I Always Said I’d Never Do This…

…and even as I start to write this post, I’m still on the fence about actually publishing it.

Why? Because it’s about book reviews. Except for a brief, no-pressure request for an honest review at the end of my books, I’ve made it my policy to avoid this subject like the plague. But I just read an article – or specifically, the comments at the end of the article, and one person made a great point.

In the past, when books were only available from the big publishing houses, you knew the odds of finding something you’d enjoy were better than good. Now everything has changed and there are books galore – written by anyone who has a story to tell. And there are plenty of great authors out there.

However, if you’re like me, you’ve gotten books from an online retailer that looked good. The blurb made you think, “I’ve GOT to read this!” But, two chapters in, you delete it from your reading device because it’s terrible. You don’t understand how that could happen. It sounded good. Heck, it even had a few 4- and 5-star reviews. But it sucked.

While not always the case, if there are a lot of early reviews immediately following a book’s release (then none for months or years), they may have been left by the writer’s loved ones. People notorious for glowing reviews – deserved or not.

***A note to well-meaning friends and family … please stop doing this! Your honesty helps us become better writers. Trying to spare our feelings only gets us raked over the coals in very public reviews by people whose only concern is that they paid good money for a lousy book.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all early reviews are from people we know. Out of all of my books, I have two from people I knew before I started publishing. My sister’s husband keeps promising to leave one for Enza, but he’s been promising that since April of 2012.

My point is, authors need a steady influx of reviews – good, bad, or indifferent. They help other readers decide whether to give a novel and its author a chance – or not.

Honestly? Other than spamming social media (which NO writer should do – EVER), the only real way for indies to get the word out about their books is through the generosity of their current readers. Readers who will take a minute or two to leave a brief, honest review on the sites where they bought it.

Do bad reviews help? Yes. They don’t always mean a story is horrible. Maybe it just didn’t resonate with the booklover. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of like-minded readers out there who would appreciate being saved the wasted time and money for a book they likely won’t enjoy.

So… Am I asking you to leave reviews for my books? Nope. Like I said, I will only do that at the end of my stories. However, if you now feel a burning need to go and do that, I wouldn’t discourage you. In fact, I’d be very appreciative.

But I’ll still appreciate you even if you don’t. 😀

*****

 Just adding one thing here, because someone mentioned that instructions might help. So here they are, for a book I left a review on a couple of years ago.

How to write an Amazon ReviewThis is for Amazon.com, of course. But I imagine all sites are as easy. Okay. Just checked. You have to click on the photo above to actually be able to read it. 🙂

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