You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS?

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If not, why not?

I don’t have time

The author probably spent a heck of a lot more time writing the story than you took to read it, no matter how slow you think you are, so why not take a few minutes to record your feelings about it.

I can’t write long fancy reviews like those I see on book review blogs

You don’t have to, Amazon, for example, only ask you to use a minimum of 25 non repeating words.

I can’t express myself very well

No-one is asking you to produce a literary masterpiece, start off with things you liked, didn’t like or a mix of both about the book, e.g.,

I liked this book because –

it reminded me of –

it made me think about –

it made me so scared I couldn’t sleep for –

it made me feel homesick for –

it made me more aware about –

etc.

and just express your feelings about it

take a look at MY reviews – no lengthy literalistic tomes, no divulging the story endings or highlights (these are called spoilers), you’ll get to them by clicking on the Amazon sites mentioned at the top of the Find Me At list to the right of this article, or even my Goodreads page further down the same list (when at Goodreads, check under my Chris’s Bookshelves and select Books Reviewed).

But all the other reviews are great long one’s. Everybody will laugh at mine

Let them laugh, you won’t be there to see them. Anyway, if they laugh AT you instead of WITH you, it demonstrates what kind of people THEY are.

In any case, an author will not laugh AT you I can assure you. They can see the difference between an honest comment and one that is professionally presented.

Honest reviews tell them an awful lot more and they pay more attention to them.

But what if I really, REALLY HATED the story.

As long as it was the story and not the author, then instead of posting a review comment, you can contact the author directly by email (usually found on their websites) and tell them why you really, REALLY hated the story.

If it was the AUTHOR you didn’t like, my advice is to keep it to yourself and avoid their books in future. Both of you will lead happier lives for it.

I can’t write to an author, they’re all too big and far above my status

You’d be surprised, authors come in all shapes, sizes and stations in life. The only difference between them and you is that they wrote a story and actually published it.

Why do authors need reviews anyway? They can write whatever they want and besides, they all make a lot of money so they don’t need ME doing reviews.

Only partly true.

Authors write whatever story is inside them that they feel needs to be told

However, not all authors are rolling in money, if it were that easy YOU’d be an author yourself wouldn’t you?

Authors are storytellers

Storytellers NEED an audience

YOU are part of that audience

They cannot SEE how you react to the story

They cannot see your tears, hear your laughter or feel your emotions in response to the story they are telling – it is not like they are on a stage in a live show.

THAT is why they need your review comments, they need you to tell them about your reactions, so they can work on improving the existing and future stories they are writing, thereby improving your enjoyment of them.

So, if I leave review comments about a story I’ve read, I’ll be helping them get better at telling them?

Yes!

MMMM but I don’t have time –

Please refer to the top of the page and read it as many times as necessary until the message finally gets through – thank you!

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221 thoughts on “You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS?

  1. As an Indie author myself I know the importance of a book review. I have had readers contact me personally to tell me that they have read and enjoyed one of my books but when asked if they have posted a review have said that they have tried but given up because it is so difficult. I myself always post a review on another author’s book but only if I feel I can recommend it. If I found it to be poorly written I will not post a bad review. I have always found that Amazon ask me for a review a few weeks after purchasing a book and have never had a problem in posting a review. Clearly readers in general are not always asked by Amazon for a review. Such a pity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never used to review until I began reading indie authors and realized how much reviews meant. Now I review everything I read indie or traditional. I certainly don’t make it fancy either. I try to be concise and spell out exactly what I liked about the book and why someone else would like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Chris, which I’ve only just seen, don’t know how. You are so right about the importance of reviews as a sign to the author that they are doing something right. However, I would never leave a bad review of an indie book, as I know how crushed I would feel, and I’ve only once contacted an author to say why I wasn’t going to post a review of his book. He took it well and agreed with what I had to say, but not all writers are so open to criticism, especially once the book is published. Most small publishers would refuse to bring out a new fault-free edition so the author is left knowing there are mistakes, plot holes or whatever that they can’t do anything about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. I hope readers listen. I’m going to reblog on my self pub review blog to help spread the word. I hope its not true about Amazon. Ive always been able to post reviews even if I didn’t buy it there but I haven’t reviewed since Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! I definitely agree that people should leave reviews more often. As a reader, I enjoy seeing what other people have to say about a book, especially if they point out something I did. I also write fanfiction and keep a blog, and even though I doubt either of those count as professional writing. Nonetheless, I greatly appreciate it when somebody takes the time to review my story or post. This post reminded me that I need to leave reviews more often.

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  6. I wish more people thought like us. How do we know if they enjoyed the book if they don’t let us know? Ratings are okay but they don’t deem to convey as much to me as an actual review does. Great post.

