Here we are in week 6 of the Gravity/Freefallers Blog Swap! This week we’ve got Melissa Flickinger talking to us about book reviews, which are the second nicest thing you can do for an author. Melissa was my book manager at Gravity, and did a fantastic job guiding me through the process.
Imagine you’ve written a book. It took months, maybe even years of writing, editing, rewriting, creating the perfect book cover and finally getting it into the hands of readers. Now, of those .. say.. 100 readers that you’ve given your book to, only 5 of them post a review. What is up with those 95 remaining readers? Did they like the book? Did they hate it? Was there something wrong with my book? DID THEY EVEN BOTHER TO READ IT? I should probably give up writing. I should probably go hide in a cave in the mountains to hide in shame for putting out such a hideous mess of words and attempting to pass myself off as an actual author!
Ok, probably not all authors think that way. But seriously, honest reviews are really important to an author. If you loved their writing, they want to know about it. If there were parts that you didn’t like so much- perhaps the proofreading needed a better look over or there were some parts that didn’t make sense- tell them about it. The only way an author can get better is if they know where to make improvements.
Now, when I say “honest” reviews- I don’t mean simply writing “I hate this book” if you didn’t like it. Yes, you may have hated the book- but why? Did you hate the characters, did you hate the writing style, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and hate everything in general that day? Think about it. If someone walked up to you on the streets and said “Hey dude, I don’t like you.” and walked away.. you would probably want to know why, right?
Of course, reviews aren’t just beneficial for the authors. They matter to the reader as well. Let’s say you’re searching on Amazon for a new book. You come across a book that looks interesting, but you’re not quite sold on it yet. There are no reviews posted and no one you know has read the book. Chances are you’ll skip past it and continue looking. But what if that book you skipped over is actually a REALLY great book that others have read and really loved (they just never posted a review)?
When I’m browsing for a new book, I do look at reviews. I don’t purchase a book just because it is a “Best Seller” because believe it or not.. just because it’s a “Best Seller” doesn’t mean it’s a great book (Ah-hem, Fifty Shades..). I look for reviews that tell me a reason why they liked it or didn’t like it. If a reviewer gives the book 3 stars and explains that they didn’t really like the book because it wasn’t their “type of book” but it was well written, I’d be more likely to consider the purchase. And if someone’s review was particularly helpful in my purchase, I clicky-click the thumbs up on that post.
So, you’ve finished reading a book (whether it was purchased or given to you) take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts. Then hop on Amazon, Goodreads, BN, iTunes and post your review. Not sure how to write a review? Well, it’s your lucky day! I’ve made a fancy little cheat sheet for you:
Melissa Flickinger is a book marketing manager and author assistant. She co-hosts #BookMarketingChat, lead by author and social media expert Rachel Thompson, each Wednesday 6pm PST/9pm EST on Twitter.
Melissa studies Creative Writing and Human Relations and is a lover of all things pumpkin. She enjoys long walks along the Mississippi River and black coffee. She lives with her family in Southeastern Iowa.