This week something happened that really got me thinking. Someone left a 1-star review on one of my books, because they thought from the summary, that the love interest died and there would be no happily ever after. They admitted to not reading the book, at all, but still felt entitled to leave a bad review.
Now I’m a writer, so I’m used to people not always liking my books, and that’s fine. I appreciate every person who takes their precious time to read something I wrote, even if they don’t like it. But leaving a review on a book you didn’t like, or skimmed, or didn’t finish, is just wrong. And you certainly can’t judge a book by only reading its summary (case in point, and spoiler alert, the love interest doesn’t die, and there is a happily ever after).
The thing is, reviews are important. No, not just important, they’re crucial. They can also be hard to come by, especially for indie authors. I’ve heard many people say they never leave reviews, or that they only leave reviews on a book they hated. They say they don’t have time and that they aren’t good at writing reviews. But here’s the thing, you don’t need to take a lot of time, or write anything brilliant. A simple, sixty second, “I liked this book and would recommend it” is great. That doesn’t take a lot of time and it really is all you need.
Reviews affect ranking of an author on Amazon. The higher up in the list a book is, the more exposure it gets, and the more people are likely to take the risk and use their important time to read it.We are all busy, and I know a reader’s time is important, so they need honest facts to make the decision of how to spent that time. A book is an investment. It might take six or eight hours to read, and I would never want anyone to waste that much time on a book they won’t like. Even if it’s mine. I want a reader to be able to make an informed decision and they can’t do that if they can’t trust the reviews.
The single most important thing you can do for an author, other than read their book, is to leave a review. If you enjoy a book, it’s even more important. If you love a book, you need to be the one to counter all the people who only write reviews when they dislike a book. You need to be the one who tells other readers that the book is worth the risk. You also need to let the author know what you did and didn’t like, because without you, we don’t know.
Before I published my first book, I’d never written a review. I never understood how important it was and I don’t expect readers to grasp that either. Now, I write a review on nearly everything. I try to be honest, and constructive, but I’m busy too, so sometimes my reviews are one sentence. And that’s okay. Take the minute, leave the review, speak your mind.
Just make sure you’ve actually read the book.