Book reviews are weird things and I think most authors have a love/hate relationship with them. They also know the old adage to not read reviews, understanding that not everyone will like their books.
And yet, authors need book reviews. Don’t worry, this isn’t a post pushing you to write a review. Indie-authors in particular need them. The more reviews, the higher the book floats to the top of the visibility pile. It’s vital to have reviews. It’s vital to have people ‘share’ posts rather than just ‘like’ them. All these little things equate to word of mouth advertising, which, as everyone knows, is the best kind.
Warning: I have no idea what kind of photos tie to book reviews, so I’m just inserting whatever catches my eye. Except for the last one that SO relates to peeking.
But here’s the thing. Even though we know not to read reviews, sometimes the temptation is just too much and we peek. Or at least I do. Kind of like peeking in the Christmas stocking before everyone else gets up. Or peeking at the last page of a book to see if the author agrees with you who the bad guy is. Or peeking at the text being typed by the person crammed intimately into the airplane seat next to you.
I just realized peeking is like solving a mystery. And I do love a good mystery.
Anyway, this is my problem on those rare occasions when I peek at a review. It’s one thing when someone writes out a review, but those people who just click on the number of stars and don’t say why can be frustrating.
It has nothing to do with the number of stars. I don’t care if the book got five or one. As long as there’s an explanation, that is. You hate the book? Tell me why, because maybe it’s simply that my book and you weren’t a good match. Or, more importantly, maybe it’s actually something I can learn from.
Those who say nothing and only assign the stars, aren’t giving me the end of their story. They’re not allowing me to peek into their life, to see why, to understand. Sounds selfish, I know.
That can drive a mystery writer bonkers. Probably all writers. You immediately ask the same questions you asked yourself when you started writing the story. What if…Why…How can I…In other words, there’s a need for dialog.
Let’s talk. Explain it to me. Help me see your view. Allow me to explain. Allow me to show how the words ended up the way they did.
That may sound a bit pathetic but I’m sure you get what I mean. It’s not out of desperation. It’s out of a desire to understand, to interact, to grow. It’s also an excuse to talk writing with people, which is absolutely wonderful.
So if you take time to click on stars, consider taking a few seconds to tell the writer why.
Because even if writers know they shouldn’t read reviews, everyone peeks.