites and Facebook pages and customers also leave reviews on these pages. Can you rely on these reviews?
Recently a friend and I were in Shakopee, and we were dining out. We chose a restaurant in downtown Shakopee. We checked out the reviews and most were positive. Many stated fast service.

We arrived and the place was packed and very busy. We were on a tight schedule and thought perhaps we wouldn’t be served and out in time to make our movie. The reviews were right. We had excellent, fast service and our waitress was outstanding. She earned a big tip. In that case the reviews could be trusted.

In the olden days when we wanted to check out a product we possibly would buy the Consumer Reports Magazine. These days, if we want to investigate a product we can go online and find the reviews for the model we want to buy. I always check the reviews before I buy. As an author, book reviews on my books by my readers are very important to me. If I want to advertise my book on a book site or in a magazine, the key to acceptance in many places are the reviews on your books and the number of reviews you have. So for me and other authors, reviews are important.

Bigger companies take reviews seriously. I have a friend who reviews products for companies that are sold on Amazon. The companies send her products; she reviews them on Amazon honestly and reveals she has been given a product to review. I know I can trust her reviews.

When you are reading reviews on anything, please take the time to consider those reviews and the person making the statements. A product, website or even books that have 100 percent five star reviews are not always what they seem. Can all people love the products? A few bad reviews are not necessarily a bad thing. It means the reviews are by real consumers and not a paid review. Yes, there are places where you can pay to buy reviews.

When reading a bad review, take time to investigate who is leaving the review and why; there are people out there who leave bad reviews just to leave bad reviews. There are people out there who don’t like any products. Also a review is one person’s opinion.

For instance, two and three star reviews on movies and books do not always deter me. I look at the reviewer’s history of reviews and see perhaps the items this person gave three star reviews to be because their taste was of different genres than the movie or book being reviewed. They have different tastes.
I myself would not give a five-star review to a bloody, gory movie or to a graphic book. It is not my cup of tea. But my review would be constructive rather than destructive. Always remember there is a person behind the product and they have feelings too especially if you are reviewing a book or a blog.

Reviews are also a way businesses can improve their services if the review is fair and constructive. For instance, I have had some landscape work done and I am not exactly a happy camper. I feel I am not being listened to. When all is said and done I will leave a review online but I won’t trash the people or the business but I will leave constructive comments that may help them improve other people’s experience with this company. The thing to remember is this is my experience; someone else may have had a great experience with the same company.

The same can be said for other businesses that get a bad review — perhaps the business was just having an off day or the customer was having an off day.

If I positively do not like a book and don’t finish it I don’t leave a review at all. It might not have been my cup of tea but someone else will love it.

The best negative review I received on one of my books was this, “The author must have scrambled eggs for brains. She writes like Dr. Seuss.” I loved this person’s negativity.

Review away, make someone’s day. Be positive or constructive but don’t be destructive.

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Hostest with the Mostest. Guesting on The Amy Beth Arkawy Show.

It was a pleasure to be a guest on the Amy Beth Arkawy Blog Talk Radio Show today. Not only did I get a chance to talk about my writing, I got to talk about a subject that is close to my heart and that is hunger in America. I don’t have a lot of money to give, but I can give my voice to make others aware of hunger and that is part of what Amy Beth and I did today.

If you would like to get to know me, my characters and hear about how you can help with the hunger problem in America, tune in. Enjoy.


Here is the link to the Amy Beth Arkawy show in case you want to listen. Thank you Amy Beth for having me. It was so much fun. I always enjoy chatting with Amy. We talk about my books but also about the important topic of hunger in the US. Each one of us can make a difference. Enjoy the show. glass

Granny (Granny Skewers A Scoundrel) is Visiting the Boneyard.

I heard from Granny today from the Fuchsia, Minnesota fame. She is going to be answering questions from her readers on May 1 at Boneyard Coffee and Tea.

She says she is excgranny always saysited but there seem to be a lot of questions about her past. Readers are asking questions about  her former high school romances. I asked her how she was going to answer those difficult questions.

Here is what she said, “Those were the days when we weren’t supposed to kiss and tell. Now everyone kisses and tells everyone, they even take selfies while they are telling everyone. So why not. I kissed and didn’t tell for all of those years. It’s exciting that now I can tell about those kisses, of course my parents are dead and in those days the only people who talked about sex was the teenagers. Parents didn’t seem to know anything about sex. Maybe that’s why we had the no kiss and tell rule. We didn’t want to shock our parents when they didn’t know what kissing was. And……..I kissed some blurpers and some slurpers and some charmers in my time. But I didn’t tell, especially about the slurpers and the blurpers out of the kindness of my heart. I wonder if those slurpers and blurpers are still around. Wait until they find out I might tell on them now. But if you know them, don’t tell them, I want it to be a surprise when their name is now in the paper for the slurping and blurping. Perhaps they will look me up to and I can find out if they are still slurping and blurping with their kisses.

Whoops, I can’t do that. What would Franklin say? Stop by and visit with me on May 1. Check out the website for Boneyard Coffee and Tea or Latte’ Da in Champagne, Illinois. And I must tell you, Franklin is not a blurper or a slurper when it comes to kisses.”

See you soon,

It is always so interesting to have a conversation with Granny. Her conversations are all over the place. I guess I will have to join the conversation on May 1 to see what she has to say.