In Review

In the old days, when you read a book, you simply read a book. That book either affected you in some way, or it didn’t. Either way, you merely read the book. Then you put it down and got on with your life. Not so these days. With the rise of eBooks and self-published authors, readers are increasingly encouraged to leave a review for the book they have just completed. That’s not something you’re born knowing how to do (well, you may have done something vaguely similar in English lessons at school, but that was a long time ago). Writing a review isn’t a terribly simple process. As a reader, I know – I’ve written a fair few book reviews myself.

Now, not only am I a reader, I’m also a self-published author. ‘You? Really? We had absolutely no idea!’ Well yes, I don’t like to bang on about it, it’s not something I EVER talk about – but it’s true, I am. So you see, reviews are more important to me than the average person. Numerous good reviews can be the difference between a potential reader buying your book or passing it by. However, the review process is cloaked in mystery and shrouded in intrigue. No, it is. There’s a very famous online retailer (which from hereon in I’m going to call ‘The Big A’ for espionage-type purposes) who can choose if and when to allow a review to be posted, or remain posted. And sometimes the reasons why your hard-earned reviews don’t show up just aren’t clear. ‘The Big A’ plays by its own rules. Some say, ‘the first rule of The Big A Review Club is, don’t talk about The Big A Review Club’. But me being me, that’s just a red rag to a bull.

I know people, friends of friends mainly, who insist they’ve left a review after reading my book. But that review simply isn’t there. And what can I do? It would be churlish to encourage somebody you barely know to write a review again, when it was hard enough for them to get around to writing it in the first place. My first review I ever received was there for about six months, and now that particular review has disappeared. Why? I’ve no bloody idea. But you don’t question ‘The Big A’. What’s more, ‘The Big A’ don’t group all your reviews together, they are only seen in the country of origin of the reviewer. And they don’t tell you when you get a new review, so you can’t go checking through every country without looking like a needy, saddo, desperardo loser. Which gets on my chimes a little bit.

img_4476

Me pretending to write a review

Anyway, enough with the espionage. I’ve been lucky enough to receive some great reviews, be it on ‘Goodreads’ or ‘The Big A’. They’re extremely well-thought-out and eloquent; better reviews than I could have written. I put them all on two pages in my blog (HERE and HERE) as I’m so proud of them. Oh, and all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google Plus. So if you write a review for me, you pretty much end up being all over the internet too. Soz. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a shame if only I and a small few ever get to read them. I haven’t cherry-picked either, these are the ratings I currently know about. I just don’t think enough people leave reviews. But at the same time, I don’t take them lightly, knowing how hard they can be to write. You’ve got to pitch a book review just so; if you loved the book you must explain why without being too gushy, you’ve got to be honest and not sway the potential reader to read something you didn’t truthfully enjoy, but you can’t be too damning either. And then, if you’re me, you’ve got to find a way to make your review vaguely amusing. Obvs. Also, was the book deserving of five stars or four? Does five stars mean ‘life-changing’? Are three stars too few…? Agghh!! It’s a minefield.

I sometimes read the reviews on other author’s books. My absolute favourites are those left for books in the erotic/adult genre. Raunchy books always have tonnes of ratings. They tend to have a catchy title like this, ‘HOT, HOT, HOT!’. If you follow those same authors on Instagram (which I do; some follow me, and it would be rude not to return the favour), some of these author’s fans leave messages like this, 🔥🔥🔥 or 😈🍆🍑. I’m afraid I don’t know what that last trio means, as I’m a good Catholic girl, but please feel free to explain it to me in the comments section below. I’ve never had a review written about my book that involved the words, ‘hot, hot, hot!’ or 🔥🔥🔥 . Not that I write those sort of books (sex has its place, but needs to be there to contribute to a narrative, not just sex scene after sex scene after sex scene). Perhaps I ought to be concerned about my lack of 🔥. Or perhaps I ought to count myself lucky that nobody ever leaves this on my Instagram feed, 💩💩💩. Not as yet, anyway (don’t get any ideas, please!).

Anyway, love them or loath them, reviews seem to be here to stay. You can choose to write one or you can choose to ignore it. It’s a free country. I’d rather you left a review for one of my books than not (unless the book made you want to kill yourself, then feel free not to bother), but it remains your choice. And remember, I don’t know your address, so you’re home free.

PS: I wish I’d never chosen to call it ‘The Big A’. It was very time consuming and I’m very lazy.

PPS: Apologies, ‘The Big A’, for questioning your practices. Love you really *blows anxious kisses*!

Emoticon Key:-

🔥🔥🔥 = Hot, hot, hot (I assume).

😈🍆🍑 = Sorry, no clue.

