I heard a lot of good feedback from last week’s post about paying it forward and decided to add a second post to continue to help you help others while also building up that good karma reserve. This is something that both writers and readers can and should be doing. It’s the review.
For those of you who have been following for a while, you know I don’t write a typical review. I believe the synopsis is there to let prospective readers know what the book is about. The review should let others know what you thought of the book. Did you like it? Why? Did you want to throw it across the room? How come? (but be careful not to give away important plot info!) Was it a familiar story? Were the characters believable? etc.
It’s a very nice gesture for you, as a fellow writer or reader, to put these reviews on your blog and then promote the blog, but be sure to also go to places like Amazon and Goodreads and rate the book there as well. This is especially helpful for the self published authors who probably don’t have a print book available in stores.
Now, some of you might be scratching your head asking “Goodreads? What the heck is Goodreads and why bother rating a book there?” Goodreads is a community; a social network of writers (both traditionally and self published) and readers. You can become a fan of and follow your favorite authors and make friends with other readers who have similar tastes in literature as you do. It’s a fantastic place for book recommendations and to see when new books in a series or from your favorite author are due out. As you make friends, every time they finish and rate a book, or put a book on their to read shelf, you will get it in a daily email. This, my friends, is how I find 95% of the books I read. If I see a friend has read something and rated it 4 or 5 stars, it piques my interest and drives me to go see what it’s all about. I am more likely to look into it if they write why they gave it such a rating, but sometimes if the stars are there and the title catches my eye, I’ll check it out. I almost always will go to Amazon after checking out the book on Goodreads and read over the reviews there as well.
Here’s another thing gang. Your reviews? Be honest with them. While I can’t speak for other writers, I would rather have a reader tell me if they truly didn’t enjoy the book or didn’t like a specific aspect of it. That doesn’t mean you have to be nasty about it, but how am I to improve and win you back as a reader if you don’t tell me what sucked? OK, sucked is a strong word that hopefully none of you will ever use towards my writing, but I’m prepared for anything! As stated before, you can’t please everyone, so I’m sure there will be unhappy reviews. I would almost prefer bad reviews to no reviews at all…Almost, but not quite. Hey! At least I’m honest about it!
So what’s your task going forward? You’re going to try and remember to rate and review the books you read, good and bad. Authors will appreciate knowing what you thought and where they might look to improve. Readers will appreciate knowing what others thought before spending their hard earned money on it. You will be doing a lot of people a service and hopefully, if you’re an author, they will do the same for you in kind. So get out there and pay it forward some more people! It certainly couldn’t hurt.