Reviews & Reviewing
I’m involved in a round-robin review group for Christian writers on Goodreads. I love writing and reading. Reviewing other’s work is a challenge.
I don’t mind getting reviews from others, be they readers or writers. I learn from them no matter how critical they might get. But, writing a review of someone else’s work … that can be a minefield.
Fortunately, the folks involved in the round-robin are honest and direct, and give good reviews.
I wrote a couple of reviews so far and they were honest, constructive reviews of stories that I liked. They aren’t my normal reading fare, but it never hurts to explore new material. I posted the reviews, then crawled into a corner until the authors responded positively to the comments.
I’m well into another book that I’m enjoying and will review it soon. In addition, I have some new reviews for Sudden Mission, both on Amazon and Goodreads. In this next round, I hope to see more reviews of Nasty Leftovers. This round-robin works out well, and my reviews are increasing.
Granted, the new reviews are by other authors and not my target audience (teens). But, getting teens to review on Amazon or anywhere else is very difficult. I used a little meme on Facebook a couple of times to prod folks to review.
The rules are simple, if not completely accurate today. I know Amazon has changed some of their rules for reviews. For example, they usually do not accept reviews of books by friends of the author, or family members. How they figure that out is beyond me.
As for Rule #1, that is true. But, if you buy the book and review it, you get a “verified purchase” tag on your review. That might impact the “algorithms.”
Rule #4, though, is the most important. Authors need reviews. More reviews move a book’s status in the rankings on Amazon. They make the title more visible to other readers. They help other readers make decisions on what to choose to read.
Sure, not all reviews or ratings are five-star. Not everyone likes the same thing. My books aren’t everyone’s favorite genre. But, a review is a review and I appreciate every single one I get.
Some comments in reviews can inflict pain in the author. That’s part of growing a thick skin–which we need to survive. No one is perfect, no author writes a perfect book. Accepting that and moving on is important.
I try to keep that in mind as I review other author’s work. No, the book isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe the book needs an editor. Maybe there are issues with the story. But, I can address that with constructive, positive comments. I made the mistake of being too blunt and critical in a review once. It hurt a relationship. That’s the minefield I mentioned earlier.
Care. You write and you read. The only way this business can get better is if we all care and comment positively and constructively.