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Do you rate or review books once you've read them?

I've been chatting to some friends about whether they ever leave book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, and I was quite surprised to learn...

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Do you rate or review books once you've read them?

I've been chatting to some friends about whether they ever leave book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, and I was quite surprised to learn that most of them don't 🤯 The top three reasons seemed to be:

  • It didn't occur to me
  • I'm not a writer, so I'd have no idea what to write
  • I got it from the library, so I'm not sure if I can (and yes, you can!)

I found this really interesting because what I've learnt in recent years is that authors really need our feedback. With self-publishing making book releases more common, there are so many new titles being published every day. That's wonderful for us readers, but not so good for the writers, as it means their titles can get lost in the pile. But the good news is, we can help them rise to the top 🥰

There are two main ways of giving feedback. 

The first is just giving it a star rating, which tends to range from ⭐ (oh dear, this didn't work for me!) through to ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (you have to read this!). The great news is that this alone can help raise the profile of the book 🎉 but rather than just rating it, how about reviewing as well?

Judging by my friends' faces when I suggested this, you might also have pure horror etched on yours right now but honestly, it's not difficult, so please bear with me a little longer!

There are two really good reasons for doing it. 

The first is that we all like honest reviews, it makes us feel informed and then we can 'risk' buying an unknown title or author (and book sales = happy writers!). 

The second is that most authors want feedback on their work so that they can improve their craft. I'll be asking all the writers in this blog about whether they read their reviews, so you'll be able to see their reactions for yourself - what fun! 

So what things should you put in there?

The good news is, it doesn't have to be ten thousand words, or using the latest buzz words, or anything technical or complicated. It just needs to reflect what you felt about the book - think of it as what you would tell your friends. You've probably read reviews in the past so you know what you like - that's what you should write. 

You can include a quick synopsis of the plot if you like but I'm always wary of putting in plot spoilers. If you absolutely must mention something key to the plot, then make sure it's clearly marked well in advance, so that the reader can leave beforehand. 

My own reviews tend to focus on whether it's a page-turner, whether I liked the main characters, did I find it a satisfying ending, do I want to read more by this author now, how I felt when I'd finished it, that type of thing. And then you get to deliver your verdict - would you recommend this book?

I think the best part of writing a review is that potential readers can understand why you gave it the stars you did. If it was only one star, be brave and say why. As long as it's honest and constructive, that's a great review. The same for a five-star - why did you love it so much? If your reason resonates with me, I should have the same response.

It really is the power of community - if enough of us do it, we could really make a difference and help great authors rise to the top of the bookshelf! Isn't it amazing to think that you can help guide all of us into making great buying decisions. It's exciting!

So if you've never done it before, give it a go. And if you're an avid review writer, give yourself a pat on the back 👏 You're already helping.

If you want, pop a comment below and let me know if you do review books or the reasons why you don't. I'm really interested 😃📚 (please see my note on posting comments on the Guide tab)


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15 comments:

  1. I've never written a review or rated a book before. I didn't realise they were so important. I'm glad you gave some tips and I will try now. Thank you, Penny

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    1. Thank you Penny and I'm delighted to hear that you'll give it a try now. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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  2. I try to leave reviews as I know writers need them. I have friends who are struggling to get their books noticed and I hope to have a book published one day too, so thanks for highlighting the issue Jane. Let's hope more people give it a go now :)

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  3. Ok, so this is an eye-opener. I'll give it a go as I'm reading a great library book just now (Thursday Murder Club). Cheers.

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    1. That's excellent news, let us know how you get on!

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  4. I always do. I read them so it's fair to write them too.

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  5. What a great post! Thank you for de-mystifying the process. This carries a lot more credibility than the (all too frequent) pleas for reviews from writers like me.

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    1. Thanks so much Kathleen, I'm flattered!
      It's so good to hear this from a writer and I hope readers start recognising the power they have to help. Fingers crossed!

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  6. Hi, this is a really interesting post. I have reviewed an occasional book but I'm more likely to review an electrical appliance than a book, just because they're dangerous if they're bad. It's a good point about the writers though and I'll try to remember from now on. Thanks, Chris

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    1. That's great news Chris, thank you.
      I do think you're right though, some things seem more important to review than others, and it's not obvious how much writers need our help. But the more of us that know the better! Thanks so much for engaging.

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  7. It's a really hot topic at the moment. As authors we all need as many reviews as possible otherwise our books get lost amongst millions. Thanks for promoting the topic.

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    1. Thanks so much Maximilian Sam, it's really good to hear this from an author's perspective. I'm going to keep beating the drum as I feel so passionately about it but I really appreciate your comments :)

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  8. Good post, really informative.
    It made me realise I hardly ever leave reviews but perhaps I should...

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