Let’s talk about the importance of reviews

The Importance Of Book Reviews

Book reviews, what do they mean to the author?


This is a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I mean there’s the obvious answer: It means their books gets noticed, it gives an indication of what works and what doesn’t. But that’s like statistics. What I’m wondering about is what it means on an emotional level.

As you’ve probably already noticed, I do a lot of book reviews, and a times it has happened that an author has commented on it. Twice on Goodreads, once on Twitter, and once on email. On Goodreads one author said thank you, the other was an author that also thanked me – but she also cleared up a misunderstanding. I know some people don’t like when authors comment on their reviews, but so far I’m liking it.

When I read book 2 & 3 in Ember Cole’s Carnal Mischief series, there was so much extra content in the second book, that it honestly looked stuffed. I took that into consideration with my review, and Ember commented on it. She was so awesome about it, which I really appreciated. Because not only is it great to hear her thoughts behind it, on this case it was an actual misunderstanding that did need clearing up.

comment from Ember


It always makes me wonder, how does reviews affect the authors? When writing reviews I always try to stay true to what a book makes me feel, and be respective of the author. However, I’ll be the first one to admit that I sometimes get so caught up in what I feel, that my rants might get out of control. But then again, if the book really made me that upset, sad or annoyed, isn’t it something that should be highlighted in the review?

If I look at it like I’m reviewing something I’ve read and just run with it, its easy enough. But sometimes I can’t help but feel, that I am tearing down what someone put a lot of time, energy and love into. When looking at it like that, its not nice to write a bad review. But if I held back, it would no longer be my honest review, would it? It would be a censured version of my thoughts and feelings.

 


 

In order to get a better understanding of what reviews truly means, I’ve reached out to some talented authors: E.M. Moore, Penelope Wren and Eva Chase, and asked them these 3 questions:

 

1. What does reviews of your book mean to you? Is it “just” to get your books noticed?

Penelope Wren: 
Oh reviews are definitely not just to get my books noticed. It is a nice perk, but not the only reason I want those reviews. Sales are lovely and are obviously the lifeblood of the self-published author, but reviews are more personal than a sale and are invaluable in their usefulness.  I enjoy seeing what people like about my writing, and what I need to work on. I take notes on what didn’t work and what did, and try to adapt accordingly.
Eva Chase:
Reviews mean a lot of things to me! They’re definitely a great way to spread the word about the books with other readers. But they also show me how readers are reacting to the books and give me an idea of what I’m doing that’s working well and what I might want to tweak in later books. And they’re a wonderful source of inspiration in general, because seeing them tells me that people care enough about the books to want to share their thoughts.

E.M. Moore:
Reviews mean a lot to me. I read every single one of them. Yes, even the bad ones. Sometimes they depress me, but really, it’s important to listen to what readers are saying. If everyone picked apart this one aspect of my book, I would know not to do that the next time. The good reviews, though, are the kind that boost you up and make you want to keep writing. I love it when readers write how much they loved my books in a review or message me. It’s great to know that I’m not just writing into a void. It should be a two-way street, so reviews are one way to make that happen. ❤

2. How does the positive and/or negativity affect you personally and in terms of future books?

Penelope Wren: 
I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t hurt my feelings to read negative comments about something I’ve created, because it does.  And it has actually hurt my productivity on a sequel novel that I’ve written and am currently editing, because I go back and forth on whether or not I should even bother continuing with something so many people disliked.

But, at the end of the day, as an author you have to swallow your pride and put yourself out there again. If you quit just because you can’t please everyone, you’re not ever going to be able to produce anything ever again.

And I’ve also found that the loudest voices are often not the majority opinion, they’re simply just that– the loudest voices. Even best-selling authors have their critics, it’s just a matter of letting the negativity roll off your back and honing your craft on the next attempt.

Eva Chase:
A glowing review can make my day. I’d be writing regardless, but it’s easier to get into that zone when I know people are eagerly waiting the rest of the story. Negative reviews can sometimes have the opposite effect, making it harder to find the energy to get into the creative flow. But I’ve been at this for a long time, and I’ve gotten better at seeing negative reviews as just an indication that the book was a bad fit for that reader. As long as lots of people are loving the story, I’ve clearly gotten things right, and there’s no book that appeals to absolutely everyone. 🙂

In terms of future books, I’ll take note of things people mention particularly liking or having a problem with, but I’ll only tweak things later on if that still fits with my vision.

Everyone is not going to like everything I produce. And that’s okay. (It’s a hard lesson, and one I’m still struggling to learn!)

E.M. Moore:
The positive reviews usually only boost my emotional state. I don’t look for them as a way to write the next book. Not because readers opinions aren’t valid, but because I want the book to be all about my creativity. If I listened to every review, the books would come out with a myriad of things that wouldn’t make any sense together. For instance, if someone wrote, “I love alphas! Always put alphas in your book!” And then the other wrote, “Shy, nerdy guys are the best!”, you could see how that’s conflicting. I guess that’s why writing Reverse Harem works so well!!

I do get down about negative reviews, and there have been times when they’ve made me not want to write. (That’s when you go read all the 5 stars!) But, I like to read them for feedback. Maybe the reviewer says something valid. Other times, I just remember that every book isn’t for everyone. I dislike tons of books that others love. My sister and I constantly talk about books and what works for her sometimes doesn’t work for me. It can be subjective.

3. Do you ever comment on book reviews you read? Both positive and negative.

Penelope Wren:
I don’t comment on reviews, no.

