Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Reviews and Paying it Forward

Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Today I'd like to talk a little bit about your book reviews and what you can do for those folks who take the time to read and write a bit about your book. So, grab your mouse and let's get going!

Now, we all know how badly those one and/or two star reviews sting. But we read them, right? Please tell me you're reading them. Why do we subject ourselves to that? Well, if you're an author, it's likely because you want to learn what you did poorly, what you did well, and how you can improve upon future books.

Am I telling you to rip apart your manuscript and start from scratch because one person says how much they hated your book?


What I'm saying is this: If the reviewer takes the time to detail what they liked and didn't like about your book, you should take the time to read what they said and consider it very carefully. When it matters most, is when more than one person says the same thing.

We all know you can't please all of the people all of the time; but you can listen to what your reviewer is saying and not assume they're trolls who are marking your book down in order to boost their own.

So listen to what your readers say.

On to what you can do to show your appreciation for those who review your books!

Go to Amazon's Author Central and click on Customer Reviews. Scan down and see how many of them you marked as "helpful" when you first saw them (you can say you don't look, but we all know you do). If you didn't mark anything, go to the book's page and start clicking. I'm not telling you to do this with all the reviews, but if you want potential buyers to see the good reviews, mark them as helpful.

This does two things: It jumps the good reviews to the top of the review list on your book's Amazon splash page, and it increases the reviewer's ranking. Why does this matter? Well, if I see a review by a top 1000 reviewer on a book, I'm much more likely to listen to what that person has to say. If they rave about the book, I'm also more likely to buy it. While you're helping the reviewer, you're also kinda helping yourself.

Go to Goodreads and check for new reviews. "Like" the new ones. If you feel so inclined, take a moment and write a note to the reviewer thanking them for their time and effort.

I know I'm the exception to the rule, but I usually apologize to a reviewer if they found my book lacking because I feel badly about wasting their time on something they didn't enjoy. Besides, it keeps the friendly lines of communication open between us. No need to be an asshat.

I review a lot of books. I notice the authors who take the time to mark my reviews helpful; and, I'm not ashamed to say, if I go looking for a new book to read and review, I'll go to their books first. I also appreciate those authors who pay it forward by sharing the reviews of others' books, take the time to comment with a simple "thanks for taking the time to write a review for my book" on my blog post, and who share the love once I use my time to write them a review.

Yes, I give preferential treatment to folks who pay it forward. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Authors, think about the reviewers of your work, do your best to help them out, and put away your pride or feelings of awesomeness to take a moment to show your gratitude.

If you're an author, do you always mark reviews helpful? If you're a reviewer, does it bug you when authors are nonchalant about your review?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. Great points in this post. When I first started out, I thought it was taboo to like reviews of your own book, good or bad. I've been watching threads and conversations about author/reader interaction and there's no one good answer. What irritates one reader, another loves. So I've decided it boils down to doing what feels natural and always always always respecting the reviewer. So I started liking reviews recently. I'm comfortable with that now. Soon, I think I'll feel comfortable posting a little comment thanking them, again, good or bad. Personally, I feel a little special when an author takes time to thank me. And I love your idea about posting a nice comment on a bad review, just to show you care as equally for their opinion. Now that I've typed this up, I'm definitely set on commenting on all reviews. I'm following another author that does this and it's been received very well.

    1. Thanks, L. K. I think showing reviewers you care about what they're saying, either with a response or a click of the "like" button, keeps your public image in good standing. Even if my knee-jerk reaction is a bad one, I always give it time and let the comments realllly sink in before I respond. Yup, always be professional and do what feels right :) Thanks for the blog love!

  2. I do like reviews and mark them as helpful on my books as well as other books I read. I comment on blogs, but I don't comment on Goodreads and Amazon. Just a personal policy but as a reviewer I can say it usually doesn't bother me when an author comments on my review. I had two cases of the comments being condescending and it did make me feel awkward

    1. Ha! I do that, too, Heather. If the reviewer obviously took the time to write out the good, bad, great, and ugly, I mark it helpful. I don't condone responding in a nasty way; ever. I don't think that shows the author in a very good light. Not sure how I would've handled someone responding in a condescending manner toward me. I know I'd never touch another one of their books :) Thanks for the comment!

  3. I always try to thank reviewers for taking the time to review. Some reviewers really like that and some feel strangely threatened by it. I think it just depends on the reviewer. I had one reviewer freak out and ask how I knew about the review. It was on Goodreads, so it wasn't difficult to see. Then I've had readers thank me for thanking them. I always go by the rule of how I'd like to be treated. Shrugs. I don't think you can ever go wrong with being kind and appreciative.

    1. I do, too, Rebecca. I think it's just common courtesy. If a reviewer felt threatened by my response, I think I'd be very, very upset with myself. Sorry that happened to you. Weird that they freaked out. Maybe they thought they were reviewing privately. :) Thanks for the lovely comment!


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