What’s The Deal With Reviews?


When we first get a book out on the market, we tend to be all about giving copies away, swapping stories, and review exchanges. Are reviews important? Of course they are. They are also the hardest piece of advertising to acquire. Why is this, you ask? Well, let’s examine the ‘review’!

1. While reviews are wonderful to own and use as someone to vouch for your work, there are ways to gain them and ways to use negatives to your advantage. You want reviews to be genuine, without harming your reputation.
One way to get those glowing reviews is to ask the people close to you to please give their thoughts on your work. Avoid using the word ‘review’. There are a lot of people who are not confident in their literary opinions and asking them to formally review your work will scare them to the point of not giving even a few words.

2. What is it about people and negativity?
Okay. Take a moment to think about this. How many times in your life have you called up the restaurant you just had dinner at and told the manager that they did such a great job? Did you commend that waiter or waitress that had been on their feet for hours on end, smiling and kissing your rear, and accommodating your every wish? What’s that? You think your tip says it all? Well, I can tell you that your words of praise mean more to that waitstaff than any amount of money you left.
But, how often do you complain about the service? Does it compare to the amount of times you call the restaurant with positive thoughts? As a fellow human being, I highly doubt that many people give kudos where they are due. Spouting one’s opinion of how they were wronged is our nature. We want others to know, without a doubt, that you were disappointed in them.
That is a lot how reviews work. People may read your work and like it. In fact, I know there are people out there who like your stuff. They are content. They found their new favorite author. They love your world. But do you think they will all take the time to spread the word? Sorry, no, they will not. In fact, you will get more people spout off to the world the reasons they hated it. It is their opinion and they want the world to know all the reasons they should not enjoy themselves by reading your work.

3. When you get a bad review, do you sit and cry?
Well, I have. You know, how dare they rip a hole through your soul by saying the editing was terrible? Who are they to be the judge of your style? Don’t they realize that your work is like your own child and when they bad mouth it, it is the same as putting your baby down?
No, unfortunately, many people don’t care how they come across, nor do they think about the effect it will have on your psyche. There is a way to be constructive and the general population does not think about that. They are only telling everyone else about their feelings. Being a crusader of “freedom of speech”, I understand that fact. Being a writer, I get a little sensitive sometimes.
What to do with those less than desirable reviews that lurk on your Amazon page? Hmmm…
Broadcast the daylights out of their little blunder. Rip it apart and ask your followers how they feel about those statements that haunt you. Wear it like a badge of courage…for it takes courage to be able to display those sentiments and move forward.

“This ebook suffers greatly from a lack of editing. The author has people speaking in idioms which would never have been used in medieval times, and also fails often to show who is speaking, thus creating confusion. The grammar used also shows the author’s need for a competent editor. Nevertheless, the story line is very good and if the author were to invest in the services of a good editor, the book would probably be successful.” ~N.F. Duncan

What would you do with a review like this. I know, hard to say when you might not have had one. While I feel that this person had no respect for me as a writer, I had to think about some books that I have read in my lifetime where I might have felt the same. I don’t like every book I have read. But you had better know that I would never add the extra jab of “competency”. To me, that is like giving the finger to an author. Do I know that my edits were lacking? Yes I did. I still published it knowing that? Yes I did. And you know what? Among the hundreds of readers who do enjoy my work, there are only an amount of haters that I can count on one hand. Does that mean I am tooting my own horn? No, not exactly. I am simply saying that there will always be those who can’t wait to smear another’s name in the dirt and you have to dust yourself off and move on. Do I agree with this reader’s opinion…no. While I know that there could be better edits done, I chose my style carefully. My characters speak in a way that my modern readers can relate. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It makes my readers feel according to my characters. Is that my opinion vs. their opinion? No, because I have other positives to outweigh the negatives.

“Noble Courage by Daisha Marie Korth is a great read. Korth is amazing in her character and plot development. Throughout the entire book I felt as though i personally knew every character, and that I was right there with Aspen and Thorne. Once I picked up the book it was impossible for me to put it down, and this is true for the whole series. If you are looking for a series that you can fall in love with from the very beginning then this is the one!” ~M.R.H.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all like that? lol

4. Avoiding the Soul Crusher review:
There is no perfect formula for getting others to leave positive thoughts. However, you as the author can plant the seed of positive thoughts. When asking people to pick up your book, tell them you look forward to hearing how much they enjoy it. Explain that you are honored to have their readership and that if they like what they read, to jot down their thoughts for you. Publicly thank those who give great reviews so that others will catch the air of happy thoughts. You don’t have to try to cover that you had a bad review, face it and back up your work with the good ones.

5. Do not swap books and offer to review another author’s book in exchange for one on yours. This leads to less than honest reviews on both parties. Many will stall in making their statement until they get your back. Then, they will mirror what you had to say. Believe me, it happens. Perhaps not every time, but it will. When you are in a position of leaving a review, use the sandwich method and avoid using words that are unnecessarily harsh. We are all human beings here, we all have hearts and feelings. There is absolutely no reason to purposely destroy another person with your bad manners. If you review another’s work, make sure you don’t expect a glowing review back. Do not GIVE one to receive one either.

6. The Sandwich Method:
Stating true and factual statements in an appealing manner. Begin with a positive, such as a feeling it stirred within you, avoiding giving the entire story away. Mention things that may need improvement. You could say, “I just wish the editing had been a little more thorough because it interfered with how I read the story.” Close with another positive statement to leave the prospective reader with a sense of adventure having not made up their mind for them. That is NOT your job. There are always positives in everyone’s work, you need to be open minded enough to find them. Being honest and yet productively critical can develop an author into a better writer. Just being an @$$&*^@ could make a writer quit forever. Why should that weigh on your shoulders?

We are in the business of entertainment. If you write fiction, the world is yours! There are no laws, there are no rules, save one: It has to be believable. You could write about white cows that squirt strawberry milk in the chocolate hills, for all I care…but I have to smell the strawberries and taste the chocolate grass. If you write non-fiction, I’m sorry, but you have to be accurate. Be sure your facts are straight and when interjecting your opinions into the mix, be sure readers understand that and know your professional ability to back yourself up.

Think about these points when you review another’s work. It is not professional to be mean to another author intentionally and people will pick up on your pessimism. They will not follow you, nor will they read your work. Do your fellow writers a favor and provide healthy criticism that is attached to your name.

11 responses to “What’s The Deal With Reviews?

    • Thank you, Seumas! Thanks so much for reading! 😀 I really appreciate you sharing with your audience. That means a lot! Have a super weekend! PS: Cheryl Alleway sings your praises! I had to find out what all the fuss was about. lol You are one cool dude!

  1. There are a few reviews I’ve read that are nothing short of hate-mail.

    One of my favourites was ‘I’m only 17 and this is the second book I’ve ever read. I hated it’.

    One of my friends wrote me a 2 page critique of my book and she said ‘I kept being spirited away by the story only to be brought back to earth by a serious typo’.

    THAT is a wake up call and a comment you can really take on board AND it still manages to be positive.

    Great post Seumas, it says it all.

    • Thank you so much for reading! I agree that there is a constructive way to go about it and just being nasty. I’ve had both as well. Learn from the good ones, move forward through the bad. But I know writers who quit after one bad review…sad but true…

      • By the time you’ve went through the whole book writing-to-sales process you’re just glad somebody has bought the damn thing.

  2. Pingback: Re-blog: What’s The Deal With Reviews? | stephenedgerauthor

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