Your friend left you a note
So imagine you’re at your favorite indie bookstore (… you have a favorite indie bookstore, right?) and you pick up a spiffy new release that has good artwork, a compelling blurb and a quick glance inside says the writing by the author seems solid. Might be worth picking up, do you think?
What if you found a note taped to the front cover from your “Best Friend Forever” (BFF) that said
“OMG, read this over the w/e & it RAWKED… the main character is hawt, the action is ZOMG, the description is like a movie in my mind and I sooooo cannot wait for the next one! Get it! You’ll <3 it!”
… Beyond the part where you might be questioning your friend’s sudden lapse into linguistic abuse as a communications form, you’d probably be a whole lot more tempted to spend your ten-spot on a new author, don’t you agree?
That, ladies and gentlemen, is why leaving a review is so important. Regardless of sock-puppet abuse stories, the fact of the matter is that most reviews you read on GoodReads, Amazon and iBookstore are legit. Amazon even has the “Verified Purchaser” label beside folks leaving reviews to prove they actually bought the book they are reviewing.
By taking the time to click a few stars and leave even a Tweet-sized comment about your most and least favorite things about the book means that someone following behind you gets the chance to discover a great new author or avoid a dud. It’s a way of helping the best of the bunch bubble to the top.
I can personally tell you that the hardest part of being a new writer is simply the task of convincing someone that doesn’t know my work to take a risk on me. As I said in a prior blog post, to a dedicated book lover, starting with a new author is the emotional equivalent of a blind date. It really helps if a friend tells you that the other person is going to be a fun match, even if just for a onesie.
The other thing that a reader review does is give the author an idea if they’re heading the right way. For me, even a less-than-glowing review is valuable, just because it gives me something to think about when I am planning future projects. Writing is a bit of a mad literary science experiment and often the only way we know if we’ve done “good” or “bad” is via the reviews. We don’t expect everyone to like everything we do, but if there is a strong theme in the reviews one way or another, it helps to make sure we’re steering the right course.
When I’m taking a look at Amazon, Goodreads or iBookstore, I pay attention to the rating and the median message in the reviews. When a friend tells me in direct conversation about a great new read they think I’d like, it goes right away onto my wish list/ reading list.
Please do authors and readers alike a big favor; leave a rating and a quick review of what you read. It helps everyone!