Like playwrights of Broadway shows, authors of books live and die with reviews. It has always amazed me how reluctant the average reader is to post a review for a book that they have read (and hopefully enjoyed). What amazes me even more is how someone can accept a free Kindle book, read it, and never post a review. Hey, you got the book for free, the least you can do is show your appreciation by posting a review.
How exactly should you write a review? That appears to be a common question. In my opinion, there are only four criteria for writing a review:
- Did you like or dislike the book?
- If you liked it, why? (Interesting characters, good dialogue, strong storyline,etc.)
- If you didn’t like it, why not? (You found the characters lacking in dimension, or the dialogue was unrealistic, or the story was not believable.)
- Would you recommend the book to a friend?
One need not be a literary genius to write a competent review. If you follow the criteria listed above, you should have no problem. One thing a review should not be is mean spirited or confrontational. Here is an example of a review I posted for a book I enjoyed:
“As a lover of mysteries, I am drawn to books with substance. Redemption Road is solid, with characters fully fleshed out, not perfect, but believable. Mr. Hart leads us on journey that is at once complicated yet straightforward, with a skill that is studied and sure. Be prepared to spend long chunks of time with this book. It deserves your attention.”
Be concise; tell what you liked or didn’t like about the book, and whether or not you would recommend it. Case closed. Simple. It’s not rocket surgery (to use a mixed metaphor). If you really didn’t like a book, write a review anyway. I believe there is always something nice you can say about a book (maybe you just liked the cover). Don’t be afraid to say it. Do not use the review as an opportunity to completely tear apart someone’s work. Authors don’t produce their books overnight. Each book involves a lot of hard work. I have written six novels and two non-fiction books. Each one took between twelve and eighteen months of work to complete. As the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield would often say: “I don’t get no respect.” The same is true for authors. A review is a way for you to pay an author respect.
I recently gave away 381 free downloads during a promotional campaign for the latest Matt Davis mystery, Deadly Ransom. Amazingly, not one person who received the book for free took the time to post a review. With that in mind, I am asking anyone who took advantage of that free offer to please post a review. Obviously, I am not soliciting reviews from those who absolutely abhored the book (I hope there aren’t many of you), but rather from those who enjoyed it and just forgot to post a review. Make it your New Year’s resolution to treat authors with more respect. I’m counting on you! Here’s a link to post your review.
Many thanks, and Happy New Year!