Book Reviews: Your Opinion Matters

Every author loves a review. That’s a fact. Good, bad, ugly, awesome, they all count towards the fact that someone read their work. Sure an ugly review isn’t a joy to read like a five star would be, but an author usually has a pretty thick skin by the time a book is published, whether independently or traditionally. Why? Well, we go through a lot of rejection internally; edit after edit. But we also see rejection via the publishing process. First there is the hope that this one will get noticed by an agent or publishing house and ‘it will happen’! That is a rarity. So you add the rejection letters to your pile and decide to go it alone.

Now – after adding your book to Createspace and amazon kdp – you have self-published and need to get the word out. That’s another blog altogether…

So now you’ve marketed yourself to the best of your knowledge, and if you’re lucky you can spend a few hundred dollars on advertising through other blogs and social media. Whatever the outcome, people have some idea you have written something.

Now you plead and beg and offer freebies for honest reviews. That will take time. That will likely peter out within a few weeks and you may have managed 5-10 reviews via favours and freebies. Beyond this exercise, it is my experience that roughly 1-2% of readers actually bother to review a book. And of that 2%, 50% is not going to be glowing.

Now, on to the reader/reviewer. Authors love you unconditionally. You read our book. You might have even paid the $0.99 we discounted the ebook at to boost awareness and sales, but you read it and that is paramount.

Did you love it or hate it? If you loved it our marketing paid off and you picked up the book because the genre is your fav and  the book descriptions were spot on. If you hated it then we’ve either disappointed our target audience (which is rare – this usually results in a 2-3 star rating with explanation), or you don’t like the genre and picked up the book to what: torture yourself? 1 star ratings are usually that.  I would never read a book that didn’t interest me from the get-go. If the description tells you: “She enters a psychiatric hospital” and you have an aversion to reading about mental health issues; you don’t buy the book. You don’t take a free copy. You won’t like it. So there can be unfair reviews. Be mindful of the books you read, and if you realize it’s not the book for you, ask yourself if it’s fair to rate or review it. As thick a skin as an author may have, they are still human, and feel pain. 1 star reviews are painful. I’ve seen more replies to hateful reviews that argue the reviewer shouldn’t have bothered reading a book they knew they would hate. Negativity for the sake of negativity actually irritates other reviewers and potential readers.

That being said, even bad publicity is publicity. Even lousy reviews can prompt sales. It’s weird but true. So all I’m saying is, if you read the jacket of the book and are unsure if it is right for you and read it anyways, don’t blame the author or the genre they are catering to and leave a scathing review. They didn’t ‘trick’ you into reading it, and you could have stopped at any time. Be kind, and if you can, be helpful. Remember, the reviewer is an important part of an author’s life; you have the power to  build a writer up and even help steer them in their pursuits, but you can also help tear them down. Honest reviews are important, but if you hated a book because it’s not something you would normally read, maybe skip the review and rating, and save your energy for something positive.

Happy reading and reviewing!

Michael Poeltl’s newest book of Multi-genre Short Stories has received 4.3/5 stars.

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