#MidWeekPOV – #wwwblogs – A Word About Reviews . . .

leaveareview1

Leave ’em. Please! It’s the best way in the world to thank an author for his or her hard work. Not only does it make authors feel good, but it most definitely has an impact on the book’s ranking on Amazon, and Amazon is where a plethora of good reviews can make a substantial difference in a writer’s paycheck.

I’ve heard lots of opinions on exactly how much of a difference it might translate to, and I don’t claim to be an expert on Amazon’s system, but I can tell you from my own personal experience as a reader, I pay attention to reviews when I’m buying books there. I honestly believe that’s true of most readers. Here’s a query for you: When 90 out of 100 reviews rate one book at 4 or 5 stars, and 90 out of 100 reviews rate another book at 2 or 3 stars, which one are you more likely to spend your money on? Assuming that Book #2 is not a relative or personal friend? Yeah, I thought so. Me, too.

So, my word about reviews is that we should ALL remember to leave them, especially if we really enjoy a book. But I just realized that I have another word or two to say about reviews, as well. Specifically about negative reviews. I quit leaving those, period. Why? Several reasons.

1. No need for me to do so. Apparently many people would much rather leave negative reviews about books than positive ones. For sure, there are plenty of folks willing to do so, ad nauseum, and some actually seem to enjoy it. No need for me to bother. (I discovered this LONG before I wrote my first book, btw.) Some people delight in tearing things down, but, personally, I think truly scathing reviews often say more about the reviewer than the reviewee. (Is that a word?)

2. If I think a book is really bad, I don’t finish it. My reading hours are very precious to me, so I prefer to spend them reading books I’m enjoying, and I’m certainly not going to review a book I didn’t even finish.

3. I can read a book that’s flawed, and still enjoy it overall, if I care about the characters enough. That means, I might not be able to give the book 5 stars, but I can probably find enough positives to rate it at 4, or at the very worst 3/3.5 or so. I can GENTLY point out that there were some problems, but that because of certain other factors, it was easy to overlook them, and I enjoyed the story anyway. And I can emphasize the positive aspects. This approach makes ME feel a lot better, too.

4. And the last reason I don’t leave negative reviews is simple. Now that I write books, too, I know exactly how demoralizing and painful it is to receive one. Happily, possibly shockingly, I’ve been blessed with way more good reviews than bad ones, especially when you consider how very little I knew about writing when I started 2-1/2 years ago. But, like every author, I do get a negative review now and then, and every one of them hurts. I don’t want to do that to anyone else, so I just won’t review any book I that leaves me with nothing good to say.

This doesn’t mean you can’t leave negative reviews, if you wish. Just that I won’t. And I suspect those who do so under the guise of helping the author learn aren’t being totally honest. They could do that more effectively by communicating privately with the writer, and offering a kind, but honest critique. So much better than public humiliation, I think. But that’s just me.

One last thing I want to say about Reviews: LEAVE THEM, please! Oh. Did I say that already? 😉 Well, it bears repeating, because those reviews can make or break a book. Or an author’s heart.

Please feel free to share this little graphic I created far and wide, to remind your social contacts to leave reviews, as well. I’ll be making a few more of them, and will share them here as I get them done. I’m on an Educate the World About Reviews kick. Hope you’ll join me.

As always, inquiring minds wanna know how you feel about this topic.

 

18 thoughts on “#MidWeekPOV – #wwwblogs – A Word About Reviews . . .

    • See, folks…this comes to you directly from one of the best! Rosie’s reviews, and those of her crack team of reviewers, are SO worth reading, and we writers are very lucky to have her in our corner! Thanks, Rosie!

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  1. I’ve gone off leaving reviews since the pressure for remorseless positivity has grown. I don’t generally leave negative reviews unless the author is successful enough to bear it or has really irritated me, but I do leave critical reviews – much as you mention at #3. “I loved this book, though …”

    Some authors are happy with this. There are people I have a good relationship with although I have criticised their work. There is one wonderful woman I first ‘met’ *because* I criticised her work (and she gently took me to task for unfairness). But there was someone I knew online, who I felt might be sensitive and I asked privately about how they felt about me critiquing their work. I said I had loved the book and would say so, but there were elements I wasn’t sure about and how did they feel about my saying so in a review on my blog. They wrote back to say that it was a hurtful and hateful thing to suggest. I apologised for what I was sure was a misunderstanding and said that I wouldn’t review the book, but too late. They had ‘unfriended’ me on Facebook, refused to reply to my apology or any subsequent contact and have never spoken to me since. The experience has generally put me off reviewing. (The review, which had been going to say that the book had given more pleasure than almost anything else I had read that year, has never been written.)

    Some authors do themselves no favours by stretching the idea of “authors helping authors” to its extreme.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I didn’t see your comment awaiting approval until this morning, Tom. WP fails to notify me anymore. 😦

      I can understand why you feel the way you do. Frankly, if someone were kind enough to write me before posting a mixed review, I think I’d be pleased, and use it as a way to open a dialogue that might let me grow as a writer. I’m sorry this author was so quickly offended by your question.