💩💩💩 = Self explanatory.

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14 thoughts on “In Review

  1. Ah, the Big A. And oh, the dismissal by the Big A of reviews. Now, this is actually something I’ve looked into. (Obviously, I’m likewise an author drowning in that sea of 2- to 4-million ebooks.) What I’ve learned? Well, the Big A — also known as the 800-pound gorilla — knows if a family member or friend dared to leave a review. IPS addresses are easily discerned. Likewise, if an author directs potential readers to the actual Big A link, which is very long, a great deal of information is conveyed to the Big A. Thus, there are strategies to shorten that link so that it defeats the Big A’s algorithms. But few authors are aware of that.

    Now then, another not so surprising bit of information: If my research is accurate, only something like 5 percent of people who read a book will actually bother with a review. They’re busy. Or they mean to, but never quite get around to it. As discouraging as that is to an author, I sort of understand. Reviews ARE, or can be, time consuming. I will almost always write a review (unless I hate a book) but admittedly those reviews typically run at least a week after I’ve read the thing. They would’ve been better if I’d written immediately, while every detail remained fresh in my mind, but . . . time gets in the way.

    In the end, the process of writing a book is difficult. Earning reviews — and without the interference of the Big A — makes it all the more difficult to move enthusiastically into penning another. Thus, for me? Authors need to write because they are simply compelled to, foolishly or otherwise, but persist in trying to get the word out and encourage readers to leave reviews. Authors, ultimately, sell a product and like any other business need to market.

    So Adele? I’m delighted you continue to write. Once upon a time I quit. (Well, I needed an actual income, so there was that; for the vast majority of authors income isn’t a big part of the mix.) Now, advisable or not, I’m writing again and pushing, always in search of those elusive readers who might leave a review and that the Big A will allow to remain.

    It’s just what we do.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like the big A needs taking down a peg or two Adele! How dare it remove valuable feedback. I don’t understand how you are not alerted to new reviews either, ridiculous !!
    The big A sent back a package only this week I was expecting! Why? I,ve no idea, but rest assured I will be making my feelings known, even if only to a virtual person…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lately, I have come to a conclusion that when we are writers, our fellow bloggers/writers are good friends who show an interest in reading our works than our actually friends and family whom we daily meet or talk. Writing a review was tough when I use to read Paperback novels, but due to lack of time, I shifted to reading more ebooks. When I read a book and if I like it, I make sure to write a review because I know how much it is important to the writer who wrote the book. For a writer who might earn good or not with their writing career, appreciation or even constructive criticism from readers is the biggest joy.
    Btw, I feel there is a difference between erotica and romance. The first thing I liked in your books that the scenes are not overly dragged. I have read plenty books that are said to be romantic and then all I read, how the main characters roll in their bed day in and out with pages of description. Well, for me that is a bit tad boring. Keep on with your good work.
    -sarojavasanth

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “I sometimes read the reviews on other author’s books….” Yeah right! We can tell you’ve got a bookcase full of Mummy-porn. You don’t have to be embarrassed. 😛

    But you are right, we self-publishers thrive on reviews, and trying to get people who enjoyed your work to leave a review is tougher than it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shut your dirty mouth, Volante! Mummy-porn? 😂
      I tried to read 50 Shades once, managed exactly 60 pages, never even made it to the first sex scene – damn it!😫 Ah well, as far as reviews go, you can lead a horse to water, but…I don’t know where I’m going with this…📚

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Rating a book is fairly easy for me unless it is a so-so book by someone I like as a person. Most books that I would give a “1” to are books that I don’t finish reading, so I don’t feel I should rate them. I know that on the various places where books are sold and also on Goodreads the block for actually writing something is titled “review,” but I never feel that I’m writing a review. That actually takes some talent, I think, and I do see some entries which actually are reviews. I write what I think about the book or what I experienced, felt, learned, or whatever comes to mind. I like to read these things on Goodreads, because there I’m usually reading the posts of folks I am familiar with. I have a feel for what they like to read and how it compares to my likes. I can almost just go with their rating.

    I recently read a book that a bunch of folks who I don’t know gave high ratings and reviews that sounded good. I read a sample and there was a review by a famous author who I liked until his later years when I began to hate what he wrote. Too bad that his Intro for this book was written in those same later years. Ooops. I read the whole book and gave it my first ever “1” and said a few words of warning. I would not call it a review, but I guess it was, because the block I wrote it in said it was. And I sweat over those few words as I do every time I write something, because my brain is comparing it to real reviews. I have a pdf somewhere on my computer that explains how to write a book review, but I think I’ll continue to ignore it. I’ll just write my opinion or gut feeling or whatever it is.

    Liked by 1 person

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