Saturday, January 11, 2014

Reviews: A Paradox

Today, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on book reviews. Book reviews are a useful tool in helping readers navigate through the myriad of books on sale, making their next choice an easier one. A good review is a good marketing tool for authors, as well.

Authors need a healthy amount of reviews in order to advertise their stories on the very websites which cater to giving readers reviews on the books being offered in the particular genres they seek. So in order for the author to gain recognition on a site, they must already have the necessary reviews to gain entrance onto said site. 
It’s virtually a catch-22, wouldn’t you say?

As a writer, I know the importance of having readers review your story. A review can be a good thing—a bellwether of sorts—letting me know if I’ve pleased my readers. Did my story make them laugh or cry? Or did I miss the boat entirely? I use this feedback when writing my next book.

However, reviews are subjective. A story might engage one reader, but not the next. Everybody has different tastes. That’s fine and understandable. A good reviewer will explain his or her reasons in a critique of the book. And for the most part, most reviewers are fair and give excellent feedback on the story. They will touch on the things they liked or disliked, giving their reasons why. However, every so often, someone will leave a review that isn’t constructive, but destructive in nature, sounding vindictive at best. When this happens, and though it’s quite hurtful, it’s best for the author to bite the bullet and ignore it. The author can only hope that when other readers see that horrendous review they will dismiss it for what it is and not allow it to influence whether or not they read the story.

Getting people to review your story can sometimes be a Herculean feat to an author. Authors can submit their book to particular sites, that might or might not, review it. This process can be subjective, too. Reviewers often go by name recognition. And some authors are left out in the cold.

Writing in the 21st century has become quite complex for an author. No longer does the author just write the book. They have to market it now, as well. Reviews help authors get their name out there. So, whenever you read a book, please be so kind to leave a review.  

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