An observation about review rankings of series books…

After writing three series, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon with respect to reviews: later books in a series get better reviews than the first book.

Here are the average star rankings on Amazon for my three series:

Breeder series

Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance Series

Rod and Cane Society Series

The first book of each series ranks lower than the other books in the series.

You could argue that as the series progressed, the writing and/or the stories got better. With Unexpected Consequences (Rod and Cane 1), that might be true.  Unexpected Consequences was one of the first romances I ever wrote, my third to be exact. I would like to think that after seven years and thirty more books, I’ve improved.

But I don’t think that argument applies to the Breeder series, which many consider to be my best work. The quality of the writing and the story is consistent across all three books. Nor do I think it applies to the Cy-Ops Sci-fi Romance series, although the later books are longer than the first book, and I think readers like that.

My theory is that first books are read by a more general audience, by readers who happen across the book and decide to give it a try. Some readers will like it, others won’t. The ones who like the first book go on to read the other books in the series. The one who don’t, don’t buy any more of the series.

So reviews of first books are written by a more general audience; reviews of later books are written by fans of the series, people who are predisposed to liking it.

What do you think? Have you noticed this trend with your books? 

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8 Responses to An observation about review rankings of series books…

  1. Interesting. You make a good point that readers of later books are likely to already be fans of the series and so they enjoy the books more. Yet another reason to consider writing series. Thanks!

  2. I’ve always believed that reviews improve as you find the right fan base for not just the series but your books in general. As readers we know what we like and cant get tenough.

  3. Susan Hayes says:

    I’ve noticed this too and came to the same conclusion you did. First in the series books always seem to end up with a lower review rating than the ones that follow.

  4. Margaret Bennett says:

    For me, there are a lot of times I will get turned on to a writer’s second or third book, and then go back and buy and read the first one. I try to always remember to review, but sometimes things fall between the cracks. Not with your books, girl. You rock!

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