Book Reviews: Who Needs Them? Authors Do!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWriters start out as book lovers, long before we pick up a pencil or write a sentence. Readers find value in books. Writers find value in sharing our thoughts and ideas. Reading and writing complete each other. We can’t do one without the other. Writers have no profitable value without readers. Readers have no fun value without writers (okay maybe that’s just me!)

It’s personal to open a book and give it our quality time, interest, and attention. Plus, the money spent on the book increases its worth. Readers understand this evaluation of a book.

Book Reviewers

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Book reviewers have an increased value when they add that extra step. Serious reviewers will take notes on the book, follow the POV, pay attention to details, and then write a thorough review about their experience.

Books are worth a lot to a reader, especially book reviewers.

Positive Reviews

It’s no wonder readers are zealous about their books. For the stories that inspire passion, the book reviewers are a writer’s best customer. Many reviews written are over-the-moon, enthusiastic, engaging, flashy, and emotional pieces of praise every author dreams of receiving.

A potential buyer who sees these reviews will want that same experience and will purchase the book. If they feel the same way about the book, they’ll add their own positive reviews and spread the word. This is an important way to make a book successful, and one enthusiastic review by a popular reviewer can spur a book to higher heights.

Negative Reviews

What writers may not realize is that those same reviewers, so loved for their positive reviews are also known for their undesirable reviews. If they believe a book has wasted their precious quality time, money, and effort they will write as much passion into their negative pieces as they do their positive ones. They don’t spare anyone’s feelings, but write from their heart.

Authors fear these reviews more than any other step in the process. Some writers won’t even release their books if they anticipate negative feedback. If any book struggles to launch big, and then receives a 1-star, did not finish, hate-this-book review from a popular reviewer, it may hurt book sales, but not always.

negative reciew

There is hope though. Many reviewers won’t write-off an author just because of one negative experience with a book. They know that even the authors they adore will write one or two books they won’t like. They may not like one, but it’s possible to love another. It’s not career ending.

Authors Respond

Unfortunately, this is where some authors make the mistake of challenging the book reviewers. The book enthusiasts take their reviews as seriously as authors take their books. It’s personal to be corrected, lectured, and disrespected by an author for a review. The reviewer is the customer of a product and they don’t get paid for their efforts. They write reviews because of their love for books and they don’t expect confrontation from an author.

Most reviews give helpful critiques, good or bad, that readers can use as a tool to decide to buy a book. It’s also clear when a review focuses on personal attacks and unfair assessments. Readers ignore overly cruel reviews, or at least disregarded them as irrelevant. The author intervention is unnecessary. Trust your customers.

Authors are like small business owners, many of which go out of business if they offer a product no one wants and they refuse to adapt and produce a product people do want. It isn’t the customer’s fault for not liking the product. It’s the nature of business. An entrepreneur puts themselves out there and the customer decides their business fate, the owner needs to adjust. Blaming the customer only ensures any future attempt is tainted by the customer’s bad experience with the owner.

Things to remember about book reviewers:

  • Books are more valuable than the money spent
  • Their reviews come from their heart and passion
  • It takes a lot of effort to write a review
  • Writing a review is serious
  • They won’t always give up on an author for a negative experience
  • Every reader is a customer
  • Customer experience is important for future purchases
  • Expectations for liking a book are high
  • They love books and want to voice their opinions

Authors who don’t respect reviewers will have a hard time selling their books. Every positive and negative response is an opportunity to grow and develop as writers.

What do you think about book reviewers who write harsh and negative criticism? Should they be stopped or given opportunity to voice their opinions?

I would love to discuss with you about this and I love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading my blog.
A.G. Zalens

Winning Strategy to Beat Editing Blues

Once I chiseled the last paragraph of my novel into my document, I knew the time had come for editing. In my mind the route would be short; I’d already written the beast so the rest would be simple. Anyone who has passed through this processes just chuckled at my naiveté. My assumptions lead me astray.

With editing we lose the novel’s fat, in the same way we lose the fat of our bodies. It takes us years to add-on weight, so it’s not possible to lose it all in mere weeks.

I spent a year writing my novel, tacking on fat, loading it with junk, greasing the pages, gnawing at the bones, and slipping in the sugar. I shouldn’t have thought I could cut the excess in a short time. The re-write requires overcoming sacrifices, pangs, and unmet cravings.

Another mistake happened when I thought writing translated into a good story. I should have become proficient in editing before I began the novel. If the food we put in our mouths is healthy then the body won’t need to store excess fat. If I had written my novel with a healthy editing method I would’ve saved myself time.

One could argue such an approach would smother creativity, as only eating healthy foods would stifle the pleasure in food. However, eating healthy means including cheat days to load up on carbs, calories, and yummy bites; it’s the best way to increase metabolism to spur fat loss. Creative writing has to happen, of course, but instead of allowing excess to fester until the end, I think it best to clean up the work before moving on to the next scene.

When the writing is clean, the cellulite pops during the editing process. If I could spend my time searching for story holes instead of rewording unattractive sentences, the stress of editing would be diminished, the frustration reduced, and the headache relieved.

I’m still learning and trying to improve for projects I start in the future. I appreciate the lesson and I hope my analogy encourages other in their creative writing process.

What do you think about this strategy?

Thanks for reading my blog!
A.G. Zalens