Reviews: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Reviews are a great way for readers to share their thoughts and opinions on the stories they have read. They give insight to others who are considering what to read. They are vital in getting a book seen in the Amazon algorithms, boosting the book in searches, and showing an author’s work to a wider audience.
Authors really love to hear from their readers. I know, I know, you think you’re just one person and they are busy. I promise you, every author I know appreciates honest feedback. Great reviews are a boost to an author who has spent months bleeding on the page so to speak. I have yet to meet an Indie Author who doesn’t have release day anxiety. Their beta readers and critique group have loved the book, and now they are sending into the world and hoping readers will love it too. Hearing those readers are connecting with their work is exciting.
Reviews that offer constructive criticism are often appreciated (depending on the approach) as well. Authors really do want to deliver books readers will WANT to read, so knowing what worked and what didn’t is helpful when shared with a respectful tone.
So, what makes a good review?
Reviews do not need to recap the book, though a line or two is usually fine. LONG reviews you see are usually book bloggers who post more in-depth reviews. A simple “I really enjoyed this book” is enough. Of course, if you want to share how the book made you FEEL, if you connected to a specific character or event in the story, that is wonderful as well.
If you are struggling with what to rate a book, know that you’re not alone. Most people have their own guidelines as to what makes a 5, 4-, 3-, 2-, or 1-star book.
Here is a cute and easy graphic I found from An Addicted Book Reader
While this is pretty simple, you can get an idea of what each star rating might mean for you.
What could possibly be bad about a review?
Sometimes, readers may miss out on a book that they may have enjoyed based off of other’s reviews. If you have read a book, and the trope just doesn’t speak to you, or it’s not your preferred style (think third person vs. first person), etc. and you leave a 1-star review, that could negatively impact a reader’s opinion. When I have come across a situation like this, I often will refrain from leaving a star rating, and just say that the book, trope, style etc wasn’t for me.
Please, do not ever leave negative comments about the author personally. Remember, they are humans doing their best to tell great stories. Perhaps you don’t like their books. Their writing style annoys you. You think the tropes they write stink. All valid opinions. However, it is never okay to say “[author’s name] sucks,” or “[author’s name] should never write another story again.”
These things are not only hurtful, but they are completely unnecessary. It is inappropriate at best and could be considered harassment/bullying. Don’t be “that guy.”
- Leave a review; they help authors and readers alike
- Don’t be intimidated by the length of a review, short or long, they are appreciated
- Find a rating system that works for you
- If a book doesn’t speak to you, don’t automatically give it a negative review, try to find something positive, or just say it isn’t for you.
- Be respectful of the author as a human being.
If you have any other tips, or would like to share your rating system, please let me know!