Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When you read...do you review?

So, I've sold a modest amount of books.  Nothing to brag home about, mind you, but nothing to sneeze at either.  But I've only received a handful of reviews.  Which makes me wonder...

Does the "average" reader give reviews.  If so, what compels them?  Is it that the book is sooo good they want to tell the world, or is it because it's sooo bad they want to warn people away?  I consider myself an avid reader.  It's no secret, I read an average 2-3 books a week.  It's an addiction, I know.  But I have yet to give a formal review.  And I can't tell you why.  Maybe after I read it I'm on to something else...or maybe I'm just plain ole lazy and I don't feel like it.

Yet, as a writer you'll always get the occasional post or personal message from a reader telling you how much they enjoyed your book and you want to scream, "Go tell it on the mountain!  Write a review!"  But instead you thank them kindly and press your lips together trying to prevent the crass words from spilling from your lips.  I mean, after all we don't carry around a sign that reads, "Will write for reviews."

But you'll get conflicting opinions from writers about reviews.  You'll hear some say, "...you shouldn't pay attention to them, they don't validate you...you can't please everyone so don't put too much stock in them."  Things we say to ourselves as a protective mechanism from getting our feelings hurt when someone tells us that our book ~sucks.~  Yet we seem to scream from the rooftops when we get a glowing review.  So in a small way, it does matter.

I know I'm rambling, just thinking out loud.  I said all of that to ask this one question:  What makes you want to review a book that you've read?


  1. Good points! I read and write voraciously but don't write reviews unless asked to do so.It's funny in a way....as a writer you look with trepidation on reviews but hope for them and as a reader don't really focus on a review just whether or not I enjoyed the book. I think next book I read I may just write a few words to the author. I think they may appreciate it just as much as i would!

  2. Like you, Val, I read a lot but until I became an author I guess I didn't really think about the importance of reviews. I figured the author knew the book was good because I bought it. I've changed my opinion now, because I know that isn't true. And I know that most authors do enjoy hearing what you thought of their book. I will admit I only review books I liked. Perhaps that's wrong of me, but I do send a note to authors if I find a lot of editing or formatting issues that I believe will help them--still, I usually only do that for books I like. Of course if I don't like a book I'm not going to finish it. If I didn't finish it then I don't feel it's proper to write a review or downgrade a book just because I didn't like it. Literature is a matter of personal taste and what doesn't appeal to me may appeal to someone else and vice/versa.

  3. Like the commenters before me, I never used to review books until I became an author. Now I realize the importance of reviews. I am trying to do something to help authors and now accept books for review, but boy, I never realized how overwhelming it can be to get so many emails from authors asking for review.

    Once I accept a book for review, unless it's totally unreadable, I will finish it and write my review, good, bad or indifferent. Reviews are important and I think it helps readers get a feel for the book.


  4. For me there have been two reasons not to leave reviews. One, I use to work at a library and got all my reading material there so I didn't even think about writing reviews. Second, I was a bit intimidated about writing a review because I would see so many four to six paragraph reviews and I didn't think my review could stand next to one like that.

    Now I buy Kindle books and I'm writing my first book so I look at reviews a lot different. I'm starting to leave them on books I read on Goodreads and I think they help sell books.

  5. Like everyone else, I to wonder when I get the messages asking me about the next in my series. They obviously enjoyed the first, yet they failed to leave a review. Why?! *sobs* lol

    sigh... I suppose it's because readers don't understand the importance of reviews. I guess I should just be content that they read and enjoyed but it can be frustrating. =/

    I've done a few reviews but ironically and sadly since I started with the whole self publishing thing I've had so little time to read. I promise from here on though, I will review anything new I read.

  6. I love reviews and hardly ever buy a product without reading the review first. So I guess that's why I always review everything, be it books or products.

    Thanks good question

  7. Holding a hand up here too - before I wrote I didn't write reviews unless directly asked. I try to do more now but I'm rubbish at them.

    But I'm a bit perverse and I'm really not that bothered by the lower rating ones I get - as long as they're constructive. I'm not bothered by "I didn't like this book because...." as that's just one person's opinion and the reason they didn't like it could be the same reason that someone else loves it.