Monday, March 11, 2013

Are reviews here to stay?? Do we want them to??

Below is part of my reply in response to others' remarks about my last blog called "Future of Indie Authors".
One thing mentioned in your comments that I found surprising is the differences some have in the importance of reviews. We all know that many are requested. We also know that some of the five stars can be questionable. If a book only has five or even ten reviews, the readers might not believe their credibility, but once there are more than say – fifteen, I have no doubt that many are honorably earned from readers who like to have a say about a book they took the time to read.
Personally, like every other author, I have reviews from people whose names I recognize. Some are from close friends and a few from family. As I release more books, these ‘special’ reviews are showing up less. Since most had only gone to the effort on my behalf as a way to show support when I first started out, that doesn’t surprise me and I appreciate that they did so in the first place.

Another phenomenon I’ve recognized is that I have fans – (thank you Lord!) – ones who have followed me from book to book. Their reviews are my favorite because I don’t know any of the people and yet they have continued to support me by buying my novels, reading them and letting me know they like what I write.

I’ve also recognized that almost invariably after each FreePartay I’ve participated in, where I’ve given away hundreds, sometimes thousands of books, within a few days, reviews begin to appear. Hopefully, my back matter appeal has worked or else some of these folks respect our endeavours and just leave comments.  

I have no doubt that other readers are buying because of these comments and that’s the way it should be. As I said above, if there are only a few five-star reviews, it can be a bit suspect to whether the book is as good as being stated. But then the cautious buyer does have the ability to read a sample before putting out any money. As far as Amazon is concerned (I’m not familiar with any others) if a buyer is still unhappy, they can return the book and get their money back.

Because I know how important they are to an author, I do write reviews for almost every book I read. If it’s a three-star or less - I rarely finish it and I pass on leaving any comment. I’d rather not trash work that I knew took so long to create. (Just my own preference.)

I accept that not everyone likes my work and that they have the right to tell me so. But I must say it does grate me when the poor reviews are mean-hearted and tasteless. Some people even go as far as admitting they’ve never read the book, but since they had trouble downloading it, or because it had a swear word or some such foolishness, they decide to dock the author stars.

If people leave me a one or two star, I prefer that they tell me why they. If it’s something constructive, I will work on it. If it’s on my earlier work, I hope they check the dates and give me another chance. A principle that’s well known comes into play here and not just for authors. Practice makes perfect! Okay we’ll modify that a bit and say better.   

One of my books (Lovable Christmas Angel) has 90 reviews. It blows my mind every time I check to see if there’s more. I’ve read every one and have left them a thank you. This thrills my narcissistic side and is a partial payoff for all the hard work.

In summation, I guess you’ve gathered that I’m hopeful that Amazon won’t take away our reviews. To me, it would be like taking away ones right to an opinion.

What do you think?



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