I can’t deny it. I love free books because they lead me to new authors. If I had a nickel for every book I bought because of enjoying a free read, I’d be–well, I’d be buying more books. This also leads me to the topic of this post. Reviews.
Reviews help draw attention to your books both positive and negative. This is a given (and I won’t get into the nastiness that has spread some sites). I, however, struggle to write a review for a book I didn’t enjoy. As both a reader and a writer, I know how deep an unflattering review cuts especially when said reviewer is close to home. The adage ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ is my mantra when writing reviews. It may not be fair but I can’t rip into an author’s work knowing they left their heart and soul in the pages regardless of how bad I thought it was.
I also can’t write a scathing review based on a personal grudge against an author for whatever reason. I’ve seen the social media skirmishes and the ugly reviews in retaliation. For me, I’d much rather recommend a book with a nice review as opposed to slamming a book I didn’t enjoy. Let’s face it; I may be alone in my lack of enjoyment of said book so what do I know?
I try to avoid reading reviews of my work. Having said that, I do hope any review I receive is thoughtful and honest without being hurtful. I have to believe if what I write, the story I tell, is good enough for a publisher to invest in me with their time, edits, and promotion, it can’t be garbage.
If you want to climb in the numbers game that is ratings, you need reviews. Word of mouth sells books. It also kills them (a slow, painful death) and quite possibly can kill future books as well.
The “Lone Star Club” has a long and illustrious membership. Even best-selling, successful authors receive them. We can all take solace in that knowledge.