Reviews are important to writers. They give guidance to other readers when choosing a book. It might be surprising to learn that although writers love good reviews, they know that all reviews might not be a five-star review. Writers pay attention to what a reader says about their books even if the critique may point out flaws in the characters and the story. Importantly, readers occasionally catch something that was missed in the writing.
When leaving a review, these are some questions to ask yourself that you can include in the review:
- Why did I choose this book?
- Was it in the genre I read, or am I stretching my reading life into trying a new category?
- Does the story flow?
- Do I care about the characters, and what makes them strong and what are their weaknesses?
Trashing a book or an author serves no purpose. Leave an honest, carefully written assessment of what you read. If you didn’t like the work, give an author honest insight into their writing and why the story did not resonate with you. Is your critical review one that will help the author build on their writing?
An example of a bad review that doesn't help the author or the reader is one an author friend of mine received. A reader bought all six e-books in the series. They read the first chapter of the first book and decided they didn’t like it. The reviews left for all six books stated, “This is a horrible book. I didn’t even read it. Don’t waste your time.” In looking at the reader's other reviews, this reader didn't like anything but biographies, so this series was not one they would have liked anyway.
The author got it that the reader didn’t like the book. However, if the books were never read, how could the reviewer have left a knowledgeable review?
Read on, review, and make your reviews matter. And if you’ve left a raving review, you can bet the author is smiling that someone understood what they were trying to convey.