The Importance of Being an Earnest Reviewer

five stars

Ah, book reviews.  The all too important yet dreaded rituals all authors dread.  Will they love it?  Will they hate it?  Will the reviewer absolute eviscerate me for seemingly no reason?

The thought of reviews for any author can be daunting, but to an indie author, reviews are one of the most important aspects of marketing our writing.  Currently, I am an unknown, a bit of krill in a ocean of whales and sharks.  Reviews are what often convince readers to take a chance on a newbie author, especially if they are more in depth than “OMG! IT WAS THE BEST BOOK EVER!”  Yes, I can convince my mom and ten of my friends to write puffy five star reviews, but does that do anything for me and what does that say about me as a writer?

As a reader, all five star reviews make me suspicious.  Yes, I am more likely to write a review on Amazon if I loved the book, but it stands to reason that not everyone is going to love what you wrote.  When I published The Earl of Brass, I asked if anyone wanted to buy an autographed copy, and several of my friends did buy one.  Afterwards, I asked if they would leave honest reviews.  If you didn’t love it, say so and say why.  If you thoroughly enjoyed it, that’s fine too but be honest.  Between Goodreads and Amazon, I have gotten honest reviews, and what surprised me was soon, reviews from people I didn’t know began to trickle in.

Obviously, they saw the reviews and decided to take a chance on my work.  My point is, if you read a book, especially by a writer just starting out or an unknown, leave an honest review.  Don’t be mean and don’t eviscerate the writer even if the book wasn’t great.  Leave a review and state the positives and negatives of the story.  You will come off as a reasonable human being and the writer will not be nearly as distressed as a one star review without any feedback.  The same goes for loving a book.  As a writer, I beam for hours after a great review, but I really don’t mind hearing what was wrong with my work as well.  I need to learn and grow, and readers give me feedback on issues that my eyes alone cannot always pick up.

As a side note, The Earl of Brass is now available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a subscription, I hope you will take a look and leave an honest review.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Being an Earnest Reviewer

  1. After a recent giveaway of the first book of my trilogy, I was prepared for the worst. Having 60,000 people pick up the freebie is great, but you never know what you’re going to get in terms of reviews. I’ve decided to stop reading new reviews. Reading too many 5-star reviews that say “Best book ever!” just gives you a big head, and reading 1-star reviews can be equally and unnecessarily deflating. Now, I simply look at the numbers of reviews and what rating they gave. I went from 21 reviews to 55 in two weeks (thank you BookBub!) and luckily they’ve been predominantly 4 and 5 stars. But, it’s not healthy to hang on the words of reviewers. If you have to read them, do so and move on. Otherwise, just try and make your next book the best it possibly can be.

  2. I completely agree. -Notes to check out BookBub- Sometimes I want feedback, but at this point, I’m fairly apathetic unless the review is lengthy or I’m in a good mood. I want to know if they liked it or not, but sadly, one star reviews will happen. Beta readers are better in terms of feedback than many reviewers, but a blog review tends to be decent for generating interest at least.

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