You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS? – by Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)


A stack of books and words Read - Review - Repeat

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 –


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 find them on Amazon and my Goodreads page.

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.

If you really like a book, then tell your friends about it. The success of a book in the marketplace has an impact on your favourite author’s ability to publish again. Speak up! It makes a difference.

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?


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!


The best way to thank an author, is to write a review.


144 thoughts on “You READ – but do you leave REVIEWS? – by Chris Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)

  1. Hi Chris,
    I found your blog from Teagan’s post today. Writing reviews is new to me in the last few months. I’ve written maybe a dozen, so I’m still a novice and don’t consider myself good at writing them. I still get nervous for reasons you mentioned above. But I’ve written the reviews to help out the authors (loved all the books), and that’s the bottom line.
    This post full of great advice really helps though. Thank you! I can exhale now and write those reviews with more freedom.
    ~Lauren 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the insight. We all need to be reminded of how important the work is to an author so that we can remember or realize how important our feedback is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read a great deal, On average two to three books per week. Do I always leave reviews…no. There are two reasons for this. Firstly I choose two books that I wish to read and one randomly (sometimes the best of the three). The random book I will often chose from a genre that I do not normally enjoy. I believe that it is then unfair to rate and review as it may be wonderful to someone who enjoys that genre, just not me. Secondly, If i hate the book. Many authors put a great deal of time and effort into a novel. I do not wish to “drag them down” with a bad review. Another may enjoy the novel. In exceptional circumstances I will still review a book of this type if I feel the author has nothing to offer and has made little effort to create an enjoyable novel.
      Otherwise I always review.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I always ask the to “write a very short (2-3 sent.) review.”
    I remind them that they don’t have to be writers to write a review. In fact, the simpler the better. Most readers only read a paragraph or two.
    Thanks, Chris, for supporting authors. We really appreciate it.
    Also, did you get my message about doing an article about my newest book? People are finding it fascinating.
    “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
    Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too.

    Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”
    Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.


  4. All very good points that do need to be repeated often. I think I read somewhere that only 5% or readers leave reviews. Based on the number of copies I have given out vs. the number of reviews, that seems about right.

    I have done a few posts on the importance of reviews. I ended one by saying, “As a reader, please don’t underestimate the power of your words. Reviews don’t have to to be long-just honest.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I review everything I read, or buy, whether on Amazon, or any other review platform. As well as giving feedback to the author/company, it also lets potential buyers come to thei own conclusion about whether or not to buy something. And as there are a lot of fake or sponsored reviews, I like to leave mine as a genuine buyer.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person


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