Hey, if you don’t read, don’t bother reading this.
These days, book reviews are the most helpful thing you can do for authors you support. If you haven’t read my book, please just review something else you loved, so more readers will have the chance to discover it.
What was the last really good book you read? I’m currently reading Circe and I’m already looking forward to giving it all the stars. Madeline Miller doesn’t need my endorsement, but for the emerging and evolving author, every rating and review helps them reach at least a few more readers.
Because of my attention disorderly ways, I start many more books than I finish. If I’m researching, I may dig into a chapter or two and then move on to the writing portion of my program, because I can only retain the details for so long. Lately, I keep even more notes as I read, and I’ve replaced my jangling little bookmarks with sheets of lined paper. It works great until I misplace the book, but once I find the book again, I have what I need to type up a quick review.
Even if I don’t finish, I make an effort to review good books these days. I will only pan something I really hated, and if I hate a book, I’m not going to read it. It’s got about fifty pages to snare my eyeballs and if that didn’t do it, the book is headed back to the library or into the void.
Now that I’ve written a novel and have my head in the drafts of three(!) more, I feel much more comfortable reviewing others. At the same time, having written a novel gives me a big old dose of hubris. So now, a part of the strange affront of reading a negative review is the thought that pops up like an automatic puppet to demand, “How many books have you written, Little Miss Average?”
Don’t think authors don’t read what you write in reviews, many of them do and when they do they have to have a little session with those puppets. Okay Carl thinks this is unrealistic and he is certainly allowed to dislike it. I am secure in my vision and Carl can carry on being the Mayor of Stupidtown–nono it’s fine. Carl is just fine. I give him two stars in reviewing. For now.
Let’s try not to get petty with our hurty feelings. Maybe Carl has a point, and the possibility is worth considering. An author who reads reviews has to pick those thoughts up and put them back down where they belong in the scheme of thoughts.
But really, the review is for the other readers. It’s great to live in a time when we can communicate like this. I remember putting warning notes in media so the next patron wouldn’t have to share my suffering: “Index is missing,” or “Dog does not survive.” I never got as fussy as my grandfather, who would pencil in corrections, but that may be my grim future.
Anyway, online reviews are not only going to warn you about dog harm, but each review or rating signals that at least ten other people have read the book, too. People love to see those little gold or orange stars, they are like a book speedometer, and I bet I’d love to hear a marketeer explain precisely how all that works.
If you’re mad that my book didn’t actually teach you how to bury people, I’m sorry Carl. It’s not that kind of instruction manual.
Yer the best!!