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  7. Chris, can you tell me where it says that Amazon will not allow a review of a book purchased elsewhere? I’m looking at their guidelines and under Who can create customer reviews? it says, “Anyone who has purchased items from Amazon.com.” In other words, you have to be signed up on the Amazon site and have bought something from them. It doesn’t say it has to be that particular book. Earlier in that section it says “Your review will be marked as an Amazon Verified Purchase” but it doesn’t say it has to be that.

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    • I have not, to date, had any problem leaving reviews on any Amazon site about any book Lorinda, whether I bought it from them or elsewhere.
      I DO know however, that Smashwords (always) and Barnes & Noble (sometimes) need you to have bought the book from them before allowing you to leave reviews 😀

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      • I had in mind Jenny Orelle’s comment near the top of this list. I’ve also never had any problems with reviewing on Amazon re source of purchase, but I thought I’d check out the source for the facts. I know about Smashwords – that’s why an author gets fewer reviews on Smashwords.

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          • As an editor of fiction, I always write a review and post it in several venues. I only read Indy fiction and I feel that I have an obligation to write a review for the author, hoping to help him or her with increased sales as a result of same.

            However, I take it a step further, as an editor I feel obligated to help writers as much as possible. With that in mind, I attempt to contact the writer about my review. I also take notes as I read, paying close attention to any extreme errors I find and recording them as well. Then I contact the author again to talk about the book. No strings attached, just my way of giving back.

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  8. I must admit that all your posted reasons have crossed my mind at one time or the other. I never wrote reviews until past month after reading My Wings and Dragan Duma both by Patty van Delft (http://petitemagique.wordpress.com) (My Wings is a poetry book in English with the first half Dark poetry and the second half Light poetry and Dragan Duma is a fantasy novel in Dutch) and I did that because the books where great AND she is a personal friend of me.

    It made me realize how reviews can have an impact or can be a catalyst for others to buy a book. Personally I never read a review, I don’t even read the back flap synopsis, I go in blank. Since I entered the blogging world I think I might write a review more often and not only for the authors I know personally. Yes they might be short, the might be crappy written but they will be honest and I guess that is the most important part of a review.

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  9. Reblogged this on chrismcmullen and commented:
    Read any great books lately? What a wonderful way to convey to those authors your wish for them to write more, and to tell them what great things they should keep doing right. 🙂

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  10. Reblogged this on jemsbooks and commented:
    Thank you to Chris The Story Reading Ape for all his support of indie authors. He is an indie author’s best friend! We appreciate your support!!

    Like

  11. You are the best, Chris! You are the best friend an indie author could have! Thank you for all that you do to support us! I will reblog this gem! Xo

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  12. In the past I thought (as a writer) it wasn’t my place to judge/critique the hard work of other writers (I don’t like the ‘star system’). But I’m slowly getting into it now. Having worked in comms and editing for years I found it difficult to get out of the ‘find mistakes’ mindset and into the ‘sit back and enjoy the story’ mindset. It’s a good learning experience 😀

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  13. Writers are so generous in their work. Reviews are my way of saying thank you, but I try to read them a couple of times first. Only a few hundred to work through. ( :

    I rarely buy a book without checking reviews, so it’s also a way of returning that kindness. Then there are the few books I don’t want to admit to reading…

    See you on Goodreads.

    Jenny.

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  14. Nice! I generally don’t consider myself “done” with a book until I have responded to it in some way, a review, a private message to the author, something. Sort of like doing the washing up after a feast, a tangible way of showing thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I always leave reviews, but my husband is an avid reader and never does. Now that I have him reading indies, I’ve been insisting. Try to encourage others also.

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  16. I love to have reviews. However short and pithy they are, feedback is feedback. The only thing I’d disagree with, here, is that if someone loathes my book I hope they’d always post a review saying why. Obviously “I loathed this book. It was crap and the author should be strung up for producing this drivel.” is not very helpful but “Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with this book because….” with a few of the things you didn’t like about it is very useful for readers. I often use the negative reviews when I’m deciding whether or not to buy. They’re usually more honest about the stuff they don’t like, which is sometimes stuff I DO like. Strangely they are just as helpful to me as a gushing five star. As an author, too, I can learn from them. So yeh, anyone who reads my books and doesn’t like them is welcome to say

    Cheers

    MTM

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  17. Yes I’ve started to leave reviews as it also helps me remember the striking points in a story, the highlights, what I liked and disliked about it. I would encourage everyone to leave a review of a book as it helps the author see the book through another’s eyes.

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  18. Great advice! Even though I’m not a published author, I treasure every review I receive. So, I always try to leave my thoughts on stories I’ve enjoyed. Only ones I’ve finished, though, because I don’t think it’s fair to leave a review on something I didn’t finish. I don’t know if that makes me a bad reviewer or not.

