Reading The Reviews of YOUR Book

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Photo Credit: Care and Cost

Okay guys, I’d say that more than 95% of all the writers I’ve come across on WordPress are either unpublished, self-published, or published via vanity press that accepts “submissions.” I have come across very few writers, if any, who are traditionally published. So all these writers I’m talking about likely face the same problem…getting people to review their books. Let’s discuss.

So you wrote this fantastic book that you’ve been working on for the past two years. You have your little blog set up so that you can tell the world about your release day. You wake up bright and early just to check to see if the Amazon page has updated to show your book as available rather than for pre-order. You write an excited blog post for all of your 82 followers to hopefully see and perhaps even read. You get some congratulatory comments from people you’ve never met who say that they’ll check it out. You become even more excited than you already were. Then you turn to your other social media platforms and tweet or post a status update about your book telling all of your friends and family to buy and review it for you. More congratulatory remarks. But then you check your KDP account and see one sale. You’re thinking of all the people who may have read your blog post or tweets or status update and can’t believe that a few more people didn’t just buy the damn thing for two bucks. So you figure people are just waiting a little while. You check each day for the next week and see a couple of new sales that you attribute to your parents and your siblings. Then a week has passed since your release day and still no reviews.

This is when the reality sets in. This is hard. You try your best not to spam every person you know, but you can’t help it. You NEED to know what people are thinking about your work. And then out of nowhere, a review! You read it all the way through and see that most of the points raised in the review are valid. But it’s only three stars. You figure it’s better than one or two, right? Then another review comes in raising the exact same points as the first, but this time it’s only two stars. Now you’re worrying that everyone hates your work. The first dozen reviews all say the same thing. You did this, left this question unanswered, didn’t let a character develop, blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter. If everyone is seeing the same thing, then it must be true. This is when you stop checking for new reviews altogether. They all say the same thing anyway.

That’s my little hypothetical about what I think some writers experience when it comes to reviews of their book. I’ll be honest, I think I’ve read every review of my book on Amazon. I know I have. Some were nice and others were brutal, but I wasn’t sitting on my bed crying myself to sleep because I got a one star review. Nope. I can’t really tell you why I read them, but I did. I almost feel foolish admitting that because imagine if JK Rowling or Suzanne Collins or John Green read the reviews of their books. Ha.

Tell me about your experience with the reviews of your book. Have you read them? Ignored them? Maybe a mix of the two?

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9 thoughts on “Reading The Reviews of YOUR Book

  1. I always read them. I think it’s normal to want to know what people are thinking. And I bet when they got started, Rowling and Collins and Green read their reviews too. Maybe they still do. Of course, it’s easier for them to know how they’re doing; they’re all getting rave reviews and movies and have… followings. But they are as human as you or I; I bet if reading reviews was their only way of knowing how their readers felt about their work, they would read them.

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  2. So what about me? I have a WordPress blog and I’m published through an independent press. So many times I feel invisible because blog posts and indie websites rarely mention us. Just self-published or traditionally. There are bunches of us “Indies” as well. Are we the red-headed stepkids of the publishing world? 🙂

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  3. Big authors probably glance at reviews occasionally – John Green even checks into his Tumblr tag – but they simply don’t have the time to read all 10,754 reviews on Good Reads. They’re on blog tours and signings and they have deadlines for their next book.

    I’m not a self-published author (or an any-published author yet), but I don’t find it foolish for an indie author to read their reviews. I would find it strange if they didn’t. When I wrote fanfiction as a teenager, the reviews were the best part. Especially because I could respond to them and interact with readers. Great fun.

    Maybe if I wrote some drivel that didn’t mean anything to me and I was just trying to make pocket change, I wouldn’t read the reviews. But with stuff I put real effort into, damn right I want to know what people think. The constructive critique might help me improve, the compliments will cheer me up, and hey, at least the haters will give me a laugh. Seeing the trends in reviews also helps you realize what audience you’re attracting (or pissing off), and that’s smart for marketing in the future. *shrug*

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  4. Ahh reality check! I forget I’m not the only one with a starry eyed view of what having a published book is all about. Reality is: it is hard. But you have to keep trying, right? I’d say you have a pretty realistic view of the industry.

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  5. You do realize that going via traditional publishers is 1) five year min. 2) Very biased, 3) limiting. There are some very good authors who would never be published if it wasn’t for the non-traditional ways

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  6. I actually don’t read my reviews. I think it was Hemmingway that said “If you believe the good then, enevitably, you have to believe the bad.” Of course I sell more books out the trunk of my car than anything so I’m not sure my opinion is really all that valid. But people do like my novels, so who knows. I love what I do so I keep pushing along. I will say this, I read Indie Authors and leave reviews because I understand a review could help with a sale and I’m from the mentality that I have a responsibility to do what I can to make sure my peers eat. But that’s just me.

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  7. I actually don’t read reviews. I believe it was Hemmingway that said if you believe the good then you have to believe the bad. Of course I sell more books out the trunk of my car so maybe I’m not the best person to ask. People seem to like what I’m doing, and I enjoy it so I keep moving. But I will say that I read/support Indie Authors and I leave reviews because I believe that it’s my responsibility to do all I can to help my peers eat because you never know, that review might get that Author a sale.
    Hustler Mentality.
    RSB

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  8. I’ve read all my reviews so far. I don’t expect them to ‘be’ anything … I know I’m not a perfect writer! I just consider reviews another form of criticism that I can use to get better.

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  9. I have read all my reviews, but that’s not hard because I’ve had so few of them – and that’s my biggest problem: getting reviews in the first place. I haven’t had a really bad one yet, but again that’s probably because I haven’t had many – the more people read and review the book, the greater likelihood (in fact, inevitability sooner or later) that someone’s going to really dislike it. You can’t please everyone after all.

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