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.