As most of you know, it is my ultimate goal to make IABB a #1 resource for the indie community. With the promotions, blog list, and everything else we're doing, I'd really like to start making more informative blog posts that help people within our community. They're going to vary; some will focus more on authors, while others are intended for bloggers and readers. I'd like to consider myself lucky as I fit into all three categories (like most of you, I'm sure!) So, here it is. These are my thoughts on Book Reviews.
First off, if you are someone who reads books for enjoyment, and should the book be awesome enough you decide to leave a review - that's okay.
If you are someone who reviews books every day like it's going out of style - that's okay.
We are all different when it comes to reading. It can mean something different to every single one of us at the end of the day, but for most of us, it means we want to escape into a different world for a little while. Sometimes you just really need that break, right?
I'd like to think that the purpose of leaving reviews is somewhat the same: we're all different.
Over the past year, maybe even longer, I have seen many posts and blog entries regarding how a person should leave a review. In confessions, we get this a lot, too. There's usually this long list of dos or donts, what should be included or left out, etc. The only BIG thing I can think of, that I know everyone can agree on, is that a review should not be a book summary/should not spoil the book for everyone else.
Personally, when I write a review, I always try to talk about how the book made me feel. If the author did a good job of transporting me into a part of their brain and I've totally forgotten about my problems, then that author has accomplished something truly magical. I'm going to tell other people about it because I'm going to want to offer them that escape, too. That's just how it works, right?
And maybe your process is different from mine. Maybe you like giving people a play-by-play of your reactions to the story. Perhaps one part made you REALLY sad or angry, and you playfully shake your fist at the author. Or, like some, you'd rather get more technical and break apart the writing as a whole. That's okay, too.
Honestly, there is no right or wrong way to leave a review. If you want to leave a simple review and say, "This was a good book. I enjoyed it." Then that's totes fine. And if you want to write 500 words fangirling over that gorgeous hunka hunka hero and how you need more of him in your life - guess what? Totes fine, too!
Another thing I'd like to add before I end this blog post (which probably doesn't make sense at all.), is stop being afraid to leave lower star reviews.
There is a serious issue in our world. We've all seen it and it's time to talk about the elephant in the room: People being attacked for leaving less-than-favorable reviews on books.
Maybe it hasn't happened to you. If it hasn't, I hope it never does. But I've heard the horror stories. I've watched it unfold for a while now. Some authors can't handle getting 1 and 2-star reviews, so they send out their minions to attack the people responsible for writing such words.
It is not okay. It is not acceptable.
Now, let me clarify what I mean by this, all right? I mean the reviews that are a clear indicator the reader is just trying to be helpful to the author. I am not condoning the ones that attack the author as an individual. That's just plain mean.
God help me not to get started on the reviews and ratings left for books that aren't even published yet. Eesh - another story for another time, perhaps?
As a wise person once said to me, "Reviews are for readers, not authors."
Once you understand that, you're going to be so much better off. Not everyone is going to enjoy reading your story. You can't please the entire world, my friends. So just let those bad reviews roll off your back like water on a duck, and move on. For every 5 people who love your book, there will always be that 1 person who doesn't. That's just life, no matter if you're in the indie community, or Hollywood, or in the music industry.
Here's a blog post I wrote a while back that you may enjoy:
3-Star Reviews Aren't The End Of The World. Hint: They Actually Help You