Monday, 10 July 2017
The etiquette of reviewing a book
I have been wanting to write about this for a while now and having read an article today on another blog I decided to take the plunge and offer up my opinion on what is and is not good reviewing etiquette.
On main selling platforms like Amazon there is a star rating, and depending on how much someone liked or disliked your work they will rate it using this method. Now some will rate this way without leaving a reason WHY. For authors, this can be annoying. We want to know why you liked/disliked it.
I know many are of the opinion that reviews are not for the author to read, but rather, they are for readers. I disagree. We write for ourselves, to begin with, but when published we put our little bundles out into the world for others to pick up and enjoy (hopefully).
If a reader loves the book, we want to know what parts they loved. Why? So that we can write stories with characters like this in them. So that we can expand those stories and those characters and flesh them out in future possible projects or characters like them.
But, and this is important, equally if you do not like the book, we want to know WHY. This is a learning curve for us. As an independent author, I write my novel, I send it out to my beta readers. On their feedback I make changes and when I am happy with it I send it to my editor. I personally design all my own covers and make them too, a lot of time, money and effort is put into my work. As authors, we are continually improving our craft and the more we write the better we become. #FACT
Whether we want to admit it or not, reviews are important to us. It gives us an indication that all that time, money and effort was worth it and if the review is a negative one or on the low side if an explanation is given we can learn from that and make necessary changes.
That being said, how you as a reader review is important. I have seen two-star reviews given and for no other reason than the fact that the reader did not finish the book because 'it wasn't their cup of tea' or because 'they did not like a particular character in the book' and as an author, I find this annoying.
There are preview functions on Amazon that allow you, the reader, a peek inside to see if this is the type of writing, style and story you like. It is at this point you make the informed decision on whether you should buy the book or not.
As a rule, if I buy a book and find that I don't enjoy it (badly developed character, poor structure/pace, or zero plot arc) then if I can not leave a constructive 3-star review, I simply leave none. But, what I will do is try and contact the author. I message them and explain why I did not leave a review. Now I am not suggesting everyone should do that, I do it as a curtsey, from one author to another.
Reviews count. So let's be sure that the ones we give are accurate and informative.