What book reviews mean for authors.
I love to read. Before becoming an author, I could read a book or two a week.
But I never left reviews. I either enjoyed the book or didn’t and went along my way.
If I liked a book, I’d buy more from the author. If I didn’t care for it, I would forget about the author and probably never try them again.
This is probably the most common experience for readers. It wasn’t until I became an author that I truly understood the value of reviews, particularly for new and undiscovered authors.
Authors, read my article about how to get more reviews on my other blog.
I also didn’t understand the power of reviews over an author.
I’m sure some writers are thick-skinned; in fact, I do know authors who shrug off bad reviews, unconcerned. Those readers weren’t going to buy another book, anyway.
But I also know many authors like myself who cringe with each less-than 5 star review. It isn’t that we think we’re the best writer since Mark Twain, or that we deserve only top reviews. The cringing, the stomachs flips, the feeling of dejection that settles momentarily with each scathing or even well-worded criticism is tied directly to how much of ourselves we as writers put into our novels.
It is difficult not to take criticism personally. To wonder how we might have crafted our story better, or second guess the decision to include a last minute plot-twist. In all the years I’ve been writing for work, I’ve never felt so personally invested in feedback. Oh, I enjoy getting positive feedback from my bosses or colleagues, and shrug off the sting from well-meant critiques, using the feedback to improve.
Reviews are a crucial part of our digital buying process. When you can’t physically handle or view a product, we as buyers need to rely on reviews to judge its quality. With books, particularly when we are inundated with self-published books of dubious quality, reviews are necessary to protect our time and wallets.
Reviews are also necessary for authors to convince readers their books are worthy of purchase. The best authors get scathing reviews, and even poor authors have fans that are willing to leave good reviews. While it can be tough, taking a step back and looking at each review as a product of a reader’s personal opinion can be helpful. Realize not every reader will have the same opinion of your book, but also take the criticism as feedback that can help you improve.
Readers, try to remember that there is a real person beyond the cover of that book you might want to rip to shreds. Leave a review, but try to be constructive in your feedback so the author can learn and grow.
Authors, use the criticism to improve your writing. You can’t please everyone, but you can have a strong novel that is well-written, and accepting critiques as well as positive feedback is how you can continually improve. Resist the urge to respond to criticisms! Remember that reviews are meant for readers, not for the author. Try to remove yourself as much as possible from that process.