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  19. Excellent post and I hope people pay attention to it! I do like a thoughtful, insightful review, but I realize not everybody is a literary scholar, and reviews don’t have to be long and erudite. I don’t see much point in summarizing the plot – that’s right up there in the description of the book. I tend to write my reviews as if I was doing an analysis for a college paper, because I was trained to do that. I also try to say something positive in addition to any criticisms and will give quotations of passages that I thought were especially effective. And if I really think the book is inferior, I either won’t review it or, as you say, I will contact the author privately. I generally don’t review classics like The Great Gatsby on Amazon or Goodreads, but I will write about them on my blogs. And not all authors, even professionally published ones, are too busy to respond. Earlier this year, I contacted Helene Wecker (author of The Golem and the Jinni, which I loved) on Goodreads and we exchanged a couple of messages and friended each other.

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  20. Writing a review is a very simple task for me 🙂 just write what ever you feel, speak your heart 🙂 Do not bother about grammar, vocabulary or great sentences, because we are reader not a writer 🙂 we must tell the writer how we found it as a reader.

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  21. Yes, I constantly write reviews – on my blog, on Amazon, on Goodreads – it is the best feedback you can give an author because it is public and, being public, most people actually think about what they are writing. I wish, though, that more would take the time with my books so that I can see what is working, what comes across well, what I could change or adapt for the future.

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  22. When seriously starting to blog and to write, I simultanously started to provide reviews as well. It is good to know that someone likes the result of your efforts. It is nerve-wrecking to wait for the first like/review/rating. I felt nauseous until the first like for my first story. *blushes*
    As readers we should honour the authors’ efforts, as writers we should honour the readers’ efforts in providing feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I always like to leave a review. As a writer, I think it’s easy to realise how much energy went into creating a book, so I try to do my bit by leaving a review and helping 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. To be honest I do not make the effort to leave reviews of the big guys – like Stephen King. Their name is already so big that their books sell anyway. But for the not so well-known writers, I do. I get quite a tingling when Amazon sends me a notification that someone has found my review helpful. So yes, my words are read and considered. Every review I have done on my blog, I put up on Amazon too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m reviewing on Goodreads. I post on Amazon when I can, but it looks like Amazon has a new rule: only readers who buy directly from them can post a review.

      I understand the logic: it will cut back on paid-for reviews and increase credibility, but will also cut back on a lot of deserving reviews. Most of my second hand books are from Better World Books. It’s the only way I can afford to ship so many, and a book goes to charity for each I buy. (This doesn’t happen if you buy from Better World through Amazon. I checked.)

      My blog launches in the new year and will be in-part a book review blog. It’s out of gratitude to authors who have been my unwitting angels, but there’s also this motive: when you share the things you learn, you learn well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Smashwords and Barnes & Noble already have that rule in place, it is irritating to some degree for reviewers like me who post book reviews everywhere the book is available, but if it stops, or even just slows down Trolls and Reviews for Money scams, it’ll be worth it 🙂

        Don’t forget to let me know the blog details, so I can add it to my Book Reviewers Blog roll 😀

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      • Your comment makes me consider switching to posting on Goodreads. Not all the books I read have been bought by me: I swop with neighbours and friends, pick up a copy every now and then at Indigo or Scholastics, and also use the library.

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      • I recently posted a review for my good friend Patty van Delft on Amazon, never have bought anything in my life with them. this has been about two weeks ago. The review got placed.

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      • I believe, because my reviews go up, that the criteria for leaving a review on Amazon, if it is not a verified customer… if you put in the review where you got the book – I now buy Indies, read big names from the library shelves – but if I like the blurb because I’ve seen it somewhere push on facebook, I contact the author and ask if they sell signed paperback copies direct. If so, I buy. If I win it I say so, if I am fortunate to get an ARC, I say so. I only post reviews for books that I have finished and I have to like it to finish it. I seldom buy because of reviews. Now that Amazon has the option of getting inside the book, I know after reading that if it interests me, and is going to be fully read..

        So don’t let the fact that you bought it elsewhere deter you from leaving a review because many people rely on reviews with the book buying

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  25. “Respect their right to write” I love that! I only write reviews on books I like. My Mama told me “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” On the flip side, when nobody reviews my books I always wonder if their Mamas told them the same thing, and they don’t like my book.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Great post SRA! Yes leaving a review really is that simple. One of my fave reviews for my first book was only a couple of lines long, but it came from the heart and made me smile. Most authors make very little money. In any case the feedback in a review is priceless. Personally, I always review a book written by an Indie author, unless I cant find anything positive in it, in which case I respect their right to write.

    Liked by 2 people

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