Eva Chase:
Do you ever comment on book reviews you read? Both positive and negative.

If someone tags me on a positive review, I’ll sometimes comment to thank them. Negative reviews I don’t generally respond to at all, unless tagged and the reviewer had a question I can answer. I feel reviews are mainly for fellow readers, so it’s not my place to insert myself into that space unless I’m expressly invited. 🙂

E.M. Moore:
I never comment. It was one of those rules that was told to me when I first started out and I held to it. I’ve heard authors say that reviews are for other readers, and they really are. I want readers to feel comfortable in saying whatever they want in a review. If I commented on them, I feel like it would skeeve some readers out. Sometimes I really want to comment on the positive ones though!


As I’ve mentioned towards the top of the post, I like when authors comment on my reviews. But I do understand it’s a fine line! Because if the authors come off as defensive, or like they can’t handle criticism, it’s not going to be the best foundation for communication between the reviewer and author.

But I will say, that it was great to hear from an author POV what reviews means to them, and they are used. So a huge thank you to Penelope, Eva & E.M. for answering my questions!

If you want to stalk follow these three lovely ladies, here’s a few of the ways:

Penelope Wren
Facebook group: Penelope’s Nest
Amazon: UK | US
Goodreads: Author Page

Eva Chase
Facebook group: Minions Of Magic
Amazon: UK | US |
Goodreads: Author Page

E.M. Moore
Facebook group: ForeverMOORE Reader’s Group
Amazon: UK | US
Goodreads: Author Page

 


 

Lets chat

 

What does reviews mean to you? Do you use them to decide whether or not to read a book? Or do you prefer to make your own decision? Let’s talk in the comments!

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24 thoughts on “Let’s talk about the importance of reviews

  1. Such a great topic, and I’m glad you’ve brought it up. The online presence is important for all authors, and I know several who have benefited from it, especially Marissa Meyer. I think they may play a bigger role for smaller authors who may not get that press bigger ones do.

    I’ve had Bardugo send her love for my review on Twitter but didn’t say anything on my review. But some authors have been burned over commenting and have lost readers. Just look at Faleena Hopkins.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an amazing post! I personally really enjoy it when an author comments on my reviews. I just hope that if I’m at all critical in my review, they are understanding. I always try to be professional and constructive in my criticisms (notice, I say TRY! Sometimes it gets away from me, but it’s usually for something silly or stupid and I hope they’ll take it with a grain of salt!
    The other one is that I wouldn’t appreciate being told that a thought, feeling or message that I got from their book was wrong (not speaking of the author who commented to you! I would really appreciate that, especially if I didn’t like that portion. I wouldn’t want to give people the wrong impression of something that wouldn’t be an issue anyways!), but I feel like writing if very personal and an author sometimes has to learn to let go of their own impressions of their writing and let others find their own meaning. Now, that is never me saying they shouldn’t GIVE those impressions, I’d love to hear an author’s personal thoughts and feelings of their book. Just don’t tell a reader they were “wrong”.
    I’m definitely going to be looking into these three writers! They’re answers were amazing, and they seem very strong in their vocation, even though it can be hard at times! We all have to help each other out! And, although none of us will be happy all the time, all we can do is try! 😀❤️❤️💖🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right! Writing is such a personal thing. Whether it’s it the book or review or something different, it’s our own experience. I wouldn’t much appreciate someone saying “what you’re feeling is wrong” because there’s always room for individual interpretation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. why someone wouldn’t want an author to comment on their reviews? I will like it I think XD I get all excited when they comment or even like my tweets XD I rather comments than 1 like… sometimes likes are just like “yes yes blabla” haha I like the interviews and I agree with some of the things that you said! I try to be as truthful to my reactions without being rude or stomping on their work!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Carolina @fictionologyst

    Bibi this is such an amazing post, I realized how reviews affect the author but I really need to stay true to my feeling, if I think it’s bad then I’d be honest. And I actually like when authors comment on my review, it means they’re open for your criticism.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your questions are so well-thought out. Kudos for that. When it comes to review, I want to be true to myself, without being nasty.
    I feel that it takes sweats and tears to write a book (even the trashy ones) and to discard it with few mean lines would reflect more on me- the reviewer, than the author herself.
    And yeah, I do take reviews into account when deciding whether or not to read a book. Well, life is short. 🙂
    Again, thanks for choosing such an amazing topic for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m so glad you liked my questions 🙂 I often look at other reviews too, because there’s so little time and so many books. But sometimes the reasons others might not like it, might be the exact reason I did. So it’s not all negative.

      Like

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  7. When I write a review I word vomit everything I think about it. Then I come back to it later usually a day later and read over things. This way if I put something that I feel is out of line I still have a chance to fix it. I have had authors retweet my reviews and that meant the world to me so I can not understand why people would not want that interaction.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I usually don’t read reviews for a book I’m super excited to read because I don’t want to get any preconceived notions going in. But when I’m on the fence about reading/buying/keeping something on my TBR, I look at reviews to get a feel for the book. I do the same when I’m decided to DNF a book as well.
    I’ve had some great conversations with authors when reviewing their books; especially some of the authors I’m on street teams for where you often get to help review the earliest forms of the books. It’s been very rewarding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m pretty much the same with reviews. I mostly read them if I haven’t heard of the book, or if I’m in doubt about whether to read it or not. And the relationship between author, reader and reviewer can be a great one, if everyone wants it to be 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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