Read any good Reviews Lately?

Reviews are something we can never have enough of, without doubt the life blood of the writing business, or have been until recently…

I say business, because for most of us that’s what it is.

Serious business.

Now, I know we all love to write, so a lot of the time it doesn’t seem like a business. But I have discovered that if you want to get anywhere (find more readers and sell more books) you must grow a thick skin and find a business-like hat to wear! (at least sometimes!)

Reviews are the one aspect of this business that we don’t really have any control over. We can pray for glowing reviews and sometimes even get them, but they are usually a mixed bag, written by ordinary, normal people who don’t write for a living and it shows.

I recently received a 4 * review from a writer/blogger that I know and respect. Her review of SPB was incredibly honest, almost critical, but I was pleased to read it because she had obviously read my book, cover to cover.

Excerpt from Goodreads Review

…this book’s description suggests it’s a police procedural, featuring a detective struggling with a personal problem while on the trail of a serial killer. Indeed, two of the main characters are detectives David Mallory and Anna Lukas, each of whom has a troubled history and awkward personal baggage. The third one is Will Taylor, the main suspect. David’s chapters are told in first person; those from other characters’ points of view are in third person.
David is a sympathetic character, but it took a while for me to warm up to Anna, despite her radical (and largely unexplained) transformation in outlook and habits about a quarter of the way in. Will is a train wreck, veering from one disastrous choice to another. Watching his deterioration is horribly fascinating…

I try to review most of the books I read, whether they are famous, well known writers or struggling wannabes and sometimes it isn’t easy. Judging how honest to be can be difficult.

One of my books (I won’t say which one) has a 2* review from someone who obviously hated it and I cringe every time I see it.

At the beginning of this post I talked about how things have been changing lately. Since the introduction of Amazon’s new rules considering our right to review, many people who do actually buy books there, are being denied the right to review anything, simply because they haven’t spent quite enough money on Amazon.

Consequently, we are losing reviews, and must be grateful for the ones that show up on Goodreads.

I just wish Amazon would change their policy and be kind to us authors…

I have also wondered about selling books on our own websites. Has anyone any views on this, as I would love to hear them…

©JayeMarie 2020

14 thoughts on “Read any good Reviews Lately?

  1. I review on Amazon only when I buy a book there, and it has to be (their Canadian site) because that’s where I spend enough to allow me the privilege of reviewing. I try to acquire ebooks from other places when I can, notably Smashwords. In that case I post a review there but not on Amazon. I post all my reviews on Goodreads, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you wrote this. I just came from reviewing one of Kevin Cooper’s books — which I read months ago, loved, wrote to him about, then forgot to post a review on Amazon!
    Many of my readers do similar: they read my books, love them, tell me so and why — and then don’t go the extra step.
    I’m an author and voracious reader. I get the big bestsellers from the library, then spend more than I should supporting independent authors. Buying an author’s book and reading it is a big way to support. But, like my readers, I don’t often enough go the next step to review them.
    And, as an author, I have followed up with only a very few of my readers to request they write a review.
    See the dual problem there?
    For most readers, writing a review is not a habit. they don’t know where to begin.

    First, we need to give our readers the actual links to where they should post their reviews. the link to purchase the book is one thing. Telling them where to post their review is another.

    Second, the term ‘review’ is itself intimidating to many readers who fear they will come across as less than erudite. We authors have to demystify the term, and even show readers what we mean by the term. My readers have no problems writing me a letter stating why they enjoyed my books. But writing a review can be a fearsome thing, one that seems to require expert writing and story analysis skills that many readers don’t have. Why should they? They are readers, not professional book reviewers or literature professors.

    Third, we need to tell our readers: “You only have to say why you enjoyed or did not enjoy the book. A single sentence is fine. If you want to say more, write another sentence about what made it strong in your opinion and what made it weak, if there’s a weak spot. That’s all you really need to do. But if you want to go even further, you can say why you are recommending it to other readers. That’s entirely up to you. And remember, a very short comment is fine.”

    When I tell my readers that, they never write a single sentence – they always write a bit or a lot more.

    Fourth, we need to think like a reader and acknowledge that reading a good book isn’t an open and shut case. Long after a reader has closed a book’s covers, s/he may still be ‘experiencing’ the book’s impact — the characters they’ve come to ‘know’, the major themes and messages, even the trauma of the experience. Writing a review is the last thing they want to do.

    All to say, we authors need to do more to help or remind our readers if we want them to go into the foreign land of writing a review.

    And I need to remind myself to do that more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amazon accepts hardly any of my reviews. I always post my reviews on Goodreads, one of the few things on Goodreads I can negotiate easily! Selling our books on our own website sounds like a good idea as we put all that work into running a website, but if we have sold our souls to amazon, not sure how that would work…

    Liked by 1 person

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