Hey, did you enjoy the last book you read? Oh, you did! Well that’s fantastic…did you leave a review? No? But why?
I can’t tell you how many times I have had this conversation.
As an author I may be a bit biased when I say this but please, for the love the book gods, why aren’t more people leaving book reviews?!
What many readers don’t realise is that authors don’t write for the money. Believe me; I’d make more money per day standing outside Aldi with an empty coffee cup in my hand. We write because we have stories inside of us that we want to share with the world. Share with people like you. Many moons ago, writers would write a book and then, if they made it big and were lucky, there may have been a review in the newspaper or a magazine may have picked it up.
Now, with the introduction of the internet, not only can everyone find our books but they can can also read it immediately in their little hand-held device and then they can tell us what they think, all at the click of a button in the space of one day. How wonderful! How utterly terrifying! But mainly wonderful.
You see, leaving a review for a book is not just about telling the world you love or hate it – it’s about telling the author what you thought of their creation. That’s right, we read them all…the good, the bad and the downright bonkers.
We’re an insecure bunch and we want to know whether our book is as shit as we always feared it was. We refresh our Amazon page religiously on a daily basis to see what you, our readers, truly think. We love our readers, we are a slave to their needs, what they think actually matters to us. We’ll grin when we get a good review, we’ll gasp when the reader has gone to the trouble of raving about the characters and writing style, and we’ll tell ourselves it doesn’t matter that Mr Smith thought it was corny and a bit crap because, well, maybe it wasn’t the right book for him anyway.
Leaving a review about the book you just read isn’t something arduous that you have to fit into your busy day. You can click on five stars in the time it takes to go to the loo at work.
Did you know….?
– It take less than 10 seconds to leave a review on Amazon
– You don’t have to have purchased the book from Amazon to leave a review
– Goodreads is the leading point of reference for booklovers world-wide
– Goodreads is free to join
– Every time you leave a five star book review the author has an orgasm
OK, so I made the last part up. Metaphorically though, I’m not far off, it’s certainly the best free and legal high I’ve ever known!
‘But no one reads them. What’s the point?’ I hear you say.
Well actually they do, and there’s a big reason to leave a review. Let me tell you a story…
A few months I was talking on an author panel at the Dutch ComicCon in The Netherlands and promoting ‘The Path Keeper’ – the first book of my YA fantasy romance series. There I was, sitting at my little table with a stack of books in front of me and some famous cartoonist beside me. He had a huge queue, I didn’t. Then a couple walked past and stopped. They looked up at my big banner, picked up one of my books, turned it over, read the blurb, frowned and walked away. They didn’t even make eye contact with me. I shrugged and sighed, I’d long ago stopped taking it personally. Then a few minutes later they walked back and bought a copy.
‘What made you buy one?’ I asked.
‘Well we’d never heard of you so looked you up on Amazon and Goodreads. Your reviews were fantastic so we decided to buy a copy.’
Yes, it was THAT simple. Your views about a book make all the difference to future purchasers – you have the power to stop them buying it or to make them turn around and grab a copy. Good reviews mean that when a prospective reader Googles a book and five golden stars pop up they are convinced they aren’t wasting their money…and that’s down to you.
So what is the best way of reviewing a book? Here is my 5 point guide.
- Write the review as soon as you reach The End. Get it all out your system while you’re still feeling all the feels and the characters are fresh in your mind. There’s no better cure for a book hangover.
- Don’t panic that you’re not a proficient writer yourself. Even if you just choose your number of stars and write something simple like ‘loved it, have recommended it to all my friends’. That’s enough.
- Compare the book to similar books or authors you also enjoyed, so prospective readers can tell if they will enjoy it.
- If you want to give a low score then don’t be mean…be constructive. Perhaps it was too gory for you. But perhaps the person reading your two star review loves a bit of gore so it won’t put them off anyway.
- Please (and I can’t stress this enough) if the distributor has delivered your book late or it was torn or the wrong one please pleeeeease PLEASE don’t give the book a one star review. Seriously, that is not the author’s fault. Why would you ruin their reputation and book rating because your postman is bad at his job?
So that’s all I have to say about reviews. If you love a book tell the world. Review it in as many places as you can, blog about it, tell your friends, nag your library to stock it, ask your local book shop why they aren’t selling it and write about it on social media.
Actually, go further than that, get in touch with the author on Twitter and tell them that you enjoyed their book. You think we’re too busy to say thanks for a lovely comment? Of course we’re not. We’re not in our office typing away furiously…we’re on the sofa, with our phone, seeing if someone has left a review on Amazon.