Handing out virtual chocolate seems to be a thing today. It's a nice gesture, at no expense from the giver. But my research for this post has shown that authors have been known to love reviews even more than chocolate. Why?
Reviews provide insight and happiness. We all know chocolate can provide happiness, but insight?? Never had that happen. Because reviews, whether positive or negative, help a writer get to know their audience better and see what people think. Feedback is a good thing! And the warm fuzzies that come after reading a good review are pretty awesome! :)
Reviews can actually sell books. Do not question me on this: it's scientific fact. xP Lots of the big marketing places like BookBub will not agree to advertise your book at all unless you have a lot of reviews. Not just any reviews, but Amazon reviews. That number matters to them because it tells them how well you're doing on your own. Everyone knows people don't really write reviews unless prodded. So seeing a decent number (say 200) on a self-published book tells them a whole lot more than 1,000 Twitter followers ever could. Authors actually need reviews. :D
I think reviews are rarer than chocolate because:
// They require an investment. Time is in short supply today. Not shorter supply than reviews, but still. It's easy to shoot down this argument as laziness, because if you spent several hours (or more) reading the book, then you can take another ten minutes to leave a review.
// It's like schoolwork. Wait, I have to split a 300-page novel into likes and dislikes and then rate it using a dubious 5-star system? I know, it's hard. But if you can spend 14 years of your life in school, and then willingly subject yourself to spend another 4 years in school ... this assignment will not be the death of you. ;)
// Technology is difficult. I know. Amazon requires you spend ~$100 before you can write a review. It's a pain. Honestly, what I do is use my parents' account. So of all the Amazon reviews I've left people, not one says it's from Abigayle Claire. But I left a review! So I don't think the author will mind the change in identity. ;)
// Readers fear authors. I'm not kidding on this one!! Sometimes we read a book and our opinion is not positive. If we know the author, we really don't want our name associated with a 2-star review. (I'm telling you there are huge benefits to using your parents' account.) Even if we don't know the author ... do we really want to do that to them? The answer is YES.
Martin Hospitality has received a one-star review on Goodreads now. I can't even tell you how grateful I am that it wasn't just a rating, it was a review. The reader told me exactly why she didn't like the book! And if I felt the way she did, I would have made it a 2 or 3-star review (way to make me feel better!).
The interesting thing is, that review had a ton of comments. 100x the interaction any of my positive reviews have garnered, and mostly from people I don't know. While several said they wouldn't read the book now, twice that many (guesstimating) said they were definitely going to read it to see if they agreed with the negativity.
As my dad said, negative press is still press.
HERE and Andora's Folly HERE. ^.^
What do you love reviews more than?
SIDE NOTE: Thanks to those of you who volunteered to be my reading accountability partner! So many good options!! I have selected Lisa // Inkwell to fill that role, but I'd love to keep up with the rest of you on Goodreads. :)