Are they even worth the effort?
I think they are.
As a reader I turn to book reviews only after I’ve found a book I might be interested in.
I look for:
- How many stars someone gave it
- If it’s a low star (3 or lower) then I read the body of the review to see why they scored it so low.
- I also compare how many people have reviewed it to the average score. If only a few people have read it and it scored highly then I know there’s still a chance it will suck. If a lot of people have reviewed it and the score is high then I know there’s a good chance I’ll at least like it.
However, I do not pay attention to reviews if it’s a series I’m already reading. Because:
- I don’t want to risk reading a spoiler
- I don’t care what other people think of it. I’m already invested in finishing it, no matter how repetitive, boring, or crazy it gets.
That being said, before I started writing my own book and immersing myself in the writing world I barely ever left a review unless it was an expensive book that completely sucked. I felt like it was my responsibility to warn other people before they wasted their money.
It’s actually been documented that people who hated the book are more likely to leave a review then the people who liked it.
As a writer I realize now how important book reviews are.
- A book review is basically an authors bread and butter.
- On amazon a book must reach a certain number of book reviews (both good and bad) in order to show up in their “also bought” and “you might like this” lists.
- In order to be included in the “Recommended For You” email Amazon sends out you have to reach a certain number of positive feedback.
- In order to promote your book on some websites as adds or on book review sites you need to have a certain average positive score before you are even considered.
- Even bad reviews are helpful to writers because it adds to the over review score and gets your book seen.
Now that I know how important getting a review is to an author I’ve tried to leave one for each book I’ve read (whether I liked it or not).
My scoring system goes like this:
- 1 star = It was so bad I couldn’t even finish it. (This is rare for me because I feel a compulsion to finish every story)
- 2 stars = I finished it but I wish I hadn’t.
- 3 stars = I finished it and it was OK but I wouldn’t recommend it.
- 4 stars = I finished it and it was good and I could see myself recommending it.
- 5 stars = I finished it. I loved it. I will absolutely be recommending it and I will also buy the hard copy of it. (5 star books are the ones I see myself re-reading.)
The body of my review is usually short without spoilers where I just state the reason why I scored it the way I did.
I don’t see myself as the end all, be all of book reviewers.
It’s just me letting the reading world know that I took time out of my life to read and write a review of this book.
It’s me giving exposure to an author so that his or her hard work get noticed a little more.
I score the review as honestly as I can, not because I want to affect the authors ratings in any way, but because I’m an honest person and I can’t stomach the idea of giving 4 stars or more to a book that I didn’t enjoy.
Do bad reviews and poor scores affect an author’s sales?
I do believe they affect the sales but not in a negative way.
- We look to see how many people read a certain book and if the number is low (whether they have a high score or not) could mean that it’s not worth our time or money. Or worse yet we’d never even see the book because it doesn’t have enough recognition to be picked up on any algorithms.
- If you want to leave a review but not score it because you can’t honestly give it 4 or more stars then that’s ok. It will help with their overall review total but you aren’t really doing them any favors because you are not helping out in amassing a star rating total.
- As a reader, seeing a good mix of low and high scores tells us that this has been honestly reviewed and not just reviewed by friends and family or by “bought” reviews. (Bought reviews are when an author or publishing company pays people to leave positive reviews)
- “Any news is good news.” This is true unless you have all negative reviews. However, even if that was the case your amount of bad reviews could lead people to talk about you and ultimately to people wanting to buy your book and read it for themselves to see if they agree or not.
Now the question is, “Do you really want to risk upsetting an author or fan by leaving something negative?”
As a reader:
- If I see a negative review of a book i liked or loved or even about an author I like or love I get mad, of course I do. I think, “Is this person crazy? Did they even read the book??” Then I stop and realize, a book is never experienced the same way. Each person that reads the same book will walk away with a different feeling, a different opinion.
- Everyone is entitled to their opinion but it’s ultimately up to me to decide for myself.
- However, like I mentioned before, If i don’t hear or see any negative reviews at all I don’t trust it.
As a writer:
- I feel like all talk about a book is relevant, important and needed.
- However, when I receive negative comments I hope the reviewers will still be kind about it.
Thursday @ 9 am “How To Treat Your Writing as a Business”
Friday @ 9 am “Being Plus Size in The Workplace”
- How do you feel about book reviews?
- Do you pay attention to them when you are go to purchase a book?
- Have you ever left a negative review or score? If so why?
- Have you ever received a negative review or score? If so, how did you take it?