You’ve had a great experience at the grocery store with a clerk who’s helped you locate the African Jasmine needed for your latest Pinterest recipe and they were patient, outgoing, and respectful. They went above and beyond to help you so, in turn, you’ve decided to write a little blurb on a comment card to their manager about how wonderful they are. It just feels right after all they did for you.
Or maybe you’ve just sat down in a restaurant and the seats are dirty, there’s jelly on the window, and the floor is covered in trash. Then the waiter comes up and his attitude matches the floor. It’s a terrible dining experience and whether you decided to leave without your meal or you suffered through until the end, you’ve already formulated an opinion about the restaurant and those who work there. The receipt says “take this survey for a chance to win…” and you leap at the opportunity. Oh boy, do you have something to say! Or you hop online and leave a scathing description of your experience to warn others away from the same fate.
Just like any service you receive or purchase you’ve made, be it the cable guy, a computer, or furniture, you’re likely to write a review of your experience whether it was a positive or negative one, especially since they make it so easy to do these days. Typically, we see the negative come out more often because we feel the need to enact justice for our disappointment. Rarely do we take the time to write up a review of someone’s good work until it was so exceptional that we feel it is our duty to let others know.
But have you written a review for a book you’ve read?
Just like customer service and business, book reviews can make all the difference in the world to the success of that book. I know I’ve said it before, but:
Before I was published I had no idea how important book reviews were or the impact they had on the author’s success. I was oblivious. No one had told me! I don’t usually read best sellers… I avoid them actually, because I’m just hipster enough to want to avoid the mainstream (I’m also a total hypocrite about it, so don’t judge me,) so star ratings didn’t really matter to me. I’m less motivated by the book’s selling status and more interested in the cover art or the enthusiasm of my friend who’s offered me their copy. So I was completely ignorant of this whole piece to the book consumer puzzle.
Since entering the publishing world and becoming an author myself, I see now how deadly important these reviews can be – especially in the indie scene. Reviews can make or break a book in that not enough of them shows that the book isn’t selling, too many five stars and the reviews are suddenly unreliable. No. Authors need a mix of ratings with a mix of reactions so that new readers can see how the book reads across the board. The reviews that explain why the book was a load of junk are much more useful to future readers than reviews that just say it’s trash, just as those reviews which explain why a reader loved it are more helpful as well.
As a way to repent for my neglectful bookworm ways I’ve shared my reviews of the books I love and didn’t love so much. I’ve posted to Amazon, Goodreads, my social media suite, and this site. I’m trying to make up for lost time and have many years to catch up on.
In the series, The Art of Book Reviews, that is to follow this post I hope to encourage other readers to do the same. Support your favorite author by telling the world how you feel about their work. Read something lately that you couldn’t even get through? Rescue a future reader and let them know before it’s too late!