Julie Whiteley is a highly rated Goodreads and Amazon Reviewer with one thousand + Reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads in addition to her blog cluereview.blogspot.com She also reviews for NetGalley. Here’s Julie with part Two of her series on Book Reviews.
Hello, again, eNovel Authors. Here is part two of What Do Reviewers Want? I mentioned earlier that I’m a blogger, reader and reviewer. This post concerns issues between authors and reviewers.
Like anything else we do, there is a downside to a good thing. With independent authors having to hit the pavement in order to get their books noticed, reviewers and authors are in direct contact. It can turn ugly.
Here is a recent Facebook comment:
“REVIEWS SUCK. All writers know this. Some pretend they love to get reviews. Pisses me off when reviewers think they are God. Grrr.”
Response from another author:
“Take heart. Not everyone is going to like your stuff but like XXX said, you are PUBLISHED and the reviewer isn’t.”
That author is so wrong. It is true that I am not a published author, however, many reviewers ARE published authors. Here is what I notice: Because
authors know every facet of producing a book they are often far more critical than a reviewer. Reviewers read first for pleasure and content. We often overlook small imperfections. Your colleagues seldom will. How often have you agreed to read a sister author’s book, done so, then hung your head, thinking: ‘Oh my God! What am I gonna say?’
Now I sometimes think: I feel more like an enemy. It is also true that I’ve posted more than one thousand reviews.
Some authors who ask me for a review do not give a fig if I read the book. She just wants me to slap a five star on it and be done with it. Excuse me? If you don’t care any more about your work than that, don’t waste my time. Yes, I get rude emails, flavored like this:
“I haven’t heard back from you bitch. Don’t you know the world revolves around me?”
Whoa! As an aside, one of the reasons I was delighted by an invitation to eNovel Authors at Work is Jackie Weger’s mantra: It is all about THE BOOK. Keep in mind that when I or any reviewer settles in to read your book, say in a dentist’s office or stuck in traffic, we don’t take author ego out of our purse. We grab our Kindle.
Like most of you, my world revolves around my family. I’m remodeling my kitchen. I have animals—one of which is my husband. I like him as much as I do my cats and dogs. I have to feed him and pet him and do his laundry. It may take me some time to get to your book in my TBR pile. If I agreed to review it, I will. On my time—not yours. That is just the way it is.
This happens: Authors take offense if their books don’t get a four or a five star review. A three star rating is nothing to be ashamed of. Did you really think you were the next Harper Lee? Did you really just write a novel that comes anywhere close to To Kill a Mockingbird? When you write a novel of that caliber, I will give it a five star review.
You should be concerned with one and two star ratings IF the reviews speak to plot failures, grammar, punctuation and ill formatting. Authors ignore these kinds of ratings/reviews at the peril of their career. Yes, some reviewers are cruel and take things too far sometimes. You can’t please everyone. You need elephant hide to survive out there. I review your work. I am not mean spirited when I suggest something did not quite work for me. I don’t review your book to make you mad or hurt your feelings. The smart author will fix those problems. And once done, give a tip of the hat to the reviewer.
Even if the reviewer left a statement like, ‘This author is a big fat pig’, or if the reviewer made a major gaffe with facts—do not ask the reviewer to edit or remove the review. Never argue with a reviewer! My review belongs to me. It is my intellectual property. Don’t try to put words in my mouth or tell me what to write. Most reviewers don’t get paid one red cent. I don’t. I don’t get flowers or invited for coffee or boxes of chocolate. I do appreciate a thank you.
Above all, don’t complain about less than stellar reviews on Social Media. Don’t advertise it! If you complain about a review or a reviewer, I’m gonna go have a look. So will every other reviewer. Moreover, if you ask me to review your book, I will decline. So will other savvy reviewers. One author whose book I reviewed hit the best seller list. Soon after he wrote blog post thanking by name all of us who had reviewed his book. That author can count on me and other reviewers to read and review every book he creates.
The very last thing you NEVER want to do is gather a bunch of friends to tick your unfavorable reviews as ‘unhelpful’ on Amazon. We notice. If you insist on a ‘tickfest’, tick your three, four and five star reviews as ‘helpful’. Otherwise, leave your reviews alone. They don’t belong to you.
You are the author. Yes, you will one day read a review that makes you see red. Rant if you must, but DO SO IN PRIVATE. Here is Jackie’s suggestion for reviews. I concur: Put this gentle plea right after THE END in you books.
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].
What do you think? Any questions?
For a complete list of above 200 active reviewers visit The Indie View
Posted by Jackie Weger, Founder, eNovel Authors at Work.
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