      Although my post was meant more in the vein of trying to educate “regular ol’ readers” about leaving reviews, all aspects of this issue are fair game, and those who review books on their blogs have a lot to contend with at times, this type of reaction being one of them. I no longer have time to do justice to my little review blog, but I still review on Amazon, and am trying to remind myself read and review more often.

      I do at least two presentations locally a month, wherein I ask the audience how many are in the habit of leaving reviews regularly. There are never more than 2 or 3 hands raised, no matter the size of the group.
      I’m hoping to get the word out to the general reading public that reviews are important, especially for independent writers, but I have (so far) never made a point of approaching review blogs to ask for them to review my books. I’m not comfortable with it, yet, unless I at least “sort of” know the person. Even then, it feels awkward to me. I DO, however, feel quite comfortable in explaining to readers that they can help ALL writers by reviewing on Amazon.

      I think too many obviously glowing (fawning?) reviews can be a turn off, too. That can sound like the reviews are bought and paid for. While I love my 5 star reviews, without some 4 stars, and the occasional 3 stars (with thoughtful and accurate explanations), I don’t always trust what I’m reading.

      Lots of facets to the whole process! Thanks for sharing your experience, and I hope you’ll eventually feel better about the process again. I love sharing books that touched me in some way or another, don’t you?

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  2. I shared my review strategy a just a few weeks ago ( http://deborahjayauthor.com/2015/12/30/ive-read-how-many-books-this-year-holy-cow-and-this-is-how-i-review-them/ ) and it’s (un)surprisingly pretty much the same as yours!
    I find the majority of writers will give you very similar run-down of their attitudes and approach to reviews – it seems that being the recipient of reviews gives one a somewhat different view than general readers. I also think that blog reviewers come at it from pretty much the same angle too.
    I admit, when I look at a book before I buy, I check the low star reviews first, to see if I should discount the book without further consideration, and I’m grateful to the people who have the nerve to leave considered, constructive low star reviews that include such information as cliff hanger endings (my pet hate) and serious lack of editing or coherent plotting. It just isn’t something I would do myself because, like you, if it was that bad, I wouldn’t finish it, or, even if it infuriated me with the cliff hanger, I would rate it on other features, knock off one star for the ending and mention it in my review.
    I happily ignore low star reviews that just say stupid things like: ‘not for me’. In that case, don’t review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was wondering if anyone would jump in with some input, either in agreement or in disagreement, with my thoughts. Last week’s POV brought out a lot of discussion, and I’d hoped maybe this one would, as well. Just read your post linked above and find it totally in line with how I feel, too. Especially the part about not reviewing books you couldn’t finish, and in keeping some thoughts private, as well.

      And the “Not for me” reviews? I agree. Why??? Why not review the books that ARE for you? I don’t see the point. Everyone knows that not all books are for all readers.

      I like your rating system, and it’s probably pretty close to mine.

      The main thing I wanted to do with this post was to remind everyone of the importance of reviewing, most especially books you really enjoyed. Whether you write, yourself, or read only, or both, it’s still important to leave those reviews, and one of my resolutions this year is to do better at that. (Even though I’m considering letting Bookin’ It go, as I don’t know where I’ll find the time for it any more. Three blogs is a LOT, and I’m not going to give up on THIS one, for sure. My other is my Beta blog, and it stands, too.) I’m WAY behind on reviews I really WANT to write, and I’m determined to improve on that!

      At any rate, I believe whole-heartedly that reviews are critical, especially for indie writers, and I want to remind people of that as often as I can, and be more consistent, myself. Thanks for commenting, Debbie!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Personally, as you can see, I wouldn’t be inclined to disagree with your thoughts, and I suspect not so many honest authors and blog reviewers would either. Our consensus is – what you say makes sense!
        I hear you about keeping up 3 blogs – I started 2, and gave up on the second quite fast, but book reviews are, as you say, important and useful, so keeping Bookin’ It going makes sense, even if you don’t post often.
        As I’m always reading something, I’ve generally got something to review most of the time. Sadly I’ve just read one by a fellow author and friend (not someone who comes here – phew), that was, frankly, not something I could review honestly and not upset her, so quietly drawing a curtain over that one…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oooh, I hate when that happens! Luckily, not often! As for Bookin’ It, with only 600+ followers, I feel like my reviews count for more on Amazon, so that’s where I put them first. I’ve considered adding an extra page HERE in the top menu for reviews, so I can still share some with my fellow bloggers, but I don’t know yet. Perhaps when I get going on them again, I’ll just post the same thing on both amazon and Bookin’ It, though I’ve read you aren’t supposed to. But if I have to choose, I’ll put it on Amazon where it will do the most good.

          I actually have four blogs. My first one was Who’s Your Granny, and was mostly about gardening and wildlife. That one has fallen totally by the wayside. Bookin’ It was the second one, and until I started writing my own books, I reviewed there all the time. That’s mostly what it was about. Then I started a private blog for my Beta readers, where I post my WIPs, and I can’t give that up. And last, I got the idea for The Write Stuff, and it’s become such a fun place, I would never want to give it up, either. So Granny has fallen quiet, and Bookin’ It is sitting idle, and I have some decisions to make. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • My second was designed to eventually turn the posts into an ebook all about horse knowledge for writers, but I found not only has someone already gone there, but there’s such a difference between European and US horse cultures it was taking too much research time.
            Re posting the same stuff – provided you make some small changes to a few words or add in a new line or so, that’s okay. Just don’t put exactly the same in more than one place or Google takes a dislike to your sites.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I hadn’t thought about the difference in the horse culture, but it makes sense. Sorry that didn’t work out.

              And thanks for the info on the reviews. I will remember to do that, if I decide to keep Bookin’ It updated. So nice to see all your comments today, Deborah!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. A most excellent post Marcia. I’m with you and Deb. I won’t finish a bad book, and hate leaving bad reviews. I think we’re all curious to read the 1 and 2 star reviews. If I’m checking out a book that is mostly 4 and 5 stars and see 1 or 2 bad reviews, more often than not they are nothing I’d pay attention to. Many low raters like to pick on authors, sometimes having nothing to do with the book. Or, more common, I’ve come across a few 1 star reviews on a great book stating that they didn’t like the genre so they rate it poorly, having no bearing on the book itself. So infuriating. Anyhoo, so sharing! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yay, another who agrees. Surely there must be some who don’t? I won’t kick you off the blog if you take an opposing view, honest. Probably. 😀

      Yeah, how can you give an honest review of a book if it’s a genre you dislike? I truly don’t get it. The worst review I’ve gotten was one line that said basically, “my book club made us read this.” Huh? Well, did they make you review it? I mean, I get that this guy wasn’t into my romantic suspense, and I’m cool with that, but why did he have complain publicly? *I* didn’t make him read it! Take it up with the club! 😀 😀 😀

      To be sure, reviews are funny ol’ things, except when they’re not, but mostly, they are what we all want and need to help others find our books.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Getting reviews is as challenging for authors as finding an audience for their books. In addition to Rosie Amber’s awesome site, I recommend Julie Whitely at The Book Review and Big Al’s Books and Pals.

    If authors are interested in making longterm fans, they might wish to try the Choosy Bookworm Read & Review Program. For a fee, the site advertises a book until an author receives 30 interested readers. Each reader who is gifted a book agrees to write a review that includes the disclaimer: “I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.” That keeps Amazon happy. 🙂 Not everyone will follow through with a review, however. I had about a 65-70% return, which is fairly good.

    Then there is the almighty BookBub. If a title is accepted at the site–and an author can afford the steep cost–it’s possible to reap many 1000s of downloads and 100+ reviews from a single ad. When it comes to promo, nothing can top the results from BookBub.

    Can “global reviews” bring an author’s rating down? Yes, but it’s all part of the wonderful game!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All interesting and useful information, as always, Linda. Thanks!

      I’m on a kick to educate regular ol’ readers to start leaving reviews, myself. I talk to readers all the time who have never, EVER done so, and have no clue that it’s important, even though most of them confess they DO read reviews, before buying. I’ve added a reminder slide to my presentation suggesting that readers get in the habit of reviewing books they read. I tell them how much writers love getting new reviews, and how it helps make their books more visible. And now I’m looking for more ways to remind readers of that via social media, starting with this post, but also with some new, pretty or amusing memes as reminders.

      AND I’ve promised myself to practice what I preach and get busy leaving some LONG overdue reviews, myself. No excuses. Well, except that one where I’m leaving for a week, in a couple of days. But once I’m back, I’m going to post reviews like a thing possessed! And once I’m caught up, I’m going to schedule a regular afternoon each week to do so. I can’t be reminding others to do what I’ve been slacking off on, now can I? 🙂

      Thanks for such a great response, and for all the suggestions!

      Liked by 2 people

      • We can remind, cajole, nudge…but the truth is that many readers are shy about leaving reviews. I have received emails from readers who said how much they liked my books, but they never wrote a review. For some reason it scares them! It never scares the trolls, though: they love voicing their opinions!

        A fan I made through Choosy Bookworm wrote, “Please, always write books like this.” When I suggested she put that one sentence in a review, she balked. “I don’t write reviews,” she said. Okay. I’m grateful that she sent a personal email.

        Marcia, you make another good point: Everyone is so darn busy, it’s difficult to find the time to compose our thoughts and write a meaningful review. If we feel that way, can you imagine how non-authors feel? I guess we have to be more sympathetic. Readers don’t comprehend how important reviews are to us.

        Let me know if any of your tactics work! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I’ve had luck with my folks I meet in person, at least. That’s one tactic that helps. I always check after an event, and usually find at least one or two from the audience have left reviews. One thing I do tell them is that if they don’t want to write a full review, they can always at least RATE, using the stars. Some have done that, too.

          I’ve also added a Call to Action at the back of each of my books, and I think that helps, as well.

          Again, I try to make the suggestion based on ALL authors, and not just me. It’s a slow process, and for sure, the majority of readers will never do it, but every one I convert is a plus for authors everywhere, so I’m gonna keep on working at it. (I’m nothing, if not persistent.) 